Plaid Hat Games is known for their story-driven experiences, and you can definitely see that touch in their newest title Abomination: The Heir of Frankenstein. Abomination maximizes the horror-themed playground and premise in both its mechanics and visual presentation, and while Plaid Hat has ventured into horror and survival previously with Dead of Winter, this feels like a completely different animal. Well, in this case, a completely different monster if you will. We had a chance to chat with Plaid Hat Marketing Manager Niki Shults all about the game, what its future is, and why they decided to take it on in the first place.
"We really hadn't thought about a Frankenstein theme until our studio manager Colby Dauch met the designer Dan Blanchett at BGGCon," Shults said. "The prototype was already Frankenstein themed, as the designer had set out to make a dark game that reflected the tone of the novel more than other 'kitschy' Frankenstein games. We fell in love with the idea and felt the market was in need of such a game. So, we immediately signed Abomination and put it into development."
For those who have played the game, you know that morality plays a huge role in the game, as your humanity can rise and fall depending on your actions. As Shults explains, that doesn't place limits on how you can play the game though, and you can approach your play style and the other players in a variety of ways.
"Oh yes, you can definitely succeed at this game without giving a second thought to morality," Shults said. "We like to give players the option of how they'd like to play the game. Maybe they're not comfortable going into a dark alley to murder a person, instead, they can visit the church and obtain cards that allow them to stop other players from making immoral choices. Focusing on your morality is a big way to score big points at games end."
As was noted in our full review of the game, story is an important element of the game in keeping the player moving forward and the gameplay fresh, and Plaid Hat also feels it keeps the player invested in the world.
"Our focus over the years has been on strong narrative-driven games, basically because it's the type of game that we like to play," Shults said. "Story elements are a way to really draw people into what's happening in the game and allows them to contribute to the story and how things play out."
Most of the story in Abomination is conveyed via the Encounter and Event cards, and that system was the one that received the lion's share of the tweaks and changes between the initial design phase and the final release of the game.
"The initial design of Abomination was dripping with theme in the mechanics and setting, but we made several changes to how the Event and Encounter card system worked before we landed on our final version," Shults said. "The intent was to ensure that players would get a variety of encounters and events but also to maintain the flow of the story as you worked for the Creature and progressed through the game."
The good news is that there the game ships with a sizable amount of Encounter and Event cards that will vary up the story path, though it seems an expansion for the game isn't in the cards. That said, there is something coming down the pike that should make players happy.
"As of now, we have no plans for an expansion," Shults said. "We are working on a rules variant to make the game quicker. One thing we've noticed from early reviews is that people keep noting that the game was longer than they expected. So, we plan on putting out a variant to speed up gameplay that will be available on our website."
Abomination: The Heir of Frankenstein hits stores on October 12th.
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