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'TCGs are exhausting': Richard Garfield on Netrunner’s afterlife, Keyforge’s future and making a Yahtzee dungeon-crawler

And what he's been playing!

Richard Garfield, the creator of numerous popular tabletop titles from trading card game Magic: The Gathering to the monster-battling game King of Tokyo, has recently been on a designing spree. Garfield has been making a several new titles such as the card game Solforge Fusion - which you can get a copy of by signing up to the new Dicebreaker Membership programme - and a roll-and-write adventure game called Dungeons, Dice & Danger.

Even with all of these projects on the go, Garfield found time to talk to Dicebreaker about his upcoming releases, what he's been playing, his thoughts on the recent Keyforge developments and what his favourite Magic: The Gathering sets have been.

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What have you been playing recently? Which gameplay mechanics have been particularly exciting?

I am constantly delighted by the range of games that are out there, with new and exciting things to play all the time. Recent circumstances have had me focusing more on two player, and often cooperative games. I have really enjoyed bag building games recently. One game I always find myself returning to is Innovation by Carl Chudyk.

Magic: The Gathering has been well taken care of, the stewards of the game are great.

How do you feel about the recent events around Keyforge? First the algorithm breaking and then Fantasy Flight selling the game. Are you optimistic about this change?

The community is great and supportive - and it is a shame that it has taken so long. I am quite optimistic about the new direction, I think Fantasy Flight did really well with the game, they made something I was proud of and they contributed in a lot of ways - making it a stronger game. The new owner I have worked with a lot, and in fact was the person who first green lit the game at Fantasy Flight - Christian Petersen. He and I are very much on the same page as to what the game is about and what its potential is.

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How do you feel about the current state of Magic: The Gathering? What has been your favourite Magic: The Gathering set released in the last few years?

Magic: The Gathering has been well taken care of, the stewards of the game are great. It has been fun to see it in so many guises in recent years. The crossover D&D sets were great fun and really did a great job of conveying flavor.

I begin Dungeons, Dice & Danger with idea that it would be fun to do something like Yahtzee, but with a cool and distinctive map.

What do you think about Project NISEI? Do you think it’s a good spiritual successor to Netrunner?

I haven't been following it, but I love that the players are taking ownership of the play. Netrunner is certainly a game I am fond of and it is nice to see it carry on in any manner.

The next entry in the King of Tokyo series by Garfield looks to ramp up the chaos even more.

Why make Dungeons, Dice & Danger a roll-and-write game? Have you been influenced by any of the more recent roll-and-write games such as Paper Dungeons and Dungeon Scrawlers: Heroes of Undermountain?

I haven't played these games, this project began a long time ago before the current roll and write category really got going. I was beginning with the idea that it would be fun to do something like Yahtzee, but with a cool and distinctive map instead of a dry old array of numbers. I pictured each map as having its own character and best approach - with small unique things to shake up the play.

SolForge Fusion is a new 'unique deck' game, like Keyforge - it is coming out very soon.

You’ve been on a bit of a board game design spree recently - with Dungeons, Dice & Danger, Mindbug and Dice Hunters of Therion - have you shifted away from trading and collectible card games and, if so, why?

I love games of all types and try not to limit myself as a designer or player. In particular, I design what I want to play and cannot find. I still design what I call 'massively modular' games, but, it is often exhausting and it can be a lot more fun to work on something that delivers its whole experience in a box rather than being about an entire invested community.

A layout image of Dungeons, Danger and Dice.
In Dungeons, Dice & Danger, players make their way through a series of dungeons by rolling dice and noting down their results on their sheets.

What else have you been working on? Anything you can tell us about?

Creature Feature is out soon - a bluffing game for up to six players... I am looking forward to seeing that get some play, it feels pretty unusual to me. SolForge Fusion is a new 'unique deck' game, like Keyforge, which I worked on with Justin Gary - it is coming out very soon. I am working on a few digital autobattler games, this type of play interests me a lot - they feel a lot like paper games but the computer is a vital component.

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