Tuesday, March 19, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 163: Nicholas Hjelmberg

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:Nicholas Hjelmberg
Email:nicholas.hjelmberg@gmail.com
Location:Sweden
Day Job:I work with quality assurance of IT systems at Systembolaget, the government-owned liquor retailer of Sweden.
Designing:Two to five years.
Webpage:http://novasuecia.se/
Blog:http://novasuecia.se/blog.html
BGG:nhjelmberg
Facebook:Nova Suecia Games
Twitter:@novasuecia
Other:Indie Game Alliance, studio name Nova Suecia Games
Find my games at:The Game Crafter for print on demand, Boardgamegeek and novasuecia.se for print & play documents.
Today's Interview is with:

Nicholas Hjelmberg
Interviewed on: 1/11/2019

This week we meet Nicholas Hjelmberg, a Sweedish designer that has a number of projects active right now. You can find some of his games on The Game Crafter and follow along with him on Facebook or his Nova Suecia Games website. Read on to learn more about Nicholas and his 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?
I've been a gamer for many years but I'm also a professional within the field of quality assurance. Once a colleague of mine (who also is a gamer) asked me whether I had tried to apply QA methodology to design a game and since I can't resist a challenge...

What game or games are you currently working on?
I'm working with a publisher to kickstart "Soviet Party", a package comprised of my micro games "Comrade", "Gulag" and "Politburo". The games are party games for 5-10 people, designed with Russian political jokes in mind to convey the paranoia and resignation of a totalitarian regime.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Apokalypsis, a small game about manipulating and predicting omens to survive on a sinking island, was sold to a local game shop (https://www.sfbok.se/produkt/apokalypsis-42093). It's now sold out but I do consider a reprint.

What is your day job?
I work with quality assurance of IT systems at Systembolaget, the government-owned liquor retailer of Sweden.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At home, where I have access to both my kitchen (to prepare food and beverages) and to my game collection.

Who do you normally game with?
I don't have a regular game group but instead have a big network of gamers that I meet at meetups and other events.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
A perfect game night would start with a medium Knizia (perhaps Samurai or even better Tigris & Euphrates), then continue with a heavier economic game (a Wallace or a Splotter game), and finally end with a lighter game (a card game like Innovation or a party game like Avalon).

And what snacks would you eat?
If I have the opportunity, I always bring a basket of fresh bread or buns.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Possibly, if the music fits the theme of the game, but usually there is so much table talk that noone misses the music.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Since I often buy older classics, I have no favorite FLGS but rather buy games wherever I find them. However, Alphaspel (https://alphaspel.se/) has a gaming room which I often visit.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
In my opinion, Tigris & Euphrates remains the best game ever designed. Catan is an old favorite that rarely hits the table nowadays but I still think it's a good game. Cards Against Humanity is one of few games I'd refuse to play again.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Tile laying, particularly if the tiles are laid on a common board. Tigris & Euphrates has already been mentioned, Reef Encounter and The Great Zimbabwe are two other great representatives. Take that, when impossible to predict and defend against, doesn't belong in modern games in my opinion.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Tigris & Euphrates. Call me old fashioned but I think many gamers today prefer games which I would label as "multi-player solitaires with instant kicks" - build your own engine and accumulate victory points for everything you do. Tigris & Euphrates on the other hand rewards long term planning, where you sometimes have to take small steps to set up a strong finish. This is nothing you understand in your first game and few gamers have the patience to continue playing and discover new layers.

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

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card Games, RPG 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?
It often starts with a basic mechanic that I want to explore. Then I think about which theme that would make justice to that mechanic. After that, it's an iterative process, where the theme provides new ideas to the mechanics and vice versa. It happens that I have ideas about themes that I would like to turn into games but it's not until I get an idea for a new mechanic that I actually realize those ideas.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I've entered several competitions and reached the final in several of them, among them World Original Design Contest of Board Game (http://wodc.yokagames.com/) with the game Dyce, the Thundergryph Survival Design Contest (https://thundergryph.com/survival-design-contest-finalists/) with the game Apokalypsis and the TGC Killer Gamer's Remorse Challenge (https://www.thegamecrafter.com/contests/killer-gamer-s-remorse-challenge) with the game Mingle and Murder.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Reiner Knizia, particularly when it comes to his games around the turn of the century. The way he takes a well-known mechanic and turns it into a unique game experience is unprecedented.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
New ideas may erupt anywhere and anytime when I least expect them (but never when I want to). Once I have an idea, it grows most easily when I exercise (jogging, cycling etc.), during which I think about possible ways to implement. If the idea survives the "designing in the mind", I put it on paper and start drafting various options and scenarios.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
First I playtest them myself over and over by simulating and documenting the game flow in a spreadsheet. I also consider early rule writing as a good test, since it's a measure of how simple and intuitive the game is. When I don't think I can improve the game anymore - but no sooner than that! - I present it to fellow designers. If the game passes their critical eyes as well, I test it with people I know and prepare print & play documents for blind tests. I used to send physical copies to testers as well but recently I have started using Tabletopia instead.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I would like to design as part of a team one day but so far I've only worked on my own.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Testing. It's ironic that I work with quality assurance and yet have such challenges in finding enough time and people for testing.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Generally I prefer not to be restricted by an IP but a game based on my favourite book The Name of the Rose could be interesting. (I know there is one already but a game closer to the actual story.)

