My name is Tobias Strunz (alias Fhizban – my nickname) and I am a hobbyist boardgame developer located in germany. I was born 1980 near Munich (bavaria) and my day job compromises Layout, Design, Web-Development and Online-Shop Administration. My passion is all about card-based games – most often duel games, wargames or conflict simulations. I also love to write – and being a big fan of Role Playing Games and fantasy worlds (like Lord of the Rings) – some of my games feature a complex background world together with an ongoing storyline.
Game Design - My Passion
I have been designing games since I am ten years old. It all started with simple boardgames, mostly because I was totally captivated by Warlock of the Firetop Mountain (Der Hexenmeister vom flammenden Berg), although I did not fully grasp the rules back then. In my youth, I desgined several board-, card- and computer games (using HyperCard on the Apple Macintosh). Most of these concepts survived until today and provide the base for my younger ideas. Today I focus mostly on card games, especially expandable ones – that is because of the integrateable card art and the modular (almost object orientated) nature.
How I design my games
Among the thousands of games out there, what makes my projects different? First of all, I am working together with a bunch of real artists – and this allows me to put much more emphasis on the overall look and feel of a game. Being a designer myself adds to the apperance of the games, all of them come with carefully designed cards, rules booklets, tokens, game-boards and other components. Second, much time and care is put into every single project. You might have noticed that I am not offering a big portfolio with dozens of games, instead the focus is on just two or three games altogether. Quality goes before Quantity. This being said, my projects are no simple beer and prezels time-wasters – they all come with a unique background world, are customizable as well as expandable. I like the word perpetual beta – as it describes that a piece of software is never truly finished. This is also correct for my games, the design process never ends and there is always something that can be improved or added to a project. I like to see players get involved and play my games over and over again – because there will be new stuff added on a regular basis. Instead of new games being developed and the old ones becoming obsolete.
Why pay for games?
There are so many game authors out there who produce free to play boardgames. Why would someone pay for my games actually? Well, I am not earning much from my published projects – I have a job and I am not depending on game sales. But I have to cover my costs, most important of it all – I have to pay my artists and the countless design and playtest hours that went into the projects. I offer my games at relatively cheap rates that help me to regenerate my expenses and allow my players to grab a copy or two without spending too much money. Most important of it all, paying for a product that was designed by a small group of individuals is a honorable act. We are not a corporation and will never get rich by doing what we do. The small fees attached to our projects value the work of my artists and myself and keep us going, or as we say over here: “What costs nothing, is worth nothing”.
The nickname I am using most often is “Fhizban”. On almost every forum you will find me under that name. Why and how did this happen? Well, Fizban (without the “h”) is a fictional character from the novel series “Dragonlance” by Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis under the the direction of TSR, Inc. . I used to play an almost identical character in my Pen-and-Paper RPG sessions back in the days. But the name Fizban is part of the novels copyrighted material, and so it was decided to modify the name. Inspired by the german pulp-novel series Perry Rhodan (created by K. H. Scheer and Clark Darlton) – an “h” was added to the name. The story behind this is, that the name Rodan originated from a translation of a japanese Godzilla like monster movie and to circumvent copyright issues, an “h” was added. So the final “Rhodan” was born. And that is the same story how it came to be that I have chosen the name “Fhizban”. Quite a long story for a 7 letter name by the way...