Tuesday, October 15, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 193: Joel Lewis

Welcome to People Behind the Meeples, a series of interviews with indie game designers.  Here you'll find out more than you ever wanted to know about the people who make the best games that you may or may not have heard of before.  If you'd like to be featured, head over to http://gjjgames.blogspot.com/p/game-designer-interview-questionnaire.html and fill out the questionnaire! You can find all the interviews here: People Behind the Meeples. Support me on Patreon!


Name:Joel lewis
Location:AUSTRALIA
Day Job:Nurse
Designing:Two to five years.
Webpage:Nursesharkgames.com
BGG:Jlewis87
Facebook:Nurse shark games or the Fluttering Souls board game group
Twitter:@nursesharkgames
Instagram:@nursesharkgames
Find my games at:My first publication is through Good Games Publishing. Their social media pages will have more information about the release or check out their website at http://www.goodgamespublishing.com/
Today's Interview is with:

Joel lewis
Interviewed on: 8/14/2019

This week's interview is with Joel Lewis, the designer of the recently released Fluttering Souls, a fast card game about butterflies from Good Games Publishing. This gorgeous game made it's first appearance at Gen Con and sold out there! Read on to learn more about Joel and his other projects.

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Two to five years.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
As a form of bereavement. We suffered some losses as a family and designing games helped keep me distracted and cope with those losses.

What game or games are you currently working on?
An expansion for my first published game and a mint tin game for tgc mint tin competition

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Yes. Fluttering Souls

What is your day job?
Nurse

Your Gaming Tastes
My readers would like to know more about you as a gamer.

Where do you prefer to play games?
At home

Who do you normally game with?
My wife, two of my best mates Matt and Steph or my brothers

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
At the moment. Raiders of the north sea and Planet. However whatever anyone brings/wants to play is A-okay

And what snacks would you eat?
Usually cheese, crackers, patte and fruit....and beer or mead

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Not usually

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Good Games Cannington

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Raiders of the north sea. Munchkin and worst I have no idea.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Most favourite would be Worker placement or tile laying. Least: roll and write, i just don't get it

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Dungeons and dragons with my brothers and cousin. We have all moved away and don't have the time anymore.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, RPG Games, Video Games

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card Games

OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
At a party after a dozen beers sure.....but not usually

You as a Designer
OK, now the bit that sets you apart from the typical gamer. Let's find out about you as a game designer.

When you design games, do you come up with a theme first and build the mechanics around that? Or do you come up with mechanics and then add a theme? Or something else?
Either. Fluttering souls was mechanic first but my current designs are theme 1st

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Entered, yes. Won, not yet.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Phil Walker Harding

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
From design contests. I find the constraints makes it easier to regulate my designs so I'm not trying to throw the kitchen sink at them.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Playtest with my wife first. If its not broken then in groups. In particular Eric Spain whom i work with.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Alone

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Time to commit to designs between work and family life

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
No idea. Something fun and nostalgic. Maybe ninja turtles but its been done. Something from my childhood. Nothing really stands out. Perhaps Street Sharks

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
You will have a shelf full of failed or broken games before you make something beautiful

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
You will have a shelf full of failed or broken games before you make something beautiful

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: 1
Currently looking for a publisher I have: 2
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: 1
Games that I'm playtesting are: 2
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: 2
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: 3 however the above does not reflect failed games or ones that worked as a game but failed to be a good game

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Tgc designers discussion. Tabletop game designers Australia. Board game developers guild. Board game design lab community

And the oddly personal, but harmless stuff…
OK, enough of the game stuff, let's find out what really makes you tick! These are the questions that I’m sure are on everyone’s minds!

Star Trek or Star Wars? Coke or Pepsi? VHS or Betamax?
Star wars. coke. Vhs

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Beach volleyball. Playing music

What is something you learned in the last week?
Koalas will often eat dirt as their staple diet of eucalyptus leaves lack calcium.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Music = folk, ska and rock. Books = marvel comics (daredevil and the punisher) Movies = most except war and supernatural horror

What was the last book you read?
Arnold Schwarzenegger's biography

Do you play any musical instruments?
Drums, percussion and the ukulele

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I have an unhealthy fear of horses

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Got my feet tattooed at a friend’s stag do. Ziplined and trekked through the jungle in Laos

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I have been thinking about this for hours but have nothing.

