Gardens of Babylon -- an Interview with Rob Thompson of Cackleberry Games
Newly formed Cackleberry games launches their first Kickstarter, Gardens of Babylon, on January 22nd. Rob Thompson took a few mins to answer our questions this week:
GaGG: I understand you're are new to board games but not gaming in general - tell us how Cackleberry got started.
Rob: Correct! A majority of our team worked together at Riot Games and Wargaming.net. Wargaming brought us to Europe, where we met Stavros Polyviou, the designer for Gardens of Babylon while playing Dungeons & Dragons. We've always been active members of the board game community, but when the opportunity came up to enter the industry and publish a game ourselves, we jumped at it and formed Cackleberry Games.
GaGG: Your first release, Gardens of Babylon, looks fantastic - can you give us a brief timeline of its development?
Rob: Thank you very much! Gardens of Babylon has been in development for the last 18 months, with the last 6 of so being the production and preparation for our Kickstarter campaign. We showcased the game first at UK Games Expo in June for the core mechanics and rules. We then brought pre-final art for the game tiles to GenCon in the fall where we received very positive feedback and decided to move forward into launching the game in early 2019.
GaGG: How important was offering a solo variant?
Rob: Stavros was a very strong advocate for the solo rules. We wanted to make the game as accessible as possible and there seems to be more and more demand for solo variants nowadays. We've actually just named the solo variant for Gardens of Babylon: Supplant the King! which has a nice thematic touch to it.
GaGG: The game has to do with tile laying in a pyramid pattern - did the theme inspire that or did mechanics come first?
Rob: The original idea for the game actually came from a bit of a serendipitous discovery. Stavros got the idea for the isometric projection of a cube when he saw the Cube 7 table from Rockman & Rockman. This lead him to start thinking about a structure that could be navigated in such a way, which led him to the Gardens of Babylon theme!
GaGG: What do you hope players get out of your games?
Rob: Great question. We hope that players can have a meaningful and fun game experience in a shorter play-session, without the complexity of setting up dozens of components or reading rules for hours. This is really where Gardens of Babylon shines - it has very strong re-playability, but it's also accessible and very easy to pick up and learn.
Whats in the works next for Cackleberry?
Stavros has several other game designs that we are looking to bring to market - most notably, Gods of Greece which is a 4X strategy game. Additionally, since working on Gardens of Babylon and building relationships in the community, we've been introduced to a handful of very talented designers, both locally and nationally. We're evaluating their products to see if they can be a fit for our portfolio as well!