Thursday, January 19, 2017

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 42: Roger Alan Cotton, Jr.

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.


Name:Roger Alan Cotton, Jr.
Email:roger@armchairadventuring.com
Location:San Diego, CA, USA
Day Job:This is my day job.
Designing:Two to five years.
Webpage:http://armchairadventuring.com
BGG:Eboncourt
Facebook:rogeracottonjr
Twitter:RogerACotton
Find my games at:I will eventually put my games on Tabletop Simulator for playing.
Today's Interview is with:

Roger Alan Cotton, Jr.
Interviewed on: 8/27/2016

Roger Cotton has been designing games for several years now and has started Armchair Adventuring to promote his games. He's also very active in many of the online game design communities, even running a few of them. Hopefully you'll see some of his games on store shelves soon! Read on to learn more about Roger and the games he's working on.

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?
When I was five years old, I would be left in charge of my younger brothers. To distract myself, and to entertain them, I used crayons to create board games on cardboard boxes. From that time on, I have been interested in game design and development.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Extraordinary! the Superhero card game, and CyberPsi: Agenda, a Cyberpunk board game.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Just finished developing Extraordinary! over the past two years. Hoping to find a publisher for it. Meeting with IDW Publishing about it in two weeks.

What is your day job?
This is my day job.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Game Stores

Who do you normally game with?
Anyone I meet at a game store who wants to play.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Red Dragon Inn, Mystic Vale, or Android

And what snacks would you eat?
Coca Cola and snacks/candy with chocolate in them

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Only during atmospheric games, like Arkham Horror/Mansions of Madness, or fantasy games, like Descent or Temple of Elemental Evil.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Artifex in Scripps Ranch, San Diego.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Favorite Game: Merchant of Venus. Least Favorite, but Still Enjoy: Munchkin Marvel. Worst game: Red Shirts.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Favorite Mechanic: Rolling dice to determine Available Actions during a Turn. Least Favorite Mechanic: Bidding.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Manhattan Project

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures 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?
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 typically come up with theme first, then build mechanics around it to simulate the most interesting aspects of the theme. However, with my Cyberpunk board game CyberPsi: Agenda, I started with a range of mechanics and built the game around them.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Yes. When I was twelve years old, I entered a local game design contest with my version of a Battlestar Galactica board game. This was back in 1978. I don't know what ever became of the contest. But, I can still remember the game design.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
No.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Anywhere (often, while I am in the shower). They usually come to me as epiphanies, almost fully designed.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I create questionnaires, have a "Play-Testers Wanted" sign, and then arrange for a play-test event at games stores and conventions.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Typically, I like to work alone. Though, I took on a Co-Designer for CyberPsi: Agenda, since it a deep game with a lot of content that needs to be created.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Not being a perfectionist. Knowing when to stop designing and redesigning, and saying, "This is DONE!"

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
To never doubt yourself or what you like to do.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
When stuck on a design issue, use my "Invert the Mechanic" rule (a rule I innately understand, but which I have yet to define in a concise manner).

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: "Extraordinary!" (Superhero card game)
I'm planning to crowdfund: "Extraordinary!" (Superhero card game)
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: "The Very Scary Cemetery" (Children's Horror board game)
Games that I'm playtesting are: "Kognition" (Steampunk board game)
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: "CyberPsi: Agenda" (Cyberpunk board game) and "Across the Void" (Space Trader board game)

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
https://www.facebook.com/groups/GameDesignersGuild/, https://www.facebook.com/groups/528406633897241/, https://www.facebook.com/groups/IndieGameDevs/, https://www.facebook.com/groups/gamemakerslab/

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?
Playwriting, Child-rearing

What is something you learned in the last week?
I'm going to die early unless I get back in shape.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Bands: Bread, Journey (circa 1980-82), the Cure, Muse, Queen. Music: New Age, Enya, Classical. Books: Man of La Mancha and 100 Years of Solitude. Movies: Razor's Edge, Bladerunner, Chariots of Fire, and Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

What was the last book you read?
Seven Habits of Highly Successful People

Do you play any musical instruments?
I have started to learn how to play the Piano and the Ukulele.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I am a romantic at heart.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I carried the American Flag over a 500 mile distance, throughout California, over a six week period. I still don't know how and why I did it, aside from wanting to show that I will not have my rights legislated away by power-hungry partisans.

