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Interview: SphereWars

11 Minute Read
Nov 26 2011
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Sphere Wars – Amazing miniatures, unique designs, but all in spanish? Ever asked yourself what it is all about? Well, fear no longer, I tracked down Jordi, one of the creators , and asked him a bunch of questions! Enjoy!


Me: Hello, let’s start with the basics, who are you and what
do you do for a living?

Jordi: Hello, first of all I want to thank you for this opportunity to
introduce SphereWars.

I’m Jordi Cañellas, 34, and I am one of the partners/creators of
SphereWars, to which I am devoted with all my heart and soul.

Me: What did you do before SphereWars and how did you
end up in the gaming industry?

Jordi: I worked as a sales rep before embarking on the
adventure of creating a game. I’ve been a gamer since I was a
young kid, and I’ve always wanted to create a world of my own,
different, new and original, with equally innovative rules.

Me: How many people are working on SphereWars?

Jordi: A lot! There is a huge number of people behind the
miniatures and the set of rules, many more than it seems. For
instance, to release a single miniature you need someone to
conceive the character, someone to sketch it, a sculptor, a
painter, a writer, a graphic designer, a game rule creator, several
testers… and all this just for one miniature. If we’re talking about
rulebooks, novels, profile cards and so on, the list is even longer.

Our team has currently around 20 people, between Masters
of Arms, sculptors, painters, artists, rule designers, graphic
designers, translators, testers…

Me: Wow, that’s really a lot! Most other companies I know
have far less staff.
Who exactly are your Masters of Arms and what do they do?

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Currently, we have several Masters of Arms in various Spanish cities, such
as Barcelona, Madrid, Las Palmas, Gijón, Valencia, Castellón, Alicante
and Granada. Masters of Arms promote the game in local stores. They
start by hosting lots of demos, explaining game rules, the background and
everything players want to know. When there are enough players, they
organise tournaments, campaigns…

In the UK, we have contacted a SphereWars player, who has adapted the
background for the English version. He will perform the functions of UK
Commander and will find Masters of Arms to forward the game. So I take
this opportunity to offer the post of Master of Arms to anyone wishing to
take part in the UK expansion of SphereWars.

Me: When did you start working on the game?

Jordi: SphereWars has been around for over six years. During
the first four or five years we worked in the shadow, creating the
rules and background, and nobody knew we existed.

We released it in Spain two years ago, and we published our
hardcover rulebook one year ago.

The English rulebook will be released in November, which will
mark our international introduction.

Me: Performing a bit of Google-Fu I learned that you have
an amazing team of sculptors, with people formerly making
sculpts for games like Infinity and Warzone. How did you
manage to assemble such a group?

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Jordi: Indeed, our artistic team is amazing, but it wasn’t hard to
round up such a team. When we contacted them and they saw
the project, they loved it and started working on it right away to
bring it to life as soon and as best they could.

Me: Okay, let’ s get to the meat of the story. What is
SphereWars?

Jordi: SphereWars is more than a skirmish game. It’s Another
World!

After so many years of work we have managed to create an
impeccably crafted background to bring forth multiple creatures
and beings that go beyond traditional fantasy. We have
created completely novel races, but they have been carefully
developed so that they make sense within the background. A
whole framework has been developed with the object that both
players and readers will be able to equally enjoy our singular
background.

Besides, we have created a system of rules which greatly differs
from the standard. It is highly dynamic and intuitive, and consists
of two parts. First there are the basic rules, which are extremely
simple. You can learn enough to start playing in ten minutes.
And then there are the advanced rules, which players can use to
come up with a myriad of combos, tactics and strategies which
ensure that the fun never ends.

In short, SphereWars is Another World!

Me: Sounds cool. So, what is the story of SphereWars?

Jordi: Four gods, bored by their immortality, decide to create
spheres around the universe, where each god creates a race.
The fifth among the gods is Salssa’el, Goddess of Life, who
breathes vital energy into the creatures so that her brothers’
game can commence.

However, something was different in Saphir. Salssa’el, tired to
see her children fight for the amusement of her four brothers,
decided to create her own race on the side to bring peace to all.
But Salssa’el’s plans did not turn out as she expected and the
four gods got wind of what she was up to -and this is where the
game begins.

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Before this turning point, there are hundreds of pages of
background narrating the development and evolution of the
several races, the different geographical areas in the sphere,
the wars among the races and within them, the most relevant
characters, Saphir’s flora and fauna…

A lot of work has been put into the background to make up
a coherent whole, logical and believable from a narrative
and chronological standpoint. We didn’t want to polarise
between “good” and “evil” races, the background makes clear
that nobody is as good or as bad as they seem.

