Hazard Game Design is a new publisher from The Netherlands that we’re keeping our eye on. We reached out to them and the founder, Patrick Sint Nicolaas, was kind enough to give us some information about his new game design venture!
Who is Hazard Game Design?
Patrick Sint Nicolaas is the founder of Hazard Game Design.
The company began last year, on the heels of the successful funding and release of its first game, Witchin’ Hour. Patrick had been interested in miniatures games for a number of years. As he got more involved in the tabletop gaming community around his home city of Utrecht, he began wondering if he “could pull off” designing his own game. This was the genesis of the Witchin’ Hour: a tabletop skirmish game of witches and witch-hunters!
As the project picked up steam and excitement grew, Patrick quickly began treating it as a serious opportunity to become a “real” game designer. After the success of Witchin’ Hour, Hazard Game Design was officially born and work on new projects got underway!
Patrick designs games, paints models, and handles photography and graphic design. He also takes care of all general “Hazardous business.”
Jan-Willem van der Pijl has been a part of HGD since the very beginning. He and Patrick met in the tabletop gaming groups around Utrecht. Jan-Willem is a collector of rulesets for many different miniature games, and is very familiar with the rules and mechanics of those games. During the early development of Witchin’ Hour, Patrick would bounce ideas off of Jan-Willem, getting important feedback that would help to shape the game.
Materially, Jan-Willem is the primary play-tester, and acts as a sounding board for potential rules and game mechanics thanks to his extensive knowledge.
Jan-Willem is also a talented artist! He has provided a number of illustrations for the Witchin’ Hour rulebook and tokens!
Annejet Sint Nicolaas is the numbers cruncher for Hazard Game Design! She keeps all financial records in order, and calculates every detail for Kickstarter campaigns as well as sales prices.
A Q&A with Founder Patrick Sint Nicolaas
Many thanks to Patrick and the Hazard Game Design team for providing us with this insight into their exciting new game design company!
Let’s Start with Some trivia about you!
“I generally do not consider myself to be a very interesting person; more a of a typical guy with some ‘weird’ hobbies. I did a lot of Live Roleplaying (and build my own costumes), play several tabletop games, own far too many unpainted miniatures (there should be an unbuilt Reaver Titan in a box here somewhere…) and I like to sing in several cover bands!”
Tell Us About the Early Days of Hazard
“The founding of Hazard Game Design ran alongside the development of my very first miniatures agnostic skirmish game: Witchin’ Hour.
When I picked up my miniatures hobby again after several years of neglecting it because of other hobby pursuits, I found a very active gaming community nearby where I live. This, in turn, led me to encounter several game systems and rulesets I had never heard of, and we played several of them.
One of the friends I found there, Jan-Willem, is a collector of rulesets for miniature games and a sort of walking encyclopedia on that subject. So when I developed the notion of writing my own rules he helped me from the very start by listening to my ideas and judging them to be fresh or already used in another game that he knew of.
As I progressed, I found I wanted to try to actually release the rules—just to see if I could pull that off. I am originally a graphic designer so I could design the rulebook myself. I can also make some decent photographs from the models—which I paint to a decent standard, and Jan-Willem has a knack for illustrations and sketches.
While several members of the gaming community tested the game, I started designing and it started to feel like a real thing. I started to promote the game on some social media pages and online forums, and people reacted in a very positive way. I opened the Kickstarter in February of 2020 and it got funded (about 240%) and we reached stretch goals as well!”
“Hazard Game Design has just begun, so our journey is not that long yet, but rest assured that we have many more miles to go!”
Where Is Hazard Located? Has this helped to shape the company?
“Hazard Game Design is located in The Netherlands, near the city of Utrecht. The big advantage of this is that there is a very active gaming community in and around Utrecht, with several gaming shops and lots of gaming groups. There are also a lot of creative people here that are fun to work with!
