CoolMiniorNot’s Kevin Clark Talks Wrath of Kings, Relic Knights, Zombiecide, Confrontation Phoenix, and More

Relic Knights miniatures including Noh as seen at the GAMA Trade Show

Relic Knights: Noh Looming

CG: Kevin Clark, you’re basically the brand manager for…
KC: I’m the brand manager for Wrath of Kings and I’m also one of the two developers for Relic Knights.
CG: Which is most exciting to you right now?
KC: Uh… that’s a real tough question. I did the work on Relic Knights first, so I’m really excited to see it finally make it out into the marketplace, but Wrath of Kings, I think, is going to be a great launch this year. I genuinely think it’s going to be one of the biggest things to hit this year.
CG: And which will be available at Gen Con?
KC: Both.
CG: And Zombiecide?
KC: Zombiecide is a game we’re publishing through a partner, Guillotine Games. We’re doing the publishing work for them and the distribution. It’s a zombie board game, super strong, comes with about 70 models in it, and playable 1-6 players. It takes about 45 minutes, good board game, good solid product.
CG: You guys have gone from Dark Age, really one product that I’m aware of, besides the website, and now suddenly exploding with a lot of other ones, right?
KC: Last year Super Dungeon Explore was really kind of an experiment for us to see if the publishing model was something that the industry would really take to and Super Dungeon Explore was so successful that it really just made sense to keep looking at stuff and we reached out to some other partners that we had, that we had other pre-existing relationships with, and you know, looked at some new properties that they wanted to get done and here we are. We are showing off five new games that are all launching this year in August and September.

CG: Super Dungeon Explore seemed to have a high price point to get into the game. What does it retail for?
KC: When the game comes back out it’ll be $100 for the starter box, when it comes back in stock.
CG: You guys came from Dark Age where it was thirty or forty dollars for a starter set back in the day.
KC: Way back in the day, yeah. They’re forty to sixty now, depending on the model count in the box. They’re also very different products. Super Dungeon Explore you’re looking at a full contained board game with an abundance of miniatures. I think there’s 65 models, no 50, 50 models in that box. Sorry, too many numbers in my head, that you get for that $100 price point. All the tiles, all the counters, you know, the whole thing, so it’s a very different type of product than a miniatures game, a pure miniatures game, as opposed to a board game with miniatures.
CG: What is similar? Wrath of Kings is more along the lines of Dark Age?
KC: Wrath of Kings is just a miniatures game. It’s going to be a full-on miniatures property. We’re looking at the average game size out of the gate is going to be 30 models. That’s what we think the sweet spot is right now. You can play with as many as 50. The game doesn’t use points. It uses a force org chart, so you know we have a little bit of creative control over what the scope of the book is designed to handle.

Wrath of Kings

Teknes from Wrath of Kings miniatures game character art.

Teknes image courtesy CoolMiniorNot

CG: What would you describe the IP behind it as?
CG: Wrath of Kings is a brand new IP. It is a fantasy setting, a little bit of steampunk element, a little bit of horror element, you know some things like werewolves, vampires, that kind of stuff, but it’s very bright, high magic, but very human-centric. Whilst if you look at the models, it looks like there’s a bunch of different kind of critters, most of those are humans that have been modified somehow, in some way, shape, or form for Wrath of Kings. I think the setting is really bearing out to be very real and gritty, but not overly dark and horrible, which I think seems to be sort of the trend right now, that all of the big miniatures properties are all kind of grim and fueled by anger, if you will. We’re trying to make something that’s a little more grounded, more foundational, and intriguing. All the feedback that I’ve gotten on the writing so far has told me that we’re in the right place. We’re making something that’s new. We have our own place in the marketplace, so I’m pretty excited to see how it does.
CG: How long has this been in production?
KC: We started the development work a year ago, for just the development. The setting itself has been in development about that long. The art assets and the sort of the creative direction, the foundational elements of the setting have been in production a little bit longer.

Sniper overlooks the Relic Knights demo board at the GAMA Trade Show.

Relic Knights Demo Board

CG: Has Infinity been at all an influence?
KC: Not for Wrath of Kings. I think Relic Knights, we definitely we looked at Infinity, as something else that’s in the marketplace that we want to be in and we wanted it not to overlap with that. We didn’t want to make a game that’s just a clone. As a developer I like to come up with new ideas; I don’t want to copy somebody else’s stuff. Anybody can do that. You can’t help it, right? There’s a certain point where you will duplicate, right? But we try to be as unique as we can. We try to be as creative as we can and me and the guys over at Blackball Games worked really hard to know what’s out there and to make something that’s unique and different and that really fits the setting that we’re building the game for.

Relic Knights

Rolo the Cypher on CMON's demo board for Relic Knights at the GAMA Trade Show.

