Human Punishment: The Beginning is ambitiously crowdfunding on Kickstarter. With the project, the small publisher Godot Games is sending what the makers say, the much-anticipated prequel to “Human Punishment - Social Deduction 2.0” into the race for success, fame - and cash. The start comes at the perfect time: Cyberpunk is more popular than seldom before. Andreas Zieseniß, Stefan Bollenbeck, Marko Dorn - the “Godots” - are busy collecting praise for their new idea, which takes place in the same universe as the sequel, but otherwise does a lot differently. The creative minds from Hanover told us in an interview why you should absolutely support “The Beginning” as a fan of Human Punishment - and why the coronavirus of all things helped to refine the social deduction element.
Waiting for Godot, this is currently the trend in the board game scene. Actually rather: Waiting for the Godots, who are not called that at all, but are called that, and also call themselves that. Understood? Anyway, the only thing that matters is: Human Punishment: The Beginning is a Kickstarter project that fans are waiting for online. The game will become semi-cooperative; it sounds like a direct threat and could destroy friendships and break up regular game tables. But: It will probably be a lot of fun too. Whether that has anything to do with Cyberpunk 2077, what the coronavirus and why Kickstarter as a platform is far from dead? Stefan “Godot”, actually Bollenbeck, revealed it to us in an interview:
Human Punishment: The Beginning - A Universe Grows
Take a dirty cyberpunk-style world, add some terminator and focus on a semi-cooperative mechanic - and you have Human Punishment: The Beginning. It wasn't that easy for Godot Games, who have spent years of work creating a universe, and thus a brand, and want to tell a little more of the story behind the imagined world with a new Kickstarter project.
Four different factions can be played in Human Punishment: The Beginning, there are six different characters with an asymmetrical design and everyone works together towards one goal. Well, almost all of them. We already know: someone is always the ass - and being the ass is usually the best role in semi-cooperative board games. Godot Games brings more tricks into play, social deduction of course, but also pick-and-deliver. The new offshoot is a stand-alone board game and a mix of mechanics. But Human Punishment: The Beginning can do more, the board game can also be combined with its predecessor - and at the same time story successor - Human Punishment: Social Deduction 2.0. So there is a comprehensive idea behind the project for three to six players, which should, however, also work as well in smaller game rounds as when fully occupied.
Human Punishment: The Beginning for Dummies: What Is It About? What do I have to do?
"The point is that we as a team try to prevent the machine revolution," explains Stefan from Godot Games. He is the designer of the board game. “It's just stupid that we have already been infiltrated. So you can't trust everyone even though we are a team. Since there are four playable teams, there are many ways the game can end as everyone has different winning conditions ... and since you don't know which teams are at the table, you always have to be on your guard ”. Targeted traps and false tracks can even lead players to believe that a team is at the table, which is not the case at all. “It's very unique and creates an extreme tension,” says Stefan Godot.
What are the reasons for supporting the Kickstarter for players who are new to Human Punishment?
“The universe is the same, but it is a completely separate game. If you like semi-co-op, pick-up & deliver or (social) deduction games, you will get a very unique and epic hybrid with great cinematic twists. "
Humans try to protect the network, machines secretly try the opposite, but by the same method - only with viruses instead of firewalls. “That makes for high-quality moments, because sometimes secret goals don't suit your own team so optimally”, says Stefan Godot happily, “and when someone bad does something good or someone good does something bad, then paranoia is certain!", Predicts the designer .
Beginners, connoisseurs, professionals: Ultimately, Human Punishment: The Beginning is aimed at several target groups, even if the average Kickstarter user comes into focus a little more. "Someone who may only know Catan has a harder time here than someone who regularly has games on the table," says Stefan Godot. "Nevertheless, we have had both guys at the table and actually always had a lot of fun." The target group is actually the Kickstarter target group, i.e. mostly frequent gamers.
Even if a board game with a playing time between two to three hours is more likely to be a connoisseur: You don't need any previous knowledge of the human punishment universe, says designer Stefan Godot: “Yes, it can be played without any problems. Nevertheless, you can say that you already know a lot if you have already visited the universe with Human Punishment: Social Deduction 2.0. " Then you know the factions, the weapons, how programs work and of course the story, explains Godot. But you can also catch up on everything without difficulty.
"In contrast to cyberpunk, our appointment was set and will be kept."
Cyberpunk 2077 is omnipresent and has players for the setting sensitized: Was the publication timely to that Triple-A video game planned?
“They postponed so often, that was zero percent predictable,” says Stefan Godot. “In contrast to cyberpunk, our appointment was set and will be kept ... I thought two years ago that cyberpunk would soon be played.” The timing comes in handy for the board game manufacturer. “Unfortunately, some consider us to be free riders, as if we had planned for seven years and only wanted to build on the success of the other franchise,” says the indignant chief designer. "It's always a shame, because we've been working on this project 24/7 for two and a half years and on the universe for a lot longer."
