Articles Interviews Dungeon Run: Interview with Colby Dauch

Dungeon Run: Interview with Colby Dauch madwookiee Hot

Written by madwookiee     April 06, 2011    
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dungeon_run11Thought you guys would appreciate reading this - Colby Dauch, the guy who wears the Plaid Hat, took some time to share his thoughts with MenWithDice about Dungeon Run.  Colby has been around the gaming community for years, first as the man behind, the primary Heroscape internet community, and then as a game designer in his own right.  Colby's credits include a number of the later Heroscape expansion sets as well as the phenomenally successful Summoner Wars, the game on which Plaid Hat was launched.  With Dungeon Run, Plaid Hat breaks new ground, entering into the full-size game format for the first time.

MWD: This is shaping up to be an exciting summer for Plaid Hat games. You generated a lot of buzz with the Summoner Wars boxed set, and now Dungeon Run has become one of the most talked about releases of the summer practically overnight. How do you feel about your current niche in the hobby gaming world?

CD: I feel like we are still the little guy, but I think we are moving into a new season in the life of Plaid Hat Games. The success of Summoner Wars has made way for more games and with a focus on quality and the customer. I hope to continue that success and to have it lead the way for even more.

MWD: Dungeon Run represents a few new steps for Plaid Hat. What challenges did you face in publishing a game that someone else had designed? Anything that you found particularly exciting?

CD: Mr. Bistro is a good friend of mine. He’s helped out with Summoner Wars for awhile now and I was glad to have the opportunity to help him bring out his first published game. The challenges are pretty much the same as publishing my own, only a little less work being done directly by me. I’m in charge of approving and helping along final game design, but Bistro and Chris Dupuis (a good friend and excellent editor that I hire to help with these projects) are the ones in the trenches right now finalizing everything. And of course the game design as whole is all Bistro.

MWD: What was it about Dungeon Run that made you take notice? What made this a great fit for Plaid Hat?

CD: Mr. Bistro. Like I said, he’s a good friend of mine. I knew he has been playing around with game design for years, so I started soliciting designs from him. He showed me a couple that weren’t really what I was after and then he showed me Dungeon Run. I felt like there was a lot still be done with it to take it beyond a print and play type game to a full scale release, but some of the core mechanics were there and interesting, and I had confidence in Bistro that he could take it to the next level. We brainstormed a bit and headed the game in a new greater direction. I’m happy with where it is at now. I think those who have played the print and play game will recognize pieces of it, but they’ll see what a ton of hard work can do to a game design.

MWD: The minis for this game look fantastic. What was it like moving into this new area for Plaid Hat? Anything you learned or any challenges that you encountered?

CD: Expensive and time consuming (time to have them sculpted and time to mold). But seeing the end result is very satisfying.

MWD: Tell us, if you would, about the decision to move from solitaire to multiplayer – anything that you can share about the design process around that decision?

CD: We’ve still kept some rules for a solitaire experience, but the focus is definitely on the multiplayer now. We are fans of player interaction and I think we are putting out a game loaded with it. Publishing a solitaire only board game is not something I’m very interested in. I feel like at its heart board games are about people getting together. But I’m definitely happy we included the solo option, as I know there are fans of that out there.

MWD: Dungeon Run is now the second game to take place in Itharia. Will we get to see more of the story behind the world in this game? Any plans for additional releases set in Itharia?

CD: You will see a little more of the world of Itharia through some of the flavor text we’ve included in the game. I don’t plan to have every game set in Itharia, but I wouldn’t rule out the potential to visit it with another system in the future.

MWD: You have to feel pretty good about what you’ve accomplished in the last year and a half. What’s next for Plaid Hat? Anything you can share?

CD: Yeah, I am feeling great to see the first reactions to something we’ve been working on for awhile. Next up is more full-sized games. We’ve got a full-scale adventure game that is nearing completion. I hope to release around November. And we’ve got a Sci-Fi game that we’ve only just begun work on but is already shaping up to be a real winner.

MWD: Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts with us. Best of luck in your coming endeavors!

In our next interview, we’ll hear from Mr. Bistro, the designer of Dungeon Run, on the nuts and bolts of what makes this game tick and what we can expect out of the box.