Who is your idol?
I don't have any idols.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Use it to travel to the past, to document events; and to the future, to pick up a few useful items. And, to see if faux-organic android bodies are ever invented.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Both. More introverted, as I get older.

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

Have any pets?
Three dogs and three cats.

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?
Hope Survives: Dungeons and Dragons (because it started the modern board game era) and Magic: The Gathering (bastardized as all hell today, but an elegant card game design). Hope is Wiped Out: Political Correctness and Victimhood.

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):
Hey, God! I hope I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing with the time I have.

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

I am always looking to collaborate with talented artists and graphic designers on the development of an interesting project.




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?  Show your support by clicking the heart at Board Game Links , liking GJJ Games on Facebook , or following on Twitter .  And be sure to check out my games on  Tabletop Generation.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 41: Vassil Lozanov

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.


Name:Vassil Lozanov
Email:vlozzanov@hotmail.com
Location:Bulgaria, of all places
Day Job:A struggling-to-finish-Law-school storyteller extraordinaire. Basically, I work for smiles and laughter, not money, at the moment.
Designing:One to two years.
BGG:Vasil-Lozanov
Find my games at:For now, at the Three Trolls board game bar in Sofia, Bulgaria. Soon, I hope, there will be an online shop for Cherry Cannon Games, where I'm a full time designer.
Today's Interview is with:

Vassil Lozanov
Interviewed on: 8/27/2016

Vassil is a game designer from Bulgaria that has an uncanny resemblance to a very tabletop game crazy celebrity. Can you guess who? Vassil has been designing games for a bit over a year now and has just published his first game, Among Thieves, which was a Kickstarter success last year. Read on to learn more about Vassil and what he's currently working on.

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
One to two years.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
I've always loved games. The idea of games, the atmosphere of games, the purpose of games, the versatility. I also like to think of myself as a creative person in general, so I guess these two passions just found each other and united. I couldn't really do anything to stop it. If asked, I'll say I've started designing tabletop games about a year ago, but actually I did it as a kid as well, especially roleplaying games, so I have a rather long history of it, although as a small hobby.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Just finished my first Kickstarter campaign - Among Thieves. Currently, I'm working on two parallel ideas, but it's a bit too early to say anything, so be on the lookout soon ^^

Have you designed any games that have been published?
If self-publishing counts, then I guess Among Thieves.

What is your day job?
A struggling-to-finish-Law-school storyteller extraordinaire. Basically, I work for smiles and laughter, not money, at the moment.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
I occasionally go to a local boardgame bar, The Three Trolls. Best place, though - at home, with friends. Up to 5 people, comfy sofas or on the floor. Mostly on the floor, I guess.

Who do you normally game with?
Usually, I play with my friends (no huge fans of gaming in the family). Different groups, different games. Since I started promoting Among Thieves about a year ago, I've started playing a lot with strangers and I have to say I really enjoy it. But friends would be my first choice.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
If it's up to me - Cosmic Encounter! Alternatively, it could be Dead of Winter, Game of Thrones or Robinson Crusoe. And, after that, Citadels or Gloom. Oh, oh, oh! I missed Fury of Dracula.

And what snacks would you eat?
Pizza all the way, yo!

