Team Bandit Gang

Gascon’s Most Wanted

Gascon’s Most Wanted #6: Anna Podedworna

This is ‘’Gascon’s Most Wanted’’, a series by Babyjosus where he sits down with fellow content creators and pro players within the Gwent community. Our favorite content creators and pro players tell us about themselves but also about the happy, the sad and the most memorable moments throughout their careers. In this edition, Babyjosus speaks with Anna Podedworna, who is the Lead Concept Artist for Flying Wild Hog but known within the Gwent community for her work when she was a concept artist and illustrator for CD Projekt RED. They talk about her career, the process when working on an art piece, but also about her future plans.

Babyjosus: First of all, thank you for taking the time to have this interview with me. I remember that you said to me that you were swamped up with work. Could you give some insight of what you have been working on?

Anna Podedworna: I always have a few projects going at the same time. Unfortunately, most of the stuff I work on has not been announced yet so I cannot talk about it. All I can say is that at the moment a solid chunk of my time is allocated to working on Magic the Gathering.

BJ: Has the situation regarding COVID-19 affected your work in any way?

AP: If anything, the COVID situation had a positive effect on my work. I have no complaints when it comes to working from home plus I’m a nocturnal creature by nature. My productivity has been through the roof in recent months. 

BJ: Working from home has its advantages. I read that you studied architecture and engineering and while attending your university you did a ton of work as a freelancer. Mostly book covers, fashion designs, comic books, tattoos, and I believe an assortment of private commissions. Now you are involved in the video game industry through your work for Flying Wild Hog. And have been before, because of the work you did for CDPR for Gwent: The Witcher Card Game. How do you look back on your journey?

AP: Well if you put it like that, it almost sounds like my professional career was a continuous vortex of chaos. No solid plan, just dumb luck and me randomly smashing into opportunities with surprisingly great timing. Which is very true and makes for a fun journey. So, I would rate it a 10/10.

BJ: Your art in Gwent has gotten a lot of praise by the Gwent community and you even won the Into the Pixel award in 2018 for your art piece on Ida Emean. Do you have a personal favorite when it comes to card arts that you made for Gwent?

AP: My favorite card is the recently released “Squirrel”. It was the very last card I’ve illustrated for Gwent. It is also a card with a little bit of a back story. The first game director of Gwent had a very strong and mysterious dislike towards squirrels. Upon the discovery of that fact I made it my life goal to put as many squirrels into Gwent as possible. The first attempt of smuggling one into the game was the “Iorveth: Meditation” card. But of course, such a small squirrel would not suffice. Unfortunately, many more of my Gwent squirrelification attempts were tragically thwarted. Five game directors later, when I already knew I was leaving the company – it was now or never. I’ve illustrated the darn squirrel and left it for the game designers to figure out what to do with it. They did not disappoint. Now the Squirrel is in the game and it brings me a lot of joy.

BJ: Alongside your personal favorite. Is there a Gwent card you worked on that stands out to you, for a good or bad reason?

AP: I suppose “Damned Sorceress” was a bit of a pain in the ass to paint. That contorted arm gave me a lot of trouble.

BJ: She truly was a damned sorceress to draw then. What is the process when working on an art piece – where do you get your inspiration from for example?

AP: The process of creating illustrations for card games is pretty streamlined. I start with three different composition sketches. One gets picked by the art director. Then I paint it in a grayscale to ensure correct values. Later, I add color, sprinkle some more details and Photoshop magic and ta-dah: you get a finished illustration. As for the inspiration – I find it everywhere. Everything from day-to-day life, through people, movies, books, or games can be a source. 

BJ: Was there a moment when it was very difficult for you to finish an art piece?

AP: Definitely. Sometimes, I don’t plan out the illustration well enough and end up paying for it close to the finish line. 

BJ: So, what is the average duration you spend on an art piece such as a card art for Gwent?

AP: It used to take me around 40 hours to finish Gwent illustrations. Now I’ve managed to streamline the process better and cut the time down to closer to 25 hours.

BJ: That’s an insane amount of hours when you think about it. But, I suppose that’s why the quality of the card arts are so high. Aside of having worked on card art for Gwent, I was wondering if you have ever played the game yourself?

AP: I’ve tried to get into Gwent many times. Unfortunately, I’m absolutely HORRIBLE at it. In the early days of Gwent, we had a placeholder AI that randomly picked out and played cards. I was losing games against THAT. I’m literally worse than a random card generator. Much time has passed and I’m still garbage and resigned to remaining garbage at Gwent.

BJ: Going back to you, what would you like to work on some day – any project you have been dreaming of? 

AP: I don’t really operate with any particular end goal or dream project in mind. I’m happy with my current projects and I’m sure at some point I’ll smash into something else that will make me happy too.

BJ: Fair enough. I saw that you have done a lot of artwork on your ArtStation – ever thought of publishing some of them in the format of an artbook?

AP: I was thinking about it for some time now. I would like to create more original, non-client work first though.

BJ: I would love to get a copy; in the meantime, I will keep an eye out for when you publish anything new. What is your advice to someone who does traditional art but would like to get into painting digitally?

AP: If you have a decent base knowledge of traditional media you’ll have no problem picking up digital art. It’s way easier, just grab the cheapest tablet and you’re good to go. Most software is pretty intuitive, plus all of the basics will be covered by free online tutorials. 

BJ: We are nearing the end of the interview. Do you have any favorite artists that you would recommend to the reader to check out?

AP: It feels that I have a new favourite artist every day. Here are few artists definitely worth checking out: Andrey Surnov, Piotr Jabłoński, Johannes Voss, Simon Stålenhag, Kazuo Oga.

