Ronin Round Table: The Benefit of Random Encounters

By Chris Pramas

Publishing games is a funny thing. Sometimes games come from personal passion, sometimes from meticulous planning, and sometimes from random encounters. Love 2 Hate, a card game we are publishing this summer, is one of the latter.

It began back in 2002. Nicole and I went to London for a one day convention called Dragonmeet. As is usual for such overseas trips, we stayed for more days than we needed to so we could make the most of it. We stayed with James Wallis, a longtime industry friend and the designer of such games as Once Upon a Time and The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen. James had a conveniently located apartment in London. During Dragonmeet he also had another houseguest: Colm Lundberg.

Colm was over from Ireland for the con and we hadn’t met him before. He was a convention organizer himself and it was from him I first learned of the legendary Irish charity auctions. We all got along well and had some fun times in London that weekend. After a couple of days, he returned to Ireland and we to America. When Facebook became a thing, we became FB friends and stayed in touch that way. While I returned to England many times subsequently (even for Dragonmeet again in 2010), our paths never did cross again.

Love 2 HateA couple of years back Colm let me know he was tinkering with some game designs. He wanted some advice on what to do with them and how to find a publisher. This I gave him, also noting that I’d be happy to take a look at them. This led to him sending some prototypes to me here in Seattle. One of them was a party game in vein similar to Apples to Apples and Cards Against Humanity. It was called Love 2 Hate.

Now Green Ronin’s focus has traditionally been RPGs. That said, we have done card games before (Torches & Pitchforks and Walk the Plank) and it was always my intention to do more types of games than RPGs. So one Thursday at Jon Leitheusser’s place when roleplaying was off the table, we playtested Love 2 Hate and I gave Colm some notes. He continued to hone the cards and then sent me another prototype. This we playtested at the Green Ronin Summit in October and after an hour the team agreed: Love 2 Hate was fun and we should publish it!

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In January Nicole, Intern Kate, and I went to Cork for WarpCon. The convention had invited me over as a guest and I was delighted to accept. It was our first trip to Ireland and Colm was there, of course. So we finally got to see other again! Even better, we got to show people Love 2 Hate.

People playing a demo version of Love 2 Hate at WarpCon

You meet someone at random at one convention and 12 years later you meet at another one to demo the game you are going to do together. This is the sort of thing I love about the game industry. Amusingly enough, we flew to London after WarpCon and stayed with James Wallis and his family for a few days, so the whole thing really did come full circle!

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Chris Pramas is an award-winning game designer, writer, and publisher. He is best known as the designer of the Dragon Age RPG and Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, 2nd Edition, and as the founder and President of Green Ronin Publishing. He has been a creative director at Wizards of the Coast and Flying Lab Software and wrote a series of books about fantasy warfare for Osprey Publishing. Green Ronin continues to thrive under his leadership, publishing roleplaying games like The Expanse, Mutants & Masterminds, Blue Rose, and Modern AGE. 2020 is a milestone year for Pramas and Green Ronin, with the company celebrating its 20th anniversary.