SUPERHOT’s Paweł Piskorski on bringing something fresh to the drinking game space with Not Enough Mana
Pawel, it’s great to connect. To kick us off, how did you first find your way into video game design?
Around 10 years ago I thought making video games is a thing I haven’t tried yet. I looked around for a programmer, found a guy named Filip Loster – who I’ve been friends with ever since – and after some experiments we made a mobile game called GYRO. The game exploded, publishers noticed us, and that’s how it started. I met Piotr from SUPERHOT at a game-dev event and joined the company sometime later.
You’ve moved into board games recently with the launch of Not Enough Mana. For anyone that hasn’t seen the game yet, how does it play?
Not Enough Mana is a potion drinking card game about wizard battles. Your goal is to destroy your fellow wizards with epic spells, curses and artifacts. Naturally, you need mana to cast spells. You gain mana by drinking mana potions. What counts as a potion is up to partaking wizards to decide, but it’s a drinking game at its core.
Where did the seed of the idea come from?
This is pretty boring! I was literally sitting on a couch at home and thought a mash-up between ‘a drinking game’ and ‘wizards drinking mana potions to cast spells’ would be funny. I made a prototype, started playtesting it with friends and it turned out to be a blast.
Drinking games aren’t usually big on theme – but this feels like a fun fit! Do you think the theme helps it stand out in the ‘drinking game’ sector?
Definitely. I find most drinking games uninteresting as they only use the drinking part as an out-of-theme way to punish players. In Not Enough Mana, potions are your friend, enemy and a core mechanic. It’s up to you how and when you use them, and how you balance your “mana flow”. Also, we went out of our way to make the game look beautiful – with help from the wonderful artist, Krzysztof Maziarz – and made an epic live-action trailer. I think all this contributed to the game’s success.
Is there much in the way of crossover between your video game design background and creating a board game?
I always liked trying different things and don’t like limiting myself to one area. While I’ve been doing video games for a few years, when the idea for a tabletop game came to me, I just went with it.
While the whole production process is very different between video games and board games, the game design part is similar at its core. Start with a broad idea, think of the fun, theme, enjoyable mechanics, playtest and tweak. Tabletop games are much more social and physical by design, of course, which opens up different possibilities – I can’t imagine a drinking video game, for example! Also, from a designer’s perspective, it’s easier to prototype and iterate as you don’t need to deal with programmers 🙂 You only need pen and paper!
SUPERHOT is best known for video games – does this signal more forays into board games moving forward?
Not Enough Mana is not exactly a SUPERHOT game – it’s just published by SUPERHOT Presents and I happen to work at SUPERHOT. SUPERHOT Presents is a fund for cool indie games and, as you see, it’s not limited to just video games, so you never know what the future brings.
Paweł, thanks for taking time out for this. One last question – how do you fuel your creativity?
I really don’t! When I try too hard to come up with ideas, it never works, so I just chill and go with the flow. When I come up with something, it came to me, not the other way around. Of course, exposing yourself to games, books, movies and culture in general helps a lot.
Thanks again Pawel. And if anyone wants to find out more about the game, they can head to notenoughmana.com.
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