Who is your idol?
My wife or my Nana (rip) two of the strongest people I have ever met.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Nothing. I’d be too worried I’d mess up timelines and not meet my wife of have my son.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Usually an introvert but becoming more of an extrovert the older and more confident I become. At Gen Con 2019 (my first) I was an extrovert

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Thor

Have any pets?
1 dog (labrador) called moose

When the next asteroid hits Earth, causing the Yellowstone caldera to explode, California to fall into the ocean, the sea levels to rise, and the next ice age to set in, what current games or other pastimes do you think (or hope) will survive into the next era of human civilization? What do you hope is underneath that asteroid to be wiped out of the human consciousness forever?
The entirety of my game collection lol. Thats hard because there are so many good games. Raiders of the North sea, Scythe, Dice Hospital, Fluttering Souls, Century Golem Edition, Betrayal at Baldur’s Gate, Deep Sea Adventure, Jaipur, The Mind, Pandemic (Iberia) and Unfair and it's expansions and all D&D fifth edition books. And please remove coriander (cilantro) from the face of the earth.

If you’d like to send a shout out to anyone, anyone at all, here’s your chance (I can’t guarantee they’ll read this though):
My wife Alyssa, my son Caleb. My brothers Rhys and Luke

Just a Bit More
Thanks for answering all my crazy questions! Is there anything else you'd like to tell my readers?

A good publisher can make your design process a magical thing. I struck gold with Good Games Publishing. Work with someone who will push your design and question your decisions. It will help you grow.




Thank you for reading this People Behind the Meeples indie game designer interview! You can find all the interviews here: People Behind the Meeples and if you'd like to be featured yourself, you can fill out the questionnaire here: http://gjjgames.blogspot.com/p/game-designer-interview-questionnaire.html

Did you like this interview?  Please show your support: Support me on Patreon! Or click the heart at Board Game Links , like GJJ Games on Facebook , or follow on Twitter .  And be sure to check out my games on  Tabletop Generation.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Eye on Kickstarter #75


Welcome to my Eye on Kickstarter series!  This series will highlight Kickstarter campaigns I am following that have recently launched (or I've recently discovered) because they have caught my interest.  Usually they'll catch my interest because they look like great games that I have either backed or would like to back (unfortunately budget doesn't allow me to back everything I'd like to).  But occasionally the campaigns caught my attention for other reasons.  Twice a month, on the 2nd and 4th Fridays, I'll make a new post in this series, highlighting the campaigns that have caught my attention since the last post.  In each post I'll highlight one campaign that has really grabbed my attention, followed by other campaigns I've backed or am interested in.  I'll also include links to any related reviews or interviews I've done.  Comments are welcome, as are suggestions for new campaigns to check out!

You can also see my full Kickstarter Profile to see what I've backed or my old Eye on Kickstarter page that was too unwieldy to maintain.  Also, check out the 2019 Kickstarter Boardgame Projects geeklist over on Board Game Geek for a list of all the tabletop games of the year.
So, without further ado, here are the projects I'm currently watching as of the second Friday of October, 2019:

Live Campaigns from Past Eyes:
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner by 25th Century Games
Camp Pinetop by Talon Strike Studios
Seven Bridges by Puzzling Pixel Games
Ruins of Mars by Atheris Entertainment
Sovereign Skies by Deep Water Games
Saints and Scoundrels by GCRS Games
POWERUP 4.0 - Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane by POWERUP


HIGHLIGHTED CAMPAIGN
Vamp on the Batwalk
by Gold Nugget Games
  • People Behind the Meeples Interview
  • Vamp on the Batwalk is a fun looking trick-taking game with a big twist. Instead of looking at your cards and trying to figure out what to play, you'll only be able to see others' cards and just the backs of yours. This sounds like a cool twist on the trick-taking genre.


Vamp on the Batwalk is a unique trick-taking game where you play the role of vampires attempting to outperform each other in a fashion show. Unlike most card games, in Vamp on the Batwalk you only see the BACK of your cards, NOT the front! (You are a vampire after all, which means you can’t see how good you look in the mirror!)




Cosmic Colonies
by Floodgate Games
  • People Behind the Meeples Interview
  • Here's another Scott Almes game while we wait for Tiny Epic Dinosaurs to be on Kickstarter next week. I really like drafting games since they generally keep all players active throughout most of the game. Cosmic Colonies has you trying to build on asteroids with workers that are chosen in a draft.


The Search for Planet X
by Foxtrot Games
  • The Search for Planet X combines actual science with a cool deduction game. I like deduction, I like the theory that there's a ninth planet at the edge of our solar system, I like games. This is all of those!


