Kevin Wilson is looking forward to meeting Finnish Geeks

Ryhmään Takahuone kirjoittanut 2013-07-07 12:41 Massi

Ropecon Guest of Honour Kevin Wilson is the man behind such popular boardgames like Arkham Horror (2005) and A Game of Thrones (First edition, 2003).

Wilson’s accomplishments in RPG development include, for example, the 7th Sea-RPG (published by AEG). Wilson is a renowned game designer and works, among other projects, for Fantasy Flight Games publishing.

And here is the interview of the Guest of Honour or Ropecon XX. Click "Lue lisää" to read more!

At the Ropecon PR-team we had heard rumors, that mr. Wilson started his life with RPGs like so many of us, with D&D RedBox.

“My first gaming experience was playing the choose-your-own adventure in the D&D Red Box, where you are a fighter attempting to defeat the wizard Bargle. I played again and again until I was able to save the cleric from being killed. That really introduced me to what gaming was capable of”, he says.

Later, in college, he played a Basic D&D campaign from 1st to 36th level. “We used the hardcover Rules Cyclopedia, which I still think is one of the best RPG books ever. I played a fighter named Nanok, who fought using a two-handed club and wore leather armor, long after better equipment was available. Early on, tired of all the traps and monsters in a particularly nasty dungeon, he hefted a treasure chest on his back and dove under a falling portcullis (I made a couple of really lucky rolls) to escape the room with it. That began a long tradition in our group of ‘strategically advancing to the rear’ when things got too dangerous. That campaign is still one of my fondest gaming memories.”

Concerning the Arkham Horror, we wanted to know if the designing of the board game started from the idea “let’s make a Cthulhu board game” or if he designed the mechanics and then added the thematics.

Arkham Horror - Picture:

“For Arkham Horror, I was designing a new edition of the game working from the materials Richard Launius gave to me, so it was definitely theme first and then mechanics. Richard and I talked a lot during the design process, and it was a fun project.”

For his Lovecraft favorite monster Wilson names The Hound of Tindalos: “There’s something super creepy about a creature that can come out of the very angles of space and time to kill you.”

Toni Niittymäki from says, that Arkham Horror is one of the most sold board game series in Finland, if you account for games published in a foreign language. He could not quickly think of a stronger brand of games we’ve sold for the last decade. But what does Wilson think is his most most underappreciated game, he has ever designed?

Arkham Horror in Action - Picture: Chris Norwood

“I’ve been very lucky over the years”, he says. “And pretty much all of my games have done as well as or better than they deserved. However, if there’s one game that has quietly succeeded, it was Sid Meier’s Civilization: the Board Game. It sold very well and has sparked a bunch of play-by-forum games on, but other than that, discussion about the game was fairly minimal.”

He doesn’t play his own games much after they are past the designing phase. During the building up and designing he gets to play them dozens (and dozens) of times for play testing and demo purposes. “Besides, I’m pretty terrible at my own games”, he reveals.

The most common question that Wilson gets asked, is: “How can I become a game designer?”

To that he usually answers that people should just start designing games. “If you want to do it for a living, however, you’ll also have to be persistent and get incredibly lucky as well!”

Maybe we do not need to ask this at Ropecon this year? - Nah, we will do it anyways, dozens of times!

Wilson was one of the designers behind A Game of Thrones (First edition, 2003) boardgame, so of course we needed to ask how he feels about the Game of Thrones TV-series by HBO?

“I’ve never been a huge fan of the Game of Thrones series. My favorite character died off early in the books and I never went back. I’ve got nothing against it, I just prefer a different style of fantasy, like those written by Lawrence Watt-Evans, Peter Beagle, or Robert E. Howard.”

Wilson cannot reveal secrets of upcoming games, but he can reveal that a game he co-designed with his friend Eric Lang (A Game of Thrones CCG, Chaos in the Old World, Star Wars LCG, etc.) should be out soon. “It’s based on the Finding Gossamyr comic book series from Th3rd World, and I’m pretty excited about it.”

If you want to read more updates about upcoming games by Wilson, you can take a look of his website:

Finland is a new experience to the game designer. But he sounds excited about the trip: “I’ve tried to do a little research ahead of time, but I really knew nothing about Finland before your generous invitation. I look forward to the trip – it’s going to be an adventure!”

From Ropecon he is expecting “an interesting trip with lots of friendly people who love gaming. I can’t wait!” Ropecon is known for its game enthusiasts and great amount of geeking and gaming going on with a lovely Finnish twist - we are sure Wilson is not going to be disappointed.

For the Finnish rpg and gaming enthusiasts at Ropecon he wants to say: “Thank you for inviting me to your convention, and I look forward to meeting you all!”

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