BJ: To finish the interview, just one more question. What is your last wish Anna?

AP: I wish for more squirrels in Gwent. Lorenzo, it’s up to you now.

BJ: I will make sure to send this article to him!

IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE OF ANNA PODEDWORNA THEN YOU CAN FIND HER ON TWITTER, TUMBLR AND ARTSTATION.

Gascon’s Most Wanted #5: Glittering Girly Gwent Gaming

This is ‘’Gascon’s Most Wanted’’, a series by Babyjosus where he sits down with fellow content creators and pro players within the Gwent community. Our favorite content creators and pro players tell us about themselves but also about the happy, the sad and the most memorable moments throughout their careers. In this edition, Babyjosus speaks with the authors of Glittering Girly Gwent Gaming (GGGG) Princess Poppy and Easha Dustfeather – with Poppy being the sparkling princess that everyone could need in their life and Easha being the black demon cat that everyone is trying to avoid because of bad omens. They talk what GGGG is about, its future and also about female content creators nowadays in Gwent.

Babyjosus: This is the first time I interview two content creators at the same time, so congratulations to you both. I recently stumbled upon the website and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised to find the blog. Considering that I have never heard of GGGG before. Could you both tell the reader what GGGG is about and what it aims to achieve?

Princess Poppy: Thank you for the invitation. We are – okay, okay Easha, don’t give me that look – at least I am glad you are having us.
Our girly blog is meant to bring some cuteness and glitter to the dark and grizzly Witcher world just to bring a contrast to the table. That is why our posts are full of silliness, bad puns, meme deck guides, and whatever else we can possibly come up with – from girls but not only for girls. Gwentlemen are welcome as well.

Easha Dustfeather: Writing of contrasts, that is why I am part of the blog as well. I doubt anyone could endure the full pink and girly assault without a break. We also wanted to fill a niche in content creation. Most of the existing content is just about meta decks, how to become a better player and lots of competitive topics in general. In contrast Glittering Girly Gwent Gaming looks beyond numbers and competition: at the artworks of the cards, at the lore, at the people behind the game… We felt this aspect was underrepresented and so is the blog format when it comes to Gwent.

BJ: I am delighted to hear that Gwentlemen are welcome too. Otherwise, I would have to end my subscription to the website. Jokes aside, I like that you two went for this approach compared to what you see normally. It’s very creative. So, do you two discuss any ideas before working on an article?

ED: Ideas usually come spontaneously, be it a new patch, something we spotted at a card’s art… So, we are talking less about ideas and more about actual writing, as without appropriate planning a blog post written by two authors would be terribly chaotic. It is very rare we put an idea aside, and even if we do it’s mostly just on hold and not forgotten.

PP: There is nothing wrong with a little chaos, but I agree. We usually brainstorm some ideas and puns, divide a topic into several sections, each of us works on one and edits the other’s writing. Research and layout go to the one of us who has more time to spare at that moment. That’s one of the advantages of working as closely together as we do: each of us knows all the ropes and can pick up the slack, if necessary.

BJ: I see. I also noticed this month there has been a lot more content on GGGG compared to the usual frequency of the minimum of one time a month because of Blapril. What’s it like to have to produce a lot more articles all of a sudden?

PP: Difficult, as we already had to match our schedules and doing that much more often complicates things a lot. We set a realistic goal for ourselves and tried to make it work. Luckily both of us were able to spare some more time than usual that month, otherwise we would not have agreed to participate. At first, I wanted us to do one post per day, because there was a sparkly rainbow award for this. But, after some planning what topics we would actually write about, we saw that quality would suffer if we did, as some posts might have been not much more than one-liners and that is certainly not the quality we are aiming for.

ED: As a solo writer you can sit down and publish whenever you want, but we need to be aware of what the other one is doing to work effectively. And if we cannot possibly manage to meet and work together, there is always the failsafe option of a Single-Scribble instead of our usual Double-Doodle. We try to avoid that as much as we possibly can, as the concept of Double-Doodles is a trademark to our blog, but we rather publish a Single-Scribble than nothing at all.

BJ: Are you afraid to run out of any ideas to write about, now you are forced to come up with something every two days?

PP: Not at all, I doubt we will ever run out of ideas. CDPR is constantly improving the game, adding lots of new wonderful artwork to discuss. There will always be a topic to poke fun at among the player base – and we can write about it with tongue in cheek.

ED: That aside we are never forced to write something. The blog is our hobby and no obligation. We are not earning money from it and are our own bosses. If we were not enjoying it, we would just stop and announce in all ciriousness that there won’t be a post this month. This is unlikely to happen, but at the end of the day you cannot write silly articles and be funny on demand. It just happens.

BJ: As somewhat of a writer myself I know there needs to be some kind of inspiration to write about something. And as you mentioned earlier that Blapril takes a lot of commitment and time. Are there any other projects planned in the future?

ED: We will probably go back to our monthly posts. Our blog is our project and constantly evolving. We started in August 2019 and there is still much to learn about blogging which is a yet another project by itself. Maybe we can do some more collaborations like this one here, or maybe a Glittering Girly Gwent Gaming tournament full of meme decks once CDPR provides the spectator feature for it.

BJ: I would love to collaborate on an article where you both write about some of the more known bandit cards in Gwent. And right now, it’s just the two of you. But, will there be a day that another female content creator is going to join the team?

PP: Team? Which team? We are no fancy-schmancy esports team. It’s just the two of us dancing on rainbows. I also think Easha and I pretty much cover the tasks which are to cover. Each of us is author, editor and web designer in one person. More text colours in our articles might get confusing as well, so… No – there are no plans to get more persons on board for now. If somebody would join, it would probably be a longer process of getting to know each other instead of scouting people or looking through applications. There is no formal application – you sort of just end up being part of it.