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
They did tell me but I should have listened better: When you feel that your game is ready, do another iteration, and another, and another...

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Do a lot of iterations but don't forget what your game wants to be. If you start deviating from it, your game may lose its soul and become just similar to every other game out there.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Apokalypsis.
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Mingle & Murder (a murder mystery game)
Cosmoclasm (a trick-based area control game)
Find the Bug (a game aimed at teaching IT)
Iconoclasm (an abstract conflict game with shifting support)

I'm planning to crowdfund: Soviet Party (Comrade, Gulag, Politburo).
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Dyce (a trading game with AI buyers and sellers)
Warring States (a trick-based area control game)
Lucca (a tile-laying game both horizontally and vertically, building towers)

Games that I'm playtesting are: Peoples - Civilizations (a simplified civilization game)
Suecia (a trading game with shared infrastructure and player-driven supply and demand)

Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Find the Bug - Agile and Find the Bug - Project (additional games in the Find the Bug series)
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: I'd like to design an Arthurian game where the players goals develop due to game events but haven't come up with the right mechanics yet.

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
IGA Developer's Lounge, Card & Board Game Designers Guild, Speldesignerträffar (Swedish group).

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, one coherent saga is better than many loose episodes. None, I've reached the age where I need to look at healthy options. None, content is more important than format.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Baking and cooking, which fits well before game evenings. Cycling and jogging, which fits well after game evenings...

What is something you learned in the last week?
How easy it is to set up a game in Tabletopia.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Classical music, synth music of the 80s. Classical books and books with historical themes often appeal to me. Same goes for movies.

What was the last book you read?
I recently reread the Foundation Trilogy.

Do you play any musical instruments?
No, and I could probably get paid not to play any.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
My wife doesn't enjoy games at all.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Wearing an Arsenal shirt during a night out in Manchester perhaps. I had just received it for my birthday. Nothing happened, though.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Unfortunately, my accidents rarely turn out awesome.

Who is your idol?
I've had my success stories in many areas but I'm still waiting for a game design breakthrough and until then my idol remains Reiner Knizia.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Probably spend more time in the past and in the future than in the present.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Introvert.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
I was more into Donald Duck comics than Marvel comics as a kid so none.

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?
A chess set, to inspire the next generation to design games. There are many mistakes that should be erased but perhaps it's better to learn from them (if the next generation is able to do so).

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):
If you ever visit Stockholm, Sweden, you're welcome to a game night!


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?  Pleasse 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, March 12, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 162: Mike Nudd

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:Mike Nudd
Location:UK
Day Job:Head of Product for an internet telephone service provider
Designing:Five to ten years.
BGG:Mike Nudd
Twitter:@Mikelosaurus
Find my games at:Online
Today's Interview is with:

Mike Nudd
Interviewed on: 1/11/2019

You may have heard of this week's designer since he's had a few successful games published lately. Dice Hospital and Waggle Dance were both hits for Mike Nudd last couple of years. He has more games in the works, too! Read on to learn more about Mike and his other projects.

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Five to ten years.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
As a rewarding intellectual exercise.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Captain Scarlet, Dice Hospital expansions, Termite Towers (a sequel to Waggle Dance), and more!

