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NeverBetTheFett

Interview with Todd Michlitsch

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I did an interview with Todd Michlitsch back at Gencon 2018. He was too busy to actually sit down and talk to me when I was free, but he emailed me his answers to my questions (with some edits). It was awesome having him around for the 4 player skirmish as he was super passionate about the game and seemed very enthused. 

I hope everyone enjoys. I'm sorry it took so long for me to get this posted, but I figured it would be a good time. I like to learn more about the designers and not just ask them boring DESIGN questions. Like what kind of person are they, or what kind of Star Wars fan are they? I feel they would be sick of answering the same neckbeard questions, so here are mine...

  1. Being here and seeing people enjoy the game you love and work on: how does that make you feel?

The first word that springs to mind is “validated.” I’ve always had a vision of where I wanted skirmish to get to, and getting to see some of that play out in reality is extremely gratifying. In the period between finishing an expansion and getting tournament results there’s I just hope that what I made is actually fun. Coming to events like Gen Con and getting to chat with players about the game closes the design feedback loop. It helps me gauge what I’ve done, enjoy the successes, and take stock of what I need to do next.

Aside from the relief, it’s energizing to watch people play Imperial Assault. It makes me want to get back to the office and keep making games!

  1. How did you get into designing?

I grew up playing chess, but always felt like I enjoyed the concept of the game more than actually playing it. As I branched out and tried several card and video games, I always found myself thinking about why they were fun (and often why they weren’t). Questions like “what is fun?” and “how do we measure value?” are largely unanswered, and I enjoy pondering them. 

Despite this curiosity, I wasn’t aiming to become a game developer. It’s more like I fell into it. I worked several “normal” office jobs and enjoyed the project management aspects of them. When I found out there was an international board game company in my back yard, I applied for an internship. I got to see the “real job” behind just designing, and it lined up with my professional interests pretty well.

In the end, I probably come at game design from more of a project management angle than some, but using the medium of board games to deliver hand-crafted human experiences is something I’m very passionate about.

  1. Tell us about your game. Where do you see it going?

I can’t speak to anything in the future, but I think the game has really grown into its own unique experience. Skirmish is fundamentally a tactical Star Wars battle that sometimes looks entirely luck-driven, but really rewards skill and practice. While Command card and dice luck are obviously important, I’m constantly amazed at how easy it is to throw away a game by spending a movement point incorrectly. I think this mixture of powerful haymaker effects and tactical minutiae creates interesting decisions and finding a balance between those two has become the backbone of my design philosophy for skirmish.

Aside from skirmish, the paper campaigns are a fantastic way to enjoy a light tactical RPG experience in the Star Wars universe with your friends, and I’m proud of the progress we’re making in leveraging the Legends of the Alliance app to provide exciting new adventures.

  1. If you were in the game, who would you be?

If I thought I could get away with it, I’d probably hide myself as an Easter-egg B1 battle droid named T0-d or something. Those droids have the two best lines in all of Star Wars: “Roger, roger” and “Uh-oh!” Otherwise, one of my coworkers once made a pre-alpha droid hero for me whose abilities all removed dice luck (dice and I don’t always see eye-to-eye).

  1. Who shot first (Han or Greedo)?

Given that I don’t know off-hand what the official canon is, I’m going to have to avoid answering the question directly. That said, I actually don’t have a huge amount of nostalgia for the original trilogy and I can see Han’s character working either way. Though, given that the cantina doesn’t really seem to care much about what happened, I think it’s more interesting if what they just witnessed wasn’t self defense. (This is also much less embarrassing for poor Greedo!)

  1. Can you tell us about the future of skirmish?

Unfortunately, no.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, brettpkelly said:

The part that hurts the most for me is actually that non-answer to the "who shot first" question.

I don't disagree, but check out the answer to my trademark question from this interview I did a while back (when I was into X). (scroll to the bottom)

http://dockingbay416.com/who-shot-first-a-brief-interview-with-x-wing-designer-frank-brooks/

 

TL/DR version...

DB416: Who shot first? Han or Greedo?

FRANK: It certainly depends on when you’re talking. I guess, there’s not necessarily a definite answer. There’s a perhaps more accurate answer, a time sensitive answer, and I’ll leave it at that.

DB416: Who is Rey’s father?

FRANK: That’s a  good question. I feel like I probably shouldn’t answer this for numerous reasons, not that I know anything necessarily, but being an FFG representative I probably can’t even postulate due to any consideration to what I may or may not know.

Edited by NeverBetTheFett

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6 minutes ago, NeverBetTheFett said:

FRANK: It certainly depends on when you’re talking. I guess, there’s not necessarily a definite answer. There’s a perhaps more accurate answer, a time sensitive answer, and I’ll leave it at that.

What the heck does that even mean?

