Anastasio Martínez León is the author of Captain’s Log, one of the board games that is generating the most expectation. A few days before the start of his campaign in Kickstarter (February 1), he himself reveals the details of his project.
Now, we know how the development process has been and who it is aimed at. Nobody better than him, in charge of Present is Future Games, to explain to us if it is replayable and interactive or its own combat system. He takes us by the hand through the dangers that we will find in the ocean and the possible alliances in which we will participate.
We remember that we are facing a competition between 2 and 4 participants, with solo mode. He launches us to the seven seas, with the intention of becoming the most famous captain of all time. The action will start with the choice of a ship, determining the strategy to follow…
Captain’s Log It’s coming to Kickstarter in a few days. How is the campaign presented?
With emotion! The truth is that it is having a very good reception among the public, it is a title that is creating a lot of controversy due to other similar games and, above all, because of its old map aesthetics. Even so, we are very happy with all the support we are receiving before the launch of the campaign.
What advantages will patrons who support the project have?
First of all, compensate them with a better price than in the store, in addition to exclusive ‘stretch goals’, both in letters and with some unique figure for the occasion.
Going back in time, how has the development process been?
I loved it. From the moment you start designing how the mechanics are going to work, to the moment you get angry about removing a rule that you love, but you know it’s not its place. I have to say that the most beautiful thing about the process is the support of the people; you are surprised by the number of people who selflessly offer their help, not just friends, but people you don’t know.
At the base of the project, I will say that, thanks to the turns that life gives and that María (my wife) got involved in the layout of the game or that my niece volunteered to paint it, it has been key to being able to encourage me to create the rules and that the whole project went ahead.
Is it intended for regulars in strategy, management and decision making or will it also be suitable for newbies?
The game does not abuse any mechanics, let’s say that I have tried to give the player the greatest freedom in his decision making to obtain victory. While it is true that the game’s biggest defect is its rulebook, which tends to intimidate the player, after a couple of turns the players internalize the rules, since I have tried to make them all act logically.
In short, the game is valid for all types of audiences. I have come to test it with children and even with people from PC games. The game encourages you to immerse yourself in the story despite not having any text.
The games are not particularly short (2 to 4 hours). How do you manage to maintain the emotion and tension for so long?
The short turns mean that the player is always thinking about what to do next, leaving him wanting to continue the adventure. People who have tried it have been surprised to spend three hours playing without realizing the time elapsed.
Will it be replayable?
Much. Both the mode of deployment of the modular game board, as well as the shape of its pieces, make each game completely different from the previous one. In addition, the configuration of each ship and the number of NPCs available means that each game leads to different decisions and, therefore, different results.
Being a ‘sandbox’ with different roles to score, increases replayability. In one game, you can focus on trading and in the next you can focus on combat or enroll in missions, etc. Of course, you can always make a hybrid of all of them.
What about the interaction between players?
The interaction will be subject to the acts that, during the game, the players themselves decide to take. It may be the case that in a game the participants, due to their way of playing, only gain fame without bothering each other directly and in other games the interaction between them would be total. It will always be available to your way of playing in the course of the game.
At the beginning of the game, we can choose between fast or strong ships, giving up resistance or speed, respectively. How will we find the perfect boat?
As in the previous question, this is relegated to the way of playing of each one. You may want to be a merchant and therefore take a heavy ship to be able to load more merchandise than one or you may be interested in that same ship to load it with cannons and fight. You decide the functionality of the boat, whatever its type.
We know that the ocean is a place rich in treasures, but also full of dangers. What enemies will we come across?
Throughout the game, your actions can result in enmity or friendship with the sides, which are Spain, France, England, Holland and Pirates/Corsairs. Depending on those decisions, anyone can be your enemy or your ally.
How important will alliances with different nations be?
Getting along with the sides will give you a series of accesses to develop yourself and define the role you want to play in the game. In advanced mode, each side has its own unique advantages.
The pirates will not miss the appointment either…
The pirates are the only side that starts attacking our ship if we cross their path, but they won’t always hate us for that. We can perform acts that end up transforming us into pirates or corsairs.
How will weather conditions influence the adventure?
Throughout the game, the main climatic condition that we must take into account will be where the wind is blowing, since this will determine the amount of movement that our ship will advance in each turn. Also, during the game, events will arise that can change the favor of the wind or force us to move less than normal. Or it may raise or lower the tide, preventing us from passing through certain areas of the sea.
What can you tell us about the fights?
There are three different ways to destroy a ship, either from another player or an NPC: burning it, sinking it, or boarding it. In the game, the player will decide how to develop his ship to optimize the damage dealt.
The use of the dice is relegated, mainly, to combat. Each cannon is represented by 1D12, and can have many cannons and roll many dice (which would be playing randomly) or develop these cannons to get bonuses that limit that randomness.
Is there a strategy to win or are you one of those who lose at their own game?
Sadly, I have won few games and most of them have been in solo mode. Officially, my nephew Alejandro, 14 years old, has the highest number of victories, having the title of best player in Captain’s Log.
I like to think that there is no winning strategy, but knowing how to take advantage of the opportunities that the game offers you at all times.
What will the solo mode be like?
I am very happy with it, as it does not change the rules of the game at all. The only caveat is that the player will have to activate three NPCs instead of one. In this mode, we will fight against the sides to get fame, since in this mode some sides will be the ones that score with you. One thing I’m proud of is that it doesn’t require an automaton to take on the role of a ghost player.
What other board games have you been inspired by to create Captain’s Log?
It hasn’t been primarily other board games that have inspired me. Although I tend to compare myself to Xia, M&M Y Eclipse, of which I can say that I share things.
My true inspirations are movies (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl and Master and Commander, among others) or video games (Sid Meier’s Pirates, Sea of Thieves, Monkey Island The Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag).
Will we see more content that expands the experience? Do you have other games in development?
The truth is that I have tried to make this game as complete as possible, but I have had to leave many things in the inkwell so as not to saturate. The game itself doesn’t require more content, but I would love to further implement the historical theme and even the fantasy world in the future.
Regarding other games in development in my head, there are a couple of ideas still to be developed. And a small offer, from a publishing house, that they raised with me at the DAU Barcelona Festival to create another one.