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Yeah, usually for background I use something that's in the style of the game. For example, for Citadels I put some old medieval town music. Especially awesome thing, music, when we're playing an RPG.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
It's called The Three Trolls: amazing place with games and many, many kinds of beers.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Hm, most favorite right now would be Dead of Winter, I guess, because it's still new to me. Something I don't really enjoy as before, but still play - Codenames. It's nice, but I got bored of it pretty quickly. Sometimes the games are a blast, and other times - not enjoyable at all. Worst one I've ever played is most certainly Munchkin. I dislike it a lot and wouldn't play it.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Favorite mechanic of mine is role-playing, 100%. In the meantime, it's hard to point out one that I dislike, because one of the things I enjoy most about games is the versatility that comes with the different mechanics. But I'd probably say dice, specifying that I don't like them in games like Monopoly and King of Tokyo. Otherwise, they are just as fun as everything else.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Fury of Dracula.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures Games, RPG Games, Video 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?
Yes, for the first 3 times. After that, never.

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 always start at the theme. Designing games is a hobby for me, so I'd only enjoy it if it was directed at something I really like and enjoy and this is determined mostly by the world and/or atmosphere of the game. I enjoy stories too much and tend to start with them.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I have entered the Cardboard Edison Award of 2016 with Among Thieves, but didn't win. On the other hand, Among Thieves won the first ever Bulgarian Game Award for most anticipated games. Against video games, so take that, web-guys! :D

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
No, never had one. Not a fan of idols. But my friends and I have a joke about Dr. Reiner Knizia designing 90% of all existing games.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Usually, the best ideas just come to me unexpectedly and I could be anyplace. I never think to much of it, I don't like fishing for inspiration, but rather prefer to let it naturally come to me. So far, it's worked excellently.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
First, it's the friends phase. Then, I play with vaguely know people from the local club and listen to their critique and take notes. Lastly, I go about showing the game to complete strangers and see how it works with people outside of the development process.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Never tried co-designing, but I would. But I work with artists and other people who contribute to the game in different ways. I'd like to be able to do all the work myself, but relying on other people's talents is a pleasure, not a drag. Except sometimes.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Coming up with an idea, that is original, likeable and satisfying for me. The last part is the hardest.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
If I get the question right, Star Wars.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
"Choose this, not Law school."

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Even if other people don't enjoy your work, if it brings joy to you and your friends, keep on going. And don't be afraid to experiment and try new things.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Among Thieves

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Yeah, some, but nothing super special - all the basic ones.

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. I don't like soft drinks. VHS!

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I'm a huge cinema fan. I read a lot of books, all genres. Languages and distant cultures are one thing I enjoy and I'm fascinated by mythologies, folklore, strange customs. I love the Far East, especially Japan.

What is something you learned in the last week?
There are places on Earth where dead people stay with their families for as long as two years after the tragic event. Of course, they are conserved properly and look like normal objects. Macabre, right?

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
I enjoy blues, Fleetwood Mac, Arcade Fire and Chris Cornell, among many. In books, I go for almost everything, but one especially favorite niche is old-school sci-fi, like H.G.Wells and Jules Verne. Regarding movies, I like what I consider 'Golden Age Hollywood' (1940-1962).

What was the last book you read?
The Darkest Room, by Johan Theorin. Before it was Lao-tsu's Tao Te Ching.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Sadly, no, but if I had the chance, I'd try either the piano or the classic guitar.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I never liked ice-cream. I also learned to ride a bike at 16 and never ever got on a bike again. Sometimes I wonder if I was ever a kid :D

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I consider myself a rather strange, but not a crazy person, so it's hard to tell. I missed the last concert of Buena Vista Social Club a few years back, because I spent the money for tickets for a concert of Hugh Laurie. For a girl I loved, obviously. Now that I look back on it, it's not a big deal, but ... I love the BVSC and I still haven't completely forgiven myself.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
My first child, Sam! Nah, just kiddin', I don't have kids yet. I think the Hugh Laurie concert, if we consider missing on the Buena Vista as an accident. It was an awesome concert and I really enjoyed every minute of it.

Who is your idol?
Never had, never will.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Wow, what I wouldn't do! Stay in the present is one thing I wouldn't actually.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Ex-introvert, not-really-extrovert. Limbo!

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
I've never given this enough thought. I think Doctor Strange would be fitting.

