Eric M. Lang has had a pretty remarkable career in the board game industry. He’s enjoyed a number of huge successes in recent years, and his latest offering, Rising Sun, broke numerous Kickstarter records. At the GAMA Trade Show in Las Vegas, CMON was proud to announce that Lang was joining the team full-time as the Director of Game Design.
For this week’s CMON Feature Friday, we wanted to focus on the new member of the CMON family. We talked to him about his career and what he hopes to bring to CMON going forward.
As he prepares to leave for Singapore for his new position, Lang’s journey with CMON is coming full circle.
“I first met David Preti (CMON’s Creative Director) in Singapore, and he told me he had just got involved in this cool, new company,” remembers Lang. “I had this idea for a board game I wanted to work on, and although that one got delayed, we still wanted to work together.”
Lang began to do some research into the company to see what they were all about.
“I saw Zombicide online, and I thought that these guys are pretty cool and different,” says Lang. “And so I made Kaosball specifically for them and for Kickstarter.”
That was the beginning of a relationship that has lasted several years and generated some amazing titles. Lang has built up a reputation for his ‘dudes on a map’ games, which fit perfectly into the CMON mold.
The genres and themes that Lang draws upon when creating games is broad and varied. With Arcadia Quest, Lang has created a whole world for gamers to explore, leading to a number of different expansion and sequels. With a unique Player vs. Player vs. Environment structure, Arcadia Quest forces the Guilds of a small, (usually) peaceful village to fight each other and the monsters occupying the city. The Viking epic Blood Rage was a megahit for Lang, achieving both critical and commercial success. Players lead their clans into glorious battle on the eve of Ragnarok, enlisting the help of mythical Norse monsters and completing quests for Glory. The Others is a story of an impending apocalypse and the heroes that are trying to prevent it. One player gets to control one of the Seven Deadly Sins, intent on bringing corruption to the world. The Others allowed Lang to explore a more macabre part of his personality.
With such a strong lineup of games under his belt, Lang has proven himself as an accomplished designer. He’s excited to bring that same passion to his new position.
“I am unbearably fussy, and I have impossibly high standards for games,” he confesses. “What I want to do is elevate the level of gaming across the industry, period.”
His vision for the future of CMON is an exciting one. The passion Lang exudes when talking about games is infectious.
“I want everything we do to be an event,” he says. “When people say the next CMON game is coming out, I want it to be spoken about like the next PIXAR movie.”
With Rising Sun currently taking late pledges, and The Godfather: Corleone’s Empire coming to retail July 28 (July 14 for CMON Play Retail Stores), Lang now gets to focus on other designs, some of his own and others that he is helping to develop. His new role will mean that he’ll also get to work on other people’s games in a mentor role.
“I come from a very people-oriented culture of design, and I want to continue that player-focused culture in our company. Our design team is there to serve players. Our goal is to make the most fun, awesome games, and that’s why they will sell.”
Lang will also be responsible for scouting and signing new games, noting with a sense of pride and excitement that he just signed his first game from a designer he really respects. So what does he look for when considering a game?
“It has to be special. When people play it, they have to remember it, they have to talk about it, they have to be obsessed with it. It has to get under your skin.”
With a new title, a new role, and soon, a new mailing address, Lang will have a lot of interesting challenges in the years to come. Looking back on his career, we asked him what was the one thing he’s discovered about gaming. His response perfectly sums up the mind of a curious designer constantly looking for ways to improve his craft.
“No matter how long I’ve been in the industry, I’ll always be learning new things.”