Interview: Pandemic, Thunderbirds and Forbidden Island designer Matt Leacock

Matt Leacock Thunderbirds Board Game Card Game| The Boarding KennelIt’s only Pandemic creator Matt Leacock everyone! Hot on the heels of the Thunderbirds board game bombing past its Kickstarter target, the brains behind its design was good enough to answer a couple of questions about the game. It’s currently on £86k and counting, meaning a string of stretch goals such as models for Brains, Parker and the pod vehicles from Thunderbird 2 have all been unlocked. You can check out the Kickstarter’s progress here.

Did you guess the Kickstarter would go quickly – even this quickly – or were you prepared for more of a slog?

I expected that fans would jump on board but really didn’t have any idea how quickly this would go. It’s been exciting watching the campaign unfold.


How did you come to work on the game – were you approached, or did you go to a publisher/The Thunderbirds people with the idea?

Chris Birch approached me at Spiel in 2013 and asked if I’d be interested in designing a co-op version of the game. After digging into the shows, movies, source books, and comics, I realized it was perfect for this sort of game and signed up.


How did your experience creating Pandemic translate into the Thunderbirds game – they seem to have some similarities in style, but what would you say are the key differences (apart from theme of course).

I wanted the game to truly reflect the spirit of the show — where you and your fellow players could work together to people from disasters with highly specialized equipment in the world of 2065. It was vitally important that the vehicles play a central role.

As far as the game mechanisms go, Thunderbirds is all about managing time and risk. You need to complete missions under a tight timeframe and are never really certain if you’ll be successful or not.

You can spend a great deal of time assembling the perfect team for a given mission but at the possible expense of other priorities around the world. So, you get the emotional roller coaster, but it’s squarely set in the world of International Rescue.


Have you put any thought into potential expansions, beyond the extra disaster cards detailed in the stretch goals?

Yes, we’ve been working quite a bit on this. Expansions offer a wonderful way to offer more – more vehicles, more challenge, more story and so on, without sacrificing the simplicity, accessibility, and price of the base game.


Have you any fun/interesting stories or anecdotes from the design/creation process you can share?

It’s always fun to see how the game can break during testing. One of our testers had a fun experience (using an early version of an event card) where they stranded Thunderbird 3 on Mars and could never call it back.

I also enjoyed sculpting the vehicles out of clay and foam with my daughters for use in the prototypes. Incredibly fun.

Thanks Matt!


Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial