- What does Encoded Designs do in the RPG world?
Phil – Encoded Designs is a tabletop game company that primarily makes RPGs but is designing a few board games as well. We have an eclectic mix of interests, and we have published materials for Fate, D&D 5e, and Dungeon World, among others.
- How has the RPG community changed in the last 5 years, and how has Encoded Designs adapted to this?
Phil – In the last five years, I think the proliferation of actual play podcasts and streaming media has been the most significant change we have seen in the community. We are in a place where people can hear or see a game being played before deciding to buy the game. This is great for consumers because it has helped people find the kinds of experiences they want, without buying products that are not what they want.
Encoded Designs is adapting to this through our partners at Misdirected Mark productions. We are able to have games that we designed played on She’s a Super Geek or the Wednesday Evening Podcast All Stars, as well as any one-off APs that we want to produce. We are starting to experiment with streaming on Misdirected Mark in the new Gameroom segment.
- Have you worked in partnership with other RPG groups before and would you do so again?
Phil – Our most successful partnership to date was with Third Eye Games in producing Part-Time Gods of Fate. We really enjoyed working with Eloy Lasanta, and would be happy to do it again in the future.
We are very interested in working with other designers. Those relationships take time to cultivate and nurture, but we are strong proponents of collaboration and enjoy when we can partner with someone.
- Have you found different parts of the RPG community easier or harder to deal with?
Phil – One of the things about having a company with partners who have diverse tastes in games is that we have some connection and understanding into a number of different communities. It gives us the ability to be present in the D&D community as well as the PbtA community without any difficulty.
- What is the hardest lesson or situation Encoded has dealt with in the past?
Phil – The hardest lesson we have faced is accepting the limitations of the size of our company. We are not flush with cash, and we have to be very pragmatic about the decisions we make regarding what projects we can commit to and what projects are out of our reach.
We have a wonderful dice game we developed that we can’t produce because we don’t have the funds or the expertise to get into creating custom dice. So that game has to be shelved until we can find a partner who would want to make the game with us, or until we get large enough to be able solve the manufacturing challenges ourselves.
- What is Encoded Designs’ strengths? Why should people choose your products/services?
Phil – I think that our main strength is our teamwork. We work very well together and are able to pull off some very fast turnarounds when needed. We all have amazing respect for each other’s talents, and we all contribute our skills into getting a product made. Those are not really things that are easy to see in what we do.
You should choose our products because we bring a depth of knowledge to what we do. Besides most of us being designers, we are all also podcasters who spend a great deal of time thinking and engaging in discussions about design in our respective areas on a weekly / bi-weekly basis.
- Do you see the RPG community at large changing in the next 5-10 years?
Phil – What I want to see in the next 5-10 years is for this community to grow more diverse, and for those people to not only game, but to design and impart their unique perspectives about race, gender, and sexuality into the gaming space.
- Do you see Encoded growing, changing direction or maintaining the status quo for the future?
Phil – I think we are still getting our sea legs … we are still growing. We are going to start our first Kickstarters this year, and from there we will grow and gain experience. Internally, we are getting more mature on how we manage our work, and in creating efficient processes for what we do. We are working to make ourselves more efficient publishers, and I am hoping in the next few years we will see that come to fruition.
- How can people best get in touch with Encoded Designs?
Phil – The best way is to follow us on Twitter: @encodeddesigns. You can always find us on Facebook and G+ as well. We have a website at encodeddesigns.com. Our products are at DriveThruRPG.