Tag: Hostage Negoitator

Hostage (pause) Negotiator! A Conversation with … AJ Porfirio of Van Ryder Games

It’s a tense situation. A terrorist has taken control of the opera. Hundreds of people are held under the threat of being blown to bits. The police have surrounded the complex and are trying to figure out how free the hostages. They wait desperately for the one person who can save those people. Enter the Hostage Negotiator!


Tom: Hi AJ. We talked not too long ago about what Van Ryder Games is up to but I wanted to bring you back on to focus on Hostage Negotiator. So remind everyone what HN is about.

AJ: The game puts you in the role of a Hostage Negotiator that needs to negotiate with a Hostage Taker (or Abductor as we call it) to successfully save the hostages. The game is for solitaire play and plays in under half an hour. It really simulates that tension filled situation quite nicely.

Tom: I’ve played an early prototype. Man, you are right. This game really delivers the tension. I like that a lot. Where did the concept come from?

AJ: From my crazy brain. I was brainstorming underutilized themes and Hostage Negotiation came to mind. I couldn’t believe there wasn’t anything out there and then I realized how sensitive the subject is and that who would want to play as a Hostage Taker? But as a solitaire game no one has to, so it fit perfectly.


Tom: I spoke about the early pnp of the game. About a year ago. It was really fun and pretty well baked at that time. What’s changed since then?

AJ: Mostly balance tweeks, but I’m not sure if Pivotal events existed then or the additional abductors. And of course the artwork has all been updated since then.

Tom: Nope. Those are new. I can’t wait to see what they add.  What kind of feedback have you gotten so far?

AJ: The reception has been really great. People just seem to really enjoy the game. I am very excited and confident that Hostage Negotiator will take the solitaire gaming community by storm.

Tom: The game looks pretty slick. Who is the artist? Who is the graphic designer?

AJ: Kristi Kirisberg did all of the artwork including the brilliant cover. She also did most of the graphic design, but my friend Chase Williams has also done some as well.

Tom: How’s the Kickstarter campaign going? Where do we stand right now?

hn6AJ: We just passed $15k which means we’ll get meeple hostages so that is pretty exciting. There is still 20 days or so left so there is still time to take that even further!

(Update: The KS is currently at $27,000+!!!! Amazing!)

Tom: I like the ‘Instant Rewards’ idea. That is sweet. Where that come from?

AJ: Well that was something I thought up. You know I was thinking that as a backer it can sometime feel like a project dangles the proverbial carrot so to speak. Wouldn’t it hn8be cool to get some extras without having to badger my friends on twitter or Facebook to back the game? So I thought let’s just do it, let’s just give them something more just for being there. And so the instant reward was born.

Tom: Talk about the rewards a bit.

AJ: Mostly it is just the game at each level, but there are bulk levels and there are levels to add other Van Ryder Games products. Also there are 4 Abductor packs that can be added on that wiigd1ill expand Hostage Negotiator even more!


(Update #2: Every game will now come with the Negotiator pack!)

Tom: I recommend both Tessen and If I’m Going Down…. Both are very fun games. The Comments section of the KS is very active. What’s going on there?

AJ: Just friends talking. We are all really excited about the project and game, so we share with one another. Backers have been really responsive and engaged which has been great!

Tom: Who will be producing HN?

AJ: Quality Playing Cards. They did a great job on Tessen and I really like what they do with small box games, so it is a natural fit for them to manufacture Hostage Negotiator.

Tom: When is your hoped for delivery date estimate?

AJ: Well I’ve put February 2015 on the KS delivery estimate. So hopefully we can meet or beat that.

Tom: Anything to tease?

AJ: Not at this time.

Update #3 – I forgot to let AJ talk about the Abductor packs. These are add-on expansions for Hostage Negotiator. What is an Abductor pack? At set intervals following the official release of the game, we will release Abductor packs that will serve to add more variety to the game and provide new challenges. Abductor packs will contain a new Abductor with his/her own Demands and other game content such as new Terror Cards or other surprises. Each Abductor pack will add 15 (or so) cards to your Hostage Negotiator experience. These packs are Add-Ons that are purchased separately for $5 each or $15 for the set. They do not come in the base game. AND the MONEY BACK GUARANTEE. hn9 You can find out more about that on the KS campaign site.

Thanks AJ. It was great talking to you again.

I have to say this game really delivers. There are few games that build real tension. This one does it. I very highly recommend Hostage Negotiator. Do yourself a favor and back it. You only have a few days left. Go there right NOW!

