Tag Archives: plaid hat games

Rumor Mill: Asmodee Exploring a Sale

The board game publisher Asmodee Group is rumored to be exploring a sale. The potential sale could see the company valued at more than 1.5 billion euros/$1.7 billion. According to Reuters, Guyancourt, a French-based company, owned by private equity firm Eurazeo, has hired investment bankers to run the sale process. Eurazeo owns Asmodee.

The company generates 100 million euros/$119 million in 12-month earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Eurazeo took over Asmodee in 2013 for 143 million euros and it is not uncommon for an investment firm to sell in hopes of making a profit.

Asmodee and Eurazeo has been aggressive bringing in new intellectual property and publishing studios. Asmodee includes Fantasy Flight Games, Days of Wonder, Asmodee Studio, Catan Studio, Z-Man Games, Plaid Hat Games, Lookout Games, and more. Their games include Catan, X-Wing, Flick Em Up, Ticket to Ride.

Dead of Winter #4 Preview

Dead of Winter #4

(W) Kyle Starks
(A/C) Gabo
(CA) Brian Hurtt with Bill Crabtree
Age Rating: Mature Audiences
Genre: Horror/Comedy
Price: $3.99
Page Count: 32

The epic conclusion of the thrilling tale based on the smash-hit board game DEAD OF WINTER.

In this, the most thrilling of chapters, our heroes descend upon a police station to save a captured comrade, an apocalyptic psychotic goes to war against everyone, zombies zombies everywhere, and, yes, sweet friends, your new favorite hero, Sparky the Super Dog saves the day and we all learn not only what it takes to be a hero but exactly why that dog hates zombies so much.

Dead of Winter #3 Preview

Dead of Winter #3

(W) Kyle Starks
(A/C) Gabo
(CA) Brian Hurtt with Bill Crabtree
Age Rating: Mature Audiences
Genre: Horror/Comedy
Price: $3.99
Page Count: 32

The zombie apocalypse keeps on keeping on.

Our heroes have escaped the clutches of the terrifying and psychopathic Officer Friendly, but is he hot on their tails? You bet he is, and hiding in that mall isn’t going to do the trick.

Part three of the exciting adaptation of the popular Plaid Hat boardgame continues with zombies, explosions, drunk mall santas, terrifying situations and a sweet precious dog that always saves the day.

Also, Sparky gets a samurai sword.

Dead of Winter #2 Preview

Dead of Winter #2

(W) Kyle Starks
(A/C) Gabo
(CA) Brian Hurtt with Bill Crabtree
Age Rating: Mature Themes
Genre: Horror/Comedy
Price: $3.99
Page Count: 32

Stuck in the freezing Zombiepocalypse that is Dead of Winter, how could things get any worse for our intrepid heroes? How about they get blown up and “rescued” by a drunk mall Santa? How about being held captive in a police station by an insane police officer while it slowly becomes overrun by the zombie menace? That’s being stuck between rock and a hard place, friends!

Kyle Starks and Gabo Talk Oni Press’ Dead of Winter Comic

From the tabletop smash hit comes this new series starring beloved characters from Plaid Hat GamesDead of Winter, written by Kyle Starks, and illustrated by GABO.

In the pantheon of heroes, none are more lovable and loyal than everyone’s beloved good ol’ dog, Sparky. Surviving in the wintery apocalypse of the undead, this former TV star turned zombie killing machine just wants to make friends and be a good boy. As his fellow survivors scavenge for supplies in the frigid wasteland, will Sparky be able to protect his companions from threats both undead and not yet undead?

I got a chance to talk to Kyle and Gabo about the series, board games, and a certain dog.

Board Game Today: Dead of Winter is based on the hit board game, are either of you board game fans? Had you played the game before coming on to the comic?

Kyle Starks: Almost exactly a year ago, Oni Press invited me to Gen Con to promote my work on Rick and Morty and to sort of underhandedly pitch me on this book. Gen Con was my introduction to modern board games, in fact, no joke – the first board game I played was Dead of Winter: The Long Night and I was blown away. I’m way down with board games.

Gabo: WHO ISN’T A FAN OF BOARD GAMES? I mean, we grew up on this stuff right? There’s so many games out there now that are brilliant, but I’m always glued to my desk drawing, so honestly I didn’t get a chance to play Dead of Winter until shortly after I started the project, and it was damn amazing. I’d played a few games here n there with roomates, but I feel this one is so much deeper than anything I’ve seen. SO MUCH SNEAKIER.

BGT: How’d you both come on to the comic?

KS: I’m pretty sure we’re the team, along with Brian Hurtt on covers, that Oni wanted out of the gate. I know, for me, Oni wanted someone who had a unique vision, someone who would bring something besides Another Run Of The Mill Zombie book. And I think the same can be said for Gabo. This isn’t another been there-seen that zombie story – Sparky is a Superstar – and you need the right people for that.