Have any pets?
No, never had any. I'd get a cat, though.

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?
If humanity survives, games will always survive. Anything would be fine, but I think a new era will require new games. So I'd say I prefer for the easy superclassics to survive - chess, go, shogi, etc. I'd love to see what replacement of dice the new people would use at some point.

If something is to be wiped out, let it be jealousy. Life would be so very different.

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):
Suck monkey balls! [GJJ Games] I’m hoping that’s an inside joke to someone! =)

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

As Wil Wheaton says - PLAY MORE GAMES!




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?  Show your support by clicking the heart at Board Game Links , liking GJJ Games on Facebook , or following on Twitter .  And be sure to check out my games on  Tabletop Generation.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Eye on Kickstarter #12

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 reviews 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 2017 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 January, 2017:


HIGHLIGHTED CAMPAIGN
Fish Frenzy & Backyard Builders Treehouse
  • GJJ Games Backed
  • A bit over a year ago Patrick from Crash Games announced that he was going to forgo Kickstarter in the future and start to release games straight to retail. This was a big step in the growth of his company, and one that many people supported. Both Patrick and his company had a high reputation in the industry for being enthusiastic, honest, and for producing high quality games. In fact, one of his early games, Rise!, is still a favorite of mine. Unfortunately, however, life had different plans for Patrick and he fell on some very hard times (the details are in a video on the campaign page). For most of 2016 Patrick and Crash Games were very low key. It was very odd for someone who had been such a big part of the board game community to that point. Fast forward a year and now Patrick is recovering from the blow life dealt him. However, he has a large inventory of two games he was planning to release in retail, and a substantial manufacturing debt. This campaign is going to be a turning point for Crash Games. If he can make enough money to cover the debt from manufacturing these games Crash Games will be able to continue into the future. If not, this may be the last we see of Crash Games. That would be a travesty, so please consider helping out by either pledging for a game, or supporting Patrick through other means.


Fish Frenzy is a colorful and fun set collection game! The Captains of Rainbow Bay have hauled in their catches of colorful fish as the Seagulls of Rainbow Bay, with their bottomless bellies, hover above. The race for the fish is on! In Fish Frenzy players are competing for majorities of each of the seven fish colors.

In Backyard Builders Treehouse, two to five players compete to have the highest valued treehouse after a set number of rounds. This is a family friendly retheme of Yardmaster Express.






Sub Terra
  • Sub Terra looks like a thrilling cooperative adventure through caves. I love how the game plays on multiple fears: dark, being buried alive, claustrophobia, the underground, being trapped, and of course the monsters. This definitely looks like an exciting time!


Dark is the Night
  • This looks like an interesting, quick two player game that was originally designed for the Mint Tin design contest on BGG last year.


GAME_NAME
  • Infected uses magnetic pieces and board in an interesting take on area control. But I'm not sure the novelty of the magnets can overcome the reliance on dice rolls to determine everything from number of units you can place, to movement of the cure, to deciding combat. It seems like a good core idea that needs a little more substance.


Pinball Showdown
  • GJJ Games Backed
  • People Behind the Meeples Interview
  • Pinball Showdown brings the excitement of a pinball game to the tabletop. This looks like a blast to play. Also, be sure to read my interview with designer Diane Sauer.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 40: Andrew Ulysses Baker

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.


Name:Andrew Ulysses Baker
Email:Andrew@gamesforbryan.com
Location:California
Day Job:Software developer and programmer
Designing:One to two years.
Webpage:Gamesforbryan.com
BGG:Gamesforbryan
Find my games at:Game Crafter and Drive Thru Cards
Today's Interview is with:

Andrew Ulysses Baker
Interviewed on: 8/26/2016

Andrew Ulysses Baker has been designing games with his son for the past year or so. They come up with an idea that sounds fun, make a prototype, and then test it before deciding if they should continue or not. So far they've designed three games this way, all available on The Game Crafter. Read on to learn more about Andrew and what games he's working on!