Gameboard-1
by The Last Gameboard
  • I'm not sure that a 16"x16" gameboard is worth $300, but this does look pretty cool. I especially like the sensors in the board that let you use any components with the game. Still, $300 can buy you a lot of games that come with their own boards.


Scary Stories: A Tribute to Terror
by Curt Tuckfield and Shane Hunt
  • The Scary Stories books were some of my favorites when I was a kid. The stories were always just a little creepy, but fun. It was the artwork that I really loved though. This tribute really looks like it was created by the original author and artist. The artwork especially looks just like the haunting works of Stephen Gammell. If you're a fan of the Scary Stories books this will look great with your originals!

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 192: Royce Anthony Banuelos

Welcome to People Behind the Meeples, a series of interviews with indie game designers.  Here you'll find out more than you ever wanted to know about the people who make the best games that you may or may not have heard of before.  If you'd like to be featured, head over to http://gjjgames.blogspot.com/p/game-designer-interview-questionnaire.html and fill out the questionnaire! You can find all the interviews here: People Behind the Meeples. Support me on Patreon!


Name:Royce Anthony Banuelos
Email:roycebanuelos@gmail.com
Location:St. Louis, MO
Day Job:Art Director
Designing:Two to five years.
Blog:Loose Screw Board Games
BGG:roaranimation
Facebook:Royce Banuelos (there's only one)
Other:Loose Screw Board Games (just in general)
Find my games at:The Game Crafter and find me in St. Louis
Today's Interview is with:

Royce Anthony Banuelos
Interviewed on: 8/13/2019

This week we get to meet Royce Banuelos. I met Royce a few months ago at Gen Con where we played a few prototype games together. Royce is part of the St. Louis game design community, which includes some great designers (Jamey Stegmaier, John Coveyou, etc.) and some great publishers. Read on to learn more about Royce and his current projects.

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Two to five years.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
My band broke up and I needed something else to do.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Multiple titles but the main focus currently is "Bag of Dicks."

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Pigskin

What is your day job?
Art Director

Your Gaming Tastes
My readers would like to know more about you as a gamer.

Where do you prefer to play games?
My home and friends homes.

Who do you normally game with?
Friends

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Prototypes and family weight games.

And what snacks would you eat?
Nachos, pretzels, and stuff like that.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
I prefer either thematic, atmospheric music appropriate for the game's theme or rap/indie rock.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Miniature Market (STL local)

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Favorite is Dark Moon, least favorite I still enjoy would be Monopoly, and worst ever is CSI the board game.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I like a lot of area control elements in games. My least favorite would be games that are constantly awarding players with stuff for doing nothing, Space Base, Machi Koro, and Dice Forge are all examples of this.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Sons of Anarchy

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures Games, Video Games

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card Games, Other Games?

OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
No

You as a Designer
OK, now the bit that sets you apart from the typical gamer. Let's find out about you as a game designer.

When you design games, do you come up with a theme first and build the mechanics around that? Or do you come up with mechanics and then add a theme? Or something else?
I've done both, but usually I have a vision for a finished product and then work out a game for that vision. Bag of Dicks for example was a thought of both theme and mechanisms at the same time.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I have entered two before and have not won any.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Brian Suhre is a favorite.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
My best ideas are from not thinking about ideas. Being around game designers and talking about games though will always stir some parts of my design mind.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I'm friendly and work within the St. Louis community to get play test in. We've got a great, supportive community so it's a little bit easier here.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I co-design a lot with Mark Wisdom but also do my own stuff as well. Either way works fine for me, I can work well with others.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Finances and time. I'm a parent and have limited time to dedicate towards going out all the time.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Fortnite, Beyonce, and anything else that would move a lot of units.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Don't give a publisher your prototype at a convention.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Get your games played and play other people's games.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Pigskin, 2 Count
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Multiple titles that are medium - light weight games
I'm planning to crowdfund: Bag of Dicks, Gravitational Drift Racing, and more TBA
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Three Fiddy

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Multiple, they're all pretty good.

And the oddly personal, but harmless stuff…
OK, enough of the game stuff, let's find out what really makes you tick! These are the questions that I’m sure are on everyone’s minds!

Star Trek or Star Wars? Coke or Pepsi? VHS or Betamax?
Star Wars, Coke, VHS.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Biking, art, glasses, and talking.

What is something you learned in the last week?
How to properly use bike gears.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Punk rock is my favorite music, biographies are my favorite books, and documentaries are my favorite movies.

