PAX AUS INDIE SHOWCASE 2023 – Kingless: Festival of Explosions
The PAX AUS Indie Showcase is a chance to see some of the best new and upcoming titles from the ANZ digital and tabletop development scene, with past winners including such celebrated games as Unpacking, Hollow Knight, Yum Cha and many more. The 2023 Indie Showcase is shaping up to be another highlight of the event and Player2 encourages visitors to PAX AUS to make their way to the PAX Rising area and check out the following title, as well as the many other excellent indies on display.
Hobart based Two19 Studios are returning to the Indie Showcase with Kingless: Festival of Explosions, an expansion for their 2021 Indie Showcase winning title Kingless. A fast-paced competitive card game for 2-6 players full of take-that and frequent upsets, the expansion promises even more ‘explosive’ action on the table.
Player2 spoke to Two19’s Sebastian and Nathan about Kingless: FoE and how it feels to return to PAX AUS with a second win.
Player2: Kingless won a spot in the 2021 Indie Showcase which was celebrated in person in 2022, how does it feel to return again with Kingless: Festival of Explosions selected as a 2023 Indie Showcase winner?
Sebastian: In short, absolutely awesome! Winning the indie showcase in 21 and as you said coming back in-person in 22 was pretty special. This was our first PAX (ever) and an amazing opportunity to show off Kingless.
Winning again with FoE this year is such an honour and also a testament to how well the expansion is shaping up to be. To get another opportunity to connect with our fans and all the tabletop community as a whole is just spectacular.
Player2: When we last spoke, Two19 were hoping to have Festival of Explosions hit crowdfunding in late 2022. What got in the way of this plan coming to fruition?
Nathan: One of our biggest strengths for Kingless was our great artwork, this is the cause of the delay for the Festival of Explosions. We have very high standards to meet for Kingless and really want to capture the chaotic and fun nature of the Festival of Explosions, which has led to delays. The silver lining to this delay is the game has developed onwards and is Kickstarter ready as soon as we get the artwork.
Player2: How does developing an expansion differ from the process for a base game? Some games like Spirit Island or many FFG titles can feel incomplete without that first expansion, yet Kingless felt fully realised from the box – is this a ‘more stuff’ expansion or does it significantly alter the gameplay experience?
Nathan: Developing an expansion takes different route than developing a base game, with expansions you have a framework to follow being the base rules, even so you have a huge amount of scope to change and add to the original game! I’ve loved having the opportunity to expand on and improve Kingless.
There is nothing worse than opening a new expansion to find a lack of content so this is definitely a MORE STUFF expansion. The base gameplay follows the tried-and-true Kingless framework but there’s 54 new cards, including a whole new card type, as well as 5 new fun and exciting actions all revolving around the Festival of Explosions theme. If you enjoyed Kingless be ready for the Festival of Explosions because it turns it up to 11.
Player 2: What lessons did PAXAUS teach you last year, and how will it change your approach to the Kingless: FoE booth in 2023?
Nathan: Caffeine. Caffeine. Caffeine. As a small indie developer I’m ready and prepared for long hours at the booth. Also more pins! We ran out of pins pretty early last year so you can be sure we will be stocking up this year!
Sebastian: I’m going to jump in on this one as well! – We ran out of stock last year on day 2 – So making sure we have plenty of copies of Kingless to rock and roll is #1 on the list for me.
While I would love to be able to play with everyone at PAX – We only have a small space to play in. This meant that people were having to wait to play or come back a few times and miss out (we hope to see you again this year all those that missed out playing with us in 2022!).
This year we are going to adjust the Kingless rules a little to make for speedier playthroughs – As well as running a gameplay preview video, so even if you don’t get to have Nathan explain the rules to you, you should be able to pick up how the game plays from the video.
Player2: Any chance you’ll be sharing your faster Kingless variant online after the show? Do you have any particular ‘house rules’, variants or frequently asked questions that pop up about the game?
Sebastian: Well, funny should you mention “house rules” – We have actually put together a menu of our House Rules. Some of these are pretty crazy, but a lot of fun.
We are planning to play Kingless using the Small Will’s Kids Meal rule set. This quicker variant will allow more attendees at Pax to experience Kingless with the Two19 team, something we are really excited for!
Player2: Is Adventures of Overstone still on the horizon, or have other titles pushed their way to the front of development for the team?
Nathan: It’s fair to say that other titles are coming through the works. As much as we’ve loved making the Festival of Explosions and expanding Kingless in Overstone. It’s time to look to the Horizon. Literally the horizon as we look to expand the Overstone world into some new games and quirky characters.
Player2: DecideOn was something you had just launched when we ran your first interview with Player2, what has the reception to that been like?
Sebastian: Reception to DecideOn has been really well received! As a small side project for us to test the waters with something a little different, I’ve been surprised.
You always run the risk with spreading your resources too thin when you branch out into too many areas, but this is a space we will continue to explore and develop further over time.
Player2: Kingless: Festival of Explosions is heading to crowdfunding soon – what can potential backers look forward to in that campaign?
Nathan: Backers can expect an expansion packed with 54 entertaining new cards. Including 18 dwarfs, 8 items, 14 events and most importantly 14 attachments, a brand new card type in Kingless. These attachments bring chaotic and explosive fun to the Hammer and Crown Inn.
Not only that there are 5 brand new actions, these actions let you duel your frenemies, or even participate in carnival games which include game winning prizes- but to hear more you’ll have to come see us at PAX AUS!
Player2: Is there anything the Two19 team is particularly keen on checking out at PAXAUS this year?
Sebastian: Last year, we were playing back-to-back games at the stand, so we didn’t actually get to see any of PAX! (a good problem to have of course!).
I’m not sure that this year will be any different, but as we have a little more awareness of how the day will pan out, hopefully we will get to wonder the halls a little and uncover some gems.
Player2: Where does the team stand on playing Kingless together these days? It certainly has a lot of take-that, what is the Two19 meta like and who is the person who tends to get piled-on the most?
Nathan: We still love playing a round of Kingless internally, I’m very PAX ready to play with our fans!
Sebastian is definitely the punching bag so to speak in Kinless when the Two19 team runs a game! I like to think that Seb is the fool the most and I take the Crown. Designing the game has its perks and I’m good at coming up with a winning strategy!
PAX AUS Attendees can find the Kingless: Festival of Explosions booth in the PAX AUS Tabletop Indie Showcase section of PAX AUS from October 6-8. Kingless can be purchased right now direct from Two19 or from Amazon AU.