ED: The only aspect in which we are lacking now would be social media. You mentioned yourself that you stumbled upon our blog. We do not advertise outside Discord and there is no Twitter or Reddit presence. We would probably get a lot more attention if we would promote GGGG there. When we interviewed CDPR’s Community Manager Alicja, she posted it on her Twitter and suddenly viewer numbers spiked. Regardless, we are not doing this for numbers and “stumbling upon our blog” would probably be our marketing concept – if we had one. We appreciate it if our readers spread the word and share it on those platforms but managing a social media presence is nothing we can or want to spare the time for right now.

BJ: Speaking of female content creators. Poppy, I read on the website that you had a small rant back in the day that women were totally underrepresented in content creation. What do you think of that statement now? Does it still apply today?

PP: That got much better! We started our girly blog, after all.

BJ: You are not wrong. So, what would you say to a female Gwent player out there that wants to do content creation but needs the courage to start?

PP: Get support. I mean it. There can be a lot of backlash from random internet strangers who see only GIRL and not the person and her content behind it. If you are not as ignorant as Easha or do not have good friends who would act as moderators and emotional support, I’d guess it can be very hard and tiresome. Start small and get some nice people on board. Don’t dive into the depths of the dark and cold internet without a trusty crew.

BJ: That’s some great advice. Personally, I have no clue if there are any female content creators for Gwent on YouTube for example. They seem to be underrepresented there compared to a platform like Twitch. I know that Ceely, a member of Team Aretuza and one of the bigger Twitch streamers is planning to start doing YouTube. Has there been talk of doing YouTube with GGGG?

PP: Not at all, or do you happen to know a Demon Cat-ish to English translator? I’d also rather not stand in front of a camera. You see, everyone loves cats and Easha abuses that fact to lure in her victims, but when it comes to princesses everyone just wants a half of the kingdom.

ED: We also simply lack the hardware and our knowledge about video creation is limited, as well. While you can learn the latter, there sadly is no pot of gold at each end of Glittering Girly Gwent Gaming’s many rainbows.

BJ: The part about needing knowledge about video creation makes sense. It’s like giving your opinion about something. You got to have some knowledge about it otherwise it’s better to just stay silent. And since I mentioned Team Aretuza. Easha, I also saw that you are a guest writer for them. How did that become a part of your journey?

ED: My first article about budget deckbuilding was published by a different esports team which retreated from Gwent soon after. They introduced my content to Team Aretuza which agreed to host it. That being written, I am not writing for Team Aretuza, but for new Gwent players. Team Aretuza is so kind to host my articles and their bigger reach means more new players read it, but ultimately my writing is not affiliated to them.

BJ: True that. I think that’s it for me. Any final words for the reader before I direct them to the website?

PP: Remember to always stay wonderful and believe in that dreams will come true, lovelies!

ED: If dreams can come true, what does this say about nightmares?

PP: Oh, come on, Easha. Don’t be such a spoilsport. If you ever need a smile on your face after a hard day of Gwent, come over to our blog and get a dose of sparkly happiness and Gwent shenanigans. You deserve it, lovelies!

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN MORE GGGG THEN YOU CAN CHECK THEIR WEBSITE HERE. AND MAKE SURE TO SUBSCRIBE TO GET NOTIFIED WHENEVER THEY PUBLISH A NEW ARTICLE ON THEIR BLOG.

Gascon’s Most Wanted #4: Lunaarcana

This is ‘’Gascon’s Most Wanted’’, a series by Babyjosus where he sits down with fellow content creators and pro players within the Gwent community. Our favorite content creators and pro players tell us about themselves but also about the happy, the sad and the most memorable moments throughout their careers. In this edition, Babyjosus speaks with Lunaarcana, your Twitch witch that finds joy in the boundless respect and the trust from her cultists. They talk about streaming on Twitch, what you can expect on her stream and also talk about her intriguing personality.

Babyjosus: Before I will ask you questions regarding your streaming; I want to try to let them get to know you a bit first. Could you describe yourself to the reader?

Lunaarcana: Hm, I’ve always been bad at that. I’m a quiet creative witch who is interested in art, history, fantasy, oddities, and video games. Anything that immerses me and stirs my imagination, really.

BJ: Sounds like you would have a lot to talk about on stream though. And I know you have been streaming quite a lot and have been doing it for a long time. I believe you even streamed before I did. How did you started streaming?

LA: Indeed. I began streaming early 2017, and first streamed Gwent in early 2018. I always enjoyed watching content creators on YouTube and Twitch. After some time and confidence from a few friends, I had finally thought “Hey, I’d like to try that!”. It’s been quite the journey!

BJ: Since you decided to become a streamer yourself. What has been your favorite moment so far?

LA: It is actually a bit difficult to put my finger on a favorite moment. But the silly moments, having fun, playing games with friends, or streaming in costume are my most memorable.

BJ: You have been around for a while now in the Gwent community. But, how did you get in touch with Gwent?

LA: Honestly, at the time I was streaming the first Witcher game, and I saw it advertised on GOG’s launcher. Of course, I enjoy The Witcher Lore, so I gave the game a try. It was the first CCG I had ever played, and the only one I’ve stuck with.

BJ: I believe your favorite faction is Skellige, where did your love for the faction come from?

LA: Yes, it is! I think what originally drew me to it was the interesting mechanics that painted an intense picture of the energy and lore the faction has. Which makes for equally intense plays and combinations. As most know, I have an interest in Norse & Celtic history and lore, so it definitely stems from that, as well.

BJ: You have been streaming Gwent for a long time. Have you ever felt burnt out when it comes to streaming it?

