August 26, 2016 by brennon
You can check out the Q&A below and then delve into the Kickstarter on the link above.
BoW: Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves and the background of how the game came to be as it’s quite the story!
Lior: Sharon is a landscape architect and I’m (Lior) an Electrical engineer. Both of us are creative thinkers, and are meticulous at everything we do from our work to family.
A year ago, we found out about we have a common passion for gaming when our boys became best friends at school and the families met for a cook out.
Since than it has been a journey of creativity and fun, a roller coaster for small business entrepreneurs, a joy ride!
Sharon was a tank commander in the IDF. One day on an outpost overseeing one of Israel’s open borders Sharon’s company commander stopped by for his routine round with tanks dispersed in the darkness, checking on their spirit and combat readiness. They had been serving together for quite some time and there was a special bond between the tank commanders in the company and their platoon leader.
In many talks Sharon shared his passion for gaming from a young age (using any material he could find at home to make games for friends) and so his CO said, “well, if you’re so passionate about it, why don’t you design a game about our reality, a game about commanding tanks?”
Eureka! Sparing no time the wheels of thought started crunching away. From sketches, to drawings, to models, to cardboard prototypes the creative spring was opened, combining passion and reality was unstoppable.
But tragedy struck, their tank company was involved in active duty in the north borders of Israel ten years ago and that same platoon commander was killed! The pain of the loss was enormous, the company lost a dear man. Taking that pain with him Sharon never stopped thinking about him and channelling his pain into action and the spirit of his commander’s thoughts he had to finish FINAL ACT!
So, moving on for many years doing active reserves duty several days a year each time the guys would gather up around Sharon’s tank as the prototype got more sturdy and elaborate. They would stand around over the players which at this point were the best play testers possible and Sharon would take notes and hear different ideas and comments about strategy and usability, perfecting Final Act to the bone.
When we met and decided to follow his dreams we began Tyto Games, a company that engraved on its standard, innovation, creativity, design and smart fun, Final Act was an obvious choice. It was ready, it has been boiled down to a great tactical adrenaline rush.
Played by experts in tank combat, it held the essence of strategic and tactical thought and with its cool custom wooden game pieces and very innovative and unique control panels system (resembling tank dashboard) it was great to handle. Like a tank it was sturdy but dynamic and easily controlled, with great depth and strength.
Just last week was the annual memorial for Sharon’s platoon commander. It is a special experience that brings immense closure and satisfaction and we are so proud of what we managed to create in this very difficult reality.
Could you go into some of the basics of the game and how it plays?
Setup begins with each commander having two obstacles to place anywhere on their half of the board and three berms which are tactical tools. Tanks can climb on them for better firing ranges or hide behind them for repair and regrouping. This is done discreetly using the control panels as screens.
Allocating each of the seven tanks each players controls is also a tactical decision. Based on how you setup your map you now choose if the put more forces on the flanks or try to breach you opponent’s line through the middle. This is also done discreetly.
Once you declare DONE the map is revealed and the game movement can commence. Each player has a control panel (very cool!) where they set their movement orders for their tanks.
Once movement is set both players put the panel aside in order to do a munitions round. They now have to anticipate their opponent’s moves and place a shell assigned to each tank by matching insignia according to the firing funnel explained thoroughly in the rules. There are visual aids in the rules and on the board itself to make this task easy.
After the shelling is done control panels are revealed and movement is done, a tank moving into a shelled area is marked with a really cool wooden flame cutout. Two hits and a tank is disabled.
Movement is done together, shells that missed are removed, those that aren’t are replaced with flames and there is a stage of wow/excitement/anticipation and some fear for a tank that is already hit. But, it is a great climax in the game each time you find out if you managed to advance or retreat without getting hit.
This only scratches the surface of the game because of this fun flowing rhythm and the elaborate tactical planning and thinking that is pretty clear after a couple of rounds.
If you don’t think, you will be defeated faster than you can imagine, so you take action and ponder, you retreat and regroup, the dynamics are really nerve wracking.
So, the Control Panels, can you tell us a little bit about why you went with them?
