Interview: Kasper Kjær Christiansen, Kåre Storgaard & Dino talk about "Pagan: Fate of Roanoke"

Pagan: Fate of Roanoke

"The Witch players try to perform a ritual by collecting secrets and favors. Meanwhile, the Witch Hunter tries to deduce who is the "True Witch" out of the 9 villagers before the ritual."

- Kåre Storgaard (Designer)

Interview led by WereDINO on The Social Deduction Network Discord

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.

Mikrofon, Diskussion, Sprechen, Datensatz, Radio

Dino: It is sure an honor to have Wyrmgold and the people behind “Pagan: Fate of Roanoke” here with us at the Social Deduction Network. Which one of you is the witch? Which one is the hunter? And if the latter ever discovers the former, will that terminate your working relationship?

Kåre: I've usually played the Hunter, but rarely been able to catch Kasper, since he's so damn sneaky! (And is changing the rules to his favor, when we're playtesting).

Dino: The early bird gets you, as I understand it. Yes, changing rules mid-game really worked for my brothers when we were growing up. Most board games between us ended with my throwing Monopoly money in their faces in a fit of frustration.

Kåre: With monopoly - I think we've all been there. Anyways - thank you for having us here today!

Dino: Our pleasure! I have seen games about witches in the past, and they are usually set in Salem Oregon during the Salem witch trials. Your story predates these events. What is the historical context of your game?

Dino: Our pleasure!

Kasper: We had a more generic setting in mind initially, but the publisher suggested Roanoke as the setting, based on the mysteries surrounding the first settlers. That really worked well as a backdrop to a game based on "alternative" history. The first colony at Roanoke was mysteriously abandoned when the next batch of settlers arrived.

Dino: Hmm… That is mysterious! And pretty cool to learn about as I was not familiar with this prior to your game. Perhaps... some dark forces kept me from knowing...

Kasper: Some say the mystery has been solved and the colonists were simply joined with the natives, but we still like the mystery and theories around the settlement.

Dino: Yes, plus that resolution would make for a pretty lame reveal in a movie. Could you take some time to explain the basic mechanics of your game for people who might not be familiar with it?

Kåre: Sure. It's an asymmetric card game, where one plays as a Witch and the other as a Witch Hunter. There are 9 villagers on the table between the players, and the Witch secretly draws one of the villagers from a deck, which is the "True Witch".

Dino: The "True Witch". I like that. Also makes me think in WandaVision for a couple reasons.

Kåre: The Witch players try to perform a ritual by collecting secrets and favors. Meanwhile, the Witch Hunter tries to deduce who is the "True Witch" out of the 9 villagers before the ritual.

Kasper: The villagers DO seem to be quite influenced by something/someone else, that is for sure.

Kåre: Either the Witch Hunter can deduct it based on the Witch's actions or draw all the remaining suspects/villagers from a deck, and win the game.

Dino: So it's kind of a race against time for both the Hunter and the Witch. With deduction in the mix.

Kåre: It is - usually the witch has the upper hand to begin with, but as the game progresses, the Hunter learns more and more, which will stress the Witch at the end.

Kasper: Indeed. And deduction is actually essential to both players. The Witch will have to try to deduce what the Hunter knows to play their mind games effectively.

Dino: But… A two player social deduction game… Do you think the world is ready?

Kåre: Currently a 2-player seems to fit well, since so many are locked up due to Covid.

Dino: Yes, good point... Wonder if I set you up for that...

Kåre: And more seriously, there have been some games with the same elements previously which saw a lot of success and dedicated community ( Android: Netrunner).

Dino: Hmm... I would have to check those out. Your game is asymmetrical. Do you fear getting many angry letters from symmetry enthusiasts?

Kasper: Oh definitely! We already have people angry that they can't just copy whatever their opponent is doing.

Dino: Not a good game for people who lack creativity, then? So you’ve got a witch that is a plague to a village, and a hunter who is persecuting witches. Who is the bad guy? The Witch Hunter or the Witch?

