Over the past month or so I’ve had the opportunity to have several conversations with Patrick Lee from Pat Piper Games in Hong Kong about his upcoming new game Crossroads of Heroes. The game will be coming to Kickstarter around February next year. Here’s the interview with the designer himself. Enjoy!
Pat, thanks for taking the time to talk with me about your upcoming new game, Crossroads of Heroes. Please tell us all a little bit about the game and how it’s played.
“Crossroads of Heroes is a Wuxia themed board game for 2-5 players. Game time is between 45 and 90 minutes.
In the game, you play as a Chinese hero hailing from one of the five major martial arts sects of ancient China. Your goal is to gain renown to become the next Grand Master of Wulin.
(Sorry for all the transliterations. I hope words like Wuxia and Wulin don’t get western board gamers scratching their heads in confusion.)
In the game, you will have to train in special fighting techniques, fight duels, explore the Jianghu and employ Wuxia inspired stratagems such as ” Vow Revenge” or “Forgiveness”.
You must also eat the right kind of food to replenish your health, and find items that will help you in your quest. However, if things aren’t going the way you had wish while playing as a good guy, you can choose to take on a dark path and employ malicious methods to help you eliminate your opponents!
In a way, it sounds like the game has some similarities to Naruto, a martial arts style manga/anime. Are you afraid that players might make that same comparison?
Not at all. It’s only natural for gamers to draw comparisons from what they already know and if that can help them to get a better understanding of “Crossroads of Heroes”, then that works for me!
Now, I have no knowledge of Naruto prior to this interview, but from what I saw on Youtube, I will say that it is a very different game. While both games involve fighting characters and doing battles with martial arts, the similarities end there.
Naruto is a deck building card game that focuses heavily on combat, whereas Crossroads is a strategic board game that feels more like an individual journey for each player and their chosen character. In Crossroads, there are many more ways to win than fighting. In fact, it is even possible to win the game by taking a completely passive approach and not having to fight anyone. It may be difficult, but not entirely impossible.
For example, if you play as Huai Xun, a Shaolin monk, you are able to gain renown simply from meditating and giving up material possessions. It may sound a bit odd, but when playing the game, if you consider the different philosophy behind each character and their respective sects where they studied from, it will make more sense.
And for some of us, that may be a more gratifying way to win than just fighting.
So again, aside from the occasional duel, it’s a completely different experience.
It sounds like there’s a lot of exploration and adventure to the game. What about customization? I love being able to make the characters that I play my own. Are you able to customize your characters through leveling up or through the choices you take through the game?
For the basic core game, I’ve chosen to keep the exploration part (where you encounter special characters and events) to a minimum, since there is already a lot to grasp in terms of characters and their abilities.
As for customization, I think you can definitely get a sense of that from having to make various decisions during every phase of your turn. Often times, these will be somewhat moral choices like: would you rather spend your turn cultivating your character or would you rather divert your energies towards impeding your opponents’ progress?
Furthermore, when you’ve completed your sect training, there are still more ways to build up your character by defeating the Wulin masters and acquiring their powers.
Pat, I’ve looked over your website and found some beautiful illustrations. I’m guessing that you plan on using these in the actual game. Who is the artist?
I am the artist for the game. However, it was my wife, Jan, who wrote all the beautiful Chinese calligraphy!
Well you and your wife have really done an excellent job. I’m really impressed. I take it that the game will not be produced by one of the major companies out there. I assume that you and your wife will take on the production duties yourself?
Thank you for the kind words, Jonathan.
Foremost, I would like to establish Pat Piper as my personal brand and hopefully, “Crossroads of Heroes” will become the first of many more games and products to come!
As for production, it is still a bit early to say how we want to approach this even though we know where our hearts lie.
What we are certain is that we really want to have the highest quality that we can afford with manufacturing and we also cherish the close relationship we can have with fans while operating as a small indie company.
During the course of making “Crossroads of Heroes”, I’ve also come to realize that I’ve created not only a board game but also a story and world that I wish to expand on and through it, share my philosophical views with fellow gamers. In fact, I’ve already written the first chapter of the comic. The first few panels, while unedited, have already been illustrated and are available on the website.
You just mentioned a web comic. Does this mean that the game has inspired a comic as well?
Yes, I’ve always had these mini stories formed in my head as I come up with these characters for the game. As I slowly weave them into a bigger story, I thought: “Why, this is becoming quite interesting, and it will surely help western players understand many of the Chinese Wuxia elements of the game and enhance their game experience so much more!”
Well needless to say, I’m looking forward to the game. When can we expect to be able to get our hands on a copy?
I aim to put it on Kickstarter early next year. (I cannot give an exact date until I have everything set in place and that it is ready to go into production.) Once we have that, we will post the news on our website and our facebook page immediately.
Pat, thanks for all your time. It’s been a real pleasure talking to you. As for Crossroads of Heroes, I can’t wait to play it. Is there anything else that you’d like the readers to know about either the game, yourself or the company?
Yes, I wish to thank everyone who got involved in our little journey. From the day I came up with the game to our show at Essen, we’ve met many good people and have received a lot of help and love from family and friends.
Yes, we are currently a small company, (if you can even call it that), with only me and my wife. However, we are determined to give everything we’ve got to make sure that every person who likes our game gets the best product that we can make. We will not rest until that happens.
The pleasure is all mine, Jonathan. Thank you for taking the time to do this.
Thanks again. I wish you the best of luck with the game.
Crossroads of Heroes will be available for backing on Kickstarter next year. Please keep an eye out for it. In the meantime, you can find more information on the game, as well as videos and the previously mentioned web comic by checking out the link below.