What was the last book you read?
"I'm supposed to protect you from all this"

Do you play any musical instruments?
Drums, bass, and guitar.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
Anyone can give me a call for any reason.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I pitched a game to a publisher and didn't actually have a game designed or prototype made yet.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
All of them.

Who is your idol?
My mom, she's rad.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I would be really sad and likely would accidentally destroy space-time.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Extrovert

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
My mom, she's rad.

Have any pets?
No

When the next asteroid hits Earth, causing the Yellowstone caldera to explode, California to fall into the ocean, the sea levels to rise, and the next ice age to set in, what current games or other pastimes do you think (or hope) will survive into the next era of human civilization? What do you hope is underneath that asteroid to be wiped out of the human consciousness forever?
I think mancala games and social games like paper, scissors, rock would likely have lasting power. I would hope people getting together to eat food would continue. If anything would be wiped out I would hope it would be racism/sexism and that whole thing.

If you’d like to send a shout out to anyone, anyone at all, here’s your chance (I can’t guarantee they’ll read this though):
Hi Joe Queer, thanks for making cool music!

Just a Bit More
Thanks for answering all my crazy questions! Is there anything else you'd like to tell my readers?

Evangelize the hobby! And love yourself. Thank you for having an outlet like this for designers. :)




Thank you for reading this People Behind the Meeples indie game designer interview! You can find all the interviews here: People Behind the Meeples and if you'd like to be featured yourself, you can fill out the questionnaire here: http://gjjgames.blogspot.com/p/game-designer-interview-questionnaire.html

Did you like this interview?  Please show your support: Support me on Patreon! Or click the heart at Board Game Links , like GJJ Games on Facebook , or follow on Twitter .  And be sure to check out my games on  Tabletop Generation.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 191: Leisel Volski

Welcome to People Behind the Meeples, a series of interviews with indie game designers.  Here you'll find out more than you ever wanted to know about the people who make the best games that you may or may not have heard of before.  If you'd like to be featured, head over to http://gjjgames.blogspot.com/p/game-designer-interview-questionnaire.html and fill out the questionnaire! You can find all the interviews here: People Behind the Meeples. Support me on Patreon!


Name:Leisel Volski
Email:Rpcclassfantasy@gmail.com
Location:Monroe, Ohio.
Day Job:I'm the general manager at my family's pizzeria. Anthony works as an IT Analyst.
Designing:Two to five years.
Facebook:Facebook.com/Bithavensheroes
Twitter:@ClassRpc
Instagram:@HeroesofBithaven
Other:
Today's Interview is with:

Leisel Volski
Interviewed on: 8/13/2019

This week we get to meet Leisel Volski who designs games with her husband Anthony. Together they are working on several games, including Heroes of Bithaven, a card game with some pretty cool pixel art. Read on to learn more about Leisel!

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Two to five years.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
Once upon a time, someone facetiously told my husband, Anthony, that he couldn't make a game. You don't tell that boy that he can't do something.

What game or games are you currently working on?
We're working on Heroes of Bithaven, a sort of gateway card game that should entice new gamers but still keep seasoned players interested. Imagine, you've been dropped into a fantasy themed 16 bit game world. Forget the boss monsters- the world is oversaturated with heroes and you need to defeat your rival heroes for a chance at ultimate fame and glory. It's a lot of hand management and variable player powers, and never plays the same twice. This is your ideal start of the night game... loser buys pizza for the winner. No, really. I wrote that one in.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Just working on Heroes right now; we're actively seeking a publisher.

What is your day job?
I'm the general manager at my family's pizzeria. Anthony works as an IT Analyst.

Your Gaming Tastes
My readers would like to know more about you as a gamer.

Where do you prefer to play games?
We don't exactly have friends, so we just play at home.

Who do you normally game with?
Anthony and I play together all the time. Sometimes we can blackmail our roommates into playing a game here and there.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
We would subject them to our game if they haven't played it yet. Then probably Sushi Go Party and Pandemic: RoS. Those are the big favorites right now.

