"My name is Chris Cummings. All my life I've wanted to be one thing: A Super Hero. I wanted to live an adventure every day fighting evil, and being something of legend. It was hard coming to terms at the age of 26 that maybe I wouldn't be a crime fighter, but that didn't stop me from living an adventure every day. As an avid game player and story teller, I could live my adventures through games and books. I strove to find the perfect game or book to live my adventure through, but simply could never find the perfect one. So, I decided to create my own. I wrote my own books, living the dreams I wanted to live, fighting the battles I wanted to fight, and being the hero I always knew I was. I created games to bring out things in people, they might not know they had in them."
Welcome, Chris. Tell me a bit about yourself and what you do.
Haha hey! So I am a software engineer by trade. I grew up with all things games my whole life and did my thesis on artificial intelligence in a 3 dimensional game. I wanted to keep making games so I drew up a few games and one thing led to another and I accidentally had a company on my hands!
So give everyone a bit of history of Broken Archer. You say you accidentally had a game company. Give us more detail!
Well it started with me making a game basically to cause chaos. My brother is super type A so I wanted to make a game to infuriate him and I succeed. My friends and family had a blast playing and my girlfriend said I should publish it. I knew NOTHING of the industry and so I made a company to help promote the game. In the meantime I create another game and wrote another book. Then another game and another book. Then some more games. I figure I had the company, I had the games, I had the drive, so why not push the games myself instead of handing them off!
So what's it been like growing a company from the ground up?
Chaos. Pure chaos. There's a lot that goes into it. As a kid you dream of running the company and doing things your way but that's far from reality. It is hours of design, marketing, playtesting, research, playtesting, no money, and playtesting. If you have the passion and drive to see you're ideas come to life though is worth every hardship. I have amazing friends who love the company and the games who lend a hand here and there and without them I would still be in the dirt.
Is Broken Archer your full-time gig, or do you run it in addition to a full-time job?
I wish! I work as a software engineer as my day job. Unless you have a large captial, a ground breaking game, and an already large network, it's almost impossible to do this full time from the get go.
So tell me about your games, both your current line-up and what's in the queue.
Haha well there's a few!
Just Survive The Game is a card game where you're stuck in a bunker with your friends and family and have to work together to survive putting out fires and deciding who to eat. Only one of you can make it out alive so you have to work as a team until you stab everyone in the back.
Best Pitch plays like apples to apples meets Shark Tank. You combine Ideas and Innovations and pitch them to the tycoon who has to pick the best combination submitted. Other players are trying to win over the tycoon though and will Sabotage you. So your pitch may be a Cruise Ship run by Dogs but now is Sabotaged and everyone has diarrhea... Good times ahead matey!
Stick Figure Fighters is a gladiator cage match where you equip your fighter with stick weapons and roll dice to destroy your competition. It's as whimsical as you're thinking.
Tower Beast Slayers is an rpg video game meets the table table top realm. Work your way up a tower, defeating monsters, leveling up your characters, and fight as a team. We call this the gateway drug to DnD.
We have a few more in the queue to polish up including zombie destruction, elemental warriors with cosmic powers, robot building, and controlling your kingdom in a chess like manner. All fun stuff!
Let's talk about your history as a gamer. What got you into the hobby? What games did you play as a kid?
I was a video gamer through and through. I would watch my older brother play everything. Ogre Battle, Metroid, Final Fantasy, James Bond, everything. When family was over we would break out a board game like Mad Gab, Payday, Trivia Pursuit, and anything our parents let us. My parents loved the game of Life so we had about 8 different versions. Games were always a bonding experience. They were meant to bring people together and that's what I've always loved about them.
What are some of your favorite games today?
Nothing will ever beat Risk! But I have a weird love for Werewolf. I also really enjoy Catan, Splendor, and Relyh an indie game coming out from a friend of mine.
OK. I have to ask. How many editions of Risk to do you own, or are you just a vanilla Risk dude?
Haha I had 3 as a kid I believe so not too extreme. Problem was no one wanted to play with me... I can't blame them though, my Australian Army always dominated.
So back to your designs. Any plans to pitch to publishers, or will you continue to self-publish?
If the right publisher and right deal comes along. I'm not actively pursuing anything because it's hard to push some of my babies away unless I know they're going to a good home.
So is there anything else you'd like to add before we wrap up?
About the Nor'easter Series
Nor'easters is a series of articles spotlighting a different tabletop game designer, publisher, or content creator from the Northeastern United States each week. The series was inspired by all the amazing people in the industry I've met over the years in my home region of the US.
Make sure to come back every week and see who is spotlighted next! To see a complete listing of the series' articles, click here.
Media personality Rob “Devar-TTY” Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of Devar-TTY’s Pawns Perspective, Dev now focuses mostly on video games and TTRPGs. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.