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Yes

What is your day job?
Head of Product for an internet telephone service provider

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Anywhere there are players

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?
Right now Underwater Cities and Teotihuacan

And what snacks would you eat?
Not big on snacks, some Walkers crisps or Pringles maybe.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Yes, preferably film soundtracks that fit the theme.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Leisure Games

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Too many to single out. Coaster Park is possibly the worst game I've played in recent years. Love big epic games with spectacle, theme, and narrative such as Twilight Imperium, Eclipse, Clash of Cultures, Cthulhu Wars. Battlestar Galactica is also a long-time favourite.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Most: Dice worker placement. Least: anything dependant on random luck of the draw.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
High Frontier by Sierra Madre, the level of think is an acquired taste.

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

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures Games, RPG 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?
There is no particular formula, although it usually starts with a setting or theme.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Yes

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
I am impressed with the wide variety of good games that Vlaada Chvatil has designed.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Often when I am playing other games.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Just put a prototype in front of as many people as possible.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I have mostly worked alone to date, but I am open to more collaborative projects.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Trying to come up with a combination of theme and mechanics which are fresh enough to see it out in today's competitive market.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Die Hard. Underworld. Supernatural TV show. Mad Max. Inception.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Difficult to think of anything specific.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
It’s a labour of love - and you have to enjoy the process because the financial reward is generally very low. Listen and learn from critical feedback, and be prepared to kill your babies if you have to. Research the market to inform your decisions, spot opportunities, and make sure you're not treading on already well-trodden ground.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: 3
Games that will soon be published are: 1 (not including expansions)
Currently looking for a publisher I have: 3
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: 3
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: 20

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Most of them?

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 Trek, Star Wars and Babylon 5.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Playing other kinds of games. Keeping abreast of cool TV and film. Live gigs and theatre.

What is something you learned in the last week?
There was more than one French Revolution.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
I listen to all kinds of things but gravitate towards heavy rock/metal.

What was the last book you read?
Thin Air by Richard Morgan.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Drums, guitar, violin, and I sing.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I studied astrophysics at university.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I won a holiday to Australia off the radio.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Visit the future to see if humanity wipes itself out or not.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Somewhere in between, but tend more towards introvert.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Iron Man, for all the cool toys.

Have any pets?
1 cat

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?
Chess should survive if humans do, maybe Go too. Not that I'd wish ill of anyone, but right now a collision in midwest USA or Saudi Arabia would seem like it would do a lot of good for global politics and economics.

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):
Thanks to anyone who has backed or bought my games so far!


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?  Pleasse 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, March 8, 2019

Eye on Kickstarter #61

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 March, 2019:



HIGHLIGHTED CAMPAIGN
Fail Faster: The Playtesting Journal
  • GJJ Games Backed
  • Over the last year I've spend a lot more time refining my own game designs in the hopes that I'll be able to get something published soon. I've done a lot of playtesting, refining, and updating. I've never been very good at taking notes, even in school, so any notes I did jot down for playtests were usually on the pages of rules that I had printed out. As I make changes to the games and need new rules the old ones get tossed, along with my notes. I've been trying to force myself to do a better job of logging the amount of time a game takes, who I play with, etc. but I'm still not as diligent as I should be. Fail Faster: The Playtesting Journal aims to make the whole process of playtesting a game, and in particular tracking data and notes for playtests, a whole lot easier. And easier is definitely something I need. I'm really excited to get my journal and see how well it helps me keep my thoughts and ideas organized.


Designing a board game requires a lot of creativity, but also some discipline when it comes to the most vital part of the process: playtesting your game. The Fail Faster Playtesting Journal will guide you throughout your playtesting process to ensure that you’re capturing the right information as well as guide you towards improving your design.

At its core, the Fail Faster Playtesting Journal contains pages to keep track of 36 playtests. The journal is most useful if you dedicate one journal to each game that you are designing, but you could easily use one journal to keep track of all the different games you’re designing. Each section has been tested and planned for optimal use of space.





Feudum: Rudders and Ramparts
  • GJJ Games Backed
  • People Behind the Meeples Interview
  • Feudum is by far the heaviest game I own. It's also one of the most beautiful. The artwork and components are absolutely stunning. Now you can add even more stunning components and some additional variation to gameplay with the Rudders and Ramparts expansion.


Graphic Novel Adventures - Season 2
  • I backed the Graphic Novel Adventures last year and, unfortunately, have only gotten to play one so far. However I've had fun with that one and the others look really awesome, too. The artwork and quality is top notch and this second season looks great, too.


Planetoid
  • Palm Island is one of my top games from last year. It's a great solo game that you can play without a table just about anywhere, so it goes with me everywhere. Planetoid also looks like a fun casual game, although it definitely isn't as portable. It's got great table presence though, and a nifty way of flipping up the tiles.


