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Interview: Thomas M. Gofton On Buffy the Vampire Slayer: The Board Game

A few weeks ago we first saw the news that Lynnvander and Jasco Games will be bringing us a new Buffy the Vampire Slayer board game in October. The Internet hype train started to pull out of the cyberstation without any juicy details apart from the fact it’ll be co-op.

After hitting Giles’s books with the Scooby Gang, we managed to figure out how to summon Thomas M. Gofton, the man behind the soon to be released game and trapped him long enough to have a short Q&A.

n3rdabl3: Hi Thomas, first things first, what’s your role in the production of the Buffy board game we’ll be seeing in October?

Thomas: I am the concept creator. I give the mechanic and game parameters to my design and development teams and then they take it and give it flesh and grounds for testing. I’m like a dentist and they are the hygienists. They do a LOT of the work and I just come in and make sure things are going smooth in terms of things making sense and production and manufacturing limitations are met. Plus I’m a long time Buffy/Angel fan so I also work to ensure it’s ‘legit’ sourcing.

I want to make sure they get the credit on this as well, they worked hard on this game and if it wasn’t for them it wouldn’t be the rich-themed and fun game that it is today. It takes one mind to come up with the concept but it takes a team to make it awesome.

n3: Right then – as the man most definitely in the know, how would you explain the Buffy Board Game to someone who’s never seen or heard anything about it yet?

T: It is a thematic – strategy, fully co-operative game where players are going to be re-living episodes and seasons of the show, but if you’ve never seen the show you will still enjoy the generic elements within. We’ve tried to include as much of the show as possible without intense complication.

n3: Going a bit deeper into the game, what sort of mechanics will we be playing with and what’s the main way players will interact with the theme?

T: Board state management, turn-based and move-based strategy, co-operative play, resources and health bar management. The players choose a BIG BAD (usually a season villain) and then that BIG BAD alters the way the core mechanics play. Each game is like a new season. And within the game’s play time you’re being smacked with items, monsters and adventures that are akin to the unique and individual episodes of Buffy.

n3: Did you look at either of the Buffy board games released in the early 2000’s at any point in the game’s creation?

T: I did not. I don’t like to be influenced like that. I learned a little about the core mechanics and then tried to ensure I didn’t copy. But I’ve never played it. My team may have however.

n3: The Buffyverse is so huge you must have had so much story to play with. Is there any chance of any expansions coming? Another of your games, Albion’s Legacy, has some so we’re hoping you haven’t ruled it out.

T: Oh yes…. this game is JUST a frame. We have A LOT more we can use. Comics, fiction and even more episode content we can delve deeper into. We have an expansion already built which touches upon a pile of characters we couldn’t fit into the main game. Characters like Dawn, Riley etc. Plus… I will absolutely be doing Team Angel as an expansion…oh heck yes. This game’s growth without Fred, Cordelia and Wesley is just not worth doing!

n3: If the episode Once More With Feeling isn’t involved, you can have that idea for free as long as we get it in an expansion!

T: Why wouldn’t it be involved! In terms of how odd it is… yes… that plus Silence will be expandable content which PLAY with the mechanics of the game the same way those episodes played with traditional television episodic releases.

It’s safe to say that the game is in good hands, as a huge fan of Buffy it’s great to hear that the man behind it all is a fan too.

With Angel and the Buffy comics being considered as well as an expansion already earmarked, it’s certain this game is going to be supported well after launch. And with an October release, you’ll be able to get the Buffy board game on your table for your Halloween party.

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