Monday 1 April 2013

Ghosts of Hefei Kickstarter: Interview with Joe Dragovich

By Harold

Hi everyone, today we have an interview with Joe Dragovich regarding the "Ghosts of Hefei" kickstarter that went live today (Link:  I'm a big fan of "The Department" and "Blasters and Bulkheads" so i've been looking forward to seeing their take on futuristic skirmish gang warfare!

Without further stalling on my part, on to the interview!


Who is the Ghosts of Hefei team?

We’re a small team. I’m leading the project and so wear a few hats in the process. Scott Pyle, father of Goalsystem, is joining us to help hone the rules. Kieran Mathers is returning to provide some awesome fiction for the book. And Dave Powell is going to be our primary illustrator.

Where are you guys located?

We’re a very international bunch. Dave and I live in South Wales, Scott is in Pittsburgh, PA and Kierann is in Geneva, Switzerland.

Did you grow up playing wargames? Any other scales or periods?

I’ve been a miniature gamer since I was 13. It’s about the same for all the other team members. We have a wide array of periods and interests, but I think our collective bread and butter is sci-fi skirmish. Scott and I are pretty into 15mm sci-fi and we try to speak the good word at our respective gaming groups. Kieran loves large scale narrative games like Inquisitor, as well as homebrew RPG’s.    

Any particular inspirations in wanting to design your own games and miniatures?

I have a lifelong fascination with organized crime and crime dramas and I really don’t think the current crop of miniature games really gives the experience of that genre. We started GOH to do a cyberpunk crime drama with a twist. Not so much cyber ninjas and corporate raiders, as much as a sci-fi oriental version of Boyz in the Hood.  

If you had to choose, would you choose to play or paint? Why?

If you asked me that about two years ago, I would have definitely said paint, but I’ve gotten so into designing games and painting pictures that it has shifted to playing. I’m always tinkering with rules and different skirmish systems.

What experience producing games and miniatures do you have?

The team has over a decade’s combined experience in game design. Scott has been designing Goalsystem games since 2000 and I’ve been designing since 2010. We’ve had a hand in several 15mm centered projects, including Blue Moon’s, Galactic War I and Blasters and Bulkheads. The whole GoH team was involved in creating The Department

Why Kickstarter?

It’s all about the miniatures! We knew we wanted to make a great miniature range in 15mm and 28mm and Kickstarter was the best way of bringing that range to market all at once. With Kickstarter, we could gather resources and community involvement needed to make this project the great miniatures game we know it can be.  No matter what happens with the Kickstarter, the rules are going to be released, but if people want the cool range we have planned they will have to contribute to the Kickstarter.

What award levels are available?

We have a huge selection of rewards for both the 15mm and 28mm fan. You can get copies of the rules, custom made t-shirts and, of course, the figure sets.

What 15mm miniatures do you want to produce?

We’re going to create each gang in 15mm and 28mm, and the poses will be identical in both scales. We don’t have a picture of a 15mm sculpt yet, but you can see a 28mm sculpt that PF has created here. ( This figure will also be made in 15mm.

How does Ghosts of Hefei differ from other skirmish games? 

Though I love games like Necromunda, and Gangs of Mega City One they really don’t feel like you’re running a criminal organization. So we wanted to make a game where players feel like their actually running a gang in an actual futuristic city. When we made The Department, we wanted to make the first police procedural miniature game. The Ghosts of Hefei is The Wire as a miniatures game.

How does the goalsystem work?

Goalsystem is really easy to learn and use. It uses multiple D6s to resolve action and combat. You can get a better feel for how the system works on The Department website ( The main difference from the example is that GOH is competitive. Players will be shooting at each other instead of chasing down perps, and arrests are things that happen to you, rather than the other way round!  

Why did you guys chose to focus on China as a setting?

The setting is entirely credited to a piece of fiction Kieran wrote in The Department rulebook ( It was such an evocative piece of fiction that we just had to make a game out of it! China also gives us a new venue to explore the fabricant revolution, especially with their more recent history. We looked at America in The Department, it was time to visit a more exotic location.

Do you have a personal favorite faction? And why?

I have to put my hat in with the Tongs. You have to root for the local boys (and girls), though the Yakuza is a close second. Teenagers leading armed robots with Oni masks is just plain cool.

I love that PF will be sculpting the figures, I really like his style.  Have you worked with PF before?

This the first time I’ve worked with PF, but like you, I have always been an admirer of his 15mm work. PF is really great talent in the miniature biz and we are psyched to be working with him to create a great figure range.

Will Ghosts of Hefei be compatible with The Department?  Could I take my detectives into the Ghosts of Hefei?

You most certainly can. We’re designing GoH to work seamlessly with The Department. We want to create a game where players can run a campaign that pits the police versus the gangs in Hefei. Having seen the fantastic response the war-gaming community has had to The Department, we really can’t wait to see how they combine GoH and The Department together.

Do you plan on expanding the Ghosts of Hefei universe with additional background and miniatures after the Kickstarter?

We’re prepared to support GOH after it is released. Ideally we would like to adopt a model similar to Infinity, where we release a new unit for each faction on a fairly regular basis.

If it went really well, beyond the stretch goals, we would look to expand our range of NPC’s even further. We’d add new fabricants, and even the Anhui Province People’s armed Police, the militarized police force of Hefei. Let’s hope we get there.

Thanks again to Joe for taking the time to answer some questions, and best of luck in their kickstarter!  

To pledge for the Kickstarter, and to see all the different rewards visit their page here:

The Ghosts of Hefei main page:
The Ghosts of Hefei Facebook page:


  1. I like the sound of this. I will definitely keep an eye on it. Pledging will be dependant on a number of issues though including shipping etc. Thanks for the heads up.

    1. Hi Clint,

      Worldwide shipping is included for all pledges.


    2. Excellent news on shipping. Thanks for the reply.

  2. Pledged! As I understand it each gang bought is bought in both 15mm and 28mm... Is there anyway to swap the 28mm (which I'm not interested in) for more 15mm? For example getting all 4 gangs in 15mm (if all 4 are unlocked) with the $100 pledge?

    1. You can!

      If you just want the 15mm figures, you can swap out the 28mm figures for four additional 15mm sets and two more copies of the book. So for your $100 pledge, you can get six 15mm sets, three copies of the book,a t-shirt, the pdfs and one of every stretch goal. Its enough for your whole gaming group to get into it, if you're a 15mm fan.

      You can indicate your figure preferences in the backer survey at the end of the drive.

    2. That was quick! Sounds good!

  3. Sounds cool... Pledged! Going for 15mm gangs to keep costs down ;)

    1. I so liked the concept that I also went and ordered The Department Starter kit from their website ;)

  4. Pledged already. Since I don't have the Department. I took the limited pledge that contains both. Ik hope they get far