LA: I won’t sugar-coat it. I absolutely have. But I think that’s a normal response when you’re consistently engaging in one subject or playing a certain game. You can still enjoy something while needing a break to feel refreshed.

BJ: I know you also stream other games than Gwent, what other games interest you?

LA: Oh, I enjoy all sorts! But my favorite genres are fantasy, RPG, adventure, and horror. Silent Hill, The Elder Scrolls, and Stardew Valley are amongst my favorites.

BJ: I am aware that you have done a Philippa cosplay and Succubus cosplay on stream in the past. Are there any cosplays that I forgot to mention?

 LA: Ah, I almost forgot about my Witcher succubus outfit from Halloween. I’ve streamed Overwatch dressed as Mercy. And I’ve also done two different streams as Ciri where I played Gwent, and other fun games. I enjoy costuming, so I’m looking forward to creating more!

BJ: What can we expect from you when it comes to cosplaying in the future?

LA: My cosplay streams are usually done as special rewards for hitting a goal, but lately I’ve been getting back into photography, so perhaps more than I even expect. Here soon, I’ll be transforming myself into the dryad queen Eithné, the leader of Brokilon, actually. I’ve been having a great time posing as different Witcher characters and might have some vague future plans on continuing that.

BJ: Oh, as a huge fan of the Scoia’tael faction it makes me excited for that cosplay! You also seem to prepare quite a lot for your regular streams. An example is the face paint. Any particular reason behind that?

LA: Well, simply put, that’s just how I like to do my normal makeup. I feel that makeup can be used as an artistic tool. Why not make my face a canvas?

BJ: Can’t disagree. Last time I stopped by your stream you were doing a ritual on stream; where did your fascination for rituals come from?

LA: I was doing a simple spell and explaining the history behind the Neo-Pagan holiday of the Spring Equinox, Ostara. My interest in spellwork, magick, and witchcraft started at a young age. I think about a decade ago now. I grew up introduced and interested in history and mythology. As I grew, I began researching even more, taking bits and pieces, and making it a part of me, in a way.

BJ: Could you explain the purpose of doing a ritual?

 LA: Hm, well. It really depends on your intentions. Rituals and spells can be different. But the purpose is genuinely up to the caster. Throughout history, rituals might have been done to bring a good harvest. Small magic incantations and spells could have been used by someone to bless a child, grant pleasant dreams, or protect a loved one. Or even more extravagant things such as making the seas calm for good sailing, or maybe bolstering your forces in a battle. The list is vast and endless.

BJ: I didn’t know, thanks for explaining it to me. I noticed you also do sign reading for viewers on stream, what is the reaction from people to this?

LA: I haven’t read anyone’s astrological sign specifically, as I’m not as knowledgeable in that subject as I’d like to be yet. But, on Wednesday streams I do rune casts and readings, or an oracle card reading as a reward. The reactions have been very pleasant! I’ve never received any negativity regarding it. Most of the time people are just interested and ask genuine questions if it piques their curiosity.

BJ: We are nearing the end of the interview, but I know you are quite the artist. Viewers can unlock doodles made by you and you also do a lot of art in your free time from what I can recall. Do you have any plans to publish an artbook?

LA: I certainly try to do art in my free time! It’s been a love of mine since I was young. Sometimes I get so busy and lose track of all my ideas. I always have so many! I’ve never thought about publishing an artbook, but that does sound like a really cool idea now that you mention it. Currently, I have a couple prints. But I’m trying to do more quality art first to really round myself out, and hone in my style.

BJ: Is there anything that you would like to share about yourself to the reader?

LA: I feel I tend to be too complex to conclude in short sentences, so if anyone ever wants to chat, I don’t bite! Haha.

BJ: You heard it here everyone. If you want to know how complex Luna is, you got to stop by her stream. Jokes aside, I want to thank you for your time, it was nice to get to know more about you.

 LA: Thank you for including me! I look forward to seeing more of these interviews with other members of the community.

IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE OF LUNAARCANA THEN YOU CAN FIND HER ON TWITTER AND TWITCH. IF YOU WANT TO JOIN THE LUNAR CULT THEN YOU CAN DO SO HERE.

Gascon’s Most Wanted #3: BarryWhite Hanson

This is ‘’Gascon’s Most Wanted’’, a series by Babyjosus where he sits down with fellow content creators and pro players within the Gwent community. Our favorite content creators and pro players tell us about themselves but also about the happy, the sad and the memorable moments throughout their careers. In this edition, Babyjosus speaks with BarryWhite Hanson, who is a Twitch Streamer that focuses on CCG content in front of the screen but who is the Epitome of Darkness in Musical Format behind the scenes. They talk about the story behind his act, his passion for content creation and briefly talk about the future. So, fuck yeah?

Babyjosus: I saw you tweet about the COVID-19. How badly is it affecting you?

BarryWhite Hanson: I work in Audio/Video Production for medium to large events and galas.  While most businesses have a steady flow of income coming in all year, our business fluctuates for the majority of our busy season that pretty much covers expenses and whatnot for the year. Our busy season is usually March to July, and we walked into March essentially having all work basically cancelled or postponed due to the virus and quarantines.  What was looking like an amazing year for growth and expansion basically got shut down overnight.  I love the company and people I work for and they are very supportive of my streaming (my Anti Usurper PSA that went viral on the subreddit was actually filmed in our studio with our sales guy voicing the camera guy) so it pains me to not only be out of work, but to see the company hurting.  

BJ: First of all, I am sorry to hear that, and I hope things will be alright for you and the company very soon. Second, I don’t think I have ever seen your Anti Usurper PSA, you got to share that with me. But tell me more about yourself. What is the story behind BarryWhiteHanson and what made him start doing content creation?

