Friday, September 14, 2012

Interview: Andy Chambers and Dan Sprietzer on DUST, Black Library and Blood Red Skies!

During our coverage of the Dropzone Games Grand Opening, Wolfson, our East Coast Team Manager, got the chance to sit down for lunch with Andy Chambers (Freelance writer/Developer) and Dan Sprietzer (President of Dropzone Games). Needless to say, the interview and post interview were a little surreal! For those of you who don't know Andy or Dan, I have provided their backgrounds at the bottom of the interview. Enjoy.
DFG-What is your mission/inspiration for creating a game system? 
Andy-The challenge of designing a game where you do not notice or think about rules while playing.  Making decisions based on the experience being immersive enough that you make decisions based on what you think you would do when in the same situation.  The experience should be first person in context.  The worst kind of rules create barriers that prohibit the player from being fully immersed in his/her gaming environment.
Dan-Dropzone's mission is to promote a great gaming environment no matter what system you play.  We want to bring together players from all the different systems and truly promote the hobby with a by-gamers-for-gamers stance on how the store interacts with the community.
Andy Chambers answers questions during a Q&A session at Dropzone Games, Gen Burnie, MD

DFG-Do you have some examples of things that have inspired you in the games you have worked on?
Andy-Inspiration is a huge part of designing a game:
In DUST, inspiration came from the existing graphics, artwork, story and existing models.
With Battlefleet Gothic: battleships are intrinsically cool and huge battleships in space with angels and huge spires and spikey bits on them are awesome.
In Warhammer 40k, epic vistas and awe inspiring scenes, giant battles with massive weapons of destruction raining death.  The potential for grand campaigns such as Armageddon.
With Starship Troopers, I am a huge fan of the book and like the movie as well.  The CGI cartoon Rico's Roughnecks was most inspiring for work on the Game.
DFG-Can you tell us what you are working on now?
Andy-  Blood Red Skies, a WWII aircraft game.  The kind of air wargame I want to play is one with dozens of fighters engaging at once. I am not happy doing that with the current WWII aircraft games that are out there and want to try to do better.
I’ve also been writing fiction for the Black Library, mainly on a trilogy of dark eldar novels – ‘Path of the Renegade’ which is out now, ‘Path of the Incubus which is out early next year and the final book in that series which I’m writing now. I’ve also worked on short stories and novellas with the most recent being a Death Watch story in the anthology ‘Xenos Hunters’.
Bolt Action: I just finished working on the Soviet army book for the Bolt Action WW2 ruleset.
Fanticide, working with Allessio Cavatore.
Andy Chambers provides a demonstration of his latest game, Blood Red Skies at the Dropzone Games Grand Opening
DFG-Do you wargame and if so, what games are you really into?
Andy- Time is hard to find with my busy schedule as well as space due to moving around a lot.  Almost all of my game time is spent play testing.  I do enjoy 15mm De Bellis Antiquitatis (DBM) but if I could choose one to play right now it would be DUST.

A member of the Dropzone Games Advanced Force Recon runs plays a game of DUST Warfare with a player who just picked up an army during the Dropzone Games Grand Opening! As I look at photos like this, I think about how the work of Andy Chambers has touched basically every great wargame I have ever played or been involved in.

DFG- What is up and coming for Dropzone?
Dan- Working with Iron Heart Artisans to produce awesome products in support of all ranges of games.  Expand the store and community as well as teaming up with Andy to do Blood Red Skies.
DFG-What are your thoughts on the upcoming DUST Warfare game for Sunday.
ANDY- I'll just try to survive really.  Fantasy Flight has made changes to the rules since the last time I saw them so I will be doing some rediscovering.
DFG-Have you enjoyed the Grand Opening weekend at DropZone?
ANDY - It is nice to visit the states and I am really enjoying the weekend so far.  DropZone is great philosophically and physically.
Dan-Our work never ends and while you sometimes have that moment of, “will anyone show up?” we know that we are going to have an amazing event.  And heck, if no one shows up, we’re going to have a great time gaming all weekend.
 For more information on Dropzone Games, check out their Website, Facebook page or take a look at some of the coverage we have of the Grand Opening Weekend and more.

Andy Chambers: Andy is a veteran writer for the Warhammer 40,000 universe with more than 20 years’ experience creating worlds dominated by giant robots, spaceships and dangerous aliens. He worked at Games Workshop as lead designer of the Warhammer 40,000 miniatures game for three editions and also was responsible for Battlefleet Gothic and Epic! He later moved to the PC gaming market to work on the hit real time strategy game Starcraft2 by Blizzard Entertainment. Andy has written several short stories and two novels for Black Library, Survival Instinct and Path of the Renegade. Andy has also been involved in writing DUST Warfare, The Starship Troopers game and is currently creating rules for Bolt Action and Blood Red Skies.
Dan Sprietzer, has often been referred to as a serial Entrepreneur. His businesses have ranged from importing marine fish and coral from Indonesia to operating online news magazines to real estate investing. For nearly 14 years Dan has been a business consultant guiding thousands of business owners and Entrepreneurs all across North America to streamline, automate, and make their businesses profitable. For nine years, Dan worked for Games Workshop growing the North American division to unprecedented growth and market penetration.  Just over a year ago, Dan proposed the idea of Dropzone Games to Tom Gruhala and a group of investors with a simple mission: to create the Ultimate Hobby shop experience and continues to work to achieve that goal.
OST - I would just like to add what an honor it was that Andy made time for an interview with us and we would like to thank Dan and the Dropzone Games crew for the opportunity and for making the Grand Opening weekend such a great time. A special thanks goes out to Tom Gruhala as well for running the show there with the help of a team that continues to make the store a hobby Mecca and such a great place to paint and game!
By all means check out the links, the store and let us know what you think!


  1. Thanks Steve, we are also rolling out an interview very soon with Black Library Author Mike Lee, which should be up next week. From there, we have plans for a few more interviews and some additions to the DFG team coming up.

  2. Solid article and interview, and I'm beyond green with envy that I wasn't there!

    Additions eh?...You don't say...