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
One to two years.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
Technically, when I was a little kid. Then I worked professionally in video games for a decade. Now, I work on both as a hobbyist/self-publisher.

What game or games are you currently working on?
I am working on the Lucky 13 design challenge. 13 games based on a 13 card component limitation (although I cheat and allow components that the players should already have on hand).

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Only self-published.

What is your day job?
Software developer and programmer

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 friend's houses.

Who do you normally game with?
Friends and my son.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Medium weight euros, social games.

And what snacks would you eat?
When it is at my house, I tend to go a little overboard with food prep. I'll generally make a full meal for everyone like roast chicken breasts or ribs. When I go to my friends', I'll buy some fancy cheese, sausages, and chocolate.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Depends on the game. We played Pallbearer's Sorrow & Extinction during TI3, and that worked pretty well.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Target. Kidding but not kidding. Every time I've tried going to a real flgs, it has either been a mtg release day, I've been ignored by the staff, or they just didn't have what I was looking for.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Favorite right now is Codenames. Least favorite that I still enjoy is Agricola. Worst game I've ever played? I sincerely can't remember.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Favorite game mechanic is auctions. Least is the rondel.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Jack the Ripper Mystery Rummy

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, RPG 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?
I come up with the name first about 10% of the time. The rest is an even distribution between the different avenues you outlined.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Yes, I won the BGDF monthly prize fo my game Magic Trick.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
No.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Usually when I am very bored.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I first play test solo. Then I rope in my son. Then I ask my friends to take a look. Then I put PnP files on BGG.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I like working on small teams, but I usually work alone.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Asking people to play test my game. Pure social anxiety.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Farscape

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Just get them out there. The perfect design will never magically form in your brain. It only comes about through iteration and feedback.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Go ahead and share. Ideas are cheap. Only implementation is valuable.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Text Hold'Em, Retro Rocket Rally, monorail
Games that will soon be published are: Nothing in the pipeline right now.
Games that I'm playtesting are: Lucky 13
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Too many to count
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Too many to count

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

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?
Farscape. Coffee. Netflix.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Programming. Weightlifting. Hiking.

What is something you learned in the last week?
Bunnahabhan is a pretty good scotch.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Heavy metal. Cyberpunk. Comedy.

What was the last book you read?
Ready Player One.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Guitar and bass.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I was a wrestler in a small regional outfit for a short period of time. I was Scrub-E the Hardcore Janitor.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I learned the hammering a nail into your head carnie trick AKA "The Human Blockhead".

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Can't think about of a good example.

Who is your idol?
None.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Destroy it and all evidence of its existence. Time machines are too dangerous to be tampered with by humans.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Introvert, but I pretend to be an extrovert most of the time for work.

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?
Poker, Spades, Euchre, Liars Dice, Cho-Han, RPS. I hope extremist politics are 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):
Hey, everybody.


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?  Show your support by clicking the heart at Board Game Links , liking GJJ Games on Facebook , or following on Twitter .  And be sure to check out my games on  Tabletop Generation.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 39: DJ Remark

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.


Name:DJ Remark
Email:BloodScribeCreations@gmail.com
Location:Cleveland, OH
Day Job:I am a software tech and my partner Jason works for a title insurance company.
Designing:Less than six months.
Webpage:Bloodscribecreations.com
Blog:Bloodscribecreations.com
BGG:BloodScribe_DJ
Facebook:BSCreationspage
Twitter:@Dremark1787 / @Undertome
Find my games at:The Game Crafter right now but it's expensive as hell lol
Today's Interview is with:

DJ Remark
Interviewed on: 8/25/2016

DJ Remark is part of the team over at BloodScribe Creations and is looking to publish his first game, Undertome, soon. He and the rest of his team have a number of other games that they're working on developing as well. This should be an exciting year for DJ and BloodScribe Creations. Read on to learn more about DJ and the games he's working on.

