Tuesday, October 16, 2018

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 142: Brendan Black

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:Brendan Black
Email:brendan@playmythic.com
Location:Beausejour, Manitoba, Canada
Day Job:Media and Marketing Manager for a fireworks company.
Designing:One to two years.
Webpage:playmythic.com
BGG:Mythic: Legends of the Earth
Facebook:MythicBJM
Twitter:@MythicGame
Instagram:@PlayMythic
Find my games at:If a person is interested the my game, they can contact me through the website or FB pages for more information. In addition, we are on Tabletop Simulator as a Free to Play game! Just search for Mythic: Legends of the Earth.
Today's Interview is with:

Brendan Black
Interviewed on: 6/18/2018

Brendan Black is a Canadian designer that's been working on a game called Mythic: Legends of the Earth. This is his first game design and he's shooting to have it up on Kickstarter in the first quarter of next year. Read on to learn more about Brendan and Mythic.

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?
Broken leg, gave me free time to really jump in.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Current game is called Mythic. It's an expansion card game that has a unique resource management system and utilizes ranged combat in a 2d setting.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
No

What is your day job?
Media and Marketing Manager for a fireworks company.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Private settings with family and friends. If at all possible, i like digital games on the PC but most times physical copies play better.

Who do you normally game with?
Friends and family

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Depends on the friends. TCG/CCG friends I would get to play my game Mythic. Family and more casual gamers would be simple party games like Telestrations.

And what snacks would you eat?
Salt and Vinegar chips.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
More likely to have something like a twitch stream playing in the background.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Local place nearby called A Muse N Games.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
current favorite game is my own game, Mythic. If you don't love your own work, why do it? Least fav that I still enjoy to play would be Catan. Worst game I have ever played.... some weird game called Gender Wars I think.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Deck Building. Any game that has strong elements of this always interest me, even if in a non traditional sense, like Baten Kaitos for the Gamecube. Least favorite would be press your luck games. I very much like to be in control of my games and rely on my choices rather than luck decide how things turn out.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Pictionary or Cranium.

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 Card 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?
I find that they build off of each other. First you need to have basic mechanics in my opinion. Theme, to me, is what helps steers the development and refinement of the game.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Entered, yes. Tried for the Cardboard Edison award but our ideas were just not refined enough to succeed. Currently entered in another contest with a much better version of our game for the Canadian Game Design Award. Was not selected as a finalist due to the fact it was a battle card game.

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?
Removing myself from my game and playing other games. Can be video games, card games or board games. Just taking time away from my own games and appreciating other games really refreshes the brain. Sometimes all you need is that one partial spark that another game can give you.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Start designers only, to online private invites, to private friends only invites. Once we break out of that mold, we use relationships with our LFGS to set up blind-playtest events.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
As much as I like to work alone, having a partner or co-designer really helps with keeping my sanity in check. It also allows me to rely on another person in areas that I can admit I am lacking in.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Getting recognized. I can have the greatest game in the world, with 100% raving reviews, but it means nothing if nobody outside of local reach takes notice.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Arc Rise Fantasia and Baten Kaitos. Couldn't pick because either one of these would be way too incredible.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Discover is part of the fun. I have no answer for this.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
If you don't love it, move on. There are too many challenges that come your way that test your desire to push your project through to completion.

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: Mythic: Legends of the Earth Disciple Pack
I'm planning to crowdfund: Mythic: Legends of the Earth Disciple Pack

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Tons of Facebook groups, too many to mention. Most of which have awesome communities that seem to support people who put effort in and give a damn.

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?
Wars. Pepsi. VHS.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Volleyball, generic video gaming, anime, cooking.

What is something you learned in the last week?
Wood-working is not my forte.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Country/Harry Potter/Anything that is funny.

What was the last book you read?
I don't know the last time I sat down and completed a book.

Do you play any musical instruments?
No.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I'm a 6'6" Div 1 volleyball player who turned down a pro contract in Europe to move to a small rural town and design board games/work for a fireworks company.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Allowed myself to spend way too much money on a mobile game. I didn't know the term "whale" existed until I was one.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Broke my femur, led me to using free time to design board games and led me to my current job which is awesome.

Who is your idol?
None.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Break it. Time Travel is too large of a power/responsibility for anyone to have.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
introvert

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

Have any pets?
1 fish

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?
Any physical sport survives. Crypto mining dies in a fiery death.

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

Watch out for info on my game Mythic! There really is nothing like it around! Kickstarter Q1 2019

EXTRA ---




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, October 12, 2018

Eye on Kickstarter #51

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 2018 Kickstarter Boardgame Projects geeklist over on Board Game Geek for a list of all the tabletop games of the year.
So, without further ado, here are the projects I'm currently watching as of the second Friday of October, 2018:



HIGHLIGHTED CAMPAIGN
Tinderbox Tales
  • People Behind the Meeples Interview
  • Tinderbox Tales are three games (they can be purchased together or individually) that are set in the town of Tinderbox, the same town that The Brigade is set in (which I reviewed last year). All three look like very fun games and have awesome artwork and gorgeous presentation.


Tinderbox Tales features three beautifully Illustrated small box games, presented in the style of bound books. Each is unique in style, providing you with a gaming experience for every occasion. Back your favourite or collect the set!

For some small box strategy, reach for The Trader's Tale - sharpen your trading tactics with this 2 - 4 player game of worker placement and resource management.

