Welcome back for the conclusion of our chat with Liz Spain, talking about her newest game, Incredible Expeditions: Quest for Atlantis.
Read Part One here.
Read Part Two here.
Airship Ambassador: After all these teasing questions, what is the actual game play?
Liz Spain: Each player takes the role of an expedition leader, each with different skills to approach the journey. After acquiring crew and various resources for their ship in Port City, the expedition sails out into unknown locations. To face down encounters with anything from engine failure to unspeakable horrors, the player must decide which crew are exhausted and which resources are spent on their ship. The expedition party that makes it to Atlantis and discovers its secrets wins the game. In depth details on gameplay and the rulebook can be found on the game’s website: http://www.IncredibleExpeditionsGame.com
AA: For the aspiring game creator, what lessons did you and your team learn along the way?
LS: Beware hubris. Never be afraid to ask someone’s opinion, test your game as much as is feasible and seek the advice of those who have tread this path before.
AA: If you weren’t creating steampunk games, what else would you be doing now?
LS: I’d still be running my own small steampunk clothing company and working freelance as a costume designer and stylist. Just before I began the Incredible Expeditions project, I did costuming for a film project for the first time (previously, I’d only done work for stage and photography). It was a lot of fun and I’d eventually like to do more of that.
AA: What do you do to keep a balance between game creation, other work projects, and the rest of your life?
LS: I don’t. Game design and publication takes up most of my waking hours, though I make sure I dedicate some time to other things each week, like volunteering and outdoor activities. My garden has been woefully neglected for a while now.
AA: Do you get to talk much with other creators to compare notes, have constructive critique reviews, and brainstorm new ideas?
LS: Absolutely. The best thing about living in Seattle is being constantly surrounded by creative people of every stripe, and especially other game designers.
AA: How is the Pacific Northwest for this kind of work? Does location matter for resources, access, publicity, etc
LS: The Pacific Northwest, and Seattle in particular, is a goldmine of geekery. A number of the largest companies in hobby gaming are located here. There’s a lot of other game designers to work with, an endless supply of people interested in play testing, and a lot of local game stores who are eager to support local game designers.
AA: Looking beyond steampunk and gaming, what other interests fill your time?
LS: The Seattle Humane Society has an amazing behavior program that I volunteer for, helping to teach dogs new behaviors so they can become better pets. I also train my own dog to do nose work, and we do demonstrations at educational events for kids.
In the winter I love to snowboard and in the spring and fall I hunt for culinary mushrooms like morels and chanterelles. My backyard is home to a small flock of chickens and a garden for herbs, fruits and vegetables. There’s something immensely satisfying about growing your own food, and I enjoy exploring new ways to cook, bake and preserve those ingredients.
AA: What other fandoms are you part of in some way? (as a fan or other participation)
LS: I got into costuming professionally starting as a cosplayer over a decade ago. I still keep tabs on the new anime and manga that come out. Though I haven’t competed in years, I also still like to yo-yo every once in a while.
AA: How do those interests influence your work?
LS: As a creative person, the value of exploring the myths of other cultures cannot be underestimated. When stories are your medium, a broad palette comes from a wealth of influence. Also, I put a lot of value into aesthetic experience and challenge. Humans are tool-users and problem-solvers. A game that is pleasant to touch and makes you think is one that you’ll come back to again.
AA: Three quick fire, random questions – what is your favorite piece of jewelry, appetizer, and landmark?
LS: My automatic winding skeleton watch, bruschetta on garlic herb bread made with garden tomatoes, and The House on the Rock is a plethora of wonderful, random weirdness.
AA: Any final thoughts to share with our readers
LS: The game officially launches at Gen Con in Indianapolis on August 14th. We’re planning to show North America’s largest tabletop gaming convention how fantastic steampunk can be. Our booth is designed to be the interior of the Chinese sky pirate’s ship from the game. You can follow the game launch and the bodgery of the airship elements of the booth on our facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/IncredibleExpeditionsGame
Thanks, Liz! It was really great to have this time to catch up and hear about your game.
Thanks to all of the readers who followed along – keep up to date with the game and its progression, Incredible Expeditions: Quest for Atlantis.