And what snacks would you eat?
The kind that don't make a mess at the table! Chips and salsa, pretzel bread and beer cheese, that sort of thing.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Not usually. We have a friend who's a little like Towelie from South Park. He just kind of wanders off.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
We recently got burned at the FLGS during a playtest, so they deserve no mention. Looking for another place nearby-ish.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Loving Pandemic: RoS right now. Least favorite right now is Gloomhaven, sorry. I always have to be the one setting up and tearing down. And reading and implementing the rules. It presses all of my anxiety buttons. Worst game, 100 percent, has to be Harbour. Just felt like some of the cards were difficult to understand due to the design, and a lot of issues we had weren't addressed in the rules. Couldn't even figure it out online. Love the premise, but just couldn't get into it at all.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Personally I find deck building really enjoyable, and set collection. There's probably something cooler sounding that I just can't think of right now. Least favorite... anything where you pick the funniest or most effed up thing to say, and people vote for the best or worst or whatever. We all know each other too well for those kinds of games to be enjoyable.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Hero Realms and Coup. I play very honestly, yet somehow that makes ME the bastard. No one will play with me!

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures Games, Video Games

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Card Games

OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
Yes, only to see what Anthony's grandma might come up with.

You as a Designer
OK, now the bit that sets you apart from the typical gamer. Let's find out about you as a game designer.

When you design games, do you come up with a theme first and build the mechanics around that? Or do you come up with mechanics and then add a theme? Or something else?
Theme, then mechanics. It feels easier to direct the game in that way.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Nope. Thinking about entering one this fall, though.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Best not. If I did, I think I'd fangirl myself to death if we ever managed to hit up a con.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Anthony and I bounce ideas off each other. Or he'll get a vision or whatever in a dream and wake me up, whisper-screaming about cultists.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
First we attempt to play together, then we rope our roommates in as test subjects. Though most of the rules end up existing because Anthony Broke The Game (TM). We attended a local meet up which was nice, but the location of the meetings closed and people in the group keep picking locations that are super far away.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Volskis 4 Lyfe! No, but really, I have to do all this with Anthony. We work well together, and I love him to death. I'd have no motivation without him. We have an artist as well, hired through Fiverr.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Everyone and their brother makes games now; it can be hard to stand out. And Anthony and I are very... reclusive? I think that's the best word for it.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Oh God, I wouldn't even know. Something really offensive with Deadpool?

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
That you don't need art. That it's harder to ship a design to a publisher if you already have polished art. We're learning that the hard way, but it hasn't put people off thus far.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Network. Be a people person, or at least fake it reasonably well.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Games that will soon be published are: Heroes of Bithaven
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Heroes of Bithaven
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Heroes of Bithaven
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: A couple more card games. Reskins of classics.

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Yep, several of those. They all kind of blend together, really.

And the oddly personal, but harmless stuff…
OK, enough of the game stuff, let's find out what really makes you tick! These are the questions that I’m sure are on everyone’s minds!

Star Trek or Star Wars? Coke or Pepsi? VHS or Betamax?
Star Wars. Coke, but he prefers Mountain Dew. VHS or Betamax? Pfft! Get a Plex server, son. Burn all your movies, TV shows, anime to the server. That's some next level stuff right there.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Building and maintaining the Plex server, for one. We play a lot of video games, too. 3D printing little odds and ends.

What is something you learned in the last week?
Don't trust everyone who says they'll review your game. Lost a good amount of money to printing and shipping and they disappeared off the face of the earth.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Electro swing, rock, metal, industrial, steampunk... Books... he devours audiobooks of light novels out of Japan. I read young adult stuff, a little fantasy, Stephen King, Ellen Hopkins. Good stuff. We consume anime moreso than movies.

What was the last book you read?
Thunderhead, second book in the Scythe series by Neal Shusterman.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I grew up playing piano. He can strum a guitar. There's an ocarina in the house somewhere.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I'm a secret cripple. That's putting it a bit harsh, maybe, but I'm missing the middle joints in the last 3 fingers on each hand. The bones in my feet are a horror show.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Uh... Anthony got kidnapped once? This was before we met. I used to have a geeky food blog. I made food based on video games and anime.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Meeting Anthony? We met through a (former) friend. Anthony was essentially babysitting this friend who one day decided that drugs might be an interesting thing to try. Idiot. We sat him down, made dinner for like 6 people together at midnight or something, and the rest is history.

Who is your idol?
Don't really have one? Idol worship just seems unhealthy.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Send a message to our past selves: Trust no one but each other. Also if I could stop myself from getting fat, that'd be great.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
We're recluses! It's the more advanced form of introverts!

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Deadpool.

Have any pets?
One dog. A 6 year old rescue mix named Luna. She could be my service dog if she didn't hate cars.