Relic Knights: Rolo the Cipher

CG: Now what’s this little creature?
KC: That model is… what’s his name? I can’t remember his name, but he’s a cipher.
CG: Rolo.
KC: Rolo, that’s his name! I can’t believe I forgot his name. He’s an awesome little dog with a pith helmet. How do you go wrong? The ciphers in Relic Knights are kind of a little power conduit. In the setting, the knight characters, so the guys in the big mechs or the Questing Knights, who haven’t found their big robots yet, are all kind of avatars of the different expressions of the universe. And their ciphers are sort of 50 percent direct guidance from the universe, 50 percent their subconscious, So they’re expressed in a way that they’ll attach to them, so you know, Suicide Queen has her dog with his pith helmet, Super Punky Dog. Malia, the racing chick has her cute little happy bunny, and so on, they kind of go down the line.
CG: Possibly changing topic, have you found yourself cast as a character or a miniature?
KC: I don’t think that I have been put into anything that I can think of, but I don’t know that I’d make a good-looking model haha.
CG: Some figures we can recognize who that is based on.
KC: There’s definitely some people who have gotten models made, I mean, Dark Age, there’s guys who have won the opportunity, right? To do stuff like that. Most of the stuff I have worked with has been concepted well before I ever got involved or just didn’t want to make a typical gamer nerd model haha.

Beautiful Dark Age demo board from GAMA Trade Show 2012.

CMON’s Dark Age Demo Board

CG: Now what do you play in Dark Age yourself?
KC: I have an Outcast force that I play and I just started building a Saint Luke force because St. Luke is amazing. That model is so cool. I had to build a force, so I started in on that just last week actually.

CG: And then what about the other offerings? Obviously Zombiecide is all-inclusive in one box, but what do you play for the other games, like Relic Knights?
KC: Relic Knights is a tough chocie for me. I really like Black Diamond, but everybody likes Black Diamond, so I try not to play the thing that everyone’s playing. I’m probably going to end up playing the Shattered Sword with Sebastian Cross, the big giant robot dude and the other knights. They’re sort of the paladin faction.

CG: What’s this tortoise army?
KC: That is the expansion for Super Dungeon Explore that will be coming out later this year. That’s some preview models for it.
CG: Bad guys?
KC: Yeah, some of the new minions.

CG: How did you get involved in the gaming hobby?
KC: In this company?
CG: Just in general.
KC: I’ve been working on the backside of the industry for about 10 years now. I started working up in retail stores when Wizards of the Coast opened retail stores. I’d just gotten out of high school. I went to work in one of those for a few years. During the beginning of the Pokemon craze and all that stuff. And some years later, when Privateer Press was starting, their warehouse was just down the street from where I was living. They needed help, so I got a gig with them and worked for them for 7 and a half years and did all that stuff and have since started working with CMON doing my own development stuff and kind of a lot of the same things I did before.
CG: Have you remained up in the Pacific Northwest or did you go down to Georgia?
KC: Still the Pacific Northwest. I work remotely from the warehouse property.
CG: Skype?
KC: Yeah, I live on Skype all day long.

Goritis Artwork for Wrath of Kings from CoolMiniorNot

Goritis image courtesy of CoolMiniorNot

CG: What is really cool about Wrath of Kings?
KC: God, I’m not even sure where to start! I think that the game has a lot of room to grow and that’s the thing as a developer that’s really intriguing to me that we really, really build a strong foundation for a property that can last a long time and that can still maintain relevance and interest without getting diluted or sort of losing its focus in the marketplace. The models as you can see are phenomenal. There’s so much life and character. The pig soldiers, you look at every single one of those faces, they’re gorgeous. There is so much life to the things. Even just the simple swordsmen are so cool. I love every single one of these pieces. We had been working in development for a long time and I got my first set of the resin masters showed up at my house a little while back and I was so happy. I just immediately started cleaning them and putting them together. Like stopped everything else I was doing, because I just needed to build them, because they were so cool. I’m still happy to have them in hand. It’s kind of like the beginning of it being done and real. It’s been super exciting. I think the game mechanic is really clean. I think it’s very unique and fast and awesome. Makes for very dynamic gameplay with very little complexity. Lots of variation, lots of opportunity to do a lot of things. So I like good tactical game play, but still not so tactical if somebody becomes slightly more competent than you, you become incapable of playing it. I shoot for a good middle ground.

Confronation Phoenix

CG: Then you also have the re-release of Confrontation.
KC: It’s going to be using the 3.5 rule set, well a derivative of the 3.5 rule set. We’re going to clean it up and make some adjustments and sort of refine and polish it, but other than that, we have all of the masters. We’re sorting through them right now. We’re going to push out the releases as fast as we can to sort of get the existing concept out as quick as we can and then our intention is to move forward with it. Also our intention is to never move it into more than a skirmish game setting and Confrontation is a great skirmish game. I think it demonstrated very aptly that it doesn’t make for a good mass combat game. History has kind of shown us that. So we’re going to make it good at what it does. One of the first factions coming out will of course be the Wolfen, so you can expect to see those coming soon.
CG: Will there be organized play for it?
KC: Absolutely. The CoolMiniorNot Legion program, which is our volunteer program for all the products we publish, is absolutely going to support all these things. We’ll have organized play, tournament kits, all that stuff is in the pipe.
CG: What about players who bought the plastic figures-
KC: The pre-painted plastics?
CG: Yes. Obviously they could just remove them from their base and put them on an actual square base, right? And play. Do you think, at this point, they’re going to be allowed to play with those in organized play?
KC: I don’t see why not. I don’t think we’ve gotten to that point of building this stuff, but I really… They’re Confrontation models. I mean if you’ve got them, then play with them. We want to see people playing. That’s kind of the point.