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Yup. FFG is clearly telling their designers to keep a lid on things. In fairness, I've had some great casual talks with Frank on numerous occasions. He's super fun to talk to, very approachable. I always feel a bit like a fan boy, since these guys design the games that I spend my free time on!

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1 minute ago, NeverBetTheFett said:

Yup. FFG is clearly telling their designers to keep a lid on things. In fairness, I've had some great casual talks with Frank on numerous occasions. He's super fun to talk to, very approachable. I always feel a bit like a fan boy, since these guys design the games that I spend my free time on!

does he answer all his questions with a lot of vague, wordy, meaningless statements? j/k lol (ive seen 3 now)

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2 minutes ago, King_Balrog said:

does he answer all his questions with a lot of vague, wordy, meaningless statements? j/k lol (ive seen 3 now)

LMAO! I'm just impressed he's so cool to talk to anyone that is interested. I just noticed a different tone the last time we spoke versus the last few times we spoke. Like my impression is that they're being told to be careful what they tell people. Disney is clamping down on their narrative and control of canon. 

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Posted (edited)
15 minutes ago, NeverBetTheFett said:

LMAO! I'm just impressed he's so cool to talk to anyone that is interested. I just noticed a different tone the last time we spoke versus the last few times we spoke. Like my impression is that they're being told to be careful what they tell people. Disney is clamping down on their narrative and control of canon. 

image.jpeg.4ac03949da57ad1be438dec63ca4f42b.jpeg ("Those who do not serve my ends, no matter how powerful they are, will be eliminated." ― Walt Disney  ―Emperor Palpatine)

Edited by King_Balrog

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9 hours ago, NeverBetTheFett said:

DB416: Who shot first? Han or Greedo?

 

FRANK: It certainly depends on when you’re talking. I guess, there’s not necessarily a definite answer. There’s a perhaps more accurate answer, a time sensitive answer, and I’ll leave it at that.

I mean, it does depend on your point of view... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Relativity_of_simultaneity

More likely though he means that the canon answer changed at one point.

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Posted (edited)

Anyone even slightly familiar with the Star Wars movie canon must now be aware of the changes to this particular event.

Han Shot first (and is the only person to shoot).

Then Greedo Shot first.

Then Both at the same time.

Finally, now I believe Han shoots just slightly before Greedo in the latest touch up?

Edited by Majushi

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8 hours ago, Majushi said:

Anyone even slightly familiar with the Star Wars movie canon must now be aware of the changes to this particular event.

Han Shot first (and is the only person to shoot). 

Then Greedo Shot first.

Then Both at the same time.

Finally, now I believe Han shoots just slightly before Greedo in the latest touch up?

Wouldn't this still fall under self defense? Wasn't Greedo reaching for his gun?

I for one actually liked Solo (at least a little)- Han did the right thing against Beckett too.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, King_Balrog said:

Wouldn't this still fall under self defense? Wasn't Greedo reaching for his gun?

I for one actually liked Solo (at least a little)- Han did the right thing against Beckett too.

I always thought Han straight up murdered Greedo originally. But I seem to recall Greedo has his gun grown when he catches Han in the Cantina? No?

Edited by Majushi

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Majushi said:

I always thought Han straight up murdered Greedo originally. But I seem to recall Greedo has his gun drawn when he catches ahah in the Cantina? No?

Yep. Gun drawn.

In my head i saw them both sitting at the table doing this:

Image result for greedo imperial assault

But Really he was doing this from the start:

Image result for han shoots greedo gif

(If anyone held a gun at me like this, I would consider them to have deadly intent)

 

Greedo was making threats, Greedo had invaded Solo's personal space (wasn't invited to sit), and Greedo had bad intentions based upon this conversation:

Han Solo : Over my dead body!

Greedo : That's the idea... I've been looking forward to this for a long time.

Han Solo : Yeah, I'll bet you have.

 

Edited by King_Balrog

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Oh man, a "Han shot first" discussion in 2019. Look at what you're doing to us FFG!

I do like to imagine someone telling a rebel agent like Cassian about what a scummy character Han must be to have shot an armed bounty hunter pointing a gun and threatening to kill him. Obviously not Cassian himself...

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13 hours ago, cleardave said:

Second, other than perhaps Cassian himself, are any alleged "characters" in Rogue One really "seedy"?  Blank slates, fan service, to be sure, but hardly seedy.

 

 

Eh, I'm sure we don't see eye to eye on the charaterizations of Rogue One, even though I'll admit they did rush through a lot.  I'd say Jyn is pretty clearly seedy, though she becomes more altruistic pretty quickly.

 

Saw and the Partisans though, they've got some interesting implications.  Rebels, but actually using methods that are clearly terrorism.