When the next asteroid hits Earth, causing the Yellowstone caldera to explode, California to fall into the ocean, the sea levels to rise, and the next ice age to set in, what current games or other pastimes do you think (or hope) will survive into the next era of human civilization? What do you hope is underneath that asteroid to be wiped out of the human consciousness forever?
Thats... extremely specific? Honestly I'd hope it kind of all burns, so that the next era or whatever has no preconceived notions of what should or should not be. Maybe some things would end up being better? I don't know. I hope Kanye West is under the asteroid. Anyone who is proud of not reading... ugh.

If you’d like to send a shout out to anyone, anyone at all, here’s your chance (I can’t guarantee they’ll read this though):
Um... hi dad! (He'll read this, because I'll show him)

Just a Bit More
Thanks for answering all my crazy questions! Is there anything else you'd like to tell my readers?

Nah. I can't deal with this nonsense without prompts.

I'm hungry. Someone order me a pizza. Or sushi burrito.




Thank you for reading this People Behind the Meeples indie game designer interview! You can find all the interviews here: People Behind the Meeples and if you'd like to be featured yourself, you can fill out the questionnaire here: http://gjjgames.blogspot.com/p/game-designer-interview-questionnaire.html

Did you like this interview?  Please show your support: Support me on Patreon! Or click the heart at Board Game Links , like GJJ Games on Facebook , or follow on Twitter .  And be sure to check out my games on  Tabletop Generation.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Eye on Kickstarter #74


Welcome to my Eye on Kickstarter series!  This series will highlight Kickstarter campaigns I am following that have recently launched (or I've recently discovered) because they have caught my interest.  Usually they'll catch my interest because they look like great games that I have either backed or would like to back (unfortunately budget doesn't allow me to back everything I'd like to).  But occasionally the campaigns caught my attention for other reasons.  Twice a month, on the 2nd and 4th Fridays, I'll make a new post in this series, highlighting the campaigns that have caught my attention since the last post.  In each post I'll highlight one campaign that has really grabbed my attention, followed by other campaigns I've backed or am interested in.  I'll also include links to any related reviews or interviews I've done.  Comments are welcome, as are suggestions for new campaigns to check out!

You can also see my full Kickstarter Profile to see what I've backed or my old Eye on Kickstarter page that was too unwieldy to maintain.  Also, check out the 2019 Kickstarter Boardgame Projects geeklist over on Board Game Geek for a list of all the tabletop games of the year.
So, without further ado, here are the projects I'm currently watching as of the fourth Friday of September, 2019:



HIGHLIGHTED CAMPAIGN
Seven Bridges
by Puzzling Pixel Games
  • People Behind the Meeples Interview
  • Roll & Write games seem to be all the rage lately, and they've been pretty awesome. Seven Bridges takes the classic mathematical conundrum that was resolved by Leonhard Euler in the 18th century. It features cool antique map style play sheets and some interesting gameplay mechanics.


SEVEN BRIDGES is a “roll-and-write” dice drafting game in which you will explore the historic city of Königsberg, coloring in the streets you have seen on your map. Points are earned by visiting different parts of the city, but the various ways of earning them are only unlocked by crossing the city’s seven bridges. The player who tallies the most points at the end of five rounds wins!

SEVEN BRIDGES stands out from other roll-and-write games because it includes a map of a real-world city created by a professional cartographer! The elements of the game have been creatively superimposed as a red overprint layer, a technique once used to update or re-purpose outdated maps.





Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
by 25th Century Games
  • This looks like a super fun, fast family filler game. (Lots of effs there!) It's press-your-luck with some fun art and clever use of dice that's a great filler or great for the family to play.


The Isofarian Guard
by Sky Kingdom Games
  • People Behind the Meeples Interview
  • This is a stand-alone game in the same universe as the Stonebound Saga. It features the same level of amazing artwork and very interesting story driven gameplay in a sandbox world for one or two players. This game makes use of a very clever combination of board game, soundtrack, character driven audio stories, and an optional app. It really seems to be pushing the boundaries of the kind of immersive experience you can have with tabletop games.


Camp Pinetop
by Talon Strike Studios
  • As a Cubmaster and someone very involved in Scouts, this looks like a fun little game with a theme that really speaks to me. I really like the clever parodies of Scouting life and the gameplay looks pretty solid, too.


Ruins of Mars
by Atheris Entertainment
  • I haven't played many rondel based games, but combine that with an awesome theme of exploring ancient ruins of a bygone civilization on Mars and you have my attention!


Sovereign Skies
by Deep Water Games
  • Here's another sci-fi based game that uses a worker-movement mechanic with a rondel. Move your ship around the planetary system to build bases, recruit alien senators, and occupy planets in a unique area control game.


