Dialogue With a Designer - Isaac Vega - Flick 'Em Up! Dead of Winter

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Isaac Vega is a popular designer who has worked in the board game industry for the last several years.  Presently he is the Vice President of Design at Plaid Hat Games.  He's best known for designing the best-selling hit, Dead of Winter.  When Pretzel Games began developing Flick 'em Up! Dead of Winter, Isaac joined the original designers - Gaetan Beaujannot, Jean Yves Monpertuis, and Jon Gilmour (Dead of Winter co-designer) to put a unique spin on this classic cowboy dexterity game.  

Mike – Isaac, I'm familiar with your titles and you as a designer, but would you mind introducing yourself to our fans that may not be familiar with your work?


Isaac - Sure!  I'm best known for designing Dead of Winter and Ashes. I helped co-design Flick 'em Up! Dead of Winter with the original designers and Jon Gilmour.  I've been working in this industry full time for over 4 years now.  It's a dream job and I've had a blast doing this.


Mike – Jumping right in, Flick 'em Up!....Dead of Winter.  These are two very different games, how did the marriage between these two happen?


Isaac  It was interesting.  Sophie Gravel came to us and saw that our Communications Director had posted a video of a Flick 'em Up! bullet hitting one of our Dead of Winter standees.  That's what started this idea.  Our conversations were spiraling about the idea of Flick 'em Up! and Dead of Winter.  So once we found it was going to happen, we were super excited!  Dead of Winter is such a unique brand and I thought it would be so cool to see it cross over into a dexterity game.  We were in love with Flick 'em Up! To work on something like this would be awesome.  Sophie got the ball rolling with Martin Bouchard as our lead developer on the project.  We started cranking out ideas with him and it was awesome from that point on.

Mike – Talk to me about that, I'm used to you designing games with heavy decision making with loads of theme.  How did you change your approach with a dexterity game?


Isaac – It was super interesting!  I've always been attracted to dexterity games...but I'm also terrible at them!  It was so much fun to take that physical aspect and to bring interesting rules to that world like how use table space in an interesting way.  For this project specifically, it was really cool to meld these two brains together and make sure it was true to both Dead of Winter and Flick 'em Up!


Mike – What was the most challenging aspect of merging the two worlds?


Isaac – One of the most challenging aspects was to make sure that Dead of Winter theme still came through in the Flick 'em Up! world.  The thing I brought to the table... and it'll be super fun for those who try it out... is the Zombie Tower.  This made a dexterity game cooperative! So, you have these zombies with a physical aspect of coming after you and attacking you.  This solved the problem of how to make the zombies move and attack without another player controlling them.   Martin put together our first prototype and immediately we knew that it was perfect.  It's such a unique aspect and brings this game to a unique standing compared to other dexterity games.


Mike – One of my favorite mechanisms in the game are the Crossroads cards.  Who's idea was it bring this into the Flick 'em Up! Dead of Winter?


Isaac – We knew that it was very important to implement the Crossroads cards because they are so iconic in Dead of Winter.  We also wanted to make sure the game wasn't overwhelming with too many things going on.  To do that, we introduce new mechanisms over the different scenarios so players could be eased into it.  The Crossroads cards are on of those and they add a wonderful narrative element to this game. 

Mike – In regards to the story telling and narrative elements, Dead of Winter is known for epic stories about the survivors.  How did you choose the survivors to be included in Flick 'em Up! Dead of Winter?


Isaac – What we did was pick and choose the characters that had the most impact on players of the original Dead of Winter.  We also wanted to have a diverse cast that had a little bit of everyone so that players can form attachments to their characters they see themselves in.  I mean, to see that they can be part of this world too.  And the art on this game brought those characters to life!  I was so happy to see Gabriel Diaz, the firefighter in the Flick 'em Up! style!

FEU promo

Mike – Keep your eyes peeled Isaac, I interviewed Chris Quilliams (lead illustrator for the original Flick 'em Up! and the new Flick 'em Up! Dead of Winter) about making chibi versions of the characters...


Isaac – Yeah, it's so perfect for a dexterity game.  They are the perfect size for the game and it makes the characters stand out and still have their own unique flair.  The way he was able to bring the Dead of Winter characters into that world and you still know who they are is amazing!


Mike – I'll be sure to pass it along to him.  What was your favorite aspect of designing this one?


Isaac – Definitely the Zombie Tower and working with Martin.  He is an amazing developer.  He's on the ball and moves quickly. He's very focused and professional.  He's an amazing and kind person to work with.  He was really the superstar on this project.  To work with him was amazing and I wouldn't mind doing it again. 


Mike – We feel the same way about Martin.  Before we wrap up, any tips for players trying out for the first time?


Isaac – AVOID ZOMBIES AND DON'T TRUST ANYONE!  (Hysterical laughter immediately followed these tips)


Flick 'em Up! Dead of Winter releases at GenCon 50.   Fans attending GenCon can meet Isaac at the Pretzel Games booth (#2637) on Friday from 12p – 1p!  Eager survivors are able to order the game now on the Pretzel Games web store...



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