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?
It was kind of a weird start in the sense that my design partner Jason and I didn't just decide one day to start designing games. We were sitting in my apartment at the time talking about games we liked to play and what it would be like if we made our own. We started thinking about games we liked and what we liked about them and used those ideas to design our first game, Undertome. After we wrote out all of the cards on index cards and did sort of an "alpha" play test with all of our friends, everybody liked it so we did what we could to refine the game some and get a little better quality to it. This second round of the game exploded and had friends of friends talking about it. Once news got back to us that people were asking if we were going to release the game for sale we thought "Wow, we might have something here!"

And that's how it all began.

What game or games are you currently working on?
We're currently looking to get out initial game "Undertome" published. We're also in the "alpha" phase of our second game Tank7 and prototype phase of our third game "Slamurai" (Yes I realize those seem out of sync lol)

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

What is your day job?
I am a software tech and my partner Jason works for a title insurance company.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Anywhere. I always have my crate of games in the car in case an opportunity arises.

Who do you normally game with?
I have a small group of friends who are way more into games than I am, two of which have joined Jason and I to become BloodScribe Creations.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Undertome (for obvious reasons), Battle Wizards, Skulls, Sheriff of Nottingham, Betrayal at House on the Hill, Exploding Kittens, Fluxx (I'm really into card games)

And what snacks would you eat?
Jason will always have his Sourpatch Kids and I'm more of a chips and salsa guy.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
We actually have a party/games spotify playlist that always starts with "What if" by Creed (Hold judgements please, that song is awesome)

What’s your favorite FLGS?
The only one that I'm aware of around me which is actually a comic shop called Kenmore Komics.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Current favorite is Betrayal at House on the Hill, least favorite is Resistance (because I'm a terrible liar). Worst game I ever played was every train game ever made. Please stop making these. They're terrible.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I don't have a favorite mechanic yet but I really like games that have a story or a point to it other than it's something to kill a half hour.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Thankfully with my group of friends I don't have that problem! Everybody is willing to play pretty much anything but I guess it's hard to get a game of Eldritch Horror because we don't always have four hours to play it.

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, RPG Games

OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
Yes

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?
Story first and always. BloodScribe Creations was formed to develop games based on story and theme. We want players to feel like they're being immersed in a universe while playing our game; be it in a dark basement filled with a terrible ambition to be the sole master of an ancient and evil Tome to a young robot mechanic trying to win prize money by building and fighting interstellar robots to a simple samurai enjoying a drink in a tavern. Everything about our games is based on story and theme, the mechanics follow.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Have not entered but very interested.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Anybody who makes the games we love to play.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Our inspiration comes from everywhere from playing other games and liking certain parts of it to watching a favorite movie or taken from an inspiring life event. Life is our muse.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
We always have them available and suggest it to people who might want to play. We also organize play testing events and show up to events that others organize. Pretty much just being places where games are played and asking people if they'd like to try a new one.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
The design team is led by Jason Orr, co-designer of Undertome and we all contribute to the design process.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Being a perfectionist. No matter how refined we get our games we always feel like we could do better or make something else work properly or any other nit-picky things that annoy other people about artists.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
For me personally, it would be a Lord of the Rings type game. I'm a super Tolkien fan-girl to the extreme of reading a Tolkien Companion book before bed and knowing the genealogy of the Elves. For Jason, and I'm confident I can speak for him when I say he would enjoy designing a game within the Buffy the Vampire Slayer universe.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Nope, I think we got into it at exactly the time we were supposed it.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
It's hard work and requires passion. It's in no way an easy process and there have been many opportunity to just give up but you have to press on. If you're passionate about a game you should definitely see it through. You never know what you really have until you have it.

