PrintE-mail Written by Ed Fortune

Chris Birch is the publishing director of Modiphus Games and is responsible for the crowdfunding of the Thunderbirds Co-operative Board Game. We caught up with him to find out more about this new project.

STARBURST: Why Thunderbirds?
Chris Birch: I've been a fan since I was literally a kid, drawing the Thunderbirds for my drawing projects in Kindergarten any chance I got, listening to the old vinyl versions of episodes, reading every annual and pouring over the detailed cutaways - yes I can say Thunderbirds was one of my early inspirations. I just love big clunky diesel powered machines!

Why is the public still into Thunderbirds?
Kids grow up into parents who show their kids the show, and because it wasn't dumbed down like a lot of kids TV, new generations still love it. And parents love watching it with the kids, plus it doesn't feature as much violent fighting as many kids’ shows do. Plus, well it's awesome.

How similar will it be to other Matt Leacock games?
It's a co-op game so that is similar, however Matt has explored different mechanics with this game to drive it forward and I think it really 'feels' like a series of Thunderbirds.

What are the challenges of designing a co-op game within a set franchise?

We obviously have to get approval on everything to do with the game, though ITV have been incredibly supportive and love the project. This does cause some delay in the process which you have to build in, making sure that everything is true to the original shows, like whether Thunderbird 3 was red or orange.


What is the most novel feature of the game?

I'd say it is being able to move the character around in the Thunderbirds vehicles and figuring out who will go on a rescue mission.

Will we see any other Anderson themed games?

Maybe. I would just love to make model SPVs for Captain Scarlet.

Where can we play a demo, and will you be at Andercon?

Yes, we'll be playing the game at Andercon, UK Games Expo, Gen Con in the USA, Essen Spiel in Germany, and Dragonmeet in London.

How have Thunderbirds fans responded so far?

They've stampeded us! Seriously, it's been an incredible five days raising £122,000 already.


Are you tempted to do a Gemini Force One game?

I'd love to see where Jamie takes Gemini Force One. It's an awesome concept. With games we need lots of visual material to work with. Once the story develops, who knows!

Why does everyone use Kickstarter for pre-order games these days?

Games cost a lot of money, and I mean massive amounts, to fund. If you're producing plastic miniatures figure on $20,000 to $30,000 of costs just for the moulds, then for the actual production you have to produce 3,000 to 5,000 to get a price low enough that you could actually sell it in retail and make money. That usually means an investment of $50,000 upwards. It's not an easy thing for a small company to take on, and there's lots of other costly things like shipping and safety testing that have to be figured in. Plus you don't get that money back until a month or two after it goes in to distribution. It's a long time to tie up that kind of money. Kickstarter lets you see if the fans want it, and usually in return the fans get loads more back. For example, with the Thunderbirds Kickstarter if you put in £40 you get the base game, but if you put in £75 you get ALL the expansions we unlock. We've already unlocked two, so that £75 is now worth £95 and growing. So it's a two-way process; the fans get more value, we get the funds to make it better and cover the financial risks.

The Thunderbirds Co-operative Board Game Kickstarter runs till March 29th. More details can be found on Kickstarter.


Find your local STARBURST stockist HERE, or buy direct from us HERE. For our digital edition (available to read on your iOS, Android, Amazon, Windows 8, Samsung and/or Huawei device - all for just £1.99), visit MAGZTER DIGITAL NEWSSTAND.



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