 

Quote

Rogue One as an IA box is about as weird as Speeder Bikes at this game's scale.  You saw literally all the adventures of those (alleged) characters on screen already.

Yeah, I mostly agree.  Cassian, K2, and Krennic are the only ones that really make any sense in the game.  Maybe Jyn and Saw.   The Guardians of the Whills seem like they'd be out of place, and Bodhi was an Imperial until like a day before he died.

 

Of course, anything goes in Skirmish, but they'd be weird in campaign.

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30 minutes ago, subtrendy2 said:

Of course, anything goes in Skirmish, but they'd be weird in campaign.

You mean like Obi Wan Kenobi openly acting in all his Jedi glory in a campaign explicitly set after the Battle of Yavin? Or the at least four characters that should not be around during any OT stories per the events of Rebels, including two who were rather explicitly dead?

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16 hours ago, cleardave said:

Rogue One as an IA box is about as weird as Speeder Bikes at this game's scale.  You saw literally all the adventures of those (alleged) characters on screen already.

What? One movie where they all die does not show you all of their adventures. The whole point is how did they get to be the people that they were? Oh, maybe you don't care, and that's fair. But then I'd argue that the trilogy was a waste of time. I recall most of my youth wondering how Obi Wan and Vader came to be. Yes you can tell me that Lucas made prequels to answer some of those questions, but really it created more questions. Did Vader get surgery to become taller? Did he take classes to speak with a more proper British accent? Was Jar Jar the key to everything? Midichlorians? WTF?!?

You clearly dislike R1, but I thought if anything it was a rare movie where it gave me answers to trilogy questions I had when I was a kid, but created new questions about the characters that came and went. That's just me though. 

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2 hours ago, Weatherwax2099 said:

You mean like Obi Wan Kenobi openly acting in all his Jedi glory in a campaign explicitly set after the Battle of Yavin? Or the at least four characters that should not be around during any OT stories per the events of Rebels, including two who were rather explicitly dead?

That's generally the response, but remember there are pre-OT campaigns now, so they're at least justifiable still.

 

Some of the Rogue One characters don't have a timeline that makes sense in any context, because their time with the Rebellion is so restricted.

 

Which, again, is fine.  I just don't see that happening in a boxed expansion.

 

In a wave like Obi Wan/Grand Inquisitor/Greedo?  Absolutely.

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1 hour ago, subtrendy2 said:

Some of the Rogue One characters don't have a timeline that makes sense in any context, because their time with the Rebellion is so restricted.

With a pre-OT campaign, it doesn't seem particularly unreasonable. A couple of missions (or just side missions) on Jedha could easily account for Baze and Chirrut as, per their book, they were actively working on some covert resistance against the occupation and trying to help the innocent people. They even had a few run-ins with Saw's band. Cassian is easy to explain and could even be one of the main Rebel characters in such a campaign. Jyn could easily be involved in side missions or campaign missions about stealing from the Empire and what not. After all, Rebel command somehow knew who she really was and she got busted somehow. That's probably Loku's fault. That fish seems like a talker.

That said, it does seem like doing a background story within a background story so I'm more interested in just getting the characters to play around with than having a campaign based around them. Maybe a few side missions.

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Posted (edited)
On 4/5/2019 at 11:13 AM, subtrendy2 said:

That's generally the response, but remember there are pre-OT campaigns now, so they're at least justifiable still.

 

Some of the Rogue One characters don't have a timeline that makes sense in any context, because their time with the Rebellion is so restricted.

 

Which, again, is fine.  I just don't see that happening in a boxed expansion.

 

In a wave like Obi Wan/Grand Inquisitor/Greedo?  Absolutely.

Technically the campaign for Lothal is first correct? Rogue one could fit right in in this area below. In fact it looks like FFG has been retroactively going back in time with the most recent sets.

There are multi-year time jumps between each film and a 15+ year gap before the prequels and first film.

 

Revenge of the Sith Film Events (There are around 20 Years between ROS and ANH)    -Luke is born at the end of ROS and is 19 years old at the start of A New Hope.

  • Events of Solo (in no particular order)

7) Tyrants of Lothal (In no particular order)

6) Heart of the Empire (In no particular order)

  • Rogue One (Just before A New Hope begins)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A New Hope Film Events (Inquisitor, Obi Wan, and Greedo are dead. Some of Ghost crew are dead/missing. Thrawn is missing. Rogue Oners are dead.)

1) Core Campaign

  • 2) Twin Shadows (Probably Happens Here)
  • 4) Bespin Gambit (Probably Happens Here)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Empire Strikes Back Film Events (3ish Years After ANH)

3) Return to Hoth

  • 4) Bespin Gambit (Could Happen Here)

5) Jabba's Realm

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Return of the Jedi Film Events (1 Year after ESB)   -Luke is around 25 Years old

Edited by King_Balrog

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