Wednesday 30 October 2013

Interview with Torben from Two Knights Publishing - Publisher of Fireteam Andromeda

By Harold

Here is an interview I did with Torben from Two Knight's Publishing,  publisher of the rules Fireteam Andromeda, available at wargamevault.

1) How long have you been involved with miniatures and war gaming?

I started wargaming back when I was around 10 or 11, so that would mean around 19-20 years now.

2) What first piqued your interest in miniatures/wargaming?

A friend of mine’s big brother had gotten his hands on this here “Warhammer 40.000” game, and already being a huge fan of Star Wars and – by natural extension thereof – anything science fiction I was sold almost instantly. The thing is, however, that we never actually played the game itself but rather made our own hodgepodge version of it; saying that we played Warhammer 40.000 is a bit of a stretch as we didn’t really follow the rules that closely and when we did we made up a lot of things on our own. But the idea of painting up your own forces, inventing a background and scenario and then having some rules to play out the battle with instantly clicked something on inside of my brain and before long I was starting to amass a lead mountain!

3) When and why did you decide to start your own miniatures rules company?

Two Knights Publishing was started because Duncan and I were both working on a couple of projects independently and we figured it was better to pool our forces rather than flying solo; so in 2012 we formed TKP, finished up Fireteam Andromeda, launched and then we were effectively in business without having much more of a grandiose plan than: “Well, let’s have a go at it!”

4) What were your first products?

As a brand new company and all that, then our first product is our premiere product – Fireteam Andromeda.

5) What kind of process goes into writing a rulebook?

First I had to decide that there really wasn’t any set of rules out there that appealed to me, completely. Then I had to figure out what I liked in any given set of rules and what I felt the current selection of rulebooks lacked. And then I sat down and started typing. Then I typed some more, binned it all and started afresh once again, going through new ideas, settings, tones, command level and so on. Then I typed all that up, binned it all and started afresh. I think that the final version of Fireteam Andromeda is the fourth – possibly fifth – completely re-written rulebook. Oh, that and a lot of coffee and playtesting on the fly as well!

6) What’s your favorite scale?

I’m hard pressed to pick just one scale; I prefer games in either 6mm, 15mm or 28mm depending on the level of command I want to emulate. To me there’s no single scale, they all have their merits and flaws. But, if pressed I think I’d go for 28mm, simply because it’s the biggest collection I have (so far!).

7) How did you decide on the basic principles of the rules you wanted to write? What was your main focus?

It came about when 15mm science fiction miniatures were on the rise on TMP really. I looked at what was available and found that while they were fine games in themselves, they either had some niggling elements that I disliked or they didn’t quite do it for me in one way or another. So, instead of just complaining I put words to action and started writing my own.

I wanted a game that could comfortably let me run a reinforced platoon (around 40-50 figures) per side in the space of a normal club night; where the player himself was in control of his forces and where it was the players tactical choices that would affect the outcome of the game. This meant that I wanted a game that was fast, easy but with a lot of tactical depth in the actual game play and not so much from creating a killer-combo-army. So easy to use and learn but with a lot of tactical depth would be the main focus for the game – coupled with a secondary objective to allow for as many people to play the game without having to rebase and allowing them to use any figure that they’d like to.

8) Do you paint and collect your own figures?

I do indeed! All the miniatures shown in Fireteam Andromeda are painted by myself, and I have finally reached a point with my painting hobby that I use it more to relax and wind down rather than seeing it as yet another chore to complete; guess I’ve managed to reach wargaming-nirvana in that regard.

9) Do you get a chance to play any games?

Yes I do, but not nearly as many as I’d like to, except for board games. This is not counting all the various playtests that we need to go through of course. I recently picked up God of Battles from Foundry and I’m converting it into 15mm to play big fantasy battles!

10) How long did it take you to go from idea to final draft?

It took about two years to go from the idea of Fireteam Andromeda to final draft, with a lot of goose chases and false ends on the way. However, the actual development of said idea took around five years ago, starting out with a very early draft of Conquest Galactica (a company level 15mm game that never saw the light of day, and most likely never will).

