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ZineMonth2024: Tanya Floaker and Solstice

Ever since I became aware of Tanya Floaker with the release of her work Lo, Thy Dread Empire she has been one of my favorite indie publishers, both in terms of content and execution. I was really glad when she decided last minute to publish something during this year's event.

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

Answer: Solstice is a folk horror role-play game set in rural Scotland at the tail end of the 1990s. Everyone plays young adults. Compelled by social expectation, they compete to be The Chosen of the Solstice, assigned to burn alive inside a giant wicker man.

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: I've put out a zine for every ZineQuest/ZiMo except the second. The thing I've learned from previous campaigns is to have as much of the project completed before launching the campaign as possible. Life sometimes comes at us fast, and that happened to me in 2023. Several bouts of homelessness, illness, and other upsets mean that of the two projects I was hoping to have released (Lo! They Dread Empire and The Connection Machine), one shipped on time while the other is still being worked on. I do not like letting folks down, even when it is delays are often seen as par for the course with crowdfunding indie creations. Also, the longer it takes, the more expensive things like postage and shipping become! Having Solstice at the point where I am ordering test prints before launching the crowdfunding campaign has been a huge weight off my mind. I know that as soon as the money clears into my account, I'll be ordering the print run then sending things out to some happy backers.

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: In terms of gameplay, I think people playing will get a kick out of the unique way Solstice weaves together elements of storytelling you can find in games like Witch:The Road to Linsidfarne or the computer game Night In The Woods with the highly thematic PvP board/cardgames such as Dune or Coup. On a background production note, I see the zine version of this game as a test to see if there is interest to turn it into a card-based boxed game in a similar format to Red Carnations on a Black Grave, Companion's Tale, or Alice Is Missing. I've not pushed hard on the promotion of Solstice and so expect it to be a modest run. However, that will give me the time and space to work with Julia Nevalainen on original art for the project, prototyping the box and cards, and playing the game more widely so that when Solstice 2 is ready for launch it will have a fanbase ready to snap it up!

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