The Latest News from Atlas Games


Godsforge Development Interview with Kyla McT

Godsforge released May 1st. Today, we interview game developer/producer Kyla McT about how the game went from prototype to reality. Find out about sparkly dice, heartbreaking trays, and making iconography delightful below!
What caught your eye/made you decide this game was worth producing?
Kyla: I could tell how much work had gone into it. Often prototypes I play are kind of slapdash, and sometimes that can even be a good thing. But I could tell that Brendan had put years of work into this game: the mythology, the creations, the balance. We changed quite a bit over the development of the game, but the element costs of the spells and creations barely changed at all. It was already such a rich world and well-balanced card set when it got to me.

Was there anything on this game that you obsessed over?
Kyla: The iconography, for sure. I’m all about readability and usability, but this game has such a unique look that I wanted to make sure the icons went along with it. It’s not always easy to strike that balance. Here’s a snapshot from development showing some different looks I was playing with, for the element cost on my favorite card.

It’s important for the theme that you know these elements that you are crafting have names: fire, light, bloodstone, godstone. But ultimately, playability won the day and I took the name of the elements off the icons to make crafting them a little bit less complicated. Iconography (for numbers) in development.  

What’s something you put a lot of thought into that might not be obvious at first glance?
Kyla: Honestly I put a lot of thought into everything! I’m not sure what’s noticeable and what’s not. The name, maybe. Names seem so straightforward and obvious in hindsight but we discussed a lot of possibilities for this game. It was called Etherium Forge when I first played it. There are a handful of other games out there right now with “forge” in the title but I really felt like forging these creations was integral to this game in a way that I couldn’t find another word for.

Tell us about trays.
Kyla: Agh! Trays and dice. I learned a lot about plastic with this project. It was a little heartbreaking to see Tom Vasel’s Godsforge unboxing and he’s got a broken tray. I haven’t heard a single other report of a broken tray, so that might’ve just been bad, bad luck. But I’ve learned since then that you always want to specify PET plastic for your trays. I’m an organizer so I try to make thoughtful, useful trays.

What’s something you learned on this project that you’ll apply to future projects?
Kyla: To trust my instincts. I really appreciate - and am instantly drawn to - art that’s different, that doesn’t look like other games out there. I’ve done that before on Atlas projects (Hounded is a good example - I fought to keep the game designer’s original geometric art on that game) but I really took that to the next level with Godsforge and Diego. His work is so original, so striking, so modern, I fell in love with it immediately. It felt like a risk at the time - what if my tastes are too “out there”? I’m so glad the feedback to it has been as positive as my initial opinions.

Can you share a surprise/challenge/setback? How did you overcome it?
Kyla: I wanted sparkly metallic dice! None of my manufacturers would do them. Looking back, I think it might have been a gaudy choice. I’m really pleased with how the marbleized dice came out.

Favorite card, component, or piece of art?
Kyla: My favorite piece of art is hands down the Shadow Gorgon [pictured above]. She was one of the first pieces of art completed and I fell in love with her right away. When I’m playing though, I’ll always try to get Scepter of Fortune out first if I can. 

Godsforge was designed by Brendan Stern, produced by Kyla McT, and published by Atlas Games, with art by Diego L. Rodriguez. You can learn more about it here!

Over the Edge Interview with Game Designer Jonathan Tweet

Over the Edge released June 1st. Today, we interview Jonathan Tweet, the game's creator, about creating a new edition. Find out about hit points, abandoning a system that works, and player improvisation below!

How did you know it was time for a reboot of Over the Edge?
Jonathan: Several years ago, game designer Chris Lites contacted me about the possibility of a reboot because he thought it was a great idea and he wanted to work on it. I told him that I had I had no intention of doing a reboot. The original Over the Edge developed organically out of my personal need for a fast, simple, wild game like none other. I didn’t see any way to take such an original game and derive a new version from it.