Saints and Scoundrels
by GCRS Games
  • Saints and Scoundrels looks like a fun game, but what caught my attention is that it will be manufactured in the United States by The Game Crafter. The Game Crafter is known for being an excellent source for print-on-demand games and high quality prototypes, but in the past games that tried to use The Game Crafter as their main manufacturer definitely felt like more expensive, lower quality games than those manufactured in China. But here we are, a few years later, and The Game Crafter's quality has continued to improve while overseas manufacturing has continued to get more expensive (especially shipping and tariffs), plus production times are super slow in China, taking a year or more most times. Heck, just shipping games overseas adds a month or more to the fulfillment time. I can attest that The Game Crafter's component and card quality, box quality, and print quality have all improved drastically in the past couple of years. Will that improved quality, plus much faster turnaround times, bring The Game Crafter to the forefront of new US based manufacturers? Gray Gnome Games had success a few months ago with their crowd sale for Iron Helm, and now Gary Chavez is testing them out with this campaign. I think it's going to be interesting to see how well TGC produced games can compete with China produced games, and I hope they're successful!


Barbarians: The Invasion - 2nd Edition
by Tabula Games
  • This was on Kickstarter about 2.5 years ago and I was oggeling it back then. Now it's back with a ton of updates to make the game look and play even better. I really wish y budget could handle it this time!


POWERUP 4.0 - Smartphone Controlled Paper Airplane
by POWERUP
  • Well, here I go sharing a campaign that's not a game again. But how cool is this? It's a smartphone driven flight system for a paper airplane! This has to be one of the coolest gadgets I've ever seen on Kickstarter. You can fly just about anything with this awesome little gizmo!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 190: Carlie Cornell

Welcome to People Behind the Meeples, a series of interviews with indie game designers.  Here you'll find out more than you ever wanted to know about the people who make the best games that you may or may not have heard of before.  If you'd like to be featured, head over to http://gjjgames.blogspot.com/p/game-designer-interview-questionnaire.html and fill out the questionnaire! You can find all the interviews here: People Behind the Meeples. Support me on Patreon!


Name:Carlie Cornell
Email:games@dragonphoenixgames.com
Location:Mansfield, TX, USA
Day Job:Graphic design and marketing for Dragon Phoenix Games
Designing:Two to five years.
Webpage:dragonphoenixgames.com
BGG:carlie2486
Facebook:Dragon Phoenix Games
Twitter:@DragonPhoenixGm
YouTube:Dragon Phoenix Games
Instagram:@DragonPhoenixGames
Today's Interview is with:

Carlie Cornell
Interviewed on: 8/21/2019 11:23:45

Carlie Cornell has only been designing games for a few years now, but she's launching her first Kickstarter today! Wacky Widgets is available now! Carlie also has several other games in development through Dragon Phoenix Games, a company she runs with her husband and design partner, Harvey. Carlie and Harvey also create cooperative variants for competitive games on their Games for Friends and Lovers channel, so check that out, too!

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Two to five years.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
After years of creating art and graphics for my husband's game, I decided to try my hand on the design side.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Wacky Widgets and Waiting Room

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Not yet.

What is your day job?
Graphic design and marketing for Dragon Phoenix Games

Your Gaming Tastes
My readers would like to know more about you as a gamer.

Where do you prefer to play games?
At a table with friends

Who do you normally game with?
My husband every day, our Meet-Up game group about once a month, other friends weekly or monthly by appointment.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Oh boy! What wouldn't I want to play! I like most of Stefan Feld's games. Anything Midgard. Dungeon crawls (Gloomhaven and Dungeon Alliance currently getting a good amount of table time). Dice games: Colony, Too Many Bones. Silly magic games: Potion Explosion, Broom Service. Euros like Grand Austria Hotel, Yokohama.

And what snacks would you eat?
Popcorn. We have a machine that makes popcorn that's almost as good a movie popcorn.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
No. Much too distracting.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Madness Games and Comics, Plano, TX.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Current favorite: Defenders of the Last Stand. Least favorite that I still enjoy: Quest for El Dorado. Worst game ever: anything with zombies.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Favorite: dice manipulation. Least favorite: social deduction.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Merlin, played once. Gathering dust since.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures Games

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card Games

OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
No

You as a Designer
OK, now the bit that sets you apart from the typical gamer. Let's find out about you as a game designer.