Moreover, this is not a closed background, but one that will
keep on evolving as the game develops. New races will appear
and the old ones will change, new lands and beasts will be
discovered…

Me: This sounds like you’ve written a whole encyclopedia!
Will all that background be available for players or is it more
for internal use?

Along the process to create the bases for the SphereWars background I’ve
thought the same thing myself!

The fictionalised background will be available to all when the hardcover
Manuscript of Saphir is published. The background is over a hundred
pages and it keeps on expanding. The best is that the results of Cups and
Leagues have an influence on the background.

Me: Cool, a real living and evolving universe! 
Which factions are in the game and how do they differ
from each other?

Currently, there are five races, which are all very different
as regards gameplay, background and looks. Each of them
is aimed at a particular type of player/reader, but they are
all interconnected to make them logical and believable. In a
nutshell, this is what each race is like:

* The Scions of Kurgan are the children of the Ice God. They are
split into Soimi and Regors, but both have the same goal: to feed
from the vital energy of all Saphir denizens, although humans
are their favourite food. The Soimi are monstrous, ruthless
creatures of huge size. The Regors are human-sized, but equally
callous.

As regards gameplay, this is a very good race for hand-to-
hand combat but their number is not great. It also has a cult
of sorcerers that compensates the lack of ranged attacks with
mundane weapons.

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You can play with any of the four Scions of Kurgan Cults, and
each of them requires a player with a different tactical style.

* The Alliance is the union between two human factions
descended from the children of Malesur, the Wind God. The
Legion of the One Hundred Hearts faction ruled Darlime, and
the Mercenary Women of Isha acted as hired swords with the
permission of the rulers. But the Newborns rose in arms, took the
power in Darlime from the Legion and banished the Mercenary
Women of Isha.

In the game, the Alliance is a pretty comprehensive and
balanced band, but it has almost no strong points. Instead of
the Alliance, you can also play with the Legion or the Mercenary
Women of Isha exclusively, which bestows very attractive skills
but you lose what the other faction brings.

* The Packs of Urueh are the children of the God of Incineration.
They are volcanic beings, of multiple sizes and looks, but they
all share the same goal: burning everything in sight. They are
scourging Saphir with the aid of the underground tunnels they
dig. They are at war from their birth to the grave.

In the game, this is a very volatile band, which can do their best
and their worst in the same game. In general, they are numerous
and highly explosive.
You can build your gamelist recruiting combatants from one
of the three different volcanoes: Each volcano has different
skills which change the way you play with a given combatant
depending on its volcano of origin.

* The Adepts of Malesur are a human faction that decided to
leave Darlime when their religion was banned and corruption
took hold of humankind. They lived in peace for a long time, but
Malesur chose them as the new deputies of the god among all
human factions. He has given them a number of offerings to
boost their fighting skills, the most outstanding of which is their
ability to morph into beasts.

In the game, this is a band with highly specialised combatants,
which is an advantage if everything turns out as expected, but a
drawback if your plans are dismantled.
You can build your list with one of the three belief levels. The
highest level allows you to use all offerings and knowledge,
which decrease along with the belief level, although the point
cost is also lower.

* The Newborns is the faction chosen by Salssa’el to discover
Quintessence. Instead of using it for the greater good, they
have used it for the reverse, and the other gods uncovered
their sister’s deceit. They are a technocratic faction, which has
taken the rest of the races by surprise with notable technological
advances developed in secret facilities in the underground of
Darlime’s most important cities.

In the game, this is a very powerful band for ranged attacks, but
with no magical skills. They have technological advances such
as alchemy and engineering, and also a group of assassins
trained in Ziech, a martial art. Besides, they are able to create
artificial life thanks to the Quintessence.

You can build your list with any of the three most important
Newborn guilds, which increase both their strong and
weak points. You can also build a list with the Order of the
Cogwheeled Eagle, which will make it more balanced.

You will be able to play using multiple gameplaying styles, both
with different races and also within the same one. As you can
see, you can play with very different styles even though you are
using the same race.

Me: I really like the Newborn – the miniatures are amazing!
What is the basic game mechanic of SphereWars?

Jordi: The basic game mechanic is divided into four very simple,
intuitive parts:

* Game progress: This is divided into different turns which
depend on the mission. Each player plays one round within the
turn, where each player activates all of his or her miniatures.
There are 3 phases when a miniature is activated: movement,
concentration and combat.

