DeadFellas: Creator Interview
Ninja Division’s intrepid John Cadice recently had a burlap sack thrown over his head and was driven to an undisclosed location to interview two of the creators of DeadFellas: Brian Snoddy and Jesper Myrfors. The following transcript was delivered to the Ninja Division offices under a half-eaten pastrami sandwich. John’s whereabouts are still unknown.
John: Gentlemen, it’s been great to be involved with the 2nd edition of DeadFellas, Ninja Division is proud to add it to our lineup of great games.
Brian: Jesper and I are very happy and thankful that Ninja Division was able to pick up our game.
John: DeadFellas has a real tongue-in-cheek take on running with the zombie mafia. Where did the concept for this game and its characters come from?
Jesper: I wanted to do a mafia game and had an Idea for a game called “Whack-a-mook.” I knew Brian Loved mafia stuff so I called him and he declines because he was in talks with James Ernest on another mob game. But as things came together James gave Brian his blessing to work on this game and Deadfellas was born.
Brian: Jesper is 100% correct here. James Ernest asked for just $50. He was just joking and also asked for a ham and cheese sandwich—that I never gave him—and that his name to be added to the credits. I said, “no problem. I’ll put it [your name] on the cover.” And I did, and I paid him the $50 (in cash) at PAX 2012, or 2013, I forget these dates.
John: Brian, some players will instantly recognize your artwork on the cards. With so many off the boat undead mooks to draw, how did you go about realizing each one in such characterful detail? I’m sure there is a funny story as to how they all got named. Do you have a favorite?
Brian: I’m a mafia buff, and one of the interesting things about these guys is the nicknames. With zombies, you can make them actually look like the nickname. I thought that would be a lot of fun to draw. Some of these “mooks” are based on real mob guys, and some Jesper and I just made up. Jesper came up with a heck of a lot of funny names. I think the mob should hire him to name people in their crew.
As for my favorite name, that would be Joey Coco Pops, which was the nickname that some guys connected with the Lucchese crime family named that nut Joey Buttafuoco—remember him?
John: What ideas did you have for the play mechanics of the game – it plays so smooth and easy, but you must have had other concepts for play? What about the final version of gameplay do you like best? What makes it a good design?
Jesper: Our driving design principle was, “if it’s not fun, cut it from the game.” Also, “drunk people should be able to play this.” It was Brian and James really who simplified the idea that the game should center on whacking people and whacking people only.
Brian: Jesper is also 100% correct here. I cannot add anything new or creatively interesting here. Just that I would like to thank my coworkers at Airtight Games for helping me “playtest” this game at our lunch time for several weeks.
John: It seems that the evidence lockers are full of all kinds of zany disguises, getaway vehicles, and weapons. What is your favorite combination to whack a mook?
Jesper: King of Vegas! King of Vegas all the way, we steal that card from each other all the time in game, it’s the holy grail of disguises. For a vehicle I prefer the U.F.O and the RPG for a weapon. I picture it going down like this.
Our mook is in a casino when he gets the order to rub out another crew’s mook. So, thinking fast, he knocks out an Elvis impersonator and steals his duds. On the way there he gets abducted, but before they can probe him he takes over the craft and thinks “Dis here jalopy would make a bang up ride for a hit.” So he flies by the army surplus store, steals an RPG (it’s a pretty all-encompassing surplus store) and buzzes over to the target’s hangout.
John: Finally, which do you see yourself more as: a spicy meatball or a creamy cannoli?
Jesper: I’m more of a pasta guy myself.
Brian: I’m a Colt 45 guy. “Creamy cannoli” are for fanooks.