DARE To Read This Interview With the Co-Creator of Don’t Play With Drugs: The Game

dontplaywithdrugs-logoA few months ago, I got my hands on a terrific card game called Don’t Play With Drugs. It’s frenetic, fun, and fast – you can play a game in five minutes, meaning you can either play a marathon of it, play quick rounds of it in between setting up other board games, or even play it while your Dungeon Master is off taking a break. Right After Then, the company behind the game, did a limited run earlier this year, but fear not – they have a Kickstarter running now, which you should absolutely back. I caught up with the one of the co-creators, Jordan Martin, and asked him a few questions about the game, the Kickstarter, and what else they have in the works.

Nicole Kline, Warp Zoned Senior Editor: So I know you said that Don’t Play With Drugs stemmed from a PSA you came up with as a joke. Can you expand on that a little more?

Jordan Martin: So, the mother of a good friend of mine works at an elementary school, and she brought home a PSA coloring book about drugs for my friend. She in turn brought it to my house, so that we could all laugh at how horrible it was. This coloring book was incredibly bad. Eventually, I said that it should just be a game where you put drug cards on your friends to get them to black out, and then everybody loses in the end. I called Derek [Parsons, the other co-creator] and told him what happened, and he agreed that it was a game; plain and simple.

WZ – Nicole: How many times did you have to playtest it before you got it to the superfast, superfun place it is today?

Martin: Honestly, the game was pretty much done in its explanation. Derek tossed out how many of each card there should be over the phone, and it didn’t change too much from there. We playtested it a lot, but only minor things like exact numbers changed.

WZ – Nicole: I’ve played it so many times – it’s the game I play with friends in between other games, or when we only have a few minutes to play something. We’ve gotten everyone hooked who has played with us. Did you ever imagine not playing with drugs could become so addicting?

Martin: Personally, I thought it would just be a funny joke. I sort of thought it would be something you just played for the comical value, but it really does have an addictive quality to it. It is really great for in between games, or coming off of an intense game.

WZ – Nicole: This isn’t your first Kickstarter – tell us a little bit about that experience.

Martin: Our first Kickstarter was for my illustrated short story, Yesterday Brings Today. The book is two perspectives that form one story. It was a really great experience, we didn’t need much to publish it, and we actually doubled our goal within 24 hours of launch. We where 649% when all was said and done. For me it was really touching because Yesterday Brings Today is a very personal story. While it is fiction, it very closely follows a real experience in my life of losing a close friend.

WZ – Nicole: Why did you decide to bring Don’t Play With Drugs to Kickstarter as well?

Martin: We decided that we wanted DPWD to reach a bigger audience, and we wanted to be able to get a distributer and get the game in brick and mortar stores. The 1st edition was only 300 decks, and the box was just a clear plastic case. We felt like this great game we created deserved more. We had a decision to make between this project and another, but doing the other project would have been rushed.

WZ – Nicole: What’s your “day job,” and if it’s not designing games, have you considered changing it to that?

Martin: Ah, the “day job”. I do illustration and caricatures, but recently I picked up a “real job” working for a small local game design company. My job at the company is not really game design though. I help with a large array of things there. Derek just left his job to pursue not hating his life, so aside from designing games with me he is in the market for a day job. We would both love to make Right After Then our main source of income, but at the moment it remains our labor of love.

WZ – Nicole: Are you working on any other games?

Martin: We are currently working on two other games. Weate State is a card game set in a world where everything is controlled by company colonies. It is practically done, and we were actually about to run a Kickstarter for it. In the end, we decided that rushing it would be a horrible idea, and running a Kickstarter for Don’t Play With Drugs would help give us time to polish the game. When we come out with Weate State, we want to make sure that it has had extensive play testing, and is as good as we can make it.

The second game we are working on is Command Line. Command Line is a pure strategy game about robots fighting in space. This one we have been working on, off and on, since around 2005. We are holding off on Command Line because it is our baby, and we want to make sure that we can do it right. We are building up to it.

WZ – Nicole: What advice would you give to other people who, like you, have great ideas and want to bring them to life?

Martin: I think the best thing you can do is keep working. Some ideas don’t pan out, and many things change completely from where you first started. Allowing things to evolve while still keeping it simple is the key. In many ways, learning to take advice is the best advice.

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Nicole Kline is Warp Zoned's Senior Editor. She first began preparing for the job by climbing a milk crate to play Centipede in an arcade. You can find her on PSN under the name toitle or you can email her at nicole AT warpzoned DOT com.

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