ReplayFX in Pittsburgh, PA was a mega outlet for a wide variety of gaming sources.  The pinball, arcade, music, vendors, artists and even the independent game creators.  They were all there to display and sell their product. But one vendor/booth that was there was a completely different story.  In fact it was the only one of its kind through the four acre showroom.

It is a brand new card game that had a very big twist to it.  It was all part of the retro bit world. Havenfall, created by Joe and Emily Yzquierdo, is the newest in 8 bit deck building games.  Similar to a game such as Thunderstone, Havenfall is a game that has you building up a deck of heroes to go out and fight monsters. Once you defeat the monsters, pixels break off of them and you use those pixels to enhance your cards.  The goal of the game is to build up your own unique deck of heroes, artifacts and treasure and boost them with pixels to defeat bosses. When you defeat a boss, you will receive points and the first player to get to ten points wins.

I got a chance to sit down with Joe Yzquierdo to get some more details about Havenfall and the popularity that it is now building.

OSG: What was the inspiration to create a game in the form of 8 bit nostalgia?

JY: My favorite game of all time is Mega Man II and I also love Mario,  My whole childhood was always playing Intellivision, NES and all the older systems and it has been part of my life.  These games have a type of wonderment to them that I don’t need to play the pure violent games. If the game gives you more imagination I feel that there is a bit more creation to it.  I wanted to go into the 8 bit world because it is starting to come back much like ReplayFX has stuff going on and they have hundreds of games that offers a lot of nostalgia because as much like certain fashions that come back, the 8-bit world and sprites are coming back.  I felt that if I can find the right type of theme, I can work into that.


OSG: When did you start working on Havenfall?

JY: The idea came to me in August 2014 and by September, I had a simple playable version.

OSG: When the game was ready, did you do any Kickstarter or Indiegogo campaigns to push the product?

JY: We went to a couple conventions where we had a couple hundred followers on Facebook and every convention that we went to, we were swamped with people who wanted to play the game.  So in November 2016, we launched a Kickstarter campaign but we only reached half of our goal that we needed because with Kickstarter, they expect a lot of stretch goals and backer rewards and extra rewards based on how much money you are offering,  We were done with (producing) the game because it was just me developing the game and my wife Emily was handling all of the business aspects making sure that we were putting the money where it should be. But I found a good balance and wanted to get the game out to people and go for expansions if you wanted more.  People wanted more and wanted a single player version of the game too. We knew that we were weren’t going to reach our goal but we really wanted to get the game out there and we decided that since Kickstarter didn’t work, we self funded the game.

OSG: You mentioned expansions.  Are you going to start to do more with the game, similar to how other card games have the expansions?

JY: The few cards that we have that are outside of the game were part of the Kickstarter rewards that were four extra cards that you were getting as exclusives.  But since I had them, we gave those out as part of the first print run of the game. Same as the base game, we have twenty heroes and sixteen artifacts that doubles the amount of content for the game but I have not done any of the artwork for the expansion because we want to make sure that the first game sells enough to warrant putting in the effort to get that made.  The minimum that a print company will do is 500 copies and you figure if we sell 500 copies and we want to do an expansion, not every single person is going to get an expansion. So that’s where we risked that. If we sell the game and we wanted to create 2000 more, or we wanted to go to a publisher, we can at least offer the expansion options at that time.

OSG: On the board and in the game itself, I heard you placed a lot of visual easter eggs from the 8-bit realm.  

JY: None of them are just going to jump right out at you such as a picture of Mario.  Every single card has a reference to other cards in the game, but there are other easter eggs to really look out for.  For example, there is a wizard card and behind the wizard there is mozuleum because he is in a cemetery, between the wizard and the door, there is a game of Tetris being played on the wall.  Right above it on the wall it says 8-Bit. If you aren’t looking for it, you aren’t going to catch it.

On the board, you can see a swamp that has puddles or sections of a swamp.  If you look in the negative space, you can see MegaMan in his jump sprite shooting his blaster.  I wanted to build a world that makes people want to look at the cards and look into it. The board itself was reminiscent of an overworld map of Zelda or Mario and looking down and see all the little towns.  

But then as you can line up all of the heroes and monster and it will build out a full side scrolling level, you can see that the heroes are always moving left to right and the monsters are moving right to left.  It feels like you actually went to the desert and you are traveling along and fighting a dwarven berserker or a little armadillo that is just chilling.

OSG: To someone who doesn’t play many board or card games such as this, how easy is it to learn?

JY: We have had kids as young as 8 play the game.  So as long as kids are good with board and video games it’s not a complicated game.  But we aim around 10 years unless the family is a bunch of gamers, they can start earlier.  But we have videos of what is like to opening the box and the content and set everything up as well as a fifteen minute video showing how the game plays out.

Havenfall is a two to four players but there is also a single player variation which is similar to the solitaire style.  The retail price for the game is $47 and can be purchased at

Brad Feingold Brad Feingold (118 Posts)

Brad has been a die hard arcade fan ever since he can remember. From the first time he played Space Invaders, to the first time he played Pacman, Brad has always had a love for video games. Hanging out at either the Great American Fun Factory in the mall, or spending the night in front of the glowing games at the local roller rink, he was always thinking about when he can spend the next quarter. He also worked at Babbages, which is now GameStop, for over six years. Mostly because they had a really sweet checkout policy on new products and great discounts. But since he had the Atari 2600, he has never looked back and owned some of the greatest home machines, NES, SNES, GENESIS, Turbo Graphix 16, GameBoy, Game Gear, Lynx, Playsation 1,2,3,4 and Vita, XBOX, Gamecube, and N64...just to name a few. Brad is also a reviewer for Mobile Beat Magazine as well as a freelance videographer, part time disc jockey, performing artist and photographer. But has a true love is for video games and Star Wars, as he is a member of the 501st Central Garrison. His ultimate dream is to own a fully working pinball machine and arcade machine. Difficult to say which one, but a Star Wars one would be nice start.