* Movement: Miniatures can run or speed up to move along the

board or charge/engage in hand-to-hand combat.

* Concentration: Some combatants can perform spells and/or
deeds.

* Combat: All combatants can fight hand-to-hand and some have
ranged attacks too.

These four parts, which are very straightforward, open the door
to present more complex rules which make the game extremely
fun, simple and enjoyable.

Me: What would you say is the unique feature of
SphereWars that sets it apart from other games?

Jordi: The game has many features that set it apart from the
rest, but the most outstanding is the originality of the background
and gameplay. As has already been mentioned, we have worked
very hard on the background to present a coherent, logical world
which is at the same time very deep and complex; and we have
created a vast number of race-exclusive skills, arcane objects,
consumables and so on to enhance their uniqueness.

As regards game rules, we have been at work for many years
to create a set of rules which are easy to understand and to
follow. Spellcasting is striking and extremely fun, since in order
to cast a spell you play a poker game with the power gems of
each band. Dice rolls are both entertaining and realistic. For
instance, when engaging in combat or chasing an opponent, dice
are cast simultaneously so both players are invested in the game
even if it’s not their round. We have introduced orders, which are
small actions that interrupt the game and that can be performed
anytime, which keeps an ongoing interest in the game as players
try to find the best opportunity to use them.

Besides putting a lot of work into the background and rules,

we also believe it is very important to have first-rate artists.
This is why we work with many of the most renowned artists in
sculpting, painting, sketching…

Me: This sounds all very innovative and like a lot of fun.
How big is a usual game of SphereWars?

Jordi: It depends on the band points of the game. A Scout game
(300 BP) can be played in 15-20 minutes, a Skirmish game
(500 BP) is 30-40 minutes, a Sovereign game (750 BP) is 50-
60 minutes and an Epic game (1000 BP) can be played in 70-90
minutes.

Tournaments generally use Sovereign games.

Our object with SphereWars is to have quick and swift gameplay,
so that you can play several games in an afternoon or hold a
tournament in half a day.

Me: Although your miniatures are amazing, SphereWars
seems to be not very well known. What steps are you taking
to increase your popularity?

Jordi: It is true that SphereWars is not known outside of
Spain, but this is logical, since the only commercial action we
have undertaken is a little stall in Salute’10. We are going to
implement an operating method which has been developed and
honed in Spain for the last two years. This method includes the
creation of an English website, forum, Twitter and Facebook,
together with a very strong campaign in stores to distribute our
product and apply a singular, novel game system which has
yielded great results in Spain. This includes a National Cup
which is played within an annual SphereWars event, a national
league with awards to attend SphereDay, Masters of Arms in the
stores to teach game mechanics, forum competitions… It’s quite
amazing.

We know that despite having a great game with great miniatures,
a lot of work has to be put towards distribution points and
players.
The forum is fully operational and there is a competition open until 30
November to win a Starter Set.

Me: Spain seems to have a very active wargaming scene.
How well received is your game?

Jordi: We have grown exponentially in Spain. The rulebook has
been in the market for only one year and now multiple stores
sell the whole game set. Besides, we have a thriving gamer
community.

Me: Sadly, your homepage is only available in Spanish at
the moment. Are there plans to offer information in English
soon? Will there be an English rulebook?

Jordi: This is about to change. The forum is already in English
and the website will soon be translated, together with an
important remodelling.

You can download the rules in English for free.

Me: What are the first steps to get started with Sphere
Wars?

Jordi: First of all, you can take advantage of all the free material
we have at everyone’s disposal. The game rules and race rules
are only a few clicks away, and this is all you need to see this
is a first-rate game with bright prospects. Then you can buy a
Starter Pack of your favourite race and you’re ready to play, or
you can also buy a Starter Set which is great to get two players
started -at an amazing price.

It is very easy to get into SphereWars, and once you’re in,
getting out is easy too! 😉

Me: What are your plans for the future?

Currently, we want to work hard in the short term, with long-term plans.
That is, we have many goals to meet but we want to deal with them one at
a time. The first one is to present SphereWars in the UK.

We soon shall say: The game has begun!

Me: Thanks Jordi, SphereWars sounds definitely like
something I will keep an eye on!


Impressive and ambitious, just as I like my new games! Beside the amazing miniatures they seem to have a very good idea what to do and where to go – as I said, something to keep a close eye on! Don’t forget to check out http://www.spherewars.com

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