Kasper: Neither... and both. Is anyone actually evil? What are the true motives of these people? We don't know for sure, but they sure have different perceptions of what is right and wrong, and who is good or evil.

Kåre: Which we also try to hint at on the game cover - we definitely don't see it as a battle between good and evil.

Dino: That is a good point. Or is it an evil one...? I have been drooling excessively, recently. My doctor says I just really like the stretch goals on your kickstarter campaign. You have added a LOT to your game through stretch goals. Which unlocked stretch goals are you most excited about so far?

Kåre: I personally really like the cut-out tokens for the action pawns.

Kasper: Probably the thicker tokens - they are just a joy to handle.

Dino: So you like the improved components? Those additions really do make the game feel like a deluxe edition. That first stretch goal with the unique shaped boards really impressed me.

Kasper: I feel they make a huge difference while playing. I agree about the deluxe part. The base edition will be great, but you will be missing out on some sweet component upgrades if you wait to buy it in retail.

Kåre: Yep, but for people who like and have played the base game a lot, the added cards really give a lot of replayability. Kasper and I are probably just used to all the extra cards at this moment!

Kasper: Yes! Love that one!

Dino: Are there any really surprising stretch goals down the line that you are keeping quiet for now, and if so, what are they?

Kasper: Sure! There is the... oh nice try!

Dino: Dang it… If only I had been a little sneakier... What did you almost tell us about?

Kasper: The publisher is doing their utmost to provide the best possible game to backers. Some additional goodies will be available as add ons in the pledge manager after the campaign.

Dino: Okay... okay... Mr. Cryptic… I have heard tales of storage solutions… But back to the game as we know it. So many factions of villagers have been added already, and I understand that they can be mixed and matched with villagers from other factions. How do the extra villager options change up the game?

Kasper: Even a few different villagers will change the flow of the game quite dramatically. With so many different possible setups, you get a staggering amount of replayability and variety. For those who don't know, each player will select 1 faction (3 villagers) for the game, while the third faction will be decided by the scenario you play (if any). The scenarios will shake things up a bit as well.

Dino: I'm sure players will want to play with the base nine a few times before changing things up. How many games do you recommend players have under their belts before expanding their horizons?

Kasper: Depends on your familiarity with expandable card games, I guess.

Kåre: But you can do it already after 2 or 3 plays, in my opinion. I usually add expansions to other games after 1 or 2 plays.

Kasper: Someone like my wife is happy to just play the same deck and the same 9 villagers over and over, while Kåre and I like to customize everything.

Dino: Say you have eaten, lived, and breathed One Night Ultimate Werewolf for like six years...Probably a couple of plays would do it...?

Kasper: Sure. The complexity might go up slightly, but the basic concepts of the game will stay the same.

Kåre: Yep - any experienced gamer (deduction fan or not) would want to customize and change things to better bluff your opponent.

Kasper: At least for now.

Dino: How about the content packs, one of which has already been unlocked; how do they change up the game?

Kåre: Again, it adds variety and better options for creating a deck to your style.

Dino: I do really like how each player gets a specialized deck...

Kasper: Those are specifically for the players who like to customize their decks. Besides allowing you to build a deck around specific goals or a specific play-style, it will also keep your opponent in the dark about what to expect.

Kåre: There is a lot of meta-gaming in the game, so you want to do everything to throw off your opponent and hinder them from "reading" you.

Dino: I can imagine. That's what social deduction is all about. "Is that part of the game? Did he mess up by saying that or plant a false idea in my head?".

Kasper: Which is also why the game is even more fun face-to-face instead of online.

Dino: Right. As with all games… Miss those times… We'll get there.

Kasper: Exactly! Why did he look twice at that card? Why did he activate that villager when another one would have served him better, etc.

Dino: What was in that green vile, and why did he just pour its contents into my coffee. Yes, we've all been there. I normally ask about expansions knowing that it may be something the game designers may not have started to think about too much, but you are marketing your game as a highly expandable one. What does “Pagan: Beyond the Palisades” add to the game?

