Rivals Masters of the Deep KS: Sean Layman Interview

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Rivals: Masters of the Deep Kickstarter

Preview and Interview with Sean Layman

The Rivals Masters of the Deep Kickstarter is a tactical miniatures game, with asymmetric factions. It has already been fully funded and is worth checking out! We took a look at the game ourselves, and had the opportunity to ask Sean a few questions for additional details.

Posted By: Dillon

On 10/29/2015

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We’ve been watching the progress of a few Kickstarters and this one has had our attention from pretty early on. Right away the team behind Rivals Masters of the Deep was tugging on my wallet-strings by focusing on asymmetry, tactical combat, and miniatures. Asymmetric design is an instant interest generator around here, and the other two primary features are also very high on the list of things we love.

In particular another very cool design choice with this game was to stick with the nautical theme, of battles taking place deep in the sea. This seems like relatively uncharted territory in the past few years of releases for tabletop gaming. 2014 did give us Abyss, but that game ended up being largely about set collection – and isn’t quite the game that the initial (amazing) artwork for it had me hoping it would become.

Rivals, on the other hand, goes in a direction that is much more in line with my tastes with all of the features mentioned above. Specifically about the design, that’s a big plus as well. Not only the theme which is on the more unique side, but it also bears a pretty strong resemblance to the BioShock series (or at least BioShock 1 & 2 and smaller portions of BioShock Infinity.) This is a GREAT thing, in that it was a very strong series that resounded positively with many gamers, and is at the same time far from over-done.

Recently we had the opportunity to get in touch with Sean Layman and asked him would he kindly answer a few of our questions about the upcoming campaign, and hopefully that helps shed some light into the depths to help you make your own decision on the Kickstarter for yourself!


The art style for this game is fantastic, what type of other games, media, or literature inspired you all in the creation process?

Sean Layman

Jules Verne of course but on top of that we have fallen in love with all things steampunk, Cthulhu and chibi. We like the cute and fun aspects of chibi and love how steampunk and Cthulhu really captures our imagination and lets it run wild.

Rivals monsters


Rivals features 2-4 players per game. For an introductory two-player game, which two factions would you recommend for new players – and why each of those two?

Sean Layman

I would recommend the Cog and Nautilus, as the first two original factions their abilities are best suited for beginners. Their abilities are more attack/defense oriented, while the Low Clans are about numbers and swarms and the Ancients have crazy telepathic/elemental powers.



Do you have a personal favorite unit in the game?

Sean Layman

My personal favorite unit is probably “Urf ‘The Swolen'” in the Low Clans, we worked really hard to give everyone unique abilities and I find his to be fun and different.



Congratulations are in order for reaching the $40k goal you had set for the Kickstarter campaign! I’m sure there have been many difficult parts of the process so far, but what would you say is the most enjoyable aspect of running a Tabletop Game campaign on Kickstarter?

Sean Layman

Most enjoyable aspect would have to be seeing people get into your game before they even get it. The excitement the fans bring is definitely the most enjoyable aspect and interacting with them on a daily basis is fantastic. We love to hear all the advise they have and seeing their passion for Rivals.


I love the look of The Ancients! For a 4 player game, given the default 75 Aether (unit points) what kind of units would you choose, and why?

Sean Layman

My personal favorite Faction is the Nautilus. First I love their characters and their Cthulhu tentacle beards, second I enjoy being faster units in the game and getting around the board super quickly!

We’re very thankful for Sean taking the time to answer a few of the questions for the Rivals Masters of the Deep Kickstarter Campaign. If it sounds like an interesting concept or theme to you, head over to the Kickstarter page and check out the progress and work so far. There’s still a few days left and time to hit a few more of the unlockable stretch goals! (The Gorgancrackle Lurker is next up at $50k!)