Gabo: Okay I love drawing funny dogs doing silly crap. Charlie knew this. So naturally he hopped on the phone and woke my ass up to tell me about this project. HOW COULD I SAY NO? TO A DOG? FIGHTING ZOMBIES? And Kyle is writing it? AND HURTT IS ON COVERS? I’d be insane to say no.

BGT: With it being a board game, it has a theme and look, but the focus is the interaction and mechanics really. As creators how do you go about adapting that as opposed to a book, movie, or television show?

KS: I think first and foremost the most important thing with any fiction is the story, so that definitely came first, but if you know the game, you’ll see over the four issues, it definitely plays out in a sequence that homages the game.  The way the characters act, where they go, what they do – all comes from the game. I legitimately love the Dead of Winter franchise. I love the play mechanics, the characters, the locations – so getting the chance to bring that to life was a dream. AND we put a ton of Easter Eggs in there.  It’s a love letter to the game.

Gabo: I think Kyle has done a remarkable job taking his love for the game and written scripts that echo that. I’m not as familiar with the game but I’ve been studying its visual aspects, really trying to immerse myself in the universe these people might be in. I’m just hoping the Easter Eggs we tossed here n there aren’t too obscure for people!

BGT: The game itself has a look as far as art which the comic differs from. When it came to the look of the comic itself, how was that decided?

KS: You’d probably need to talk to editorial about that – I know our editor, Charlie Chu, wanted Gabo from the beginning. And it’s different from game artist Fernanda Suarez sure, but for comics you need a sequential artist who can build a world and Gabo not only brings that to the table, he breaks that table with it.

Gabo: It was a bit of a struggle trying to figure out the right balance at first, Fernanda Suarez’s work is gorgeous and beautifully rendered, so I had basically break that beauty down to a very basic level. Lord knows I would have loved to of painted the entire book, but that would have taken months per issue! We decided on a very simple look, but still managed to capture the essence of all the characters, and even brought to life some new ones that I think fit beautifully into the world. For those familiar with the game, I think you’ll love the guest appearances! KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED!

BGT: The game has locations but beyond that the world is really in the mind of those playing, when it came to fleshing out the look of the world, what were some of your inspirations?

KS: I think Gabo will agree – the locations depicted in the game are the hugest of inspirations. The game has an entire fleshed out world that makes it easy to play in. I alluded to it earlier, but the for the purposes of writing the book, for me, “going places to get things” is a huge repeated plot device in the book the same as it is for the game.

Gabo: The locations in this project have some art already designed for them in the game, but the insides of these places we had to rummage around our noggins and try to figure out what you might actually find inside them. A lot of my inspiration just came from personal experience and a lot of photo reference haha.

BGT: One of the big things of the game is that each player has their own win objective and that may not be in the best interest of the rest of the players. Is that something you thought about when developing the series?

KS: What’s great about Dead of Winter is that it does these narrative things without having a ton of in game narrative. Aside from the Crossroad Cards it’s a lot of implied narrative – but those objectives are just characters motivations for story purpose. All of my characters are doing what they do for their own reasons and I think you’ll find they line up with those cards you’ve had in your hand. The Fireman, Gabriel Diaz just wants to save people. Annaleigh Chan, The Lawyer, has a curious mind that needs fulfilling. So on and so forth.  Is there a Betrayer this game? Well, you’ll have to wait until the end of the game, right?

BGT: Sparky is a big part of the comic and game and have a dog be the star in many ways makes the series stand out. When writing Sparky, how difficult is it to write for a dog. It’s not like there’s dialogue where you can convey things. Are there challenges to that as an artist?

KS: It’s a challenge for sure, but a thrilling one. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I just though, what if John McCain was a dog and off to the races. Sparky is the Most Heroic character I’ve ever written. The purest, the bravest, the most indomitable. So it was a treat. It was great.

BGT: Was there anything that surprised you two in adapting a board game?

KS: I was shocked they wanted me to create new characters since the world they have is already inhabited by such great full ones – but, also, like, I’m going to jump  on the opportunity to make something that could end up being a playable character – and it happened which is literally just mindblowing to me. The Ruckus promo card is going to exist, albeit in very small quantities, but still being able to add to the GAME too? Amazing.

Gabo: Holy hell yes, creating new characters for the series! That was a curve ball and I think we might have a grand slam on our hands. Kyle has written some pretty great new characters that I think will most definitely make the game that much better– that’s if you can get your hands on a Ruckus promo card heheh.

BGT: There’s obviously a lot of zombie comics out there, how much discussion was there to make this unique in story, characters, and look?