11) Do you like the online selling experience?

Yes, I think it’s great that I can be living in a small country with very little of a wargaming hobby (outside of the Games Workshop crowd) and still share and sell my ideas to people all over the world!
12) What makes your rule system unique?

The command & control system! While it is by no means revolutionary, it gives the game a scope and depth that I have yet to find in other games, whilst at the same time being simple to use and explain to newcomers.

13) Do you have any crazy customer stories? People who claimed outrageous things to try and get free minis?

None so far, but we’re a pretty young company, so it’s bound to happen.

14) Where did the name Two Knights Publishing come from?

To be completely honest; it came about because it was a company name that sounded good and – most importantly – wasn’t taken by any other company out there so that we could use it for a web address in the future.

15) What’s your favorite thing about owning a miniatures company?

Whenever we receive feedback! Not only does it serve as inspiration for future publications, but it also shows that the ruleset is being used by gamers out there and thus that we made the right decision to publish it rather than let it linger in a drawer somewhere.

16) Do you have a least favorite thing about owning a miniatures company?

Marketing and promotion; I really, really, really loathe doing either of them. I’m much more of a “word-of-mouth”-kinda guy; the rules will sell on their own merits and not because I touted them as the holy grail of wargaming (which they are, of course, in my eyes).

17) Looking back, is there anything that you would change as you got your business off the ground?

Would have had a couple of more supplements prewritten so that we could have them ready to launch a lot sooner instead of having to write them up, test them out and then publish them.

18) What do you have planned for the future of Two Knights Publishing and Fireteam Andromeda?
For Two Knights Publishing we’re currently working on our Skirmish game (Rosetta Skirmish System) which is aimed primarily at 28mm fantasy & science-fiction skirmish gaming but with additional rules for 15mm as well. It’s bound to be published around spring or summer next year if all things goes well; it’s two separate books with separate settings and army lists and what have you – but they share a lot of basic mechanics and it is the intention for us to expand on not only the two fantastical settings but also to branch out into other historical periods.

Then we have an old, old project of mine that might see some more love in the new year: Mecha Legion! It’s a 6mm science fiction game, set in the setting of Terminus Nebula and will detail massive conflicts on a more epic scale! It’s up and around brigade scale of detail and control – with an emphasis on, you guessed it, Mecha! It will share some similarities with Fireteam Andromeda in regards to some of the basic mechanics, but when it’s going to be ready is hard to say just yet; it might be our big fall release.

As for Fireteam Andromeda then we’re working on updating it to a Revised Edition or possibly even a 2nd Edition. And no, this doesn’t mean we’re going to change the lot, but we are going to update certain aspects of the game, clean up some phrases and finally add more stuff, such as campaigns, alien races and possibly more scenarios. So even though we’re hard at work with Rosetta, then we’re not going to leave Fireteam Andromeda behind by a long shot. We’re hoping to either have this revised edition ready in the late spring, possibly early summer – against, depending on the whims of real life.

19) Is there anything you want the ruleset buying consumer to know, that might not be obvious?

Well, one thing that I like to mention is that English is a second language of mine; just in case some of my grammar looks kind of… odd.

Apart from that, then I hope we – as a company – are fairly obvious in what we want to do with our small publication business. We’re wargamers as well, and we’re in this mostly to share our ideas with the wargaming public rather than to make a living (although we wouldn’t mind being able to live of it, obviously!).

Thanks for the interview!  I just picked up Fireteam Andromeda and I look forward to reading through it, playing some games and putting a review together, thanks for your time!


  1. I (like so many other gamers) am in the process of building my own rules too. Might be that I'll take a look at Fireteam Andromeda and see what I think before I push to far along.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Fireteam Andromeda is a superb set of rules! An absolute hidden gem in my opinion. I have a review on their website. I have had lots of interaction with Torben on their facebook page. The authors willingness to answer rules queries and discuss aspects of the rules is exemplary.

  4. Great interview and a pleasure to read something from a person with a profession much like my own.