Another post on the same day as a rant about Champions Online? I must be mad! Well, this is more of an informative post rather then a rant against a game. You see, after I wrote my Brushfire post, I was approached by one of the designers of it, a gal by the name of Emily, to do an interview. I figured this would be a good idea, so I agreed and came up with some questions that her and the rest of the On the Lamb Games crew could answer. Rather then get into a detailed summary of who they are, what they are doing, and what they have done, I figured I would let the interview speak for itself.
However one thing I will say: On the Lamb Games is the creator of both Tabletop and MiniWargaming products. They are an indie developer, and have been around for roughly 3 years. You should check them out.
Here is the interview!
1. Who are you, and what are your backgrounds?
– Emily: I’m Emily Fontana, I have a background in computer animation and retail sales. I’ve been a video gamer most of my life, and started being a table top gamer after meeting Matt.
– Matt: I’m Matt Whitehouse, lead writer for On The Lamb Games. I’ve been gaming (digital and tabletop) since the late 80’s. I have absolutely no professional background. In addition to gaming, I’m a history and mythology nerd, and I dislike long walks on the beach, but I do like sunsets.
– Pedro: Who am I? Well answering that might take up to much time, but to use a quote, “I am what I am and that’s all that I am.” (~ Popeye, The Sailor) Eccentric if I had to tag myself with one word. I’m the type of person that like to learn new things, try new things, and even manages to have a ball playing survival horror role playing games, fulling knowing my character was doomed to begin with.
As for my background well not sure how far you want me go into that, but I was an outcast growing up, but it never bothered me. I’m the type of person that rather be hated for what they are, than loved for facade. More importantly while being an outcast meant I didn’t have to many friends we, where close and even now tho we scattered into the wind like grains of sand. Having that sorta bond we always had a blast while playing games.
Game in which while we saved the day, or doomed it. However, the journey was always greater than the destination. I like a lot of seemingly random things, such as Lovecraftian mythos, Combat, the science of the human body and warfare; On the flip side of that coin, is also cooking, medical tech and procedures, and steam punk; Just to name a few things.
2. What made you decide to start a game company?
– Matt: We didn’t actually set out to make a company, but when the economy tanked and I lost my job, while looking for a new one, I decided to write. We live in an area without an LGS and Gaming Clubs. So in lieu of playing a game We decided to write one. Legendary Realms (our first game) just started as a way to pass the time, but as we built on it, we really started to see it as a product, and we eventually resolved to actually publish it.
– Pedro: What made me want to start my own company? At its simplest, I remembered the games I enjoyed of my youth and how I felt while playing them. The joy, the ability to escape or explore, but above all the the time I got to spend with friends. In turn I wanted to carry that on; as I find it sometimes the simplest of joys and pleasures, are oft the greatest.
3. How long have you all been around as a company?
– Matt: Conceptually we started July 2007, around November of that year we knew we were going to publish it and named the company On The Lamb.
4. What is with the name “On the Lamb Productions”?
– Matt: We like making references to nerd culture, our products are littered with them. The title of the company comes from a certain yellow cartoon, in which an old man yells “Call me mint jelly, cause I’m ‘on the lamb’.” and then zooms off on an electric wheelchair. On the lam being a term for being a fugitive, the play on words, and reference was too delightful to pass up. OTL also embraces a bit of fugitiveness, in our total lack of business professionalism.
– Pedro: something to reflect our bit of a maverick style, yet something easy(ish) to remember. I remember the time I wrote up a quite pseudo-bio for the company and us its creators, that I’m still really bummed that the idea wasn’t used.
5. What products do you guys have right now?
– Matt: Currently we sell Legendary Realms, a simple, customizable, tabletop RPG, and two boxsets of Brushfire Miniatures, Badgers-at-Claw, and Mouse Conscripts. More miniatures are coming along with a full rulebook for Brushfire.
6. Which one would be your favorite?
– Matt: The Badgers-at-Claw just came out gorgeously, and I’m really excited to see more of the miniatures come back from the replicator.
