The Evil Dead universe is a gift that keeps on giving… mainly because we horror fans keep demanding more and more encounters with the Deadites. Throughout the years the Evil Dead canon has been given to us in the form of movies, comics, action figures, video games, and an outstanding TV series.
Now, thanks to the fine folks over at Space Goat Productions, we get to experience Evil Dead as an interactive board game adventure that’s shaping up to be one of the most anticipated releases of the year after they blitzed their Kickstarter campaign already.
With the game on the horizon, we had the opportunity to sit down with masterminds Shon Bury and Taylor Smith to discuss their demented and totally awesome creation.
Dread Central: The Evil Dead franchise has come in all shapes and forms throughout the years, with movies, a TV show, video games, a musical, and comics. When did the idea come about to create a board game?
Shon: When we noticed no one had ever made one before. We’ve been making the Evil Dead 2 comic books for over a year now, and we’ve proven that we can put out material on a regular basis that hardcore Evil Dead fans love. We’ve always wanted to move into the game space, so it was a very organic move for us to go after the license once we knew we had a game system that fans would enjoy.
DC: Do you think board games are somewhat of an unappreciated pastime in this day and age of digital entertainment?
Taylor: Yes and no. Board games have been experiencing a recent resurgence of popularity. In the past decade or so, it’s like everyone started realizing there are games other than Monopoly and Battleship and a lot of them are actually really fun. It’s been even more exciting seeing how digital entertainment and board games have been evolving together, with apps for games and games based on popular properties.
DC: Space Goat Publishing is also synonymous with the Evil Dead 2 comics. Will the story of the board game tie in to them in any way, or will it be its own separate entity?
Taylor: The game is just based on the movie, with events and items lifted right out of scenes. We have plans for expansion based on our comics, like Beyond Dead by Dawn—which has Ash and Annie fighting demons in Hell—will bring in Hell tiles to expand out the board, and Tales of the Ex-Mortis will add more playable characters and new scenarios and events. We have a lot of great stories to work with!
DC: Crowdfunding has kept the board game medium thriving in recent years, but given the involvement of StudioCanal with this particular one, why is fundraising essential?
Shon: StudioCanal is the owner of the license. We’ve licensed the rights for the official board game from them, so this is not a co-development deal. We chose Kickstarter to help fund this more as a promotional tool to get the word out to the core fans than as a fundraising tool. It also frees us up to add on exclusives in ways we otherwise would not have been able to do. And believe me… we have tons of add ons and stretch goals that fans are going to love. Again, we would not be able to do that at the level we want if Kickstarter wasn’t such a great megaphone.
DC: What can you tell us about the design of the game?
Taylor: Players take control of the human characters from Evil Dead 2 and run around the cabin and surrounding woods trying to collect pages of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis and survive an onslaught of Deadites, monsters, and dangers. The goal is to work together to stop the evil that’s flooding into the cabin, but there’s a chance you’ll turn into a Deadite—and then it’s your goal to kill the humans. The cabin board is completely representational of the cabin from the movie, but the outside is made up of tiles that can change; this also lets us build on to the game in cool ways for expansions. All the playable characters and a couple enemies will be starting with figures, and stretch goals on the campaign will give figures to the rest of the enemies. Depending on how much you like geeking out on game design, we’ve been working with our manufacturer to make awesome sliding layered tokens for enemies, custom dice, dials for character cards — fancy stuff!
DC: We understand that it will also come in a Deluxe Edition. How will that enhance the playing experience?
Taylor: The Deluxe Edition is pretty sweet, but we wanted to make sure that folks who got the standard version could still get the whole game. The Deluxe Edition will get everything that comes with the standard version, including stretch goals, and features two exclusive figures: Ash rocking the shotgun and chainsaw combo and the “final form” Deadite Henrietta. The standard Ash figure is based on Ash closer to the start of the movie, and Henrietta—probably the nastiest enemy that can spawn—has a figure as a stretch goal, but it’ll be her Ted-Raimi-in-a-bodysuit version. It also has an exclusive box modeled after the ugly mug of the Necronomicon Ex-Mortis.
DC: Are there any cool perks available you can tell us about at the present time?
Taylor: There are two that I’m most excited about. One of the cards is called Random Sucker, and that makes a human wander onto the board that enemies will chase instead of the players for so long as they’re alive. We have three slots for backers to get themselves drawn on those cards – fighting, running from, or getting mauled by Deadites. Even more exciting than being immortalized in game art, though, we’ll be making a limited run of custom dice made from wood from the actual cabin in the movie. We’re in touch with the guy who restored the original cabin, and our manufacturer will be making some dice out of the actual wood. We can’t guarantee they’ll gush spouts of blood though.
DC: Do you have plans to create more horror board games in future?
Taylor: Oh yeah. There are the aforementioned expansions based on the comics, each of which should add a whole new experience to the game. Beyond that, we’re looking at new licenses, both horror and otherwise, as well as eyeing our own IPs for development.
DC: When can we expect to play the game, assuming everything goes to plan?
Taylor: We’ve already solicited the game with Diamond Distributors for a November release, just in time for the holidays!
DC: Lastly, what does Evil Dead mean to you guys?
Taylor: I’m a latecomer to the fandom. I hadn’t actually seen any of the films until we picked up the comic license over a year ago, and I was skeptical at first. Since then, though, between Shon and I, we’ve watched that movie more times than is at all decent. It’s really carved its way into my heart. The balance of comedy and horror is perfect; the claymation, the gore, the over-the-top everything… it’s wonderful!
Our thanks to Shon and Taylor for their time. What are the rest of you waiting for? Head over to Kickstarter to join in the fun!