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: Undertome
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Undertome
I'm planning to crowdfund: Tank7, Slamurai
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Undertome
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Slamurai
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Tank7

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

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?
I'll just answer with I was a Star Wars fan first but once Star Trek hit Netflix I gave it a shot and loved it. I'm just about to finish the 7th season of Next Gen and will be moving on to DS9 and the movies. Coke because I find Pepsi to be too sweet and I'm 29 so Blu-Ray.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I ride a motorcycle, play guitar in a band, World of Warcraft, read boring books on philosophy and economics, build computers.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
I'm a huge metal head. Some favorites are Metallica, Lamb of God, Killswitch Engage, Acacia Strain, August Burns Red, Parkway Drive, Shadows Fall and so on... Books I enjoy are everything Tolkien, Banewreaker, Phantoms, H.P. Lovecraft stories, Jurassic Park, Stranger in a Strange Land, Methusela's Children. Movies, again, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Dark Knight, A Nightmare on Elm st (1 and 3 are favorites) The Crow, Zack and Miri, Straight Outta Compton, Quills, Gladiator, Nacho Libre, Snatch... There's so many.

What was the last book you read?
The Road to Serfdom by F. A. Hayek

Do you play any musical instruments?
I play the drums, guitar and piano.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I'm an anarchist (Bow tie kind, not Molotov cocktail kind).

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I don't know if it's "crazy" but I played pool with Steven Tyler of Aerosmith and didn't even know it was him.

Who is your idol?
Three way tie between my dad, Murray Rothbard and James Hetfield.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
ENTP if that means anything to anybody.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
I've always wanted the power of telekinesis but if I could be any superhero I would be Batman.

Have any pets?
I have a cat named Quz'kin. He keeps me in line.

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 games I hope to survive are the games that will survive because they're based in story telling and that's how knowledge is passed. The Federal Reserve would be a nice ground zero for the asteroid.

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):
Emily Jean Stone, if there is any chance you're reading this, I would love to take you out to dinner and play you an embarrassing song I've composed in your name. You've been my celebrity crush since I saw you in Superbad and I've been a fan ever since. You are hilarious, beautiful and you make my hands sweaty.

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

Taxation is theft.




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?  Show your support by clicking the heart at Board Game Links , liking GJJ Games on Facebook , or following on Twitter .  And be sure to check out my games on  Tabletop Generation.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 38: Sen-Foong Lim

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.


Name:Sen-Foong Lim
Email:sen@bamboozlebrothers.com
Location:London, ON, Canada
Day Job:College Professor (Developmental Psychology)
Designing:Over ten years!
Webpage:www.bamboozlebrothers.com
Blog:www.bamboozlebrothers.com
BGG:senfoonglim
Facebook:Sen-Foong Lim
Twitter:@senfoonglim
YouTube:Meeple Syrup Show
Find my games at:Stores are a great place :D cafés to try before you buy
Today's Interview is with:

Sen-Foong Lim
Interviewed on: 8/25/2016

If you've been involved in board game design, or even playing board games any time in recent years you've probably heard of Sen-Foong Lim. Sen and his design partner, Jay Cormier, have a slew of published games, including several that have made a number of top ten lists recently. In addition to designing a ton of awesome games Sen also co-hosts the Meeple Syrup Show, a design-centric webcast that anyone interested in designing games or in learning about how games are designed should listen to. Read on to learn more about Sen and what creations he has on the horizon!

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Over ten years!

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
To keep in touch with my design partner, Jay Cormier / to stay sane

What game or games are you currently working on?
Godzilla, Powers, Pan Galactic Super Rumble, Barricades, Party of Adventurers, Outlander, Top Rope, Mind MGMT, Oracle, Chronicles, Crossed Blades, Shattered Skies, numerous RPGs, etc., and a few that can not be mentioned without you all signing NDAs.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Yes - Belfort, Orphan Black, The Godfather: A New Don, Akrotiri, Junk Art, But Wait There's More, Rock Paper Wizard, etc.

