Interview: An Interview with Mark Walker of Lock n Load Publishing
The Wargamer's Jim Zabek sits down with Mark Walker, the man behind Lock n Load Publishing, in this latest interview. Read on to take a look at their chat about boardgaming, digital downloads, and maybe even some Spiderman...
The Wargamer's Jim Zabek recently had the chance to chat with Lock 'n Load Publishing's Mark Walker about how things were going.
Jim Zabek (JZ): It’s been a little over a six months since you opened the doors to Lock ‘n Load Publishing. How’s it going?
Mark Walker (MW): Fantastic. Well… okay, that’s kind of a pat answer isn’t it? It’s going very well. Some parts of the business are more difficult than I envisioned, but I’m very happy with our progress. Band of Heroes continues to sell well, Swift and Bold will ship by May 18th, and we have Day of Heroes, Heroes of the Blitzkreig, and World at War that are within inches of heading to the printer. I think we’ll release a quality and quantity of games that equals just about anyone in the business this year.
JZ: And there are the “downloadables.” Does that really work?
MW: Yeah, it works big time. As I’ve said in numerous venues, I believe it’s an idea whose time has come.
JZ: Well, it’s not exactly a new idea. People have been selling desktop published games for awhile.
MW: These are not desktop published games. They are digital downloads. I’m a HUGE DTP fan, but those games have long carried the stigma of not-quite-ready-for-prime-time. Often their graphics are a shade shady and the editing leaves holes in the rules. Such isn’t the case with any of Lock ‘n Load Publishing’s downloadables. My thin wallet can tell you that we spared no expense, especially with Island War Deluxe, in creating what we believe is a professional game by any standards. We put the money that go into paper, ink, and postage with a conventional DTP title and poured it into design, art, and editing. It makes a big difference.
JZ: Speaking of Island War Deluxe tell us a little bit about it.
MW: It’s a simple, fun, and colorful tactical system. We’ve incorporated ranged fire, melee, armor, overruns, artillery, and even planes, in 16 pages of rules. The armor rules are my favorite. Take the range, modify it for accuracy, roll 2d6. If the number is greater than the range, you hit. No fuss, marginal muss.
JZ: And of course those Japanese must be able to set up hidden from view.
MW: No way. I think hidden placement is the lamest of lame rules. My Japanese use something called infiltration movement that DOES allow them to pop up next to unsuspecting Marines, but without keeping track of the Japanese placement on a beer-stained napkin. The Japanese may also expend their entire movement allowance to move from one cave to another, allowing them to reinforce threatened areas of the map.
JZ: How’s the Lock ‘n Load computer game, Heroes of Stalingrad (HOS), coming?
MW: It’s coming along well. I’m very excited about the possibilities the computer opens up. As you know, much of my time has been spent writing about the computer industry, so I hope that experience, coupled with what I’ve learned in the board game design field, will pay off in a turn-based computer game that recalls the golden age of turn-based gaming, yet innovates as few turn-based games do.