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What I Know - Alex Farnham

Features | Published:

Born in Jersey, Alex Farnham has created a new board game - CastQuest - which was partly funded through online crowdfunding and will be available later this year

Alex with his mother-in-law’s cat, Dot
  • I grew up mainly in St Ouen before jetting off to university at 18. I’ve been back intermittently throughout my adult years and I always take any chance to hop over to see friends and family. In fact, I recently got married in Jersey, which was the best day of my life.
  • The idea for CastQuest originated about a year and a half ago. I was a little disenfranchised with what I was doing creatively and felt like I needed to do something to combat that. A very basic idea came to me one day so I sat down and planned it out, then I bought some blank playing cards and sharpies from Amazon and just got stuck in!
  • The aim of CastQuest is to uncover your quest – someone is doing something somewhere and you have to find out who, what and where that is, but along the way you’re faced with strange foes wearing unusual armour and wielding odd weapons, and you have to successfully describe these foes to the other players without saying what is written on the card. You also have a hand of spells and curses that will either make it easier for you to describe or harder for your opponents.
  • The game is aimed at families, groups of friends and regular game-nighters. I like to think of it as a bridge between more strategy-heavy games and the very simple pick-up-and-play party games – it’s got the familiar elements of a party game, but with a bit more of a goal/end-game so it should appeal to competitive strategists too.
  • The crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter was incredible. We managed to secure 130 per cent of the funding goal we had set and, since then, the game has had a tremendous reception. It was my first time running a Kickstarter campaign and it’s such a fantastic platform for people to spread the word about their creative ideas and gain the support of interested people all over the world.
  • The final version of CastQuest is yet to be manufactured. However, now that we have secured the funding, I will be finalising the designs when I get back from my honeymoon and then sending it all off ready to be completed in October. We have had so many different prototypes and I’m so proud to see how it has evolved over the last year and a half.
  • There has been a real resurgence in casual board-gaming that keeps growing every year. I’ve always been interested in board games as a concept, especially with how easy it is these days to neglect face-to-face interaction. There are so many games out there, literally thousands, and a more mainstream interest in board games is shedding more light on some of the less well-known games. I love a game called The Chameleon. It is just so creative and the brand design is extremely cool. We played it for the first time last year and it had the whole family in stitches. There is also a great game called Dixit which really exercises your creativity.
  • There is a UK board game company called Big Potato Games and I really admire their brand. They have so many great titles that have now become regulars in our list of games to bring to game nights. There is also a great game called Randomise by a company called Gamely Games and that’s a lot of fun. I took a lot of inspiration from that for CastQuest and I even met with the lady who created it, Hazel, who gave me some tips when I was first starting out.
  • What do I miss about life in Jersey? My family, the beach, Liberation Ale, the beauty of it all... in that order. The food at Le Braye is always delicious, especially their chicken burgers, and Zephyr at the Royal Yacht does the best steak on the Island.
  • For me, the West is best. It’s where my childhood memories live, and now the memory of my wedding too. It has a special place in my heart. Is that too soppy? Probably.
  • My favourite word is philanthropic. What’s yours?
  • If I could introduce any new law to Jersey, it would be to offer income tax relief/student loan relief to people who study off-Island but bring their skills back. I think we could do more to incentivise people to bring their ideas and knowledge back to beautiful Jersey (he says, on a plane to Canada).
  • What makes me happiest? My wife.
  • What makes me most angry? My wife.
  • If I could have any superpower, it would be flight. I always have flying dreams and it’s always fun. Also, I could just fly to Jersey every weekend and plop into the sea at St Ouen’s beach.
  • I have ideas for other board games, but that’s all they are at the moment... However, once CastQuest has been delivered to those who pledged on Kickstarter, and it is made available to buy online, then I’m immediately going to start brainstorming.
  • One of my jobs when I get back from my honeymoon is to make arrangements for CastQuest to be available on Amazon. Once this is done and we measure the success, I’ll then be looking to approach gaming shops across the country. I already have a few interested in stocking it. If you do buy it, thank you – I hope you love it!
  • My final meal? I’d have a prawn cocktail starter, followed by macaroni cheese for my main, and then cereal for dessert. I love cereal. I’m assuming I get three courses? It’s the least you can do if you’re going to kill me after I’ve eaten.
  • For more details on CastQuest, visit kickstarter.com or the CastQuest page on Facebook, or watch ‘CastQuest Kickstarter Preview’ on YouTube.

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