Lord of the Chords
  • My family is very musical. My wife plays piano, violin, cello, dulcimer, and more. My oldest son plays Spanish classical guitar, piano, and is teaching himself French horn. My middle son plays piano, sings, and takes dance. My 20 month old dances to anything with a beat. I play the radio (and poorly according to my wife). Here's a game that we can all come together on though. It's educational, all about music theory, and filled with puns (I've been accused of making a few bad puns from time to time, too).


Throw Throw Burrito
  • This is the next game from The Oatmeal (after Exploding Kittens and Bears vs Babies) and looks to be just as silly. I'm mainly watching this to see just how high it's funding level will go. Currently it's at $1.4 million, so it's not doing quite as well as Exploding Kittens, but still, not too shabby.


Fuzzy Mage Fight
  • People Behind the Meeples Interview 1
  • People Behind the Meeples Interview 2
  • This is the second game from the team that brought you Wanted Earth and it's a huge change from the miniatures heavy combat game. Fuzzy Mage Fight is a battling card game with really awesome artwork. I was scheduled to review this, but unfortunately it didn't work out for my group. We found it to be too unbalanced and it felt unfinished, despite having some interesting mechanics. Even though it wasn't right for us, go check it out and see if it's right for you - it's already funded and knocking out stretch goals.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 161: Chris Backe

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:Chris Backe
Location:Istanbul, Turkey
Day Job:Web developer, author, and blogger.
Designing:Two to five years.
Webpage:www.entrogames.com
Blog:www.entrogames.com/blog
BGG:entrogames
Facebook:facebook.com/groups/entrogames
Twitter:@entrogaming
YouTube:Games Previewed
Instagram:@entrogames/
Find my games at:Right now: have a look at the Entro Games site - if you see one you'd like to playtest, just send a message =)
Today's Interview is with:

Chris Backe
Interviewed on: 1/11/2019

This week we meet Chris Backe, a designer originally from the US, but now travelling and living around the world (Istanbul at the time of this interview). Chris has a number of exciting projects he's working on. Not just game designs, but also a playtesting service and blog. Down below, where I ask Chris if he's a member of any Facebook or design groups, he answers "All of them", which might actually be accurate. If you're online in the game design communities, chances are you've already had interactions with Chris, or at least seen his posts and comments. It's great to have such enthusiastic members of the game design communities. Read on to learn more about Chris and his 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?
At first, it was just to get an idea out of my head. I had half-heartedly written down game ideas for awhile, and while watching some random episode of 'Tabletop', I thought I should take it more seriously. Had this fantasy about getting one of my games played on the show...

What game or games are you currently working on?
This list changes all the time, but the top 5:
* Defuse - real-time, turn-based bomb defusal game. Co-op with defectors.
* Who Shot the Sheriff? - 6-20 player social deduction game like Werewolf / Mafia.
* Royal Wedding - a spiritual sequel to 'Love Letter' - hand-management, card manipulation, a bit of take-that.
* Don Quixote - an experiment to put a bigger-feeling game in a tiny box.
* Unicorn Zoo - auction and bidding game about unicorns - think 'Ticket to Ride' meets 'Modern Art' with unicorns.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
As of when I type this, there have been some exciting developments I can't talk about yet =)

What is your day job?
Web developer, author, and blogger.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Board game cafes, usually.

Who do you normally game with?
Being a digital nomad and always traveling, I don't have a group I return to week after week. I'm definitely looking for people that like trying new things, and if given the choice, I'll aim for casual players over hard-core gamers.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
While I'm always up to playtest (my games or others), Sushi Go, Ra, and Champions of Midgard are all great.

And what snacks would you eat?
Non-greasy potato chips, maybe some peanuts or trail mix...

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Not really... Atmospheric background music is one thing, but anything that makes you have to talk louder is problematic.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
n/a

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Current favorite: Ra. Love the auction mechanism.
Least favorite that you still enjoy: Cards Against Humanity. Requires alcohol.
Worst game you ever played? Ooh... I've playtested some... interesting prototypes over the years. No names / details obviously, but one doozy was a two-hour marathon that was initially pitched as a 20-30 minute game.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Auctions / negotiating is a current favorite.
Least favorite: anything memory-based or player elimination.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Beyond my own? I'm happy to play almost anything, and don't own many games myself...

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card 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?
With alcohol, sure.