What is your day job?
College Professor (Developmental Psychology)

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Home or café

Who do you normally game with?
Friends, family, and other designers

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
A mix of a good social starter, a heavier strategy game, and then a lighter strategy game to finish

And what snacks would you eat?
Whatever didn't leave a mess on the games.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Not typically, unless it's thematic

What’s your favorite FLGS?
L.A. Mood and The Cardboard Café

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Current fave: Powers, our upcoming release through IDW games - a one vs. many hidden movement game based on a comic book; Least Fave but will still play? I dunno. Werewolf? Worst ever? Prototypes that never made it past alpha stage.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Negotiation; Lose a turn / Player Elimination

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

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?
Mechanics typically first, but theme shortly after to better inform development of mechanics.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Yup (Canadian Design of the Year Award)

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Yup. dead - Sid Saxon / Alex Randolph; alive - Leo Colovini / Roberto Fraga / Vlaada Chvatil / Matt Leacock

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
In the shower.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I play with other members of our local chapter of the Game Artisans of Canada; these games can then go to another chapter across the nation for blind testing.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Team up almost always. Many hands make light work!

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Not enough time in the day!

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Usagi Yojimbo (Comic by Stan Sakai, published by Dark Horse Comics) would be at or near the top of my list. I get to work with tons of great ones, so I'm lucky.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
That one of the easiest ways to tell if a rule is necessary or not is to try to explain it in writing. If you can't, cut it.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Watch or listen to the Meeple Syrup Show! It's a game-design specific webcast that I co-host with Daryl Andrews. We have weekly guests from the industry (designers, artists, publishers, etc.).

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Belfort + Expansion, Train of Thought, Junk Art, Orphan Black, The Godfather: A New Don, This Town Ain't Big Enough for the 2-4 of Us, But Wait There's More!, Akrotiri, Rock Paper Wizard
Games that will soon be published are: Powers, Pig Goes Moo, Outlander Story Telling Game, Mythos, Aladdin, Zombie Slam, Choice Words (needs to be renamed), Herdables (to be renamed), and a few that can't be discussed… Also, reprints: Belfort, But Wait There's More, and Akrotiri
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: I don't run my own Kickstarters; I solely license to publishers.
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Burning Rubber, Word Bird, Lost For Words, SimpliCity, Lawn Wars, Top Rope, Knock Out
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Chronicles of the Relic Hunters, Crossed Blades, Party of Adventurers, Barricades, Various RPG systems
Games that I'm playtesting are: Oracle, Pan Galactic Super Rumble
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Too many to mention
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.)
Game Maker's Lab, Game Artisans of Canada, Card & Boardgame Designers Guild, The Secret Society of Boardgame Designers

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?
Brazilian JIu Jitsu / Music

What is something you learned in the last week?
How to make a game in Tabletop Simulator.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Electronic, dance, hip hop, funk, soul, RnB, 80s; Scifi & Fantasy, Graphic Novels; Scifi, Fantasy, Action, Adventure, Thriller, Horror

What was the last book you read?
Head Lopper, Papergirls

Do you play any musical instruments?
Yes, Piano, Violin, Vocals, and I write music for various projects (Pronobozo, Phantohm Soundsystem, etc.)

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I was hit head on by a transport truck at highway speeds and survived.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I'll have to think about this one... what I think is normal, others might think is crazy...

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I told a girl I was in love with her and was rejected. That same night, I met my future wife.

Who is your idol?
My wife. She's awesome.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Other than going back to meet cool historical figures, probably learn how to speak my native tongue better.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
I'm a fake extrovert; I'm an introvert who always has to be "on" because of work - it's very tiring.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Wonder Woman is my favourite superheroine.

Have any pets?
1 dog - a really really old Australian Shepherd named Matilda.

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 hope boardgames in all of their incarnations survive. I could totally do without pop idols, however.

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):
Stan! Please let me make a Usagi Yojimbo game!!!

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

My favourite colour is yellow. If you're playing with me and you insist on playing yellow, you can...but I *will* move your pieces, guaranteed..

If you're a game designer in Canada, check out www.gameartisans.ca




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?  Show your support by clicking the heart at Board Game Links , liking GJJ Games on Facebook , or following on Twitter .  And be sure to check out my games on  Tabletop Generation.