I’ll leave you with the explanation of the title of the interview. I always hear the Priceline theme song/tagline and put in the game title.   Hostage (pause) Negotiator!


A Conversation With … A.J. Porifirio of Van Ryder Games

I’m once again joined by AJ Porifirio of Van Ryder Games. AJ has a couple of games coming up. And we talk about If I’m Going Down, VRG’s first game.


Let’s talk about Tessen and Cardboard Edison for a minute.  How did you find out about Tessen?

AJ: I went to UnPub 3 in January to test a game and check out games from other designers. I had a mission to sign a game from UnPub and it wasn’t until the very end of the event when I found Tessen.

Tom: Give us a brief rundown?

AJ: Tessen is a real-time 2 player card game where each player is drawing and playing animals in front of them as fast as they can. Once they have 3 or more of the same animal in a pile, they can save those animals to their score pile. But here is where it gets interesting… each player has warriors they can use to “attack” his opponents warriors and take the animals if the opponent is unable to defend with a warrior of their own.

Tom: What about it made you want to bring it into the Van Ryder Games family?

AJ: It was just a great game, but most importantly the designers were great people. Chris and Suzanne Zinsli have such a great attitude. They are confident, humble, and very open to feedback and criticism.

Tom: What’s unique about it?Tessen-Cover2

AJ: I think the way it mixes the key elements is what makes it unique. None of the elements on their own is necessarily new, but how they have been combined makes it the best real-time card game there is in my opinion. It is a great blend of set collection, hand management, real-time play, and an interesting theme.

Tom: Chris and Suzanne were recently guests on Go Forth. How has it been working with them? How’s the Kickstarter going?

AJ: Chris and Suzanne are amazing to work with. We’ve had frequent conference calls to discuss the project and they have done whatever I’ve asked. But it is mostly just us collaborating to make Tessen what it is today. I am very proud of them for the game they have created and how they have represented Van Ryder Games.

Tom: All right, let’s talk about Hostage Negotiator. First, tell us about it.Proto-Cover2

AJ: Hostage Negotiator is a solo game that pits you against an abductor who has taken hostages for some reason. It is your job to save the hostages and eliminate or capture the abductor. The game uses a sort of deck building mechanic with a twist… there is no deck, the cards go straight into your hand.

Tom: I’ve played an early version and REALLY like it. It’s a lot of fun and difficult.

AJ: Thanks, I have gotten the same reception from most of the folks who have tried it out. There is even one of my testers that is doing a 100 game challenge with the game! http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/142757/item/2775755#item2775755

Tom: This is your second solo game, counting IIGD’s solo mode. Why the focus on solo games? Why this theme?

AJ: I got back into gaming because of solo play. A lot of my game design ideas work best with solo play. It is just something I enjoy, the freedom to get a game out and play it at any time with no dependency on others. The Hostage Negotiator theme was just one that I thought of and I couldn’t think of any games using that theme. When you think about it, it is an amazing theme and particularly suited for solo play.

Tom: Give us a IIGD update.If-Im-Going-Down-Cover-1024x1024

AJ: IIGD is doing pretty well. I’m going to make some decisions soon on whether the demand justifies a reprint and/or expansion but I’ve nothing to give you on that front at this point. I will say there is a very special Promo character for IIGD that backers of Tessen can get as part of the Kickstarter campaign.

Tom: You’re pretty active in the game design community. What do you see as the greatest benefit of being a part of it?

AJ: The connections made and the mutual support we all give one another. It is quite incredible what people are willing to do with no expectation of anything in return.

Tom: What would you like to see happen in the design community?

AJ: I’d like to see it continue to grow.

Tom: Next projects – what’s in the hopper for VRG?

AJ: Nothing I can talk about yet, but there have been several exciting developments.

Tom: What blogs and podcasts do you follow?

AJ: Oh gosh putting me on the spot here… well yours of course 🙂  I listen to a lot of podcasts but my favorites are The Secret Cabal and Building the Game.

Tom: Any last words?TessenTournamentBanner

AJ: Thanks for the opportunity to speak with you…and everyone go back Tessen! it is just $12 for a great game you will get a lot of use out of! http://kck.st/14dQuyF

Tom: What’s one thing the general public would not know about AJ Porfirio?

AJ: Despite my Italian name, I am also Cajun and LOVE crawfish. If anyone has a boil, hit me up!

It was awesome talking to you AJ. I appreciate you taking time out to give us an update. I am looking forward to Tessen and Hostage Negotiator.


And thank you for visiting. Come on back for more interviews and reviews.