RAEZ is a fairly recognizable name lately with the release of COGZ, and it was the perfect chance to pick the mad scientist’s brain. Wez was busy running the enormous floor-sized Ludicrous COGZ for the enamoured public at the Perth Games Festival, but he still had plenty to tell us about his success and future plans.
Can you tell us about RAEZ as a company?
RAEZ is my design company that started out doing graphic and web design for clients. I had the odd bit of game design work in there as well, but as I moved to game development as my primary job, the company evolved that way as well. I now sell the games I create under the RAEZ name and still do game design contract work as well.
What were the biggest challenges of developing COGZ?
I think the sheer amount of new things to learn and the drawn out time frame were the biggest challenges. Currently, the challenge is trying to make enough money from the game to survive.
How did RAEZ get started?
The name actually came from playing computer games with my friends in high school. Myself and a best mate Ray played a game called 4D Stunts, and I built my first website and decided on a name for myself and Ray which became the RA from his name and the EZ from mine. I liked the name and have used it ever since.
How would you have proceeded with COGZ if you hadn’t been successful on Kickstarter?
I’m not sure what I would have done. I had playtested the game so much I knew from feedback it was a good game. I likely would have stepped back and spent longer making the campaign better to have a go again at a later stage.
Did you specifically want to make a Mensa Approved game, or did that just happen over the course of development?
I did decide I wanted to make a puzzle game when I first started design at the Global Game Jam in 2012. The recommendation to approach Mensa was from Sol Green who play tested the game early on and thought it would be worth enquiring. I followed that up, and Mensa did some internal testing and came back accepting the game to carry their seal.
There’s been more interest in board games over card games recently, where do you think the renewed interest stems from?
I think there has been a resurgence in board games instigated by the games coming out of Europe initially which were mechanically interesting and engaging while providing entertainment and social interaction to friends and family. Card games I would feel has had a similar resurgence as many card games are now deeply strategic games for large groups of players (such as Dominion) or party card games (Cards Against Humanity).
Pictured Above: Senator Scott Ludlum playing Ludicrous COGZ at Playup Perth, October, 2015.
Do you work full time as a games developer, or is this something you do on the side?
This is my full-time job now. I quit all my other jobs to do game development full time. I do game development contract work on the side, though I’m still living month by month at the moment, so the odds of being able to keep doing it aren’t guaranteed.
What was the reception to these games like at the Perth Games Festival this year?
Very, very positive. As much as there is a strong board game community in Western Australia, it is certainly smaller than the digital game consumers (I’m not sure I would put them into a community). I was very surprised to see COGZ getting the most votes or equal most votes for the best game at the show by the festival goers. Ludicrous COGZ certainly helps grab people attention but people are certainly enjoying the game, and I sold out of all the games I took to the Festival.
How can the Perth gaming community support their local devs?
Coming to events such as the festival, playing local games, talking about/promoting/advocating for your favourite games to friends, family or gaming community helps a lot. With our small population, getting seen on a large and international scale is a very tough battle.
I’m always encouraging more people to get involved in game development as well. The more developers and the more games coming out of Perth helps build our reputation and the community.
Is the cosplay such as the mad scientist going to be ongoing with all RAEZ’s future releases?
I think so. It is certainly getting me recognised, well my persona, of me, cosplaying me. 🙂
Why do you want to make games?
I enjoy making things. I enjoy games. I was making games for my friends to play in primary school (year 5, I vaguely recall). It’s something I’m good at. With board games, it is also something I can do on my own which means it’s just a matter of time and focus and I can complete a game. I like making things that other people can enjoy as well. I think there was some delusion I might have been able to earn a living from designing games due to my talents, but that has yet to be proven, sadly.
What is your ultimate goal for COGZ?
COGZ was my first game and was suppose to be my simple starting point (understandably, laughed at by other developers). I have two expansions for the game in mind already but I will wait for the first batch of COGZ to sell out before I would consider progressing further with those plans. Because I design all the board games myself as well, I have a larger plan afoot as well. There is a larger universe already underway that will be revealed further in future games. I have plans *finger steeple*!
As a fan and owner of my own copy, it’s always a pleasure to see Wez getting others interested in COGZ, including my own son who likes to tell people he “met the guy on the box!”
If you would like to learn more about COGZ or even purchase a copy, please check out: http://cogz.raez.net