Kåre: Uhh ... really good question. So after the initial settlement, the villagers want to move out beyond the palisades. But there they are met by darkness and gloom, which mysteriously does things to the villagers and the livestock. Are the villagers able to fight this "evil" outside or will the "original/native" land win?

Kasper: So the game initially focuses on the newly established coastal colony of Roanoke. But what is outside its borders? What resources and dangers await beyond the palisades?

Dino: Livestock? Please tell me some of the villagers will be animals...

Kasper: Animals... like at all times?

Dino: I was picturing a cow with a stern expression wearing a flat topped hat and reading glasses.

Kasper: We have many ideas of where to take the game, new mechanics, new encounters, etc., but we want to hear what would make the players excited as well.

Kåre: Mechanically, we're introducing a new game mechanic called "Gloom". These tokens are added to some cards and symbolise the "darkness" outside and benfits the Witch in some manner. When the Gloom tokens have been removed/cleansed, the Hunter will get a reward.

Dino: You are interested in hearing what would excite players? In that case… *clears throat* When can we expect a big werewolf expansion? It will happen at some point, will it not? I mean, if this thing is as expandable as you say it is, we could probably see multiple werewolf expansions, correct? “Pagan: Run Fur It” or “Pagan: Howl you Figure it Out?”.
Kasper and

Kåre: Hah!

Dino: You like my ideas? You like them a lot...?

Kasper: Yes yes. We will definitely add them to the list. Right after the Pterodactyl expansion I think.

Dino: Whoa! Prehistoric pterodactyl or brought back through mosquito DNA pterodactyl?

Kasper: We have a card type called Brews for a reason. Primordial Soup as a brew anyone?

Dino: Careful. I brews easily. Wacka wacka! Are you thinking of doing more kickstarters down the line for future expansions? The current one has been pretty welcoming to you, I’d say…

Kasper: That is up to the publisher, but they have enjoyed the ride so far, so who knows?

Dino: Come on, publisher! This could become your bread and butter... I advise you to milk it like that aforementioned stern pilgrim cow...

Kåre: I agree. It's a great way to greet the players involved and get a feeling for what they want before you just produce something.

Dino: I’ve become curious about something: Is social deduction really big in Germany? This is the fourth social deduction game I have backed from Germany, and I have loved the look and style of all of them, thus far.

Kasper: It seems like it. I think the genre is just becoming more popular in general. We are not German though, so I can't say for certain

Dino: Oh. But Wyrmgold is based in Germany...?

Kåre: They are and we met them at the Essen Fair.

Dino: Nice!

Kåre: But Kasper and I are from Denmark.

Dino: I see. Still... says something that a German publisher went for it… I think it's really gaining popularity in Germany. The kickstarters I mentioned were all fairly recent.

Kasper: Well, you might be onto something.

Dino: Well, I am happy you found each other.

Kasper: As you should be after spending so much time here.

Dino: What are some of your favorite social deduction games? Did any of them inspire "Pagan: Fate of Roanoke"?

Kåre: I LOVE Battlestar Galactica!

Kasper: I've played a lot of Don't Mess With Cthulhu lately. Always enjoyable.

Dino: Interesting! I have had Don't Mess with Cthulhu on my radar for a while, but I haven't actually played either of those. Interesting choices.

Kåre: Dark Moon is also a favourite of mine. And to answer the second part of your question, I don't think any one of them inspired Pagan directly, but as with all game designs, you cannot avoid being inspired by what you play and love.

Dino: I will have to look into those. Is Dark Moon werewolf related by chance? Sounds like it might be...

Kåre: It's actually Sci-Fi

Dino: Oh? Sci-fi Werewolves? Interesting. I assume things to make myself happy, sometimes. Okay then! That’s our interview. Thank you so much to Wyrmgold for being here; this was an absolute treat! “Pagan: Fate of Roanoke'' is on Kickstarter now. Back it today! It was certainly a blast to have you both! Sorry my love of werewolves made it awkward.

Kåre: Pleasure was on our side. Thank you for having us!

Kasper: Thanks for having us on. Now to still my spinning head.