KS: I don’t remember if at that initial meeting the discussion was, right out the gate, to include Sparky, but I’m almost positive it was, so I think the moment someone thought, “Let’s do a zombie book but with a dog as the hero” it checks all those boxes. I know, for my part, I knew we were going to do an action-comedy zombie movie with a canine lead and so it’s going to be different, it’s going to be unique.  And Oni put together a team with Gabo and I that by nature is going to be different than everyone else’s take.

Gabo: I’m just thrilled that this book isn’t going to be nearly as drab and depressing as most of the zombie books on the shelves. I understand the situation all those people are in when this stuff goes down – but man, can we get some dark comedy in here for once? WELL YOU GOT IT. AND HERE’S A DOG FOR GOOD MEASURE. HE’S A GOOD BOY.

BGT: What else do you all have coming out that fans should check out?

KS: Oh man, I’m a busy boy, so a ton. I write Rick and Morty for Oni Press every month, and draw it every fifth issue or so. I have my current series with Image Comics that I write and draw with colors from Chris Schweizer called Rock Candy Mountain who’s first trade comes out at the end of September. Also at the end of September, Oni is printing my original graphic novel Kill Them All which is like Die Hard and Moonlighting smushed together with a huge John Woo influence. Lots of good stuff. Everyone tell your local comic store you want it!

Gabo: I’m losing my mind over here with the truck load of stuff I have coming out of and through me right now. The fourth and final volume of THE LIFE AFTER just came out, it’s illustrated by me and written by Joshua Hale Fialkov- published of course by Oni Press! I also illustrate an all ages  webcomic that has received Harvey nominations in 2015 and 2016 for best webseries, AlbertTheAlien.com. Beyond that, I’m working on growing my Patreon, so if you’d like to support my work please check that out. AND, if you’d like to catch a sneak peak of new pages I’m working on for Dead of Winter, I stream Wednesday’s starting around 4pm CST!

BGT: Thanks so much for chatting!

Read a review of Dead of Winter #1 now at our sister site Graphic Policy!

Review: Dead of Winter #1

In the pantheon of heroes, none are more lovable and loyal than everyone’s beloved good ol’ dog, Sparky. Surviving in the wintery apocalypse of the undead, this former TV star turned zombie killing machine just wants to make friends and be a good boy. As his fellow survivors scavenge for supplies in the frigid wasteland, will Sparky be able to protect his companions from threats both undead and not yet undead?

The smash-hit board game Dead of Winter by Plaid Hat Games comes to comics courtesy of writer Kyle Starks and artist Gabo. For those who don’t know, Dead of Winter is a tabletop cooperative board game where teams of individuals have to work together with a twist, each has their own agenda, and that agenda might not be the best for the group.

I myself haven’t played the game but have circled it enough times to get a general sense of what’s going on without the fine detail (and this is one I eventually do want to get… but the pile of games already!).

This first issue dives into the world with the various personalities from the game including its break out star Sparky and translates the game itself really well. Starks does a solid job of capturing things from the game in a way that players will appreciate it and new readers will just enjoy it (searching the police station and grocery store are examples). The comic is decent creating a new addition to the saturated zombie market and doing just enough to create a unique view of it all.

The comic achieves that uniqueness by focusing on translating the game. In the game you’re limited to actions such as scavenging, attacking, clearing trash, moving between locations, etc. and this comic has each of those moments making it feel like decisions are being made in a game. What also works is that each character introduced has their own personality in a way that it feels like a group of people sitting around the game table tackling a scenario. Its translation of the game experience creates a bonus in many ways. Whether more mechanics, like secret win conditions, will be introduced and if they are how. Those secret win conditions are simply enough motivations for each character and how closely the comic will adheare to that is unknown.

There’s also the focus on Sparky who plays a big role in the comic and gives you a loveable dog to cheer for. There’s been a few “animal” focused comics lately but here we see man’s best friend front and center and kicking lots of ass.

Gabo’s art is the interesting aspect of it all. There’s obviously many other zombie focused comics out there and this one takes a different turn with a more cartoon aspect to it. Not only is the grittiness diminished due to that, but it also deviates from the board game’s art. I’m a little torn about it actually as the cartoon(ish) look takes away some of the tension but if the comic mimicked the game art, it’d just look like every other zombie comic out there. Instead we get something that feels like a cross between Walking Dead and Plants vs Zombies. By the end I didn’t notice it but towards the beginning it stood out.

The first issue does a good job of capturing the game and gives more than enough nods to it so that long time fans will be satisfied and it’s done in a way that’s not overwhelming for new readers. The comic has a grasp of what makes the game special in many ways and overall the success of the series will rest in how it translates all of that as the series goes on. So far though, it’s really getting me to want to finally dive in and play this game that I’ve heard such amazing things about, watched play, but never had a chance to play myself (Gen Con here I come!).

Story: Kyle Starks Art: Gabo
Story: 8.05 Art: 7.0 Overall: 7.85 Recommendation: Read

Originally posted on Graphic Policy.
Oni Press provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review