Anthony Hore and The Pet Cemetery Board Game
Anthony Hore is a professional graphic designer and illustrator with a passion for gaming. The Pet Cemetery is Anthony's first board game design that is launching on Kickstarter with plans for more games to come in the near future. He is passionate about game design and truly believes a well-made game is good for the soul. It brings people together, fosters creativity, and can sometimes even help players practice life skills, such as patience, restraint, and sportsmanship.
JF: I saw Pet Cemetery when I was a youngling, (big mistake) and I was immediately traumatized. That Jud death scene (NSFW) has haunted me my whole life. That’s why when I stumbled upon your game The Pet Cemetery, I was excited to see the art direction was very charming. What was the reason for going this direction with the art for the game?
AH: Ha, I know the feeling! Horror has always had a place in my heart even though movies like Pet Cemetery scared the bejesus out of me. When I first started to think about the theme and art for the game I was in the middle of playing a campaign of Mansions of Madness with a bunch of friends. I have always been compelled by H.G. Lovecraft and the idea of monsters, zombies, and ghosts. I knew that this theme resonated with me but at the same time I wanted to design a game that was family-friendly and accessible so I choose an illustration style that aired on the side of the cute, cuddly, and friendly. I found the juxtaposition between horror and cute to be something really intriguing and fun to play with.
JF: You have done all the art and design yourself, that’s quite a feat! How did you manage jumping between the various roles of designing, developing, and doing the art for the game?
AH: It's been a headache and a huge learning curve that’s for sure. I’m lucky that I am trained as a graphic designer and have been working in branding agencies for the last 10 years, this has set me up with a really robust skill-set for time management, planning, development, etc., which complements my creative skills. Near the beginning of the project, I outlined key dates and set goals in place for creating all the art so that I never fell behind, which of course didn’t last long and I feel behind on multiple occasions. I tried to have days that we’re purely creative for doing the design and art, and days that were businessy for keeping myself on task. Its been fun, but very challenging.
JF: When you started work on The Pet Cemetery, did you already have this theme in mind, or did it come along during the process of development?
AH: The theme definitely came second. I spent a good 6 months to a year working on the mechanics of the game - figuring out how characters move about, how to rubber band the game so that no one felt like they were at a disadvantage, etc. Once I felt like the gameplay was really solid, then I started to work on themes. It was always going to be something horror-inspired but I flip-flopped between zombie apocalypse, escaping a necromancer who wanted to use your bones and blood for his nefarious plans, and a mad scientist bringing pets back to life. I eventually landed on the latter theme as it felt like it had a lot of variety and playfulness that would work well.
JF: How did you get into board game design?
AH: Just from playing board games (a lot) and living within the creative industry. I felt that a lot of the games we were playing could use improvement or adjustments to make them better, so instead of just talking and complaining I decided to give it a go and design something myself. The Pet Cemetery is my first game and the original idea was just to make one version for myself and my friends to play - then the more we played it
and I spent time developing it I realized I should try to bring it to life for everyone and put it on Kickstarter.
JF: What was it about The Pet Cemetery that made you want to take the dive into the Kickstarter waters so to speak?
AH: Going on Kickstarter is a big and audacious goal. I figured that I might as well aim for the moon and see where we get along the way. After doing a lot of research and reading, I knew the challenge of getting people to pledge could be a really hard one, but I thought its worth trying. It’s worth putting myself and this game out there and see how well it does. It also helps that I have been developing a couple of additional games with friends to come out next year so this is a great first chance to learn and optimize my understanding of Kickstarter before we build our little gaming empire.
JF: What was the most memorable moment you had when you were developing the Pet Cemetery?
AH: It was the creation of the Kitty Ghost character. Once I had her visualized I could see how the rest of the game was going to look like. She was the guiding principle for the illustration style and I was really happy the day that I completed her.
JF: I also liked the good mix of characters players have to choose from, as well as all the strong roles the women are in. I’m sure not intentional, but I do like how the Opportunist looks like Ted Cruz (pre-beard)*laughs*. How did you go about the job selection process for the characters and approaching diversity and inclusion in The Pet Cemetery?
AH: Character representation has always been very important to me. As a queer man from New Zealand who now lives in Canada, I find its important to showcase the diversity of gender, race, and sex, even if it’s not implicit. I was designing the characters in the middle of the ‘Me Too’ and ‘Black Lives Matters’ movements so I knew it would be tone deaf if all the characters were just dudes. I wanted all the female characters to be empowered and strong and taking on abilities that are often allotted to male characters, so I’m glad that you have picked up on this. Also, I’m so delighted that you see Ted Cruz in The Opportunist card, that was not the intention, but man did that give me a good chuckle.
JF: Is there anything else about The Pet Cemetery that you’d like to share with us?
AH: This has been a passion project of mine for the last 2 years, and I'm super excited to share it with the world. I hope your readers are really excited by this interview and head over to the Kickstarter to back it.
JF: What advice would you give young artists or designers looking to get into the board game industry?
AH: Get involved. Be active in the community. Learn from others and don’t be afraid to share your idea and your game with others. The only way your game is going to get better is from playtesting it with other people, getting feedback, and continuously making improvements. No one designs alone.
JF: Well I’m excited to see this come to life! Where can we learn more about you, your work, and The Pet Cemetery board game?
AH: Thanks, Jonathan.
You can check out The Pet Cemetery Kickstarter page for more information and pledge to the campaign.
Alternatively, we have a Facebook page with lots of information, conversations, etc where you can come chat with me directly
JF: Awesome, thank you Anthony!