BARD Games's Fickle Interview with The Social Deduction Network

Led by Dino Quaresma on The Social Deduction Network Discord

Support their Kickstarter for Fickle

Note: This is not a word for word transcript of the interview, some grammatical mistakes and other things of that nature were altered. For the full unaltered transcript, go find this interview listed under the interviews tab in The Social Deduction Network discord.

Dino: I want to start off by thanking you for agreeing to joining us for this interview, and I want to welcome everyone who has decided to tune in. My first question has to do with your personal beliefs. I know you have created a game with a fairy theme, but I must know: do you believe fairies exist in real life?

BARD Games: Great question. I believe that are definitely things that are unexplained. I would guess fairies are involved.

Dino: Are you simply replying in the affirmative to protect the lives of fairies in case you are wrong? Fairies allegedly die when people claim not to believe in them, you know?

BARD Games: Whatever we can do to raise fairy awareness, BARD Games is all for!

Dino: I have one of their ribbons on right now. I normally ask about the art at some point, but I think I am going to lead with it this time since you seem to be placing such an emphasis on the artist. Who is Amy Brown?

BARD Games: Amy Brown is a High Fantasy artist who has been creating fairy art since the early 90's. She primarily works in watercolor and colored pencil.

Dino: I take it she is well known? Pardon my ignorance… Her name appeared to me as a selling point.

BARD Games: In the fairy circles definitely. I think a lot of people grew up with her art. Right now, I think she has almost 1 million followers on Facebook.

Dino: Ah, I see. Well, not being familiar with her by name, I have to say, her work looks great.

BARD Games: Thanks. We are very excited that we made a game that art fans and gamers love. That was our goal from the beginning.

Dino: How did your collaboration with her begin?

BARD Games: As a first time publisher we knew that our brand would not be well known. We approached Amy's licensing agency Tate & Company because we saw an established fan base that we could activate to help fund our game.

Dino: Smart thinking! Did the theme come first, or did you decide on the theme after getting Amy Brown?

BARD Games: We started with acquiring the Amy Brown license. Then we focused on sourcing a game that could fit the fairy theme.

Dino: Ah! Well, I think you came out with a good one. In case there are people tuning into this interview that do not know anything about your game, how would you describe it to them?

BARD Games: Fickle is a casual game for 3 to 5 players where you are trying to acquire the most powerful fairy alliance. The game plays in about 30 minutes, is extremely customizable to fit your groups style of play (over 20k ways to play the game) and is unique in that it features, shuffle building, inverse set collection, drafting, press your luck, and tableau manipulation.

Dino: OooooH! AhhhhH! I really like the mechanic where players put the fairies in any order and then offer them to a neighbor to look at and choose between one at a time. Players take a risk every time they discard a card, hoping something better awaits. It creates a definite psychological battle. How did you come up with this mechanic?

BARD Games: This was a mechanic that we found later in product development. We knew something was missing from the game. Initially cards were not passed. You just received two cards and had to pick one. As the game developed we were looking at ways to make it unique and we landed on this press your luck mechanic.

Dino: It's a genius idea. It's the part that really excited me the most when I looked into the game play. An opportunity to bluff, read other players, etc. And an opportunity to try to guess what your fellow players would do. Just love it. ...Oh, I'm supposed to be asking questions… Though your game would probably not be classified as social deduction, I do feel like it has some elements because of that mechanic. I also really like the scoring system. Would you mind explaining how players score points in this game?

BARD Games: Sure. At the end of the game all players score each fairy family that they have in their alliance. If you have just one of a fairy family it is worth its face value (between 1 and 5 points usually). If you have two of a fairy family it is worth zero points. If you have three or four of a fairy family it is worth negative the highest value of that family that you have. If you have five or more you shoot the moon and sum the entire value of that fairy family and discard all other fairy families from your alliance. A little like the card game Hearts if anyone is familiar. Hence inverse set collection.

Dino: Cool! So to recap:

  • 1 card = good
  • 2 cards = neutral
  • 3-4 cards = very bad
  • 5+ cards = very good!

I get that right?

BARD Games: That's right.

Dino: I love that. The risk vs. reward is excellent.

BARD Games: We find it is all about preparing to shoot the moon at the right time.

Dino: I fear the completionist in me would suffer quite a bit playing this game… I'd inadvertently give the more practical players an advantage, I think. Lovers of Pokemon might also fair poorly.(edited)

BARD Games: Perhaps. The theme of the game is that you want "all" of a families support or you want equal representation of the families, else you have shown favoritism to a family without outright controlling it.

Dino: Very true. The game comes with “Fae Packs.” Say... What are Fae Packs?

BARD Games: The Fae Packs or Decks are the different fairy families in the game. Each fairy family has a unique power that is activated each round. Right now there are 19 fairy families in the game. We hope to have at least 20.