There are not that many demographic drawbacks with everything that can be done online. I can work very closely with illustrators or sculptors without actually meeting in person. That being said, I do prefer to meet face to face when discussing artwork and ideas.”
Any general advice for aspiring game designers?
“When I write a miniatures based game, I always try to come up with fresh ideas for game mechanics. This gives the game something new, but be careful not to stretch those ideas. As it turns out, players do enjoy new mechanics, but also hang on to a sort of familiarity with existing games they play.
More generally, I think nowadays promotion is a big thing. There are so many cool games released—the Kickstarter platform has made it that much easier to do—and your game will need to stand out among this huge offer.”
“Also, be sure you have all the information you need. Before I opened the Kickstarter I dug into the available info about how to calculate your goal, and what kind of pitfalls you might encounter—shipping is a big one—that can get you in financial trouble. It is not the most fun part of the job, but essential. So invest in the research of that aspect!
Apart from that I would say; just go for it! Enjoy what you are doing and with a bit of luck you might also get a game released. If not, you will always be able to play your game with friends!”
What Are Some of Your Favorite games, designers, or inspirations?
“As a teenager, I started collecting Skaven models from Games Workshop. They just looked awesome. I cannot really relate to much of what they release for a number of years, but one thing they always do properly is the design of their products: beautiful artwork and graphic design. That is something I also aspire to do for my games.
One of the nicest compliments I got—when a backer saw the Witchin’ Hour rulebook for the first time—was ‘This looks very much like a Games Workshop rulebook in that it gives the impression of a very high production value.‘ He also added ‘If I still think of it as a Games Workshop product after I played the game I will be very disappointed mind you!’
I am also very impressed with the support I got—and still get—from well-established producers. Most of them will gladly provide advice or point you in the right direction to get the info you need. That’s also a source of inspiration for me personally.
We have played some Oathmark games recently and—apart from some details here and there—I really like the game mechanics and the way of building armies. I enjoy playing games where I can find some clever mechanic that makes it stand out!
What does the design/development process look like at Hazard?
“As I am still quite new at this I can only say that ideas for games just pop up in my head. I write these general ideas down—this can range from game mechanics I come up with to just a general look and feel of a game. Occasionally an idea has more substantial form and I start to work on that by writing it all down and begin to fill in the details.
As soon as I reach the point where I feel I have something that has potential, I start to work out how I want to produce it and what companies could realize that production. I inform about pricing and start calculating—actually, my wife Annejet does the calculating, she is far better at it than me). All the while I try to promote the game and keep playtesting it for as long as possible until a Kickstarter is launched. I do hope to get to a point where I do not need Kickstarters anymore, but for now that seems to be the way.”
What’s next for Hazard?
“At the moment I am actively working on two new games!
The first is a card game called Metal up your Ass. You might have guessed it, but it is inspired by the Heavy Metal culture—of which I am a proud member from the age of 10 or so!
It will be a quick and easy-to-play card game with a set of 110 cards for a basic game. Most of the cards have names that refer to song titles of bands and the illustrations are full of humor and self-depreciation!
The second project is called Lock&Load and will be a miniature skirmish game in a sci-fi setting. Players control small groups of models that all hunt down the same game-A.I.-driven monster creature and try to bring it down!
It will be a step up from the Witchin’ Hour project in that I want to release a more deluxe rulebook—hardcover, more pages, etc—and also release a set of models (as STL printable files or even resin cast). As I explored the many ways of the process of designing, sculpting, and producing models, I came in contact with Bob Naismith—a veteran in the sculpting business. As we discussed my ideas, he told me he is very interested in designing the models so I am proud to say that we will be working together on this project!”
“Apart from [Metal Up Your Ass and Lock&Load], there are always some more ideas brewing in my head, but they will remain scribbled notes for a while longer!”
Thanks again to Patrick and the Hazard Game Design team for providing information to us for this article! We’re excited to see his new projects! Check out a preview of Witchin’ Hour below!