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TGN Interview with Mike McVey

As you more-than-likely know, Mike McVey has a Kickstarter Campaign going on to raise funds for his Sedition Wars board game. It's doing great, having just crossed the $100k mark, still with 29 days to go. They've even just put up a new stretch goal for an alternate-sculpt.

Well, Mike was kind enough to talk with us some about the project and some other stuff recently and we'd like to share it with you in our ever-continuing TGN Interview series.

TGN Interview with Mike McVey
TGN: The gaming world knows Mike McVey, but just in case we have the guy that just left Plato's cave reading, tell us a bit about yourself.

Mike: Well I started at GW as a miniature’s painter back in 1987 – so that means I have been working in the industry for 25 years now. Bloody hell, how did that happen!? I worked at GW for nearly 13 years – initially as a painter, then writing hobby guides (the old ‘Eavy Metal series), then making dioramas (the most fun I’ve had in my career), and finally as a miniatures designer. I was just starting to get the hang of that, when I upped and left to live in Seattle and work at Wizards of the Coast. I was the Art Director for Chainmail, then the D&D and Star Wars miniatures lines. While I was at WotC I hooked up with the Privateer Press guys and we launched first Warmachine and then Hordes. After a few years there I decided I needed to broaden my horizons, so left and went freelance back in the UK. My wife Ali and I set up Studio McVey about four years ago with the aim of producing the best miniatures we possibly could. The response to the Limited Edition resin line was really great – and we were lucky enough to win quite a few awards (some from TGN!). About two years ago, we launched the Sedition Wars line, set in our own sci-fi universe. That brings us pretty much up to date and the launch of the first Sedition Wars game – Battle for Alabaster.

TGN: Your new game, Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster, is up on Kickstarter and doing very well. Can you tell us some about the game: the world it's set in and something about the gameplay.

Mike: I know – we’re absolutely thrilled by the response! It’s weird really – we have been working so hard on this for the past two years – it’s just strange for people to be talking about it! It’s wonderful though, it’s a real affirmation of all we have been doing.
The game is a two-player miniatures board game. More complexity and tactical depth than a normal board game – but maybe not quite as much as a table-top war-game. It’s fast and fun – games take between 45-90 minutes depending on the scenario.
The universe is vast and we only look at a tiny part of it in the game – a secretive research station in the Alabaster sector. It’s been hit by a devastating outbreak, and the Vanguard have gone in to find out why. So Sedition Wars: Battle for Alabaster is a fight between the Vanguard and The Strain.

There is some more detailed background information over on - on the Vanguard and Firebrand rebels (who will be introduced into the game later).There is also a brief designers notes section on the Strain.

TGN: What inspired you to do a board game? We've been seeing your models for years and enjoyed them, but it's a big step to actually working on your own game.

Mike: Yes it’s a huge step – but one I am very familiar with, from the many different games I have worked on. The main difference this time is we are just a small (tiny!) company, without the resources I have had in the past. I huge amount of the credit must go to Rob Baxter, the game designer and all round creative genius – we’re really hammered this thing out between the two of us.
The reason we wanted to do a board game, is that it just seemed less of a stretch to persuade people to get into than a table-top game. If we announced right off the bat – we’re doing a new war game, I think people would have a harder time justifying getting into it. With a board game – it’s a single purchase and you get all you need to play, and it’s a great deal – I mean we’re putting 50 miniatures in the game!

TGN: About how long does it take to make a sculpt for a game piece such as you have for Sedition Wars? How is the process for a game piece like these different than your stand-alone pieces you've made?

Mike: The process is just the same for making any sculpt really. You come up with the idea first and write a short description – you then pass this on to the concept artist with a fuller brief of what you’re expecting. After a few back and forth exchanges with rough renderings, you pick a definite direction and go to final art. That goes off to a sculptor, and you brief him about translating it into 3D – how the detail will work, part breakdown for moulding (depending on the process it’s going into) and so forth. The only difference between making a miniature for the Limited Edition resin line and the Sedition Wars range – is that we have to have rules for the SW stuff – and that normally happens once the concept is finalized.

TGN: Your game was funded in about 6 hours and currently is more than 4x the base goal. How does it feel to have such a response from the gaming community for your project?

Mike: Humbling. We’ve been working so hard on this for the past couple of years, and sometimes you think its just never going to work out. Getting a response like we have had in the past five days (were closing on the 100K stretch goal!) is just mind blowing. I don’t think most people realize just how hard it is to put something like this together for a small independent company – really it just stretches you beyond all normal boundaries of sanity! It obviously helps to have a great partner, and CMON is certainly that – they have shown a huge amount of faith in our vision, and there is just no way this product would have happened without them

TGN: Your project just went through its highest Stretch Goal total with still over a month to go. Any sort of preview on what the next couple sets of goals may be?

Mike: We have more lined up – but I never thought we would be thinking about them so soon – if at all! I can’t tell you though – except to say, they are going to make the game even cooler…

TGN: With the success of this project already shown, what other sort of ideas do you have in mind for the future? How long until we see some concepts or previews for what comes next in your game line?

Mike: Give us a chance! We are only just finishing off this game! Seriously though – we have the first expansion planned out (and the second in rough form), and there is some awesome stuff coming – I’m really excited about them. If this KS goes far enough, I’ll be happy to start revealing things.

TGN: Is there anything else you'd like to mention, or anything you'd like to ask our readers and get feedback on from them?

Mike: The main think I’d like to say is – THANK YOU! The support has been fantastic. Spread the word too – the more people we can get involved, the cooler we can make this game!