Independent Developer Channels Inner Childhood Imagination to Create New Tabletop Game | Casual Game Revolution

Independent Developer Channels Inner Childhood Imagination to Create New Tabletop Game


Many gaming fans can empathize with the feeling of being so infatuated with a fictional setting that they’d love nothing more than to travel to their fantasy worlds and interact with all the characters, places, and creatures that made them fall in love with it in the first place. This was certainly true for game developer Eric Torres, who has spent the last 10 years bringing his own fantasy world to life with his game and book series set in the mystical land of Rynaga.

Torres initially released his Rynaga setting in his first book back in 2007 titled Prelude based off his childhood sketches and concepts that he had been steadily refining since 2004. The tabletop game Iconica followed afterwards in 2009 and still firmly sets itself in the worlds of his original book. Iconica is a character card based strategy game. Players form squads of unique champions with special abilities against their opponent’s squad in battles for supremacy. Utilizing dice and status effect markers, players must form the best possible strategy based on the results rolled to knock their opponents squad out, while keeping their own squad powered up. We wanted to sit down with Torres to learn more about Iconica, tabletop game development, and what the future might hold for Ryanga.

Jesse Tannous: Tell us about the origins of your game world Rynaga. How long have you been developing the world your game is set in?

Eric Torres: World of Rynaga has been in the works since my teen years. 2007 is when things started getting “official” with the publishing of my first book entitled Prelude. The whole story is pretty long, and included going to college late, getting married at 21, and lots of other major stuff. I’ve protected my passion for world-building and so far nothing has prevented me from enjoying the creative process involved. I’ll keep imagining as long as I can!

JT: Your game mostly focuses on battles between squads of unique characters, but you have a rich world developed with plenty of lore and even maps. Do you have plans for Rynaga that extend outside of the Iconica game ?

ET: Plans? Yes! Plans within plans even. If only I had unlimited time! I have a series of books called Collected Legends, which are set within Rynaga, the first of which I released in 2014 and is called Sea Child. I also have a trilogy of books I’ve been working on for a few years now. They continue the story of Prelude and really take a deep dive into the science/fantasy setting I favor.

Iconica components

JT: What do you feel every tabletop board game developer must do in order to help make their product successful?

ET: Well, success looks different for different developers, you know? Playing to one’s strengths is the key. Doing the very best possible in terms of building in fun, flavor, and fulfillment. This also means doing the best we can with the time, resources, and energy we have available. It’s not easy to make things. There are lots of distractions. For me, determination is a key value.

JT: Could you imagine a digital version of Iconica ? Why or why not?

ET: I can imagine a digital version of Iconica. I don’t know if that’s our path. We’ve thought a great deal about what Iconica is. What Rynaga stands for and who its champions are. In the end, analog play may be what’s best for Rynaga content as it grows. Offering indie gamers, fiction readers, and imaginative folks a place to go that’s away from all the screen glare, trolling, and expense of maintaining an online presence might be our purpose.

This all sounds crazy of me to say, being that I grew up with Nintendo, early computers, and electronic devices. I’m still an avid video gamer myself. Maybe Rynaga is as much about what others may like as it is a place I go to discover unearthly possibilities. A place I’m still going to, even after my long-passed teen years.

JT: What is the most rewarding aspect of tabletop game development for you?

ET: Seeing Rynaga come to life and interacting with its places, peoples, and creatures is the most rewarding aspect of development. All the results of hard work and intentional play, you know?

I had dreams as a kid of making games, writing books, and sharing my art. I never thought I’d have access to such awesome authorship tools! The software, the publishing freedom, resources online. The list goes on. I’m grateful for the opportunity I have to make things I’m proud of and that others can enjoy.

[End of interview.]

Torres seems to follow a path that many dream of but few accomplish by bringing the fictional worlds of his imagination to life. For additional information on expansions or demonstrations of Iconica make sure to check out the official website.

That's pretty cool, it must be a huge effort to slim such extensive worldbuilding down to a tight game - but I imagine it shows through in apparent depth behind the game itself.