As part of our December Spotlight on Eons, we like to provide extra tidbits surrounding the game. Eons spans all of recorded existence, which certainly can take up a lot of one’s focus. However, we’ve managed to spare just a few moments of that with the members of Gamer Nation Studios: David Villegas, Krista Witt, and Chris Witt.
Chances are if you’ve come across members of this trio before it may have been regarding d20Radio, a gaming podcast affiliation network that they manage, including the D&D-centric Roll For Initiative. So, while Eons is the second board game released from GN Studios, it may surprise some to know that they even have a burgeoning game line, as it can easily be overshadowed by their other contributions to the hobby.
To help with that, they’ve graciously sat down to tell us a bit of what went into the thought process behind this Euro-styled game, what its future holds, and our regular array of questions.
We know that space isn’t infinite, and neither is your time. So let’s dive right in!
Round One Questions
What was your Gateway Game?
Dave: Ticket to Ride.
Krista: Catan: the be-all, end-all of gateway games.
Chris: Also Settlers of Catan. My D&D group would “warm up” with it, and it still has a special place in my gaming library.
What was the last game you really enjoyed playing (Besides Eons)?
Dave: King of Tokyo.
Krista: Love Letter.
How big is your game collection?
Dave: About 50 titles.
Krista: This will be the same answer for Chris and I. . .I’d say over 50. I no longer have a linen closet, but a game closet. And it’s still not big enough.
Chris: Yeah, over 50 titles.
What is your favorite type of game to play?
Dave: Strategy games.
Krista: Strategy games, same as Dave. I want to think and plan.
Chris: That’s a tie between resource management strategy (Power Grid) and LCGs (The Lord of the Rings LCG is Crack).
How do you feel about Monopoly?
Dave: I try to avoid it, but with kids it’s tough. I found a replacement in Boxcars that is simple but a notch up the scale for making decisions.
Krista: It has a little too much chance in it, but with the right group of people you can make it fun. I think it’s weak in that it can easily isolate someone from the game and someone can easily become so far ahead that it’s no longer fun for all involved. The balance is off, but if you know that before playing the game, then your perceptions are managed and you can have fun. However, it’s a game people like my mother refuse to play. She hates the competitiveness of it; that doesn’t seem fair to her. She became addicted to Catan and then Ticket to Ride when I introduced her to them, though.
Chris: It’s one of the most popular board games of all time and contains nearly every principle of bad board game design.
What prompted the idea behind a board game about the lifespan of the universe?
Dave: Krista will probably say Stephen Hawking’s video series…
Krista: Dave is right and yes, it was Stephen Hawking’s video series, Into the Universe. Obsessed with it. So obsessed that I made a game revolving around the concepts Hawkings presents so simply in it.
Chris: Clearly, my wife’s utter geek-out over Steve Hawking.
It’s not common to see a space game that doesn’t involve spaceships and/or alien races. Was there any issue conveying the theme at all?
Dave: Not at all. Playing an architect building the universe is as awesome a theme as anything out there.
Krista: I don’t think so since the theme was the inspiration for the game mechanics.
Chris: None whatsoever. In fact, people seemed to glom onto the idea, and loved it.
Eons debuted at Gen Con 2013. How was it received? How has interest been since then?
Dave: It was received very well there. We sold a bunch of copies and only brought a few cases home. We have since sold several hundred copies via distribution and continue to receive orders on a regular basis.
Krista: What Dave said!
Chris: Yes, it was received extremely well. We’re still selling cases to distributors every month..
A lot of the cosmic bodies in EONS allude to people in science or science fiction. What is your favorite named inclusion to date?
Dave: Cynth1A is named for my wife, but of the stars named for astronomers and scientists and such, I’ll go for Kepler.
Krista: I love that we named the Super Massive Black Holes Tyson and Hawking. They are true inspirations and pioneers in the field.
Chris: That’s a toss up between Kristalyn-22 and Hawking.
You’ve talked about expansions for the game. What sort of things do you have planned for the future of Eons?
Dave: Three expansions are coming to Kickstarter in January, called EONS: Cosmic Expansions. One will consist of more cosmic bodies like Orange Dwarves and Asteroid Fields, another with advanced civilizations and space faring options, and the last expansion with cosmic destruction items like Supergiant stars that become black holes and rogue black holes that have to be fed or they cost you victory points. It will be very interesting to see how these work out. In the future we’re looking at introducing Silicon as a new element that allows for life on stars, as Professor Hawking has theorized.
Krista: I’m really excited about the expansions. . . The mechanics are cool and the potential for how it can influence and change gameplay is going to be fun for people to explore. There have been discussions about future expansions and other neat things we can do for the game, but they’re probably a year out or more for some of the ideas. I hate to speak specifics when things can change a lot in a year.
Chris: The three sets of expansions coming to Kickstarter in January are Cosmic Bodies, Cosmic Technology, and Cosmic Destruction. In order, they focus in introducing new cosmic bodies with new options for strategy, adding new options for life and civilization, and creating a tougher game with a more restricted resource economy.
Lastly, time to throw down: Bill Nye, or Neil deGrasse Tyson?
Dave: Tyson! Every day and twice on Sunday!
Krista: Yeah…Tyson. It would be a challenge to chose between Tyson and Hawking, though…
Chris: The slayer of Pluto is a hero. No doubt. But Nye might be able to take him in a throw down. Wiry guys fight like mad.