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Interview with Ghostel Creator, Bevan Clatworthy

Posted by Sian, Feb 2016. 

After playing Ghostel for the first time back in November 2015, so many questions rushed through my head. I just knew I had to set up my website, soon, so I could interview people like Bevan Clatworthy, who are bringing new exciting projects to Kickstarter for crowd funding. 

Bevan is one of the three ‘Tinkerbots’ who have just launched Ghostel on Kickstarter on 27th January as a publishing debut for Tinkerbot Games. He loves creating new ideas for table top games and visualises potentially producing more with fellow Tinkerbots Gino Brancazio and Tony Beard, should Ghostel prove a success story.  

I interviewed Bevan via Skype to find out more about the Ghostel journey thus far…


The board game review for the Ghostel can be found here:

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Where did the idea for Ghostel come from?

I was around a friend’s playing Pirates of Nassau which had three straits of sea you could move through. Players roll three dice and the order in which these are played determines their position in the sea. I liked the mechanic and thought more could be done to make this more interesting. I thought that maybe you could lay dice down instead and you could score points according to where you have placed these.

It was only when I was on a car journey that the name for the game came about. It was Halloween and I started to think about creating a haunted house game with phobias and Spookie favour cards. All came together naturally. 

How many people are in the Tinkerbot Games team?

There’s myself, Gino and Tony; we’re the three Tinkerbots. We also have American artist Tyler Johnson on board. He’s very quick and very professional and Ghostel is his first board game project he is producing artwork for. Rachel Dobbs has been handling Graphic design, using her experience with Waggle Dance (Grublin Games)  to awesome effect on Ghostel. Finally we have Dustin Schwartz, who did an amazing job of editing our rulebook and making it that much more streamlined and user-friendly.

Would you tell me more about the social media campaign which encouraged people to submit their scared face for the guest cards? Did you find that this was successful? 

Back in June (2015), we launched a campaign to help generate hype around the Ghostel game. Instead of making up artwork for the guest cards we thought it would be a good idea to invite people to submit pictures of their selves for the game. People love games and like to get involved. We had a huge response through Facebook and Twitter: hundreds of pictures were submitted.

We found some people went to a lot of effort, for instance there was a picture of a shocked father and his son with a flashlight looking into the distance. The response was brilliant and it was tough to make a decision in the end. We chose three winners, who have already had artwork produced for the guest cards. Remaining guest cards will feature backers who support us on Kickstarter. 

Have you found The Game Crafter helpful for producing the prototype review copy for the game? Did you encounter any limitations as to what you wanted to achieve? 

The Game Crafter was incredibly useful. We could have 10 prototype copies of the Ghostel game produced at a reasonable price of £50 each. This was considering that this work was bespoke. However we only could choose from certain size boards and cards. The board produced for the prototype is quad fold and a different size to the A3 game board which will be available through the Kickstarter. We also found we had to pay for full sheets of tokens for each copy, when we only needed 18.

When we initially produced graphic design for the prototype, it was so easy to upload images to The Game Crafter. It guided us through where bleed areas and margins existed for the images. Once graphic design is done, you can produce a game in a day. We were impressed by the speed and the quality of their work. It only took one month for the prototype copies to be completed. 

2D and 3D Prototype Ghostel meeples. All Kickstarter backers get a chance to name Spookie's minions.

How have you improved and developed the prototype review copy of the game? For instance, have you addressed the dark colouration and poor contrast for the cards?

We had little opportunity to tweak aspects of the prototype once copies were initially produced but we have now improved the contrast and vibrancy of the cards. Tyler Johnson has also been working with us to produce new artwork for game board. We look forward to having a picture for every single guest card and Rachel has been working diligently to address these issues, to make the cards 'pop' more from the table.

Why will the final Ghostel product have small wooden ghost meeples rather than plastic ones like there are in the review copy?

Manufacturing 2D meeples is generally done in wood: you can deliver the same quality. The 3D ghost meeples cost extra money but have proved very popular when we have demoed the game. Our first stretch goal, if met, is to have our 2D ghost meeples upgraded to 3D ghost meeples.  

Support Ghostel on Kickstarter

Whilst 3D Ghostel meeples are a must for the game, we can look forward to the prospect of a  'Creepy Cultists' expansion with 11 exra guest cards. Ghostel  is a great game with plenty of strategy, so why not check out the Kickstarter?

Bevan has assured that Ghostel is 99% there in terms of game design and Tinkerbot games is focussed on seeing the project through. Whilst publishing Ghostel would be an achievement in itself, Bevan has hinted that Tinkerbot Games may produce further games for upcoming years. But this all depends whether Ghostel proves to be popular on Kickstarter. 

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