Two years ago, SLC local Alex Hansen quit his day job selling flowers and dedicated himself to co-launching a "cooperative, miniatures, tabletop, fantasy-themed" board game called Middara. He and his high school friend-cum-business partner, Brooklynn Lundberg, ran a successful Kickstarter campaign that snowballed into a full-time gig. Now Hansen, who sketched the characters, calls himself owner/project manager/art director at Succubus Publishing. Gamers can check out Middara at Salt Lake Gaming Con booth 2502 on Friday and Saturday at the South Towne Expo Center.
Explain the gameplay.
You play the four heroes. And our game is different because it's like a choose-your-own-adventure. There is a whole narrative that you read through. There are tiles that you set up—they're called 'encounters' in the game. You mix-and-match them to make a level. The campaign is about this princess that gets infected with some parasite. Basically, you're trying to figure out how to get rid of it. On the quest, you fight all sorts of monsters; in the narrative part, there are decisions that you have to make. Depending on what you do, the game will change.
Who is the game for?
This is a cooperative game. So four dudes will get together, sort of like Dungeons & Dragons, and they'll play every weekend for the whole campaign. I picture friends getting together with some drinks and having a good time. It will be a lot of fun. It's marked on the box as 14 and up, [but] a 13-year-old or 12-year-old can play it. There is some language in the book, but it's not that bad. But because of the complexity of it, a little kid is not going to understand or grasp how much is going on.
How did you fund this project?
Kickstarter is huge for board games right now. They're coming back in a big way, especially higher-end games with miniatures. So we took out a loan and ran a Kickstarter. We started in May 2015, and we raised $350,000. Our goal was $30,000, but we did a lot of research before. We didn't know we were going to raise that much money. When we did, we were, like, 'Shit, we have to make this game now.'
How did you get into art?
I loved Nickelodeon and Looney Tunes. I would draw Taz and comics. In elementary, I remember my teacher made me teach art class. There was an art section of the day, and she made me do it. So I taught the class how to draw Taz and Marvin the Martian. And my second-grade teacher made me do a poster for her classroom. I never knew I was going to make a board game, but I always liked drawing, and I loved video games and I liked fantasy stuff.
What can people expect from you at the gaming convention?
We'll be taking pre-orders. We'll be playing the game. We'll have all the miniatures out and miniatures from other games. Really, we just want people to come play, see what they think.