BWH: As a kid I would use my parents VHS camcorder to film skits, music videos, and as I was older, stop motion animation. I always wanted to do entertainment in some fashion. I just love seeing happy people. And being a big music fan, I always loved seeing crowds uniting in that common energy of love for whatever was happening. It was what swayed me from pursuing web design in college and actually transferring to a college for Audio/Video Production. After college, I toured with bands and artists as a merch guy or a lighting guy, and eventually when I got off the road, became a full time sound guy for venues, so I was always surrounded by entertainers of some sort, or in entertainment but always was a behind the scenes guy. During this time, I started getting really into standup comedy and was regularly attending local open mics as a crowd member. One day, the host of the mic I was at said, “you’re funny, you’ve been to these mics enough, maybe you should write a 5 minute set and try and go up there” I did, and the rush I got was unlike any other the first time I heard someone laugh at a joke I wrote. From that point on I was hooked on comedic performance and being a performer myself, rather than just behind the scenes. 

BJ: That’s quite the story. And I have always wondered. Where did the name the Epitome of Darkness in Musical Format come from?

BWH: So, about a year or two before I found out about Twitch, as I was still doing standup, I was asked to handle AV for some comic friends Sketch Comedy Group, Sensible Comedy, and was eventually asked to join and participate in skits and help with writing. I was also producing a comedy-themed video game show with another comic by the name of Winston Hodges. I had an absolute blast with both projects, and it made me think more outside of the box about comedy. I’ve produced music as a hobby since I was about 16, but it was always instrumental music or music for another lyricist. Being into industrial metal and acts like Rammstein, Nine Inch Nails, and KMFDM, I always wanted to start some kind of musical project in that genre but could never find a vocalist. So decided to try something out by making a sketch for my Sketch Comedy Group, basically creating this aging goth character, with industrial music, but write the most happy, and “non-hardcore” and borderline goofy lyrics, yet approach the music video and the character’s envisioning in his head as if it was the darkest thing imaginable and I would handle the vocals. That’s where the phrase, “The Epitome of Darkness in Musical Format” came from. It was me basically kind of poking fun at the ego of some musicians, that basically try to project this god like idea of themselves that is unjustified. To give myself a title, to me, was pretty damn funny. I settled on BarryWhite Hanson as a name because I wanted a play on a name like Marilyn Manson, and thought: ‘’wouldn’t it be funny to just put the full name of an already established artist as the first name, and one of the most nonmetal band names for the last?’’. The venue I used to work for, let me film on their stage on an off day, a friend let me borrow his camera. And I shot, edited and produced it myself. People really enjoyed it and asked for more. I even had a friend who’s seen all my music endeavors say, “This is YOUR thing. You’ve finally found something that fits you and is 100% you”. So, I continued to put out content. Eventually the band Bad Motivator asked me to open for them at their CD Release show, and that got me to start performing my musical content out live.  When the video game show I was producing came to a halt due to me and the host having schedule changes with our job and him starting to travel more for shows, making it hard to film anymore, I found out about Twitch, and figured I’d give it a go.  I loved video games and meeting new people.  It just felt natural to me and I loved meeting new people from around the world.

BJ: So, what’s up with the mask and the wig? How did that become part of your act?

BWH: So, before the first music video, when I had the first song written, but needed to shoot the video, I decided I needed some kind of costume. I was still doing standup comedy at the time and didn’t want to overlap that project with my standup, so I figured a costume would give the illusion of someone else. I also wanted to have that goth vibe and the wild overly worked hairdo that you see with some of the newer metal bands. So basically, it ended up being me walking around a party supply store trying to find a costume. I knew I needed something that was easy to put on due to performing and sat there for about 2 hours trying different combos of masks, wigs and accessories and when I did the combo, it just made sense and clicked with me. Plus, when I’d perform I loved catching people off-guard. I’d hide the outfit in my bag at open mics at a bar and not put it on until I went up.  Imagine seeing some normal guy playing wonderwall on an acoustic guitar, and immediately after the next performer is a guy in a mask and wig screaming about cookies and playing a kazoo, haha.   Now it’s kind of a part of my brand with logos and whatnot.

 BJ: I know you have been streaming Gwent on Twitch for quite some time now and you have also been streaming other card games like Mythgard. What is it that makes card games appeal so much to you?

BWH: It’s a combination of things. One is that I love that CCGs are the type of games that it’s usually easy to learn the basics of a short amount of time but takes a while to master. So, the thrill of learning a new synergy, technique, and experimenting as you’re learning is a rush. It makes it more of a journey. Deckbuilding is really fun to me because it lets out my creative side. And when you make that deck that just works well, it feels so good. And I try to think a little outside of the box for it. As I started to get familiar with the game, I started crafting weird meme decks after seeing people like BeeBoBoop craft decks. As well as that, a regular in my channel, ImposterBuster, would come to me with these crazy decks for viewer battles and I just loved the craziness of when a meme lands. It doesn’t work every time, but when you do land it, it’s like hitting a hole in one in golf. I also love that all the CCG communities are tight knit, and the ego really isn’t as present as it is with a lot of other genres of gaming. People are willing to help out the newer people, make suggestions and overall the toxicity doesn’t seem to be there like you see with other genres. I remember my first night streaming Gwent, OceanMud popped into my stream and started hanging out, as well as giving me pointers on deckbuilding and basics I didn’t quite get yet.  To give you an example, I was making like 29 card decks until he told me to try and stick with just 25 cards, haha. He’s one of the more well-known Gwent streamers, so I thought it was cool that he took the time to help out a newbie with no viewers like I was at the time. So, I feel like learning so many different card games have been easier due to people being willing to help out and being welcoming to new players in general. I also like that it’s more laid back than a shooter or most other multiplayer games as far as streaming goes. Since you don’t have to keep your eyes on the game all the time like an FPS or MOBA, it frees you up to focus on your chat more. I play CSGO but prefer to not stream it as much, because I have to focus on the game a lot more and only really can look over at chat during downtimes. Gwent was the first CCG I really got into but since then I’ve branched out to Mythgard, Legends of Runeterra, and Magic. I’m also looking forward to Causa coming out too, after playing during their demo weekend. It also helps with burnout of playing the same game over and over. You look forward to going back to a game after a week or so of playing something else.

