Interview: Chris Haskins of Tiny Zombies and Nord Games

A little while ago I heard about the Kickstarter for Tiny Zombies from Nord Games. And, as a zombie fan, I was intrigued. :) Why were the zombies so tiny, I wondered? What was the object of such a game?

So when an opportunity came up to chat with one of the designers, Chris Haskins at Nord Games, I jumped at the chance. What secrets would he reveal? What would we learn?

I’m happy to report that Chris was very kind and answered all my questions, so here’s the brain dump!

tiny-zombiesQ: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you start designing games?

I’ve always loved playing every manner of games. When my Brother Andrew and I were growing up we spent a lot of time playing board games and video games together. As teenagers we began creating our own RPG world called Worra where we spent many hours questing through dungeons and saving princesses. It was only a few years ago that Andrew and I decided to turn our RPG into a full on game for others to enjoy. That was when we formed Nord Games and began this crazy adventure.

Q: What can you tell us about Nord Games?

Nord Games started as just my Brother Andrew and I but more recently we’ve brought on many other game designers. We meet weekly for a round table discussion where we help one another on sticking points of our current game concept and play test each others games that are in the design and prototyping phase. We are currently adding more and more titles to our pipeline and we will be launching Kickstarters on a regular basis to get them funded and produced.

Q: I love the family-friendly aspect of the Nord Games mission statement. Does the focus on friendly competition and cooperation make it more difficult to create games?

It’s certainly more difficult to make games that appeal to the largest audience possible. What’s been the hardest part is coming up with games that are “inclusive” meaning the kind of games where no player is ever out. It’s always a bummer when you and your friends get together for a game of Risk and someone is knocked out in the first 1/2 hour. The
rest of the players spend the next 3 hours playing and laughing and having a good time while the odd man out just has to watch. I’d like to make as many games as possible that are inclusive and keep all the players in the game for as long as possible.

Q: What’s the elevator pitch for Tiny Zombies?

Tiny Zombies is a cooperative survival board game that is set in the aftermath of the zombie apocalypse. Up to 6 players make their way through the city streets to find the safe zone. Along the way, they find items and weapons to aid them while encountering hordes of different types of zombies.

Q: How did the idea for Tiny Zombies come about?

During Halloween 2012 I spent a lot of time watching my favorite horror flicks like Evil Dead, Army of Darkness and just about any zombie movie ever made. I set about designing a game that didn’t take itself too seriously but also captured the spirit of what it would be like to be in the “real” zombie apocalypse. Not knowing what’s around the corner and having the game become more and more difficult as it progresses are two key points that I was focused on. I’m very happy with the end product and have a blast every time I play it.

Q: I love the combination of cards and minis for the game. What’s your favorite part of the game?

My favorite part is facing up to 74 zombies at a time. It’s truly terrifying, but that’s fun and challenging.

tiny-zombies-prototypingQ: What is your favorite thing that has happened during playtesting so far?

We’ve all been trying to outdo each other with the most zombie kills in a single turn. So far the record holder is my Uncle Bill with 68 kills because of two massive explosions. That was an epic moment, he truly saved our bacon on that turn.

Q: Have you been surprised by the early response to the Kickstarter?

I’ve been spreading the word for a month so I’m not as surprised as I am pleased with the response we’ve received so far.

Q: If (when) the Kickstarter goes viral and you’re wildly successful, will there be other projects like this in the future?

There will be expansions for Tiny Zombies as well as a 2nd and 3rd edition. All will go up on Kickstarter.

Q: What is your all time favorite game and why?

My favorite game of all time is my Uncle Bill’s version of D&D because that really opened my mind to the possibilities of gaming and how much fun and adventure could be had with some graph paper and dice.

Q: Any advice for fledgling game designers trying to break into the business?

Don’t be afraid to express yourself and share your ideas with the world. There will be many people who try to tear you down and tread on your dreams but just keep your goals set high and don’t let anything stand in your way.

Q: If there’s a question you haven’t been asked yet but are dying to answer, what would it and the answer be?

The question would be: “What time of day do you find you’re most creative?” And the answer is: “The moments after I wake up, and the moments before I fall asleep every day. If you’re the same way make sure you have a notebook handy.”

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I want to thank Chris for answering all my questions and responding as quickly as he did! I wish Chris and his brother Andrew all the best with Nord Games. As it is, Tiny Zombies looks like a ton of fun and I’ve already thrown my $$ into the Kickstarter to get a copy. :)

For more about the Kickstarter and Nord Games…

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