A conspiracy theorist’s dream, Cosmoctopus, the new board game from Sherwood-based publisher Paper Fort Games, explores what would happen if octopuses were actually alien. Following the launch of its Kickstarter campaign, Lead Developer Chris Kingsnorth tells us what to expect…
For those who don't know, what's Cosmoctopus about?
Basically, Cosmoctopus is a tabletop game about players who are devotees to a celestial cephalopod… The theory is that the players are very serious about this being, and think that if they can just understand it, they can be bestowed with some form of powers. The truth is, he’s a bit more like a space toddler - and is actually pretty indifferent to the players’ existence.
It can be picked up really quickly if you’ve played board games before, but if you haven't, it’s easy to learn - the complexity only comes from deciding how to get the most cool stuff, rather than simply playing the game. So it’s a great starter for those wanting to get into tabletop games for the first time.
As well as having an interesting premise, the game is visually very impressive. How important is it to catch the eye when you’re putting together a board game?
That’s definitely a big part of it. You can try to convince yourself otherwise, that what’s really important is how it plays, but ultimately you need people to pick the game up in the first place - and that’s where the aesthetics come into it.
We initially started with a more serious approach, but it quickly became a bit too Lovecraftian and bleak. So we decided to throw in brighter colours - pinks and purples and teal - to make sure that, when it’s on the shelf in a shop or board game cafe, it’ll stand out among the crowd. In terms of the octopus itself, we also wanted to tap into the Baby Yoda vibe, with cute, big eyes and striking features. I think we pulled it off!
We initially started with a more serious approach, but it quickly became too Lovecraftian and bleak - so we decided to throw in brighter colours
You’re funding the game through Kickstarter. How important is community support on projects like this?
As a small, independent studio, it’s absolutely vital - there’s literally only myself, the designer and the artists that will work on this game. Unlike a lot of big companies, we don’t have the money to front-end projects, so we rely on people’s backing to help get it off the ground. After that, sorting things like print runs, manufacturing and getting it into retail becomes a whole lot easier. Everyone who supports us will receive special rewards - with some getting their hands on a Cosmoctoplushy, which is a little teddy version of Cosmoctopus. It’s adorable!
Speaking of community, how exciting is Nottingham’s tabletop scene right now?
When I came to Nottingham for university, I didn't really know the city had that association with board games, but it's a brilliant place for it. Obviously the foundation was laid by Games Workshop many years ago, and lots of people who worked for them have started opening their own game studios and splintering off, and now it’s become such a vibrant scene. We’re also lucky to have two board game cafes, Ludorati and The Dice Cup, in a city that's relatively small. That’s fantastic, and nurtures such a strong sense of community.
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