Fellow Desinger: David Whitcher

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David WhitcherMy first “Fellow Designer” post is about David Whitcher, the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based designer behind PyroMyth Games.

PyroMyth Games LogoI’ve known David over the internet for at least a decade, but only finally met him face-to-face at last summer’s Protospiel in Ann Arbor.

Once I had my website updated and planned on running a series of posts about other indy board game designers and computer game developers, it seemed an easy thing to start with David … and I e-mailed him a bit of a Q&A.

Q:  How long have you been designing board games?

Cannon (Birch set)A: I’ve been designing games since my childhood. In 2003 I made the decision to engage in it as a business forming PyroMyth Games to release the game Cannon [1] [2] [3].

Q: Have you done any computer-based game design as well?

A: Nothing that is separate from board games, at least not yet. For example Cannon was developed using Zillions of Games allowing me to run hundreds of Computer Vs. Computer tests games before it was ever shown to the public. I doubt I can avoid making a computer-based game in the long run. I’m one for allowing games to become what they need to be to be their best. If my next idea would be best as a computer game then that’s what I will do with it.

Q: What’s new with PyroMyth Games?

A: I’m still considering the possibility of releasing new products through PMG but nothing is scheduled for release at this time. Cannon and Rocks for Rocks for SaleSale have been licensed to Blue Panther LLC. In Europe Cannon is available through Ramalamas. Our line of Print and play games can still be found at RPGNow.com.

These days PyroMyth Games is principally a design house developing products for other publishers. Most of this is freelance were I develop the game and then seek out a publisher for it. PyroMyth Games also does custom design for publishers that want a game with a particular focus. This could be tuned to an audience such as adolescent boys, to a specific theme like Bass Fishing or to fit in with a license they are holding for a movie, book or toy.

Q: What can you reveal about designs that you’re working through other publishers?

A: I wish I had more detail for you here. Most of my current agreements restrict what I can say about individual games.

What I can tell is there are 2 games under contract that should be released in 2010. One is for children 4-7 years of age and the other a family game ages 8+.

There is a big business themed game, which is currently at the publishers being evaluated.

Another I’m waiting to hear from the publisher on is Tahiti my euro style pick up and delivery game.

And finally Poltergeist Paparazzi, a game about photographing famous ghosts, is getting a production quote. It is currently with a consortium of publishers that is hoping to publish it with English, French & Spanish editions.

Q: What’s up for Protospiel this year and into the future?

A: 2010 is Protospiel’s 10th year so for the landmark we are going to try to make it bigger and better than ever. There will be a push to increase publisher and designer participation. Details can’t be released yet.

I’m still a few weeks out from announcing our plans so those that are interested should keep an eye on the Protospiel Yahoo Group.

Protospiel’s future looks bright. We have reached the point where publishers are recognizing the value of attending. To a publisher Protospiel can be a shopping market where they choose games by watching them being played rather than listening to a pitch. After all it’s the play not the pitch that is important to the customer.

Q: Anything else that you’d like me to mention?

A: Play testers can be hard to come by. For those that are interested in helping bring the next great game to market find the game designers in your area and give them a hand. People in reach of the Ann Arbor, MI area can contact me at service(at)pyromythgames(dot)com if they would like to play test for me.

(I will on occassion discuss another board game designer or computer game developer with a “Fellow Designer” post.  Also, watch for me to spotlight some of my own games with “Spotlight On…” posts, and look at games and creative works by other people with “Others’ Works” posts.)

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