An Interview with Gale Force Nine

Nelly Steiner Publisher Spotlight

Gale Force Nine is known not only for quality miniatures and gaming terrain but also board games. The Dune board game just hit our shelves this week and we are so excited to give it a try. An even better surprise? Being able to interview John-Paul Brisigotti, CEO of Gale Force Nine. Check out what he had to say:

(Nick Rauzi of Mox Boarding House) Gale Force Nine (GF9) has a great assortment of Sci-Fi themed intellectual property games, and keeps announcing new ones like Dune and Aliens. What are about Sci-Fi themes that makes Gale Force Nine so excited to push and support them? 

​(John-Paul Brisigotti of Gale Force Nine) It was never specifically sci-fi that we went after, D&D being a prime example, but properties with deep history and content to explore was what drove us. Star Trek, Firefly, Dr Who, DUNE and even Aliens are all properties that are generational and have so much to explore that you could never run out of ideas for new games. That is the big difference between some of our early games like Sons of Anarchy or Spartacus ​and the ones we are focussing on now.

(Nick) According to Boardgame Geek, Gale Force Nine started in 1998. What was the brand focus then and how has that changed over the last couple of decades?​

(John-Paul) GF9 at the very start was a game accessory maker and John, the founder, used some new tech to make some of the coolest tokens and templates in the market making things under license for people like Privateer Press and us for our WWII brand Flames of War. In 2007 when Battlefront purchased the company, we started to expand the scope of what GF9 did. This included fully painted terrain under the Battlefield in a box (BIAB) line, Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) accessories and miniatures. Then, nine years ago, the board game Spartacus was our first opportunity to test the market and see how we would fare. Today our focus is split between BIAB, D&D and our board game brands that have a much bigger scope than even a decade ago so it would have been impossible to see where we are today back then.

(Nick) As the table top gaming industry has grown over the past years, have you noticed any changes in the miniatures hobby tools and accessories market? 

​(John-Paul) The market has exploded in the last decade and when Battlefront entered with Flames of War fifteen years ago, we were part of small group of companies doing miniature gaming. Today the market has so much more variety, and so many great models, and games to choose from, that no matter what you want to play you have the best models, and the best rulesets ever in front of you. The competition for your time means all gaming companies (now too many to even count) have to try their hardest to create nothing but great product. We are in the golden age of gaming and whether your poison is role-playing, table top miniatures, or board games your options are almost endless, and you are lucky to be a gamer in today’s market, something I tell my twenty-year-old son all the time whilst trying not to sound like an old gamer.

(Nick) What world of any Gale Force Nine titles would you love to live in?

​(John-Paul) That is a trick question as you would get a different answer from every one of the eighty plus gamers we have in the business. Personally, I would love to be in D&D universe, as one of the great champions of the realms, but the Star Trek period is not short of some cool options as well, so that would come in a close second. I would have loved to say DUNE but as I am not the Kwisatz Haderach I suspect Arrakis would be far less fun.

(Nick) How does GF9 develop new product for Intellectual Properties?

(John-Paul) Are games designed and then presented? Or are they built in house with a team? ​We get excited by themes and properties we love, and then work up ideas before I head out and try and get the license. Making games by passion is the only way we have found that works for us, so we must be seriously excited about any property before we head down the path of adding it to our stable.

(Nick) With crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo so prevalent as a tool in the gaming industry, how has it impacted Gale Force Nine?  

​(John-Paul) Our focus and business model has always been one that is focused at the store level, and how to give a retail environment great products and support. ​​Without gaming stores to recruit new players and act as meeting places for existing ones, the hobby market would not exist. Crowdfunding Sites, like online sales, all have their place in the market but without retail stores ​gaming communities could not exist and thrive.

(Nick) What is your favorite food to eat while gaming? ​

(John-Paul) Dried fruit or jerky. There is something about feeling like they are trail rations ​and you are just taking a hit when you need them but the combination of going from dried beef to dried fruit just works for me. My only issue is that I always get through way more than someone on the trail would, we just don’t get rationing in the 21st century, at least not around a gaming table.

Thank you John-Paul for taking the time to paint us a detailed picture of the ins and outs of Gale Force Nine! Come check out GF9 games at Mox this month, only a couple of days left, our expert staff is happy to run some demos for you or get you started on any game. We’ll even give you 10% off any GF9 titles during October.

-See you at Mox