Gale Force Nine's John Kovaleski at Gen Con 2014

It's that time of year again, and luckily we've been given the opportunity to talk with John Kovaleski at Gen Con 2014 and we couldn't be happier.

Published: August 26, 2014 9:00 AM /


Gale Force Nine Logo

Gale Force Nine has made a name for themselves by making games from material others might be afraid to tackle. At Gencon 2014 we got to sit down with CEO and founder of Gale Force Nine, John Kovaleski, and ask him a little about what it's like to work with already existing characters, both sacred and foreign.

John Kovaleski at Gen Con 2014

I'm always pretty suspicious when I see a board game that utilizes some established IP. Some stories lend themselves to expanding into a game, and I am willing to give them a try, but for both the Spartacus and Firefly games it was an uphill battle to win me over. They not only won me over, but GF9's whole lineup has proven that when it comes to making games they really know what they're doing.

I think their creative success is best attributed to their dedication to creating the feeling that the shows revolve around rather than some gimmicky mechanic. John really hit on this at 0:45 when talking about shifting the focus in Spartacus away from just gladiators fighting and onto the intrigue between houses.

Firefly Fans Abound

As a Firefly fan myself I was elated to hear the description of how the 'Verse is being curated collectively across multiple mediums (check 6:10). Now knowing that the expansions to the board game, the RPG material, and the comics are all a little connected behind the scenes is like finding that the character you thought died in season one is still alive, and training in the background.

GF9 have some awesomeness coming down the pipeline, we got teased a little about further expansions to Sons of Anarchy and Firefly (Woot Woot Blue Sun!), but also new games in Family Guy and Starz's Black Sails. Kovaleski wouldn't expand much on how Family Guy would transform into a game. So, we're left to speculate what could emulate the cut-away soaked show, but GF9 has taught me not to doubt their ability. Hopefully we'll get a glimpse of that sometime next year.

Big thanks to John for all the cool stories and enthusiasm.

Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? Leave a Comment or e-mail us at

Spencer Davis at Gen Con 2014
| Former Tabletop Writer

Spencer is a former TechRaptor Tabletop Writer, who plays a wide variety of board games and tabletop RPGs, and enjoys heading out to Gen Con in Indianapolis… More about Spencer