BJ: You truly are a card fanatic Barry. But going back to Gwent, what was your most memorable moment when streaming Gwent?

BWH: I’d say it’s a tie between SK-mania and the time I pulled 4 Roche’s in one round of a game. The Roche clip actually got featured on the Dandelion show, which was something I always wanted a clip on since I started playing. 

BJ: I really enjoyed it when you live streamed the SK-mania against JoshWitcher760 where you battled with only Skellige decks. How did you guys end up doing that?

BWH: Me and Josh have always joked back and forth with each other and one day someone posted a clip of Josh playfully trash talking me in his stream as a joke on my discord. So, I played along and said something back and me and him just kind of went back and forth in the discord and eventually I, knowing that Josh’s favorite faction is SK, threw out that I was the superior SK player. IamFLAGG suggested we do it WrestleMania style and hype it up. So, I made a pro wrestling style trash talk video to play on that idea, and Josh did a rebuttal video. Me and him talked about it and both thought it was funny and wanted to play it up.  So, we set a date. Initially I just planned on playing the matches but had the idea to put him in voice chat with me so we could trash talk as the match was going on, as that’s not typically done in a standard competitive card game. It was so much fun doing it that way and really added to it.  

BJ: Are you planning to do things like SK-mania again? Because I sure had a lot of fun watching that.

BWH: I definitely would love to. There’s only so many factions so we’d eventually run out of factions, so I’m working on different kinds of things we can do in that format.  

BJ: Speaking of Skellige. What do you think of the new leader ability?

BWH: It’s pretty cool. It’s kind of like a reverse discard. It’s great with Morkvarg. 5 damage AND you put a 5-point unit down? Sounds like fun to me! I liked a lot of the new leader abilities that they are coming out with. I think it’ll definitely shake things up a little bit and maybe force some of the people that have played the same decks for almost three seasons now to explore more. 

BJ: You have been a lone wolf for quite some time, have you ever considered joining a Gwent team?

BWH: I’d love to. While I’m by no means pro, I try to bring something a little different to the table in my streams by injecting humor into things and making it have more of the vibe of playing cards with your friends around a table. Where you feel like you’re just hanging with friends and while you are playing cards or a board game, you’re not as worried about winning or losing because you’re just having fun and enjoying each other’s company and conversation. Some of my favorite streamers put off that vibe when I watch them, and to me, it makes me enjoy the stream more.  I’d love to help produce content for a team someday. 

BJ: Do you have any future plans when it comes to content creation?

BWH: I’d like to start releasing more YouTube content. I’ve focused a lot more on my Twitch, and since I have a new PC that makes it way easier to edit on, it’s a lot easier for me to do stuff like that now.

BJ: That’s cool. And are there any other card games you want to delve into when it comes to content creation?

BWH: Causa is one CCG that’s coming out that I loved and am patiently waiting its release. Really cool new mechanics and a cool concept in general. The devs are really nice, I enjoy their dev streams and think they truly are putting their heart into the game. Looking forward to creating some content for them as well.

BJ: We are nearing the end of the interview. Is there anything you want to say to the reader?

BWH: Just say no to Harmony lol. But seriously, be open minded. Expand your deck knowledge and don’t be afraid to leave your comfort zone. Anyone that knows me knows I’m not a big fan of NG. However, I would play NG decks to learn what did what, so I knew what to look for and what to avoid. When SY first came out and people complained how overpowered it was. I played some SY to learn which cards to focus on when playing against it. Get experimental and don’t be afraid of losing. I’m not opposed to net decking, even though I don’t do it myself, but I feel like if all you do is play decks already made by someone else, you sell yourself short of the joy of learning a good counter or the sense of accomplishment of making your own unique deck that works for you.  Also, as I say at the end of a lot of my streams, “Be Good to Each Other” I feel like that statement encompasses so much in a few words.  

BJ: That’s some great advice Barry. This is also the end of the interview. I want to thank you for your time and for the talk. Hope to catch your stream sometime soon again!

BWH: Thanks! This was a blast!  

BJ: The feeling is mutual.

IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE OF BARRYWHITE HANSON THEN YOU CAN FIND HIM ON TWITTER, TWITCH AND YOUTUBE.

Gascon’s Most Wanted #2: Freddybabes

This is ‘’Gascon’s Most Wanted’’, a series by Babyjosus where he sits down with fellow content creators and pro players within the Gwent community. Our favorite content creators and pro players tell us about themselves but also about the happy, the sad and the most memorable moments throughout their career. In this edition, Babyjosus speaks with Freddybabes, three-time official Gwent tournament winner and participant for the upcoming World Masters tournament. They talk about Gwent Masters, streaming Gwent on Twitch and take a little peek at what’s to come for the Gwent superstar.

Babyjosus: Where were you when you heard the news about Gwent Masters being postponed due to COVID-19?

Freddybabes: I was at home and in the middle of a preparation session testing my lineup when I saw the news.

