This interview is part of a series focusing on candidates in the running for the 2014 ENnie Awards. The Gen Con EN World RPG Awards (the “ENnies”) are an annual fan-based celebration of excellence in tabletop role-playing gaming, with voting beginning 7 a.m. Central on Sunday, July 20 through 7 p.m. Central on Wednesday, July 30. The winners will be announced at Gen Con, the Grand Hall at the Historic Union Station on Friday, August 15. To vote, see http://www.ennie-awards.com/vote/. In this installment I interview Joe Wetzel, President, Inkwell Ideas.
Michael Tresca (MT): Tell us about your company.
Joe Wetzel (JW): Inkwell Ideas has been making RPG-related software and accessories since 2008 (although we were formed a little before that.) We’re probably best known for Hexographer (easy overland/world mapping software) and DungeonMorph Dice (dice with mini-dungeons on each side where you can line them up next to each other to make a larger map.)
MT: Has your company been nominated for any ENnies in the past?
JW: Yes! We had two honorable mentions in 2010 (Hexographer in two categories) and one nomination in 2012 (DungeonMorph Cards.)
MT: Tell us about your nominated products/site.
JW: Cityographer ( http://cityographer.com/ ) is nominated in the “Best Software” category. Cityographer lets you instantly create a city map and details (residents, store inventories, prices, etc.) You can have the program do it all in one step, or run it in a step-by-step fashion and edit the map and details as you go. Regardless of the process you take, everything created is always completely editable. (Move a street, move a building, add a building, change the price of ale at the Copper Kettle, etc. Like Hexographer and Dungeonographer, a free version exists.
In the “Best Monster/Adversary” Inkwell Ideas’ Creature Decks:
Creature Information Cards; 54 Aberrations & Magical Beasts ( http://inkwellideas.com/creature-card-decks/ ) is nominated. The card deck is part of a 5 deck set of cards with system neutral/ecology information designed for knowledge checks or GM planning. Further, other sets for Pathfinder and 0e/1e/Labyrinth Lord are available now with Fate and Dungeon World sets coming soon.
MT: What distinguishes your entries from your competitors?
JW: Both categories are full of great entries.
In Cityographer’s case, it has a couple of advantages: First it is cross-platform. While it won’t run on tablets or phones, it sits on top of Java so it will run on Windows, Macs, or Linux. Second, there’s a free version. TRY IT! The free version does limit the default city size to 5000 residents and turns off some other power user features, but it is very useful anyway.
The Creature Decks are experimenting with a couple of things that most other monster accessories aren’t doing: 1. A different format (trading cards) for creatures. 2. Doing the same cards for multiple game systems in addition to the system neutral/ecology cards that were nominated.
MT: What products will you be producing for the remainder of this year?
JW: We’ll be finishing the Creature Decks for Fate and Dungeon World in time for GenCon; Cityographer and all the software we make will continue to get updates; And we will have revised versions of our very popular DungeonMorph Dice.
MT: Have you participated in any recent Kickstarters? Are there any upcoming Kickstarters on the horizon?
JW: Both nominated products (Cityographer and the Creature Decks) are the result of Kickstarters. Yes, we’ll likely do more, but we’d like to have a nearly completed product before we start another.
MT: What do you think of the new edition of D&D?
JW: It looks interesting and fun. Like many other publishers, we’re waiting to find out more regarding the licensing.
MT: Will you be at Gen Con? Where? Will any new products debut at Gen Con?
JW: We have booth #3019 (Along the far right wall as you’re looking from the entrance.) Because we primarily sell on-line through our own website, most of our stuff will likley be “new to you.” The 5 Creature Decks will be available in 5 varieties: 5 decks of System Neutral/Ecology Info creature cards; 5 decks with Pathfinder stats on the creature cards; 5 decks with 0e/1e/Labyrinth Lord stats; 5 decks with Fate stats; and 5 decks with Dungeon World stats. Also, we’ll have the matching Encounter Decks (Mad Libs meet the Book of Lairs on a trading card.) Cityographer, Hexographer, and Dungeonographer will all be available. And we *hope* to have the new, revised versions of our DungeonMorph Dice.
MT: Where can we find out more about your company online?
JW: http://inkwellideas.com is our main site and can link you to all of our stuff.
MT: Anything else you’d like to share?
JW: I’d like to thank our supporters and the many freelancers we’ve worked with on these projects: Keith Curtis does most of the art/cartography in Cityographer; Andrew Shields wrote the system neutral creature decks, Chad Mercer edited, and many artists contributed (each is credited on each card.)