Eli Beaird and The Scattered Nexus Card Game
Eli, was born and raised in the Bay Area. Known for his enthusiasm for comics and board games, and a long time manga/comic and tabletop game enthusiast, he thought it was only natural to create his own. Creating a small studio called Slim Studio, which creates games and graphic novels. With a bachelor's degree in Motion Graphic Design he is responsible for content, design, and art. He has always been motivated to create stories games that connect people with every project.
JF: Scattered Nexus is based off a collection of different comic book series, what made you
decide to turn these comics into a battle card game?
EB: Have been fascinated with card games and comics since middle school. So much so that I ended up making my own card game in middle school and playing it with students during our lunch time. Although that game was terrible, I still had a lot of fun with the process. In high school I tried my hand at illustrating, creating my own webcomics. However, It wasn't until college that I decided I wanted to make a game about my comic. After talking to my fellow comic creators, I found that it was a common dream, but most indie realtors are not popular enough for that type of thing. So I had the idea that if one indie comic isn't popular enough, what about all the indie comics together?
JF: Over the course of developing your comics and your game, I’m sure you’ve
experimented with various ways of reaching out to people, whether that’s social media or
face-to-face. What has been the most valuable in your experience?
EB: Face to face has been the best way to talk to creators. Going to conventions and showing the game to other creators really gets everyone excited about the project. Also creating and marketing a comic is a lot of work and takes a lot of time. I have found it very hard to reach some artists online just due to the schedule they have to keep. Also, If I find them in person there is a chance I can even play the game with them, and that’s always fun.
JF: From a game play perspective, what makes Scattered Nexus unique?
EB: Scattered nexus is the answer to trading card games. After playing years of trading card games and spending hundreds of dollars, I wanted to make sure that in my game it’s easy to enter, affordable, as well as allow the fun interactions and synergies that I have loved from the games I’ve played. As well as trim down some of the rough edges that trip up new players. For example, I used shuffle building to make deck building simpler, and still thought provoking. One big thing that was important to me was to have an end in mind. We currently have 7 comic factions being released in the next few months, but we have plans for 50 total comics being featured. Because players will be selecting 3 comics to make their deck, there are amazing levels of customization as well as possibilities.
JF: What was the most difficult challenge to getting your Kickstarter up and running?
EB: The hardest part for me is marketing and advertising. Even when you know you have something great that people would like it's hard (for me at least) to tap people and show them. But what I have found is that some people find it rude when they find you had something awesome and kept it to yourself. So that’s what i try to keep in mind, but it's still not my strong suit.
JF: The first Kickstarter for Scattered Nexus didn’t fund, but the game still lives! What have
you learned since then, and what is the plan to get this game to players?
EB: Kickstarter not funding turned out to be the best thing to happen. Since then we had more time to connect with artists and plan for future sets, now we have a much better game plan on how to move forward with the game in a sustainable way. We are also working with more local printers who have been part of the indie comic world, so it's nice to go into this ring with them in our corner. It's also great that we have more time to spread the word and get the game in front of people who love it. Our goal with the game was never to be quick, we want to be in here for the long haul, and because of that it's alright to take the longer route.
JF: I’ve been working on a large card game myself, and something that is difficult is trying to
make a game feel cohesive when you have art from multiple artists with different styles.
How did you make Scattered Nexus feel cohesive with all the different art styles from the
EB: Ironically enough, having so many different artists and styles helps that cohesion. It's all about the world you build. We designed the format of the cards to be minimalist, so that the art speaks louder, art styles and characters clashing just amplify the things people find attractive. When you enter the world of Scattered Nexus, a team of high school kids, pandas facing off against demigods, and bounty hunters is commonplace. And it's fun to find synergies within those strange pairings that you would never imagine together.
JF: Haha that's true. One of the reasons I reached out to you was because of how visually interesting the game was. What was the most enjoyable moment you had when you were developing Scattered Nexus?
EB: My most enjoyable moment was half way through development, we were working on combat. We didn't like using tokens to mark damage on characters, the goal was to keep things minimal, but we also did not want battles to be over too quickly. So I was playing around with our very thin game mat and was sad that we were only using one row for characters, Having played so many other games where there were two or more rows for Manna, trap cards, spell cards, etc. I ended up coming up with a weakened zone below the front. That way if a character is hurt it could go and hide behind the characters that weren’t, and then they wouldn't be discarded till they were hurt again. It was so easy and on theme, that it streamlined the rest of the game. Created a nightmare for the rules that I would have to rework, but became one of my favorite mechanics. Those epiphanies are some of my favorite times in game design and illustration.
JF: It's funny how games really want to develop themselves at times. Anything else you would like to share with us about Scattered Nexus?
EB: Through development I always had a dream in mind for Scattered Nexus. I envisioned players who love the game, getting their deck together and challenging comic creators at comic conventions to play the game. Then if the players defeat the comic creators, they gain some type of special card that they can't get anywhere else. I think that dream has stayed at the heart of the game, and with each interview and playtest I feel we are getting closer and closer to having that community and interaction. One that encourages people to meet, talk, and play. I hope that when people play the game they understand the heart of the game.
JF: What advice would you give to someone looking to get into comics or game design?
EB: Creating a comic or game Is not easy, and the people who do it are the ones who couldn't stop themselves even if they wanted to. So if that’s you, your fate is already sealed, just try to find those people who are there to help and guide. A lesson I am still learning myself, you're not alone and you don't need to do everything alone, lean on other people's strength in areas where you aren't strong. It will open up a whole new world of possibilities.
JF: This is some solid advice. Once the games are out you should become a motivational speaker. I needed that kick in the butt haha. I’m excited to see how Scattered Nexus develops over time. Until then, how can people learn more about Scattered Nexus and your comic work Eli?
EB: You can learn a lot about Scattered Nexus at https://scatterednexus.weebly.com/ and you can find my comics on Webtoons by searching “slim studio” and on my Facebook. I love talking to passionate people, so feel free to drop in if you want some advice, have questions, or just want to talk.
JF: That's great, thank you so much for your time Eli!