BJ: I can understand that it must have felt like a bummer to hear it only a couple of days before you had to compete. Does it have any consequences for you not being able to compete?

FB: The main thing that hurts is feeling so ready to play, being in the mindset of preparing as hard as you can and then having the rug pulled out from underneath your feet so to speak. It’s quite difficult to reset mentally and get back into a positive frame of mind. Other than that, the feeling of wasting some of your lineup ideas sucks and of course the delay in gaining any money is quite a big deal. I was personally working on the assumption that I’d have an extra $5000+ dollars this time next month so you can imagine how that can disrupt your life.

BJ: Yeah, I can imagine. I hope the situation around COVID-19 will calm down. And correct me if I am wrong but I believe you prepared the last Challenger with BeardyBog. Did you prepare with him this time again?

FB: That’s correct. This time I had some small help from BeardyBog but also from several others. I won’t say any other names in case it gives away some information for the next tournament.

BJ: That’s fine with me. Out of a scale of 1 and 15. How confident were you about your lineup?

FB: I would say around a 12. After playing some more games recently and seeing the meta develop I would probably lower it to 10, haha. I definitely felt a bit rushed for this tournament and tried so many different decks and strategies it was very difficult to settle on one.

BJ: Do you think your lineup will drastically change now that Gwent Masters is postponed?

FB: For sure. The tournament won’t happen for months most likely if not longer so there will be updates and changes before the tournament takes place. This will make my previous lineup redundant.

BJ: Your friend GameKing will also be participating in the Gwent Masters. How would you feel like if you had to play against him?

FB: That would definitely suck. We were already quite sad to see that there was no chance of us playing in the final due to the bracket. If the bracket is reshuffled, then it would be nice for one of us to not have to eliminate the other. Overall though I’m friends with several of the players so it will be sad to play against them as well.

BJ: I am sure they will reshuffle it. But let’s see what CDPR ends up doing regarding the bracket. What are you going to do with the extra time that has been given to you?

FB: I plan to play a lot more and immerse myself in Gwent so that hopefully I feel less time pressured for next time. I also plan to experiment more before the tournament itself so I have an idea of what spicy things might actually be secretly good.

BJ: I ask this question to everyone else, but could you tell me something about yourself and what made you start doing content creation?

FB: I got into streaming after making a Gwent deck guide which became quite popular and I wanted to share my insights on the game as at the time, in beta, I was a high ranked player. I really enjoyed streaming and interacting with the community, so it just became a natural way to spend a lot of my time.

BJ: I noticed you started streaming Gwent on Twitch again after being absent from streaming. What made you decide to stream again?

FB: With the virus causing tournaments to be delayed or cancelled and there not being much to do outside I figure I need to do something with my time which I would normally just spend preparing for tournaments or trying other games. Streaming makes sense as I’m no longer feeling burnt out after having such a long break from it and I can simultaneously prepare for World Masters further.

BJ: I can relate to being burnt out on Gwent. What’s your story?

FB: I think at some point Gwent and streaming became a job for me rather than a hobby, probably mostly because I joined team Complexity, so I had a fixed number of hours I had to stream in a month and responsibilities to maintain while streaming. Once I left Complexity I realized how burnt out I had become, and without the financial incentive to stream anymore it felt right to just stop. Thankfully, a long break can help with those feelings, I think, although it’s still important to never overwork yourself, especially when it comes to something such as streaming.

BJ: Since I am a fan of your work, I know you have been making videos for YouTube as well in the past. On one of your recent streams you mentioned that you are not sure if you should go back to content creation on YouTube. Could you elaborate what you meant with this?

FB: YouTube has always been challenging for me to pursue because I tend to get caught up in the numbers and analytics of it more so than with other platforms. When my content becomes irregular on YouTube, I see big decreases in the performance of the videos which makes me sad, if I’m being honest. I enjoy making videos a lot, it’s just a matter of becoming consistent with them again or learning to overcome the negative feelings that come with the analytics. That being said, I’m planning on starting to make videos consistently again, hopefully this time for a longer period.

BJ: It’s nice to hear you are planning to on start making videos again. I always enjoyed them but do hope you manage to stay positive when doing so. By the way, I know you are still sharing a place together with the ImpetuousPanda and I hope you don’t feel uncomfortable with what I am about to ask. But do you have any plans on living together with your girlfriend?

FB: I definitely want to sometime in the future yes. Most likely I will stop living with Panda once our contract ends and find somewhere new, either just for myself or with others but we’ll see.

BJ: What can we expect from FreddyBabes in the future?

FB: I’m really wanting to return to my roots and stream somewhat regularly and hopefully make some videos on the side. It’s a very cool feeling to interact with the community after a long absence. Obviously look out for me in tournaments as well when those finally end up happening.

BJ: I think that’s all from me today. Do you have anything you want to say to the reader?

FB: Thanks for reading and thanks to you BJ for taking the time to ask these questions. I hope everyone reading stays safe and healthy and happy in these strange times!

BJ: The same goes to you Freddo.

IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE OF FREDDYBABES THEN YOU CAN FIND HIM ON TWITTER, TWITCH AND YOUTUBE.

Gascon’s Most Wanted #1: TheFoxBride

Welcome to ‘’Gascon’s Most Wanted’’, a new series by Babyjosus where he sits down with fellow content creators and pro players within the Gwent community. Our favorite content creators and pro players tell us about themselves but also about the happy, the sad and the most memorable moments throughout their career. In this edition, Babyjosus speaks with TheFoxBride, the creator of the Whispers of Oxenfurt: A Witcher podcast. They talk about the origin of the podcast, the birth of his latest project called ‘’Real Witcher History’’ and basically everything else regarding his love for the Witcher world. Oh, and I believe Gwent was mentioned too at some point…

Babyjosus: How are you holding up during these dark times of the COVID-19?