No Solid Plans for Terrain, More Properties in Development

CG: And is there anything in the works in terms of terrain for any of the products?
KC: I don’t think that we have any actual terrain, terrain products right now that we’re working on or that any of our partners are working on at the moment. I know that we’re looking at a couple of opportunities that we were pursuing, but I don’t know if those are going to pan out this year or at all. I know in Wrath of Kings terrain is a tactical part of gameplay. So we’ve discussed building stuff for that, but we’re more interested in getting the game out at the moment than building accessories for it! So there’s a lot of really good terrain manufacturers out there. Some really good people who make some really good stuff.
CG: So you have actually have so much to promote-
KC: So much!
CG: Is it safe to say that there’s not too much in development right now in terms of new properties you’re going to focus on?
KC: Not safe to say that at all. We have a whole list of things that we’re vaguely looking at or starting to plan out for next year and future releases. And obviously many of these things are going to have releases coming out next year as well. So we’re onward and upward. Go big or go home. Haha.
CG: Do you think you can support full lines for several, at least 3 or 4 games? [5 or more actually.]
KC: Absolutely. Absolutely. I’m a hundred percent confident that we can manage the workload that we built.
CG: And you came from Privateer Press-
KC: I did.
CG: Where that was also your experience. They had rapid growth pains.
KC: Absolutely. It’s inevitable, that’s just the way it works, right? There is one thing that kills companies faster than anything else and it’s success and the inability to handle it. And you know Privateer worked really hard to get through that. I was there through the heyday and I can tell you we worked really hard to get through that! And I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do it again. Honestly it’s a lot of fun. It’s a lot of hard work, but I think it’s really rewarding, especially in this industry, you know, where you meet so many of your own consumers and you work so close with so many people that it’s really rewarding that you build something that people really enjoy and that people really get into. That’s honestly fifty percent of the satisfaction for me, just building something that people really like and I really enjoy doing that, so I don’t mind putting in the labor to get it done.
CG: Do you still play Hordes or Warmachine?
KC: I barely have the time to play the games I’m working on right now! Haha, but I haven’t played a game of Warmachine in a while.

How Employees Refer to CoolMini, Licensing

Abigail image courtesy of CMON

CG: What do you guys call CoolMini?
KC: How do you mean?
CG: Do you refer to it as CoolMini or CMON (see-mon)?
KC: I tend to call it CMON, just cause it’s easier, faster than saying CoolMiniorNot. Everytime I tell my email address to somebody I have to spell it out haha!
CG: Has CoolMini for any of these properties started licensing them to comics creators or anyone else?
KC: Most of the properties, most of the things we own, some of it’s things we own. Dark Age obviously is our property. Wrath of Kings is our property, but a lot of it is stuff that we’re partnered with other companies. Soda Pop Miniatures, for example, does all of their own development and stuff. So we make the miniatures, we produce the games, we do that side of it, but we don’t own the rights to it, so if they were going to do something like that, that’d be on them to get done. Zombiecide is again someone we partnered with [Guillotine Games]. Confrontation we have access to, but I don’t know if we have the license rights to do like, that kind of stuff with it, but it’s something we could pursue with the license holder if we wanted to. So it’s something we look at for the properties we do have, control over that kind of thing. I don’t think it’s anything we’re opposed to, for sure. Anything people want really. We’re in the business of making people happy, so whatever’s going to make people happy is kind of what we’re going to do, you know?

Clear plastic resin sculpts of the miniatures Hailkin for the Dragyri from Dark Ages Games.

Image courtesy of CoolMiniorNot

CG: Real quick: top 3 favorite scultpts from CMON.
KC: I really really like the new Core robot. All I can think of is the new stuff and they’re conveniently right on the shelf. Like I said earlier I just started a Luke force, because the figure is so gorgeous. That’s probably one of my top three easily right now. I love the new Hail Kin, the clear ones, they’re frickin’ awesome. Those three are probably my favorite sculpts right now. The new Abigail sculpt that just came out, the Abigail CMON exclusive model, steampunk chick with a rifle was awesome. I really like that model. I got to name that model, so I feel good about that!
CG: Great. Thanks!
KC: No problem.

2 thoughts on “CoolMiniorNot’s Kevin Clark Talks Wrath of Kings, Relic Knights, Zombiecide, Confrontation Phoenix, and More

  1. Pingback: GTS Press Conf. #2: Chaosmos, Ares Games, North Star Games, CMON | Craven Games: In-Depth Tabletop Games and LARPing Coverage

  2. Pingback: Wrath of Kings | The Esoteric Order of Gamers