So a lot of work for the makers. With Godot Games, there is a trio behind the idea, but Stefan, Andreas and Marko were not the only ones involved in this project. Illustrations were by Tithi Luadthong, Sandra Süsser and Eddie Mendoza; Karsten Schulmann, the creator of the Movie Empire board game, was also the artistic director.
You are currently generating a lot of positive attention with the campaign: Isn't the success going to your head?
“I don't think so,” said Stefan from the Godots. "We are very small, in Germany we are known a lot more than in America and all we can do is put all our heart and soul into our work in order to get enough attention in the end." Sometimes it works more, sometimes less. But: “We are constantly learning and it feels like our level has increased significantly from campaign to campaign. We try to keep that up ”.
When Human Punishment: The Beginning starts crowdfunding, it will have several advantages for fans. So why should players support the campaign? “Kickstarter has the best price,” is Stefan Godot's main argument. And: "Our supporters will also receive their games first and some exclusive material." Above all, however, one thing is important: “The trust you give us here, we give back 100 percent as a thank you with a great complete package,” says the designer, pleased about the offer, which fans probably cannot refuse.
Corona was also a topic for Godot Games, but there is even a positive aspect that can be emphasized. “Thanks to Corona, we were able to play a lot of small rounds and thus managed the game particularly well with three and four players,” explains Stefan Godot. That is exactly what is almost unthinkable in a game from the deduction genre. "That helped a lot." At the same time, there were still many restrictions in times of pandemic that Godot Games was confronted with: “We were unable to keep many of the scheduled appointments and a lot has failed, which we were extremely excited about. Hopefully everything can be made up for soon when the world looks a little better again. "
So now it is clear that Human Punishment: The Beginning also works in smaller game rounds. “The biggest challenge was to make all the player numbers strong and to balance all teams perfectly,” explains the chief design godot. It took a long time, but now they are extremely satisfied with the result. Stefan Godot sums up: “The teams all play differently, also always differently with each character and you almost always have a photo finish between two or three teams.
How did the idea of developing board games of all things come about?
Stefan Godot reveals: “When I was making an existing game, I didn't like the setting. Then I came up with new ideas and over time it all turned into a completely independent game. Since I've always wanted to be an author - originally in the book segment - it came at the right time. " Asserting oneself against the competition, especially against industry giants, is anything but easy. Godot Games doesn't have a magic bullet either, but: “Nowadays you just have to know the market, know what your target group plays and loves and what they might be missing,” says Godot. "It helps a lot to be in constant contact and to think outside the box ... you often find great ideas in genres that you don't really play yourself."
It is no coincidence that the makers, as a small publisher, use a crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter of all places. However, there is currently criticism when it comes to “crowd financing”. The three Godots also see the development:
“The fact that large companies regularly pick up their pre-orders here really ignores the Kickstarter idea and is a shame. A lot of money is lost because players have a limited budget to spend. " However, there are always two sides to a coin. Stefan Godot explains: “Still, you shouldn't forget that the big guys also make sure there's something going on on Kickstarter. So it's a vicious circle. The prices are always crisp, it is difficult to remain attractive, especially with shipping ... that's why we think our backers have to be 100 percent satisfied in the end. "
According to Godot, satisfaction is based on three pillars: This is only possible through delivery to Backer, the best price and exclusive material. At Godot Games, the latter usually only refers to quality enhancements, but not to exclusive and later missing game elements.
There are now alternatives to Kickstarter, even if they don't have the influence that the green giant has: “In the long run, you have to see how far Gamefound is now asserting itself and also the tax and customs problems that the backers are slowly getting and have to pay. It is never made easy and at the end of the day, many complain about shipping prices, while the publisher pays extra so that even these prices are possible at all. But well, nobody can usually look behind the facade. ”, Says Stefan Godot
Kickstarter is a great platform, "it enables us to implement our dreams and ideas and brings them to our target group," says Stefan Godot. It is always important to see whether the campaign is justified. There is a reason for this: “Even a small idea ultimately costs a lot of money in production and cannot be managed by everyone privately. As long as you support the right ones, the right spirit lives on! ”, The designer turns to the community.
It starts on January 25th Crowdfunding for Human Punishment: The Beginning on Kickstarter. The pledge costs 55 or 90 euros (“All-in with poker chips”, fans are probably shouting now). Given the community's positive attitude towards the game, it is certain that the campaign will be a success. So it's not about whether Godot Games reaches the crowdfunding goal, but how much the board game is going through the roof. And with a target of just 25.000 euros, one thing is already clear: the thing went fast! Supporters don't have to wait long after the campaign. The semi-cooperative board game should be delivered as early as September 2021.
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Last updated on 4.10.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API