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?
The very first spark usually comes from a question: 'What if players have to...?' or a statement like 'Picture a game about...'. So I guess theme comes first. With that said, I keep two Google docs close by. One is 'Mechanics with no theme' and is several pages of mechanics I like, have seen, have conjured up... These aren't part of any game design yet, but inspiration should never be more than a couple of clicks away. The other main document, as you might have guessed, is 'Themes with no mechanics' - same basic thing.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Entered a few - 'Cryptomillionaire' won Honorable Mention in the BGDL contest in 2018. A couple have gotten past the first round, and as mentioned, there have been some exciting developments I can't talk about as of when I write this. You'll hear about it in one way or another when I can, though =)

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
No one specific person. I'm in awe of Reiner Knizia's output (both quantity and quality), though.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
It's usually a different story every time. Sometimes it comes from trying to fix another game (Who Shot The Sheriff fixes three things I didn't like about Werewolf/Mafia: player elimination, the whole 'closing-your-eyes' thing, and that one person basically needs to sit out and be a moderator). Other times, it just comes from a conversation (Pirate Grannies came after a conversation with my mother-in-law, for example).

How do you go about playtesting your games?
When I arrive in a new country, one of my first priorities is researching the local game groups, game stores, and so on. Most folks are happy to playtest stuff if I pitch it right (usually I say something like 'if we don't go from opening the box to playing in less than 5 minutes, I'll buy you a beer'). Some confidence and assertiveness is part of this — reducing the amount of friction to get a game started / setup.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I haven't co-designed a game (yet), but I'm usually keen for brainstorming or tossing around ideas. I'll work with an artist when it's time, but I haven't yet figured out how that relationship is *supposed* to work.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
The pitching part is one huge challenge. I'd love to show a publisher a small, carefully curated portfolio of ideas and let them choose the one or two they're most interested in to develop further. (Yes, I know the system doesn't work that way — but I wish this whole process was easier and faster.)

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Probably something simple in the Star Trek universe.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
It's OK to shelve a game for a week...a month... a year. It's OK to shelve a game and never look back. You'll have a ton of ideas, and it's OK to pick and choose a priority level for each of them. They're not children that require equal time.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Playtest with everyone and anyone you can. Don't limit it to 'just gamers' or 'just developers'. All feedback is appreciated, useful, and potentially even valuable.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Secret Recipe - family-weight logic / deduction game about finding a secret recipe.
Royal Wedding - a spiritual sequel / successor to Love Letter.
Crazy Travel Stories - a casual / party storytelling game.
How Much Money - a teen or adult party game
Who Shot the Sheriff - 6-20 player social deduction game

Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Unicorn Zoo - auction / negotiating game - Ticket to Ride meets Modern Art.
Games that I'm playtesting are: Don Quixote - family-weight exploration game that follows the classic book.
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Too many to mention =)

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
All of them =)

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?
Trek. Coke. Huh?

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Swing dancing!

What is something you learned in the last week?
How good I am at Smash Ultimate =)

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Sci-fi.

What was the last book you read?
Non-Obvious 2019

Do you play any musical instruments?
Used to play the piano.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I left the US over 10 years and have no serious plans to return any time soon.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Hitchhiked all the way across South Korea...?

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
OKCupid. Met my wife. Maybe not an *accident*, but an unintended consequence.

Who is your idol?
Elon Musk.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Go back to 1929. Buy up a bunch of stocks =)

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Extrovert.

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

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?
...huh...? LOL. I just hope we're still able to interact and socialize with each other beyond a survivalist, functional level. Humans need emotional connections with each other, and it's tough enough to do that as the world is today.

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

I also preview other designers games over at gamespreviewed.com — no expensive prototype or awkward shipping required! Send on your rulebook and print-and-play files via the website.




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?  Pleasse 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, March 1, 2019

Press Release: Glen More II: Chronicles coming to Kickstarter March 13th

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Glen More II: Chronicles coming to Kickstarter
March 13th 
The crowdfunding launch will be celebrated with a daily news countdown

Eitorf, Germany – March 1st 2019 – Today board game publishing house Funtails announced the date for the Kickstarter launch for Matthias Cramer’s Glen More II: Chronicles. On March 13th, everyone will be able to contribute to making the successor to Glen More a reality.

The announcement is accompanied by a daily countdown. 

During that time, the community will be able to get first hand news like:

-          The announcement of the guest designers who contributed a Chronicle to the game
-          The first look at the final art of Glen More II: Chronicles
-          The scope of the game and the content of the box
-          Details about the gameplay of both the base game and several Chronicles
-          A community voting and raffle

The countdown can be joined on Facebook, Twitter or the Funtails homepage.

