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ZiMo23 Interview: Peter Eijk

Peter Eijk (he/him) is a writer and game designer from the Netherlands and the creator of the solo journaling RPG A Visit to San Sibilia and the meddling kids, monsters & mysteries game Pine Shallows. They're currently raising funds for Hiria, the Eternal City.

Q: Easy question first: Give us the elevator pitch of your project. Tell us about it in two sentences or less.

A: Hiria: The Eternal City is a solo journaling game in which you are tracking down someone through different versions of the same city. You might barely notice the changes when traveling to another version of Hiria, while in other cases the city has changed beyond recognition.

Q: Is this your first ZineMonth project or have you done it before? If it's your first, talk a bit about what inspired you to give it a shot this year. If you've done it before, what's something you've learned from previous crowdfunding projects that you may be doing differently this time, or, if you're not doing anything differently, talk a bit about your previous projects.

A: Hiria: The Eternal City is my first ZineMonth project. I rediscovered tabletop roleplaying games during ZineQuest 2020, and almost immediately started designing my own games. The next year, the first ZineMonth, I was not in the right headspace to run a crowdfunding campaign. I did join the ZiMo discord, though, and I loved the uplifting and cooperative nature of the ZineMonth community. This year I was working on a new idea in December, and I realized it would be a perfect fit for this year’s ZineMonth.

I have used itchfunding in the past for two of my games, and while both campaigns were successful, they took a long time to fund, and reached smaller targets than I hoped, which is why this campaign I will use a crowdfunding platform.

Q: Finally, tell us something about your current project that really excites you but the average backer may not be aware of. Maybe a twist to an old trope, a new way of presenting something, or maybe just something you've never tried before that you're using this as an opportunity to try out.

A: Theme-wise Hiria: The Eternal City really is a companion game to my previous solo journaling game A Visit to San Sibilia. San Sibilia is a city that changes without the people of the city noticing, while the player character does. In Hiria you travel to versions of the same city in different universes. A main difference is that in San Sibilia the actual changes were open to the player to decide, as was the reason for visiting the city and the reason to leave again.

In Hiria, you have a reason: you’re trying to find someone, and the game ends either when you catch up to them, or when you lose them forever. The versions of the city are built in a mad libs style: there are 3 tables with 20 options, that can be combined in 8000 ways, so you could visit a cosmopolitan, steampunk city, connected by waterways or the abandoned, utopian city ruled by living saints or one of the thousands of other options.

Just like in A Visit to San Sibilia I try to curate the perfect collection of prompts and random tables, so you people have enough scaffolding, but also enough room to create their own stories.

It was very exciting to see how people interpreted San Sibilia as a city, and I can’t wait to let people wander around in Hiria.

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