Dino: Ah, so there are no stretch goals for Fae Packs beyond the 20th Fae Pack? I was wondering about that...

BARD Games: There are...

Dino: Wait, what!? Back this game, People! I want those extra Fae packs!

BARD Games: We will release more stretch goals as we get more funding. Are target was 20 but we do have more!

Dino: Nice! Hope we get there. Is there a lore associated with these families? Like some fluff we might read about?

BARD Games: With the individual families not so much. I think the theme of the game is definitely derived from fairy lore. Fairies tend to be Fickle creatures, sometimes acting on impulse or emotion but other times they can be cold and calculating. We combined a unique piece of fairy art with an appropriate family name and power that we think captures the different emotions fairies have.

Dino: In every game, players use five Fae Packs. What is your personal favorite Fae Pack, the one you use for most of your games?

BARD Games: I really like Share. Share requires every player to simultaneously pick the lowest value fairy in their alliance and pass it to the player in the direction of that specific round. I have seen shoot the moon players use this to win in the last round.

Dino: Oooh! What are some others?

BARD Games: Pariah is another good one. She is always worth negative points unless you shoot the moon with her.

Dino: So if you have just one card, it is worth negative?

BARD Games: Yes.

Dino: That's not fairy! ...Excuse me... That's not FAIR… Sorry about that. Anyway, I like those concepts. Changes the game quite a bit.

BARD Games: She is used to it. She will get her revenge when she becomes the fairy queen.

Dino: You mentioned there being other Fae Packs beyond the 20th. How can we get a Werewolf Fae Pack added to the game?

BARD Games: I know that fairies sometimes have familiars that they work with. One current card we have that is a playtest exclusive is a fae kitty. I'm sure there would be an option to make a werewolf fairy. Maybe something that changes each round?

Dino: I mean, imagine it! You'd have the Amy Brown Crowd and the Werewolf Crowd suddenly invested… That sounds great! This is your first Kickstarter. Was there anything that surprised you thus far? Or do you have any advice you would give to future game creators?

BARD Games: I think what surprised us was our campaigns ability to hold of the plateau effect till the end of the second week. Usually kickstarters plateau in funding after a few days and then have a lull until the final push at the end. BARD Games is proud that we are finding great partners like the Social Deduction Network to help us continue our growth at this point in the campaign. My advice to game creators is this… If you are going to publish your game it is crucial to do as much pre-marketing as you can whether this is in person or digitally. Being funded in the first 48 hours is very important because potential backers will see this as an indication of a guaranteed game.

Dino: Yes. Great advice. And I did notice how steady and lucratively the campaign went for the first several days. Great to see. Also, nice from backers and potential backers standpoints to see those stretch goals met periodically. And you've met quite a few thus far. Could you tell us about some of the add-ons you are including in the Kickstarter campaign?

BARD Games: Sure.

  1. Fickle Playmat - features fairies from Amy Brown
  2. Amy Brown PDF Coloring Book
  3. Fairy Crown to replace the phase token
  4. Draw bag for round token randomization or portable gameplay
  5. Fairy Coin to replace the court crier (or tiebreaker token)
  6. Hopefully exclusive card sleeves for the game

Addons 2-4 are included with our Fairy Frenzy reward level.

Dino:The sleeves are very exciting to me. Hope we can unlock those. I always go for custom sleeves when they are offered.

BARD Games: We will unlock the exclusive card sleeves when we reach 700 backers.

Dino: Think it will happen, but maybe not for a while. I think it will though. Fingers crossed!

BARD Games: Only 138 backers to go!

Dino: Definitely possible. I know this game has not even been released yet, but are there plans for expansions?

BARD Games: There is a potential for an expansion depending on the success of the initial campaign.

Dino: Isn't it yet deemed a success...? Well, maybe not until we see that Werewolf Fae Pack... ;)

BARD Games: I think it will also depend on our retail partner support. If the game can make it there. That would be a good indication of an expansion being viable. Who doesn't want more fairies?!

Dino: Captain Hook didn't seem too keen on them… But the vast majority seem to want them around. One final thing: Are you a fan of social deduction? If so, what are your favorite games?

BARD Games: Ooooo! That would depend on the game duration. I would say that I am  fond of original Werewolf. However I never get to be anything except a stinking villager. I do like Diplomacy every now and again.

Dino: Ah. Maybe there should be a Diplomat Role in Werewolf.

BARD Games: Playing with lawyers can be fun....most of the time. ;)

Dino: And a Lawyer character!

At any rate, this has been wonderful. Many thanks to BARD Games for doing this. We hope that everyone can check out their campaign and help them make their game, Fickle, as great as possible!

BARD Games: Thanks very much Dino and the rest of the Social Deduction Network for having me on. I hope our game fits your play style.