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ZineQuest Meet the Publisher: Joel Whitney

Joel Whitney will be crowdfunding a 'zine called Borne From Ashes: Frontier Battles. His twitter handle is @BorneFromAshes.

Question. Give us the elevator pitch of your project.

Answer. Borne From Ashes: Frontier Battles is a skirmish wargame set in the Heroic Age of the post-apocalypse. Small bands of highly skilled, customizable warriors known as Praetorians clash in brutal, fast paced, tactical combat.

Q. Is this your first ZineQuest project? If it is, tell us a bit about how it came into being, and what you'd like to accomplish.

A.This is my first Zinequest project. I actually didn’t pick this Zinequest to launch my campaign, it picked me. I’ve been working on this tabletop gaming zine, or a version of it, since 2017. I’ve finally finished up the work I needed to do on it to be ready to launch a campaign in the last week of July, mostly because that is when I have time to manage the campaign. As far as I knew Zinequest was only something that happened in the beginning of the year. Then I saw a press release from Kickstarter talking about the upcoming Zinequest in August (I’d missed all of the drama about them changing it this year). That seemed perfect, so I pushed my campaign back one week and here we are.

I had always wanted to do a Zinequest though, and that's because I'm making a game that doesn't fit the mainstream game archetype. I think it's important for indie developers to make a dent in the cultural sphere of tabletop games so game design doesn't get stagnant. Zines can be written and printed incredibly fast, so they allow indie creators to be much more agile than the large players, and to take more chances. That's something I want to be a part of. Q. Can you talk something your project does that you're really excited about. This may be a little mechanic or theme you're proud of, or something larger.

A. The thing that excites me most about Borne From Ashes is the amount of choices characters have within the game world, and how that creates these tense, strategic moments. Rather than just use a melee attack, all characters have 4 melee attack types to choose from, not including extra abilities that can be gained through Feats, and using them at the right time can shift the entire momentum of the game. Rather than just shooting someone, firearms have a number of different shot types and ammo types that are useful in certain situations, and the distance to the target is always a consideration. The terrain on the tabletop and the environment can provide huge benefits depending on how they are used, so player choices have this weight to them that isn’t always present in the skirmish wargame genre.

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