After a couple years, however, I saw that I could approach the project again provided that I was not tied to the continuity laid down in the first edition. Once I saw the revision as an opportunity to do something new with the game, I was excited to do it. This approach allowed to do a new edition with the originality and creative freedom of the original. And Chris Lites’s persistence paid off. He did indeed work with me, creating content for the new Over the Edge. 

What's something specific that you loved from a previous edition and brought forward?
Jonathan: The city of the Edge has nine districts, each with its own distinctive style and its own central plaza. Players know where their characters can go to find entertainment, business opportunities, educated experts, wealthy elites, and possibly a “safe” place to hang out. The contrast from one district to another helps the players get a sense of each one. Each district is exaggerated so that it really stands out, with trippy art, twisted science, grinding poverty, over-the-top wealth, manic commerce, enforced conformity, or marauding baboons. These districts define life in the Edge more than anything else.

What's something from a previous edition you left behind?
Jonathan: Hit points. In the home-brew game I created for my friends, no one had hit points, and all damage was determined subjectively, as with all other rolls. But for the published, 1992 version, I didn’t think I could explain to people how to improvise battles without clear rules. I also didn’t know how to communicate stats to the gamemaster, such as how powerful an opponent is, without combat statistics in game terms. In my home campaign where I felt in control, I could improvise battles and weird weapons, but I had no way to communicate my way of doing that to anyone else. So I created a simple system for hit points and damage. Today, I know how to frame the game system so that the gamemaster doesn’t need initiative checks, attack rolls, or hit points. The Over the Edge setting finally has the game system it has always deserved.  

Can you share a game development challenge? How did you overcome it?
Jonathan: It surprised me that my first, new dice-rolling system, which made sense on paper, fell flat when we used it n play. In the first new system we tried, most rolls got you an average or predictable result. That structure makes sense in an engineering sense if you’re simulating a bell curve of outcomes, but it doesn’t make much game sense if you’re trying to make each dice throw interesting. In the final system, rolls are dichotomous, with no “average” outcome even really possible. Even the successes and failures can have surprises, with good twists and bad twists. 

My problem was being too sure of my system, and I overcame that problem by listening to painful feedback from my friends who playtested it with me. That oriented me away from the idea that a player usually gets a “usual” result and toward the idea that the player always faces a dichotomy of gain and loss, with little ability to predict the outcome.

Did you have a key learning, eureka moment, or takeaway you'll use on other projects?
Jonathan: Last year at Gen Con, one of my favorite fans told me how excited she was that I had created a generic rules system for any setting. Until then, I really hadn’t thought of it that way. Almost thirty years ago, the original Over the Edge game system developed from universal dice-pool systems that Mark Rein-Hagen and I had been experimenting with. Now I feel like I could take this new Over the Edge system and use it as a universal system in just about any setting. 

What's one thing someone who's never played Over the Edge should know?
Jonathan: That our modern civilization’s unsustainable industrial system needs to be reformed to address the global climate crisis. Also, that the rules in Over the Edge are so light and so story-oriented that the rulebook is worth a read even if you never play the game. 

What are you working on next?
Jonathan: My next big roleplaying game project is nearly finished. It’s a weird-history version of Al Amarja, sort of like Over the Edge meets Call of Cthulhu in the 17th century. That’s still a long way off, though, so pretend I never said anything about it. 

For the last five years, I’ve put a lot of work into promoting evolution science to children, especially with my children’s book Grandmother Fish. My artist and I have another children’s book in the works. This one is about evolutionary groups of mammals, such as primates or canines. Given the demented content that’s in Over the Edge, I sometimes wonder what my children’s book fans would make of it if they found out it was by the same author.

Thanks, Jonathan! To learn more about Jonathan's upcoming projects, visit him at GrandmotherFish.com. On Twitter, he's @JonathanMTweet. If you're interested in the game, Over the Edge 3rd edition is available in friendly local game stores now.