TheFoxBride: A lot of Witcher content, a lot of working out, and a lot of petting my cat…that’s not a euphemism.

BJ: Could you tell me something about yourself and what made you start doing content creation?

FB: The most interesting thing about me is that I used to be a college basketball coach and sports have dominated my entire life as I have played or coached them nonstop since I was four years old. While it was a busy job, there was time in the offseason to be completely hooked by a game called The Witcher 3. I read the books and noticed there were no podcasts about the Witcher in English, so I started one. Shortly after that I was contacted by the Lore Party network and out of that came our podcast about the show, Wind’s Howling. I have always thought it is better to create than consume, so I did.

BJ: How long have you been doing the podcast?

FB: I started it in August 2018 and only have three chapters left to do in the final novel. After that I plan on having content creating guests, especially Gwent streamers/youtubers, who have read the books and we will discuss their favorite short stories, or chapters from the novels. I did this once already with DevilDriven and it was a blast.

BJ: I bet Jinzee, the Queen of Lore, is on your list for future guests?

FB: There is a ton to cover so anyone and everyone that is interested!

BJ: Where did the name Whispers of Oxenfurt come from?

FB: It is my favorite song from the soundtrack, as well as my favorite city from the continent. If I were forced to live in that world, a college city would probably be the most fun. 

BJ: I noticed you have done 43 episodes for your podcast, for how long do you think you can keep doing the podcast?

FB: Until I no longer feel I can contribute something new or creative. The ability to make people think about something relevant to them, or the world in general, is crucial for me. If one person learns something new from a historical or philosophical reference, then it’s worth it. It’s probably the coach in me but “don’t speak unless you have something to add” came up a lot in my scouting meetings.

BJ: You mentioned before that you got hooked by The Witcher 3. How did your fascination for the Witcher world started?

FB: It was a natural fit as my college degree is in History and I have always loved Medieval Europe. It was a truly dreadful place that gets romanticized far too often, but real life is often more dramatic than fiction. I took a graduate class over the Venetian Bridge Wars, seriously, google it, and it’s wild that this stuff actually took place. History reads like a fairy tale to me, but the lessons aren’t as obvious.

BJ: Have you read the Witcher books many times?

FB: Certain parts I have only read once, but due to the research needed for all my projects I have reread certain parts a dozen times. “Sword of Destiny” is an easy to go for great short stories.

BJ: I saw you also started a YouTube series called ‘’Real Witcher History’’, could you elaborate what made you start this series?

FB: I have been a teacher for ten years, so the desire to educate and help others is important to me. I have a passion for history and the Witcher, so why not combine them into something that would interest people?

BJ: Fair enough. Are there any other projects in the making?

FB: I am stretched thin enough so unless someone gives me another idea…

BJ: Maybe I might be able to give you an idea someday haha. So what can we expect from you in the future?

FB: In a few hours I am recording an episode for Wind’s Howling and wrapping up my Whispers episode for Chapter ten of The Lady of the Lake, so no slowing down anytime soon.

BJ: No slowing down huh? That’s the spirit! I know you have been streaming Gwent on Twitch together with your fiancée Lindsay, what do you like so much about streaming Gwent on Twitch?

FB: I just want to entertain others and have a good time. I aim for it to be the least serious Gwent stream as I only really play casual and seasonal with either lore, meme, or themed decks. Channel points are aimed at asking questions about history, Disney, spinning a workout wheel, or choosing a shot for me to drink. Lindsay definitely helps as we play off each other well and keep things active. 

BJ: I heard some birds whisper in my ear that you were doing an all-day stream for your birthday on the 26th of march. Hopefully I manage to stop by and wish you a happy birthday!

FB: I have been very fortunate in life and will use that to raise money for a charity. The recent ‘’Not Quite Masters’’ tournament that raised money for Doctors Without Borders was great as that is a charity I have supported for years. People as lucky as me need to give back when they can, especially at times like this.

BJ: I don’t want to pry but what do you mean when you say you have been fortunate in life?

FB: I have had parents who have supported me emotionally and financially throughout my life. I quit teaching back in 2012 to coach college basketball, sold my house, cashed in my retirement, and became a graduate student making $200 a month. I was able to move back in with my parents with no bills or liabilities, and without that my life would be drastically different. They worked incredibly hard, so I could chase my dreams and live a pretty easy life.

BJ: That is very nice of them. And it sounds like they wanted the best for you. One last thing. It’s out of curiosity. Where did the name ‘’TheFoxBride’’ come from?

FB: It comes from the Japanese saying, “Bride of the Fox”” or “The Fox’s Wedding”. It means several things, but mainly I just thought it was a cool name. It is also the name of a sake for sale at the liquor store I worked at.

BJ: It’s been a pleasure to talk with you but also to collaborate with you on the latest video for the Bandit Gang YouTube channel that is coming out soon! May we work together again in the future.

FB: Until then…

MAKE SURE TO KEEP YOUR EYES PEELED ON OUR YOUTUBE PAGE WHERE WE WILL RELEASE THE UPCOMING VIDEO WE MADE IN COLLABORATION WITH THEFOXBRIDE ABOUT THE STORY OF A BANDIT GANG WITHIN THE WITCHER UNIVERSE. FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE WHISPERS OF OXENFURT PODCAST, YOU CAN VISIT THE WEBSITE AND FOR WIND’S HOWLING YOU CAN VISIT HERE. IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE OF THEFOXBRIDE THEN YOU CAN FIND HIM ON TWITTER, TWITCH AND YOUTUBE.