Warparty Boardgame – Interview with Developer Larry Bogucki
Warparty. Boardgame Interview. Pubisher: Lock ‘n Load Publishing. Developer: Warparty Games. Preorder Price: $49.99, Retail Price: $79.99.
At least half of each army’s units are unique to that army.
Armchair General’s Jim Zabek recently had the opportunity to discuss an upcoming fantasy-themed boardgame with the developer, Larry Bogucki. Larry has been gaming since learning chess at age 6 and Dungeons & Dragons at age 9. Through the years he has played games such as Axis & Allies and Steve Jackson’s OGRE and GEV. He has also played a number computer games such as Warcraft II, Starcraft and World of Warcraft. By day he works for an insurance company. He is married with a wife and two children.
Jim Zabek, Armchair General (ACG): How long has Warparty been in development and what made you decide to actually create it for the public?
Larry Bogucki (LB): We came up with the idea for Warparty about 12 years ago. For the first seven years we played it only among friends. We found that as more people tried it, many came back to play again. About five years ago we decided to see if we could make Warparty a game that could be enjoyed by more than just our immediate gaming group.
I’d like to note that the following individuals have made significant contributions to Warparty over the years: Hal Von Hofe, Chris Orszak, Pete Chase, Jon Martel, and Gary Blauvelt (artist).
ACG: Warparty offers a combination of strategy game and role-playing elements. Can you describe how this works?
LB: I wouldn’t necessarily describe it as role playing in the traditional sense, but rather it brings the fantasy genre of D&D to a more familiar boardgame mechanic of something like an Axis & Allies. In addition, city building and upgrading, pursuit of technology and unit development are all significant parts of Warparty.
ACG: You mentioned Warparty also includes the ability to upgrade units. Can you describe those game mechanics?
LB: There are several ways to upgrade units in Warparty. Some armies have the ability to upgrade units by buying certain buildings within their cities; for instance the Ring of Carnage provides an attack bonus to all goblin units. Other armies can research technologies such as hardened steel, which will provide certain advantages in combat. All armies have three hero units. Heroes can be upgraded in level as they are successful in battle either against other players’ units or as they explore dungeons, battle monsters, and gain treasure.
ACG: I see there are a number of unit types which can range from heavy cavalry to siege weapons. Can you tell us more about the units?
LB: Each army has a basic infantry and an archer unit that is standard across all armies, most other units are specific to each individual race. Although each army has at least one type of cavalry type unit, the strengths and properties of each will vary. Each army has at least one type of heavy infantry unit as well. Some armies may only have one type of heavy infantry unit but may have multiple types of mobile units or more ranged units to use.Heroes also can play a big part in Warparty. Each army has three heroes: a Warrior, Wizard, and Priest.
These units are expensive, mobile and powerful. The Warrior hero provides a great meat-shield for the other heroes that would otherwise be more vulnerable to damage. The Wizard and Priest heroes have access to numerous spells which can provide benefits that range from advantages in combat, mobility, and even economy. As heroes go up levels in
Warparty they gain more health or access to more powerful spells. Heroes can be a lot of fun and they can provide a substantial advantage, but at the same time nearly half the games are won without using them.
ACG: Each army will also have unique units. Can you tell us more about these and how you went about designing and play balancing them?
LB: At least half of each army’s units are unique to that army. Even units that are similar across armies may have different city upgrades, or rituals which allow them different abilities. Each army has a Tier 3 unit, which is that army’s ultimate power piece. The Tier 3 units are an expensive investment of both resources and time, but they typically have great mobility and power. Games are won with them as often as they are won without them. I will briefly describe each army’s Tier 3 unit. The Undead can summon the Bone Dragon into the game. The Bone Dragon is highly mobile and strong offensively but can take a punch as well.
The Dwarven Airship is attained after a lot of money and research utilizing the Gnome Inventor city upgrade. The Airship delivers a tremendous amount of offense, but can’t take quite as much damage as some of the other Tier 3 units. The Goblin’s Troll Giant itself moves slowly, takes a tremendous amount of damage, and even regenerates health during combat. To make up for its natural slowness, it can be summoned by either the Shaman or the Warlock (heroes) to whereever they are located on the game board. Lastly, the Human’s Lord Ancon, which is individually the weakest of all the Tier 3 units, provides a great benefit to the human cavalry units. With a group of cavalry accompanying Lord Ancon it can become one of the strongest Tier 3 units. In terms of balance, we have playtested and tweaked Warparty for years. The cost of a unit is determined by all of its properties: attack strength, defense strength, movement value, health, any additional abilities it has, and what prerequisites might exist to utilize the unit. There is genuine balance not only among the various armies as they relate to each other, but also within the armies themselves in terms of the various unit strengths.
ACG: What role do sieges play in the game and how are they conducted?
LB: Cities in Warparty provide a significant economic bonus and are also a point of troop deployment. Cities also take time and money to build. They become great assets, but also liabilities as they will become targets of enemy players. To take a city, players need to win the battle in that territory and hold the territory for one additional turn at which point the city will be burned. If a player has a siege unit that was also part of the battle then the city can be destroyed without waiting an additional turn.
ACG: Tell us more about flying units in the game. Will every side have them? What role do they play?
LB: The Dwarven Airship is the only flying unit from the alliance of the good—Humans and Dwarves. For the evil, the Undead have The Bone Dragon, but also the much more easily accessible vampires. Flying units can travel over enemy units without having to fight them. They also ignore rough terrain movement penalties. In addition to flying units, Wizards have access to teleport spells and at higher group teleport spells. This is true for all armies.
ACG: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
LB: I’d just like to add that there is a large variety of strategy in Warparty. Some basic strategies might include various levels of upgrades in your capital cities to unlock certain units or upgrades, heroes to explore dungeons (even teaming up with your ally’s heroes), heroes supporting cavalry rushing against an enemy, developing your Tier 3 unit, trying to dominate your opponents economically, and many other strategies and combination of strategies. There is no single best way to win. It’s all about executing your strategy, but also adjusting it to what your opponents and ally might be doing.The last thing I would add, is that there are individual quest cards that add a little twist to Warparty. Each player starts with their own personal quest that is kept secret from all other players. The reward is commensurate with the level of difficulty. It is typically never a game changing reward, but can often provide a little edge.
ACG: You’re most welcome.