Nathan Lusk

What makes you unique?

I started making games because there was nothing I could find that dealt with the settings I liked and had the kind of mechanics I wanted to see in a game.

My first board game (2011) was a Three Kingdoms game, on a giant hexagonal interpretation of China, where players choose one of 6 different factions in the Three Kingdoms. Each faction had its own authentic generals to recruit and fight for them, as well as some faction specific equipment and events that could alter the game. It was very big, took a long time to play, but my crew had a great time with it.

After reflection, I decided to develop something smaller and more easy to manage. So I developed a card game using the same setting, and players would control one of the same 6 factions, but this time, the game moved fast, and all the intrigue and battles of the period came through in a much simpler design. I also had a really good artist in Hong Kong who was making paintings for the game, and I felt like we really had something cool. Alas, the Kickstarter campaign failed, as I was unaware how to do anything to promote the game. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/warriorwithapen/huang-a-three-kingdoms-card-game

My artist also moved on, and I quit making games for a while. I had a really great concept 6 years ago that I made handwritten cards and boards for, but had no inclination to do anything with it, as I was still pretty timid over my previous failure.

I struggled mightily through some low-paying jobs for quite a while, and then, 4 years ago, I finally got a job that paid me enough to be comfortable again. I immediately began designing games again because I had so many ideas that had built up over the years.

I have now designed over 30, but maybe only half of them are something I would consider developing past my own game table, and even then I am taking my time getting art for them, as I have a small budget for all of it.

My first published game came out in the last week of 2021. It's called Daimyo Senso. I ran a failed KS campaign for it in June, but picked up a financial partner who wanted to pay for manufacturing. I ran another campaign in August to get a few of them sold, and I now travel up to 6 hours to Comic Cons to sell games on weekends when I can.

I learned a lot about the manufacturing process and every other part of game design/publishing from Daimyo Senso, and now I am devoted (until I get bigger) on making small-batch-printed games for people to enjoy.

I make games in many settings, of many genres, of many player counts (including one that can accommodate up to 32 players in a Battle Royale type arena combat), and with all types of styles of artwork planned. But I am taking it slowly. One game at a time.

DetoNations is a wildly different game than my first, Daimyo Senso. The next game is likely going to be Hunting the Tiger of Kai (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/warriorwithapen/hunting-the-tiger-of-kai?ref=dcfvt6&token=6d075360), which shares a few similarities with DetoNations (it is for up to 6 players like DetoNations and features a lot of dice rolling), but is very different in other respects (it is 100% coop with all players on the same team; everyone wins or loses together, and is set in feudal Japan).

I currently make games because, despite the number of games in the market, many play similarly, and there are unexplored mechanics and settings that nobody has tackled. I also like showcasing unheralded artists when I can. Daimyo Senso's art was curated and directed by Sara Ristow, an artist in Alaska. All of DetoNation's art was created by a 19 year old artist right here in Lubbock, TX, named Gigi Cheng. Hunting the Tiger of Kai will be done with 100% public domain artwork from the 19th century Japanese artist Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Lastly, another future game which is requiring TONS of art, features work from Kaio Oliveira from Brazil, and Ashley St. Clair, from Minnesota. That game is here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/warriorwithapen/bloodfist-champions-battle-royale-and-rpg-3-games-in-1?ref=1wdbcv&token=97088050

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