When you design games, do you come up with a theme first and build the mechanics around that? Or do you come up with mechanics and then add a theme? Or something else?
Theme first.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
My husband and I have been finalists more than once. No win yet.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Stefan Feld

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Usually in conversation with someone close. If something sets us to laughing, I'm ready to start designing.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Rough prototype, play with my husband, revise, play, revise, play. When it becomes playable and fun. We workshop it with the Tabletop Artisans Workshop in Plano, TX.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Team with my husband.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
I hate the fiddly details. And most of the fun is in there, dang it.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Robin Hobbs's dragons. Her Liveship Traders stories are the best dragon stories ever.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Start now. The market is going to get hot in 2008-2009.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Stay loose. Examine your assumptions. You might be too tied to a solution that isn't optimal for your game.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Burning Phoenix Inn
Games that will soon be published are: tbd
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: Wacky Widgets
Currently looking for a publisher I have: tbd
I'm planning to crowdfund: Storm Dragons, Mystical Conjuration, Elemental Sorcery and Beast Magic (trilogy of magic games)
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Wacky Widgets, Storm Dragons, Magic trilogy
Games that I'm playtesting are: Gathering Gloom
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: lots
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Waiting Room

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
I am active in the following Facebook groups: Board Game Spotlight, Women of Board Game Design, Dallas Designer Group, Tabletop Artisans Workshop

And the oddly personal, but harmless stuff…
OK, enough of the game stuff, let's find out what really makes you tick! These are the questions that I’m sure are on everyone’s minds!

Star Trek or Star Wars? Coke or Pepsi? VHS or Betamax?
Yes, Neither (allergic), VHS (late adopter when I saw the trend clearly)

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
singing opera, writing fiction

What is something you learned in the last week?
Even with a good outcome, time spent caring for a family member in the hospital is emotionally exhausting.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Music: opera or other sung stories. Books: beach reads, speculative fiction, technical material. Movies: rom-com, adventure, anything with sharp characters and sassy dialog.

What was the last book you read?
"A Wedding in December" by Anita Shreve. Looking for a new beach novel author. Just finished reading everything by Elin Hilderbrand and looking for the next new friend.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I sing.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I sang opera professionally for a number of years.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I spent a month in Johannesburg, South Africa caring for my (now-ex) husband when he contracted a nearly fatal infection of the liver. I had a driver who took me to the hospital each day because I was not safe traveling alone. Everyone I talked to there had a crazy story about a violent encounter and none of the stories took place at more than one degree of separation. Appalling. But then one of the men who shared a room with my husband invited us to dine with them to see a better side of South Africa. He and his gracious wife fed us on antelope stew and warthog sausage (both very tasty - I understand why lions like to eat them). He showed me the Southern Cross in the sky and we heard lions roaring in the distance at sunset. Very memorable experience.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
As a kid, we got a border collie puppy for Christmas. One of us suggested we name her Molly. My dad - in the other room - heard Holly. So she became Holly, the Merry Christmas Dog.

Who is your idol?
Leonardo DaVinci. He never stopped trying new things, thinking new thoughts. And he wasn't much into limiting his topics.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Visit my grandmothers as younger women. Both were remarkable women when I knew them, but I find it hard to imagine them in their prime. Would love to see them and have dinner and conversation.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Introvert

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Spiderman. That athleticism and depth perception. Both are a bit weak for me.

Have any pets?
A very sweet Maltese mix dog: Duchess

When the next asteroid hits Earth, causing the Yellowstone caldera to explode, California to fall into the ocean, the sea levels to rise, and the next ice age to set in, what current games or other pastimes do you think (or hope) will survive into the next era of human civilization? What do you hope is underneath that asteroid to be wiped out of the human consciousness forever?
Story telling will survive. And dice. The first because we are wired to think in stories. The second because they've been around forever. No reason to think they're going anywhere (sorry, all you determinists - is that a word?).

If you’d like to send a shout out to anyone, anyone at all, here’s your chance (I can’t guarantee they’ll read this though):
Jamey Stegmaier: thanks, Jamey, for your sharing.


Thanks for answering all my crazy questions!




Thank you for reading this People Behind the Meeples indie game designer interview! You can find all the interviews here: People Behind the Meeples and if you'd like to be featured yourself, you can fill out the questionnaire here: http://gjjgames.blogspot.com/p/game-designer-interview-questionnaire.html

Did you like this interview?  Please show your support: Support me on Patreon! Or click the heart at Board Game Links , like GJJ Games on Facebook , or follow on Twitter .  And be sure to check out my games on  Tabletop Generation.