Apart from all the cool custom made wooden pieces of the game, the control panels are the heart of Final Act. They are sturdy and include wooden dials and thick cardboard with wooden stands. Each dial is assigned to a tank and it has eight options to move a tank and one stop option and one out option.
A tank , like in real life, can’t move sideways so the dials take care of that. This signals turning direction so you can also face your left side and help protect the left flank even if you’re on the right side of the board.
We can’t stress enough how fun it is to handle the control panels.
The control panels are designed so they can be set up discreetly. It is always an exciting moment, in any stage of the game, but towards the end after the clock has almost completed a cycle it is really amazing to see your opponent’s response to the moves you selected. It adds an element of surprise for your opponent and adds an extra thrill to avoiding shots from the enemy.
Tactically the game seems like quite the chin-scratcher! What kind of interesting tactical advice would you give to budding tank commanders?
Like a good poker game don’t forget the commander across the board is still human. They might be older or wiser, more experience or trained, but reading their reactions and testing out their intentions even verbally will help and make the game even more interesting.
Have there been any stand out ‘wow’ moments when playing the game; a proper watercooler moment if you will?
For us the first wow moment was when we realised the intense real life tactics that can be used in the game in order to win. For example, column movement, a very common military formation suddenly popped onto the board when one of the players had his tanks behind the berms/hills and didn’t have line of sight.
They were hit and he wanted them to stay on the defensive but suddenly the right flank was open. If he climbs up the ramp he’ll get hit again and disabled and there were a few more enemy tanks around this unit! With their position obscured by the berm/hill and moving in a column the player got so far into their opponents area they were unstoppable.
The wow moment was the realisation of how close to life Final Act tactics get. What a pleasure it was!
While the game is for two players could it be played with more – maybe with two people each side helping with the command decisions?
Yes and this was actually brought up by popular demand during the Kickstarter campaign. We’ve added an additional set of insignia that allows for two board 2 Vs 2 games. In addition there is also what we call Aiding Forces which is already designed and ready to manufacture.
If we cross a certain threshold in funding , Stretch Goal Four we call it, that is a whole subset of three more units you control on the board that a third/fourth person can operate on their own with a teammate.
Who do you think the game would appeal to most?
One of the nicest things about the game is the versatility in gameplay level. It will most definitely be a game a teen develops into and plays with a parent until the parent realises the student has become the master!
We really think that the game will appeal to everyone as the gameplay is dynamic and exciting for everyone involved. To be honest, the only reason the game might not appeal to everyone is the theme of war.
Do you have thoughts on where you’d like to take the game next with expansions and the like?
This game is definitely aching for a four player version that will allow not only 2 Vs 2 but also true each man for himself gameplay. The option for alliances and as a result their eventual demise is also exciting!
Expanding the theme to include more armed forces like infantry, air support, artillery and such is at the back of our minds too.
How have you found the Kickstarter experience? We always get very interesting replies to this one and the varying outcomes of diving into fundraising?
It has been an unbelievable experience in an age of internet technology and social interaction.
It really is truly amazing what can be done today and since one of Tyto Games’ goal as a company is to inset technology into gaming and “bridge the gap between the generation who created this technology and the ones who uses it” it is truly a special thing.
Here’s the but however. It is an emotional ride on 10 foot high waves, fighting for the crowd’s attention with so many things happening around them and laying yourself out there for judgement and criticism, whether verbal or not. Just meeting your goal is intimidating!
That said the random strangers that suddenly pick up your message and start diving into the game, reading the rules, learning more about about it, suggesting ideas and almost becoming a developer with you is such a fulfilling experience.
There are great people out there; people that you don’t know and that will go the extra mile for you without any reason other than that they love what you created. It sparks a relationship after a short virtual encounter, really extraordinary!
Thanks for the chat Lior and best of luck with the rest of the campaign!
If you’ve been spurred on to dive into this game and find out more you can find a gameplay video over on their Kickstarter Page and more.
What do you think of this one?
"...his CO said, "well, if you're so passionate about it, why don't you design a game about our reality, a game about commanding tanks?""
"For us the first wow moment was when we realised the intense real life tactics that can be used in the game in order to win..."