Announcing Our Next Project: Magical Kitties Save the Day

Magical Kitties Save the Day is an all-ages roleplaying game about cats with magical powers. We’re excited to announce that we’re Kickstarting the second edition of Matthew J. Hanson’s original game this summer, with expanded rules and new content.

 In Magical Kitties Save the Day, every kitty has a supernatural power and a human they must protect. Every human has a Problem that their kitty must try to solve. Troubles like witches, aliens, and hyper-intelligent raccoons add challenges and intrigue to the game. After playing a few times, the game’s structure makes it easy for even young children to transition to game master, running Magical Kitties Save the Day for their friends.

"What's been wonderful about playtesting this game is the joy it brings to kids and grown-ups and everyone in between,” says Justin, our RPG developer and producer. “If you're an experienced roleplayer, it gives you an opportunity to share our amazing and creative hobby with the incredible, imaginative superpower that's a young kid. We're also including a solo adventure book that will let you play your first game of Magical Kitties Save the Day literally moments after opening the box."  

The Kickstarter for Magical Kitties Save the Day will launch July 1st. In the meantime, we’ll be sending art and gameplay sneak peeks to subscribers on our special Magical Kitties list. If you’re not on it yet, be sure to subscribe so we can fill your inbox with cats and superpowers!

Over the Edge 3rd Edition Is Here

The original roleplaying game of counter-culture conspiracy, weird science, and urban danger comes roaring back — available in stores today, June 1st.

 Conspiracy lurks around every corner on the island of Al Amarja.

This third edition highlights everything we at Atlas Games like about RPGs:
  • A heady blend of fringe science, conspiracy, and hyper reality. The island of Al Amarja is a rich sandbox to be filled with your craziest and most entertaining ideas.
  • Everything old is new again. New narrative rules, character traits, conspiracies, and locations improve storytelling and propel drama.
  • Designed by Jonathan Tweet, lead designer of Dungeons & Dragons 3rd Edition, Ars Magica, Everway, and 13th Age.
New dice are available too!

Over the Edge was originally created in 1992 by Jonathan Tweet with Robin D. Laws. The first edition served as the inspiration for the collectible card game On the Edge, originally published in 1994 and still available from Atlas Games. This third edition is completely reimagined, with new rules, twists, art, and more.

Over the Edge is designed to highlight your creativity,” says Tweet. “The setting of Al Amarja is full of interesting details, but what really counts is what you and your friends come up with on your own.” We can’t wait to see what conspiracies you uncover when you return to the Island.

Over the course of the next month, we will share interviews with the production team, designers, and line developers. In the meantime, be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to stay in the loop on what’s coming next.

More than two thousand Kickstarter backers helped fund this edition, some of whom appear in the art of the core rulebook. To everyone who backed, shared, or supported the Kickstarter: thank you! Atlas Games loves you.

Atlas Games’ Summer 2019 Convention Schedule

Summer is here — and it promises to be busy! We’ll be at shows in the US and Europe. Come see us, play some of our new and soon-to-be-released games, and pick up copies of your favorites.

Shows For Retailers
  • ACD Games Day (Madison, Wisconsin) - Wednesday, May 22nd - Friday, May 24th
  • Asmodee Nordic Open House (Copenhagen, Denmark) - Tuesday, June 4th
  • Alliance Open House (Fort Wayne, Indiana) - Friday, September 13th - Sunday, September 15th
Shows For Everyone
  • UK Games Expo (Birmingham, England) - Friday, May 31st - Sunday, June 2nd
  • Origins Game Fair (Columbus, Ohio) - Wednesday, June 12th - Sunday, June 16th
  • Gen Con (Indianapolis, Indiana) - Thursday, August 1st - Sunday, August 4th
  • NecronomiCon (Providence, Rhode Island) - Thursday, August 22nd - Sunday, August 25th

If you can’t make it to a summer show, be sure to sign up for our email newsletter so we can keep you informed on what’s new and next.