ScottB is a member of Fortress: Ameritrash, a passionate gamer, and a blogger on Check it out.

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Comments (8)
  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Thanks Scott- we may butt heads on some other topics around here, but I think we both can come together on Plaid Hat Games. The quality of Summoner Wars both as a game and a product has really impressed me. I've actually come to like it _more_ since its release and now it's one of my favorite games in its class. I love the new races, particularly the new Jungle Elves and Cloaks. And of course, the Vanguards.

    Dungeon Run sounds like it's got what it takes, I'm definitely looking forward to seeing more from it.

    A space game too, huh? I'm all in. In fact, just sign me up for whatever Colby does. I think he really understands the importance of playability and accessibility in balance with competition and conflict.

  • avatarAncient_of_MuMu

    Whenever I hear an adventure game is in the works somewhere, I always hope it is my dream game. It doesn't seem like it should be hard to achieve, as all the building blocks of what works in adventure games exists in all those 7/10 games (Talisman, Runebound, ROTH, Prophecy).

  • avatarmadwookiee

    Plaid Hat is doing everything right at the moment. The Summoner Wars master set is an unbelievable value and a smart move to pull in anyone who has been on the fence, not to mention a boon for all of the existing fans. The Dungeon Run announcement was really the next logical step - and for a publisher who's never done minis before, man, those look damn good. And again, $50 is just a great value from a component standpoint - if the gameplay is as compelling as the presentation, then this is going to be a smash hit. The proof is of course in the pudding - I'm looking forward to hearing what Mr. Bistro has to share on the gameplay too.

    I think we probably agree more than we disagree, really - it's just less fun to say, "Me too," so I tend to post more often when I want to bust someone's balls. I'll say this, though - while FFG is making more stuff that I'm interested in than it sounds like you're interested in, I don't get excited for their stuff like I do for guys like Colby. FFG sells products, which is fine as far as it goes because a lot of their products are ones that I like. But stuff from the smaller guys like Plaid Hat and Small Box and Clever Mojo and other guys like that just feels more like a labor of love. That's more compelling to me and I'm glad I can support those guys when I get an opportunity.

  • Jexik

    It's a good thing Colby's business sense is better than his sense of direction.

  • avatarscissors

    I am looking forward to this and thanks for the interview. The only knock is that CD didn't elaborate a bit more about the design etc. Seemed a bit thin, although there is some interesting info. I think the stuff I really want to hear will be in the interview with Bistro.

  • avatarwice


    Whenever I hear an adventure game is in the works somewhere, I always hope it is my dream game. It doesn't seem like it should be hard to achieve, as all the building blocks of what works in adventure games exists in all those 7/10 games (Talisman, Runebound, ROTH, Prophecy).

    Oh yeah, me too. Although I'm afraid it's a bit more complicated than simply taking the best building blocks from the games you mentioned... What works in one game together with the other mechanics, doesn't necessarily work in a different environment. Talisman, as far as I know, is good in PvP (one aspect that is very important for me in my imaginary adventure dream game), but it's because of the one dimensional nature of the playing field; it's much easier to catch the other players in this environment than e.g. in Runebound's two dimensional play area (another important aspect for me), especially with only two or three players (and with more there is too much downtime in RB). So my dream game has to come up with a smart solution to make it easier to attack other players, on a two dimensional plane, and possibly give some good reasons to do so, to avoid situations where I get accused with being unnecessarily aggressive.

    And this is only one problem out of many: elaborate combat mechanism (PvNPC and PvP) without too much downtime, good character development without unmanageable complexity, interesting quests (not only "kill the monster" types), and so on.

  • avatarSuperflyTNT

    If it helps you sleep better, I have an adventure game design I've been steadily working on and improving for the last year and a half. It's coming along, but there were some major changes required due to an unforeseen "break" that I never would've envisioned had it not been for my buddy. I had a couple publishers interested, but then something happened IRL that kind of kicked the project in the balls, hard.

    Adventure games are easy, it's getting everything to "feel" like it's supposed to be in there...that's the hard part.

  • avatarcraniac

    "And we’ve got a Sci-Fi game that we’ve only just begun work on but is already shaping up to be a real winner."

    Yeah! I'm eagerly awaiting the deluxe Summoner Wars too.

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