Funtails website: www.funtails-games.com
Twitter: @FuntailsGames
        
ABOUT FUNTAILS

Funtails GmbH is based in Eitorf, Germany and is a publisher and developer of board games. The Publishing division uses the many years of game design experience of its employees to develop prototypes to the highest level. The company, which currently has five employees, specializes in the development of board games and the adaption of video game licenses.

Further information on Funtails can be found online at www.funtails.de/en/

ABOUT MATTHIAS CRAMER


Matthias Cramer has been successfully developing board games since 2010. His debut work Glen More was nominated for the International Gamers Award. With Lancaster Cramer won the Dutch Game Award and a nomination for Kennerspiel des Jahres. Rococo, which he developed with Louis and Stefan Malz, was also nominated for Kennerspiel des Jahres. 



Did you like this press release?  Show your support: Support me on Patreon! Also, 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, February 26, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 160: Patricia Curtis

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:Patricia Curtis
Location:Nottingham UK
Day Job:Retired and tabletop games.
Designing:Less than six months.
Webpage:luckyredfish.com/
Blog:luckyredfish.com/
BGG:Infromthecold
Facebook:Patricia Curtis
Twitter:@luckyredfish
YouTube:Patricia Curtis
Find my games at:https://skyfight.io/
Today's Interview is with:

Patricia Curtis
Interviewed on: 1/11/2019

Today we get to learn about Patricia Curtis, a newer board game designer that has 35 years of experience designing video games. She hopes to bring that experience to the tabletop and I'm looking forward to what she designs. Read on to learn more about Patricia!

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Less than six months.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
Fed up with the video games industry so retired early and decided to channel my design efforts into tabletop games.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Doomsday

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Yes I have an extensive back catalog of video games. https://luckyredfish.com/previous-works/

What is your day job?
Retired and tabletop games.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At home or friends homes

Who do you normally game with?
I have various groups of friends that meet weekly for game nights!

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Jesus, hard question, this week we have played The Great Western Trail + rails to the north, Tzolkin+Tribes, Vasco da Gama, Azul, Euphoria and Feast for Odin!

And what snacks would you eat?
We break for food and my partner normally cooks!

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Old 50s records, Sinatra, Jonny Ray, Bassy etc...

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Don't visit game stores, only purchase online.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Best The Great Western Trail + rails to the north Least Caylus Family games

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
obvs my fav is worker placement, my least is roll to move.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Pret-a-porter and Kanban

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

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card Games, Video 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?
Both, I have a mechanic in my head but I can’t get a theme to work with it at the moment, and Doomsday, I have the theme and the idea, and after many false starts I have finally found a way to make it work.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Yes, I entered the Samsung Mobile game design competition and came second!

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Uwe Rosenberg

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Everywhere, my mind is alway on!

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Get groups of friends to play while I observe!

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Would love to work with others but I find mostly I am alone!

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Being alone, as there is no-one to bounce ideas off.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Law and Order SVU!

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Having been designing games for over 35 years, I think I would have been the person telling people, to never give up, and believe in yourself.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Some of your best games will fail and some of the games you don't like will win, you can’t make everyone happy and not everyone will like everything you create.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: https://luckyredfish.com/previous-works/
Games that will soon be published are: At some point in the next couple of years I will send Doomsday off to the publishers.
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Doomsday!
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Doomsday
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Don't want to say!

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
nope

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 Trek, Coke and Betamax.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
DJing and Traveling!

What is something you learned in the last week?
Your friends make mistakes when choosing domain names against best advice!

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Music: 50s and Tech House, Books:The Internet, Movies: history, true stories!

What was the last book you read?
The Internet

Do you play any musical instruments?
Yes, I DJ!

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I am Trans, https://luckyredfish.com/who-am-i/

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Sat at the traffic lights and did a massive burn out. only to find a there was a cop 2 cars back behind me.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Long story but needless to say I ended up in Vietnam where I met my soulmate!

Who is your idol?
Elon Musk

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Prevent 9/11

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
extrovert sometimes, introvert the rest of the time!

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Fungal sponge woman, cleaning the world’s bad spots!

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?
Tabletop gaming, we would need something to keep us busy during the ice age. And I hope that greed in politics get wiped out!

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):
Thy Mai Tran my soulmate!


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?  Pleasse 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.