Roll Player: Fiends and Familiars
About Fiends & Familiars:
Roll Player, designed by Keith Matejka and published by Thunderworks Games, is all about the process of creating a character in a fantasy roleplaying game. It uses a clever dice drafting system that drives actions both on each player's character sheet and sets initiative for purchasing cards from the Market. Fiends & Familiars is the second expansion for Roll Player, introducing the help of Familiars and the hindrance of Fiends. Familiars lend unique powers to their keepers, and along with new goods in the market, offer hope. But all the while, malicious Fiends torment the players with new obstacles.
Roll Player is Thunderworks' flagship product line, and Fiends & Familiars is an important product in activating their existing fanbase and continuing to expose the base game to the wider market. I was brought on to refine core content designed by Keith Matejka, designer of Roll Player and owner of Thunderworks Games.
Key aspects of the project included refining the system by which Fiends were given to players, developing new Familiar powers and tuning the new content the expansion included for existing game systems. I also designed the new abilities for a promotional pack featuring animated monster cards.
- Playtest Coordination and Analysis
- Gameplay Streamlining
- Content Design
- Product Development
Case Study: Product Development
The addition of familiar boards meant that each player required 3 additional dice, adding 15 new dice to Roll Player's dice bag. A significant segment of Roll Player fans enjoy the tactile nature of placing and manipulating dice, and were excited when Thunderworks introduced a new type of die, the Boost Die, in the Monsters and Minions expansion.
I identified this segment during early playtesting and designed and tested a new type of die that became a key marketable feature of the new expansion. The split die, a lower value die that is two colors at once, also helps even out variance in the dice bag and solve volitility issues that would be introduced with 15 additional single color dice.
Praise for Fiends and Familiars
"Fiends and Familiars is the perfect expansion. The decisions the split dice provide, along with your familiar, allow players to manipulate their characters to an even greater degree!" — Derek Funkhouser, Board Game Spotlight
"A really really cool expansion. I think it's actually a better expansion than Monsters and Minions because it adds those fiend cards... ands those familiars. That just adds that bit of layering to the game that wasn't really there before. Very Cool!" — Jeremy Salinas, Man vs Meeple