A Game of Byzantine Thrones
An Interview with Lefteris Iroglidis conducted by Simon Neale.
Lefteris Iroglidis, together with Alexandros Boucharelis and Anestis Iroglidis, designed their first game, Byzantio, which was released at Essen in October 2013 following a successful Kickstarter campaign. The game is reviewed in Issue #64 of Counter.
Simon: What were your first thoughts that made you want to design Byzantio?
Lefteris: Alexandros, Anestis and I all love Byzantine history, so our first thoughts were to design a game with a 100% Byzantine theme. The Byzantine Empire has about 1000 years of history and Alexandros spent many hours searching for the perfect era in which to set the game. We decided upon the time period from 1026 to 1055 A.D.
Simon: How did all three designers work together?
Lefteris: Anestis is my brother and Alexandros is both a friend and our brother-in-law, being married to our sister. All of us have played boardgames together since 1992. Alexandros is an expert in Byzantine Empire history, so he led the design of the historical details, map, dynasties and events. The mechanisms of the game were my idea and all three of us worked together to develop the game.
Simon: How long did the design take before you had a prototype ready for play-testing?
Lefteris: The original game idea came about in 2009 and we were playing the first prototype in 2010. Between 2010 and 2013 we were continuously play-testing and revising the game.
Simon: How did you organise the play-testing?
Lefteris: Our biggest problem in developing the game was finding gamers to play-test the game and give us feedback. We could not find gamers in Drama, Greece, the small town in which we live, so most play-testing was carried out in Thessalonica with members of BGG Greek Guild.
Simon: What do you think of the Kickstarter process?
Lefteris: Ludicreations, our publisher, decided to use Kickstarter to release Byzantio. I think that Kickstarter, Indiegogo, etc. are tools especially aimed at small publishers who, if they use it in the right way, can publish their games. I like the process in Kickstarter wherein before the customer buys the game they can see the idea of the game, how it plays, the components and thoughts from a lot of reviewers. However, in my opinion, I do not like the fact that some companies use the stretch goals in the wrong way.
Simon: What were the most memorable points of getting Byzantio published?
Lefteris: The first time that we played the prototype of the game and we liked it, which gave us the hope and the strength to work harder for three more years to get it published. The day that our publisher told us that he wanted to publish the game. The day that the game funded on Kickstarter, and we went out to celebrate. The presentation at Essen Spiel 2013.
Simon: What will be your next game and will you be working with the same designers?
Lefteris: Our next game is a card driven war game based on the Gothic Invasion in the East Roman Empire from 377 – 382 A.D. All three of us started work on this together, but due to other commitments my brother Anestis has left the completion to Alexandros and myself. Both of us will try for the best with this game, which like Byzantio has a lot of new mechanisms.
Simon: Thank you and good luck for the future.
UK BOARD GAME CONVENTIONS
Compiled by Jenny Bradbury
A selection Board Game weekends throughout the UK in 2014. These conventions are friendly and welcoming and provide an opportunity to play board games of all types. There may also be opportunities to sell or purchase games.
24th – 27th April BAYCON
Exeter Court Hotel, Kennford, Exeter
Facebook page: BAYCON
6th – 8th June BBB Con
Skylark Hotel, Aviation Way, Southend-on-Sea
Facebook page: Triple-B Con
18th – 21st July MANORCON
John Foster Hall, University of Leicester
Facebook page: MANORCON
7th – 9th November MidCon
The Hallmark Hotel, Derby
This is just a selection. There are many more one-day events and other weekend events I do not have dates for at the moment. If you would like to add to this list, contact Jenny Bradbury at firstname.lastname@example.org