– Pedro: Its hard to say, that’s like trying to ask a paren which of their children is their favorite. I Love all our products with equality.
– Emily: I’ll also second the Badgers, but the upcoming Weasel and Mongoose models are fantastic as well.
7. Has this been successful for you?
– Matt: We’ve sold reasonably well, but more than anything I think its successful because I’ve got my name in a book, and I’m proud of the content.
8. Do you do this as a full time job or on the side?
– Matt: Until 2010, OTL had been a ‘part-time business’ we each had other jobs that paid for OTL’s operations, printing books, etc. When we sold out of our first batch of Brushfire minis, we resolved to step it up, Emily and I now work full time on OTL, making sure everything gets out on time, and works perfectly. We still keep our unprofessional mentality, leaking info about our games, talking candidly, and avoiding ‘press releases’ as our only link to the community.
– Pedro: a bit of both really, granted I need a job to help pay the bills, but I still put in a lot of time brainstorming/ coming up with new concepts, balancing, etc
– Emily: Most of my time is taken up by OTL, mainly due to no one hiring me.
9. What has been your proudest achievement thus far?
– Matt: I think publishing my first book, being able to show off a physical copy to gamers, and have them really be excited and playing sessions with us.
– Pedro: its a tie between holding up my first copy of LR and holding the badger mini sent to us from the replicator.
– Emily: getting to make our own games, and having people want them.
10. What has been the worst thing to happen to you guys, as a company?
– Matt: We had a few conventions where we didn’t sell any books. With all the work invested even just into Con-Preparations it can be a little bit disheartening, but when people drop by the forums, or buy a book online after a convention like that, it still feels worth it.
– Pedro: a failure of a convention, I like to call “Vendor Con”. It was an attempt to get some LR exposure prior to the official release. Well, a Convention sorta needs attendants to work, but I rather not get to much into further detail as I don’t like talking to much on the matter.
– Emily: Vendor con was pretty bad.
11. Is there anything you would go back and redo now that you have been around for a while?
– Matt: Fix a typo.
– Pedro: yes, I’d like to get the **pseudo-bio and background for OTL either up on the website or into the books.
– Emily: I’m learned alot about how to do book layout, I’d like to go back and redo LR’s interior.
12. Any plans for the future? What can we expect to see from OTL in the future?
– Matt: In addition to miniatures for the 8 factions included in Brushfire’s rulebook, a supplement to Legendary Realms called Science Boy Detective will be our next project. We will also be releasing more free content on our websites, such as Ship to ship combat, mercenaries, and pirate factions for Brushfire.
– Pedro: More LR stuff, I’ve been working on some goodies, some that will be free on the website for people to enjoy, others to work into the next LR book; More minis and factions for Brushfire; SBD (Science Boy Detective); and two addition goodies that are top secret for now.
– Emily: We’ve got quite a few things up our sleeve..
13. Do you have anything to say to those aspiring game designers (myself included!)?
– Matt: If you have an idea, run with it. Even if it fails, you at least got it out there and, you can say ‘I made something, I made a game’. That feeling makes it worth it, and will keep you going on new projects.
– Pedro: Keep on reaching out for your dreams. To use one of my favorite nameless quotes, “A lifetime spent chasing after your dreams, is still a life well spent”
– Emily: Plan on failure, dream of success.
14. Finally, Who would win? Mecha Godzilla or the Megazord?
– Matt: Mecha Godzilla. It wasn’t in a movie that had a wizard clown selling slime.
– Pedro: Megazord, only due to its rampant power of plot. Moreover, it will be loosing until the last possible moment and then use its “5 minutes ’till the end of the episode/fight power” to win
– Emily: Gamera. Because he is filled with meat! (THIS IS NOT EVEN ONE OF THE OPTIONS! – Clay)
So there you have it. A window into the world of OTLG! I hope you have found this to be as interesting as I personally did, and I hope you check out their products: Legendary Realms, Brushfire, and Science Boy Detective. Happy Gaming Folks!