When it's time for party sized fun with friends, old or new, it's time for The Barmaid's Tale! - 4+ players, Social Strategy, 20 minute playtime - Ice Breaker and Party Game.

For a more intimate head-to-head challenge with a favourite friend or foe, reach for The Damsel's Tale - 2 Player, Asymmetrical Strategy, 25 minute playtime - Hand Management.

As the name suggests, each game includes a short story set in the fantasy town of Tinderbox, weaving all three Tales into a storyline rich with the history, politics and characters of the town. Players can then recreate key events in the story for themselves through the game-play of these three unique games.





Tranquility Base
  • It seems like sometimes uncommon themes appear in spurts, so you'll get multiple games about pandas, or Robin Hood, or something else all at the same time trying to get funded on Kickstarter. The flavor of the month right now seems to be historical games about the early space race. Tranquility Base is the first game with this theme. Tranquility Base is actually an older game, based on 1997's award winning Moonshot. This looks like an interesting update to the original game, although I wonder if the gameplay will feel a bit outdated


Lovelace and Babbage
  • People Behind the Meeples Interview
  • Artana Games is becoming known for producing interesting games based on history, and scientific history in particular. On top of being based on the earliest days of modern computing, Lovelace and Babbage is designed by Scott Almes, whose games I really enjoy.


Space Explorers
  • Space Explorers is the second game on this list themes on the space race. This tableau building game features historical space missions from both the US and the Soviet Union. The retro artwork and gameplay both look great.


Lunarbaboon's Parenting is Easy
  • The game here looks pretty simple, but the theme is hilarious! Featuring comics all about parenting by Lunarbaboon, the game promises to be a riot. Plus you can also get the ABCs book and a plush Anxiety Troll if you like. I wonder if the gameplay will hold up after the initial humor is old, but it might be worth getting for the humor anyway.


Hollywood Death Race
  • This looks like a hilariously chaotic racing game that really hits home with its nostalgic parodies. However I'm worried that the company currently has two outstanding Kickstarters (they say those games are in production, however) and the fact that they don't have any licensing agreements for the IPs that they are parodying are big red flags. I wish them luck, because the game looks awesome, but I can't recommend backing this. Maybe if it succeeds it'll be something to look for in retail.


Trailhead
  • I'm always looking for new games that are great for camping. Trailhead looks like a simple, fun game in a small package, perfect to take camping.


Towers of Arkhanos
  • Dice drafting and worker placement drive this game where you actually build three dimensional towers. I love the idea that sometimes your workers get stuck holding up parts of the towers.


Wardens
  • Wardens has been plastered all over social media. It's a Lovecraftian game where you actually have the opportunity to play as Cthulhu and his minions! The artwork is awesome, there are a ton of miniatures, and the gameplay looks interesting. I hope it lives up to the hype it's getting!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 141: Pablo and Tove Jomer

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:Pablo & Tove Jomer
Email:Pablo.Karlsson@gmail.com
Location:Sweden
Day Job:Software architect at a startup called Spotscale, Environmental consultant for WSP
Designing:Two to five years.
Webpage:worldshaper.se
BGG:Worldshapers
Facebook:WorldshaperBG
Twitter:@WorldshapersBG
Instagram:@worldshapers_boardgames
Other:We are on BGDF and Indie game alliance: Worldshapers on both.
Find my games at:You can find Zoomaka in various stores and over on etsy https://www.etsy.com/se-en/listing/572079156/zoomaka-delivery
Today's Interview is with:

Pablo & Tove Jomer
Interviewed on: 6/26/2018

Pablo and Tove Jomer are a husband and wife team that play and design games together. Last year they successfully Kickstarted their first game, Zoomaka, last year. They have plenty of other projects that they're working on and you'll hopefully be able to find more of their games on Kickstarter soon! Read on to learn more about this game designing duo.

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?
Because the games we played were more fun with our changes.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Chill: Capsicum Capacity, Witching Weald, Townsfolk

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Zoomaka

What is your day job?
Software architect at a startup called Spotscale, Environmental consultant for WSP

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
No particular places but we do play a lot at home. I also like playing games in a themed room.

Who do you normally game with?
Ourselves and our local design hub.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
We would probably start with one of our developments and then move on to something like Scythe. Yesterday we received Gloomhaven so that would probably be a likely candidate

And what snacks would you eat?
We usually eat dinner rather than snacks during our game nights.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Sometimes we put on thematic music. But mostly we just enjoy socializing.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Since we have sold a lot directly to stores we appreciate shops where the owner takes the game to heart, helping us with the marketing. It could be things like sending a copy to a reviewer; Hosting a competition or just promoting the game a bit extra in the store.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Pablo's current favorite is Scythe. Tove's current favorite is Ghost Stories. We both used to love Small World and Ticket to ride a lot but after playing over 100 games of each we have gotten a bit tired of those games.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
We both like worker placement a bit too much to be honest.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Cosmic Encounter. Everyone gets so scared of this relatively simple game.

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

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

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

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

When you design games, do you come up with a theme first and build the mechanics around that? Or do you come up with mechanics and then add a theme? Or something else?
Both ways have happened. Also sometimes we move mechanics in between games. Townsfolk is a clear design first theme after while Chill is a theme first mechanics later.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Never entered, and strangely never won either.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
We listen a lot to board game design lab and most of the designers on that podcast are inspiring in some way.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Anywhere all the time. It could be an image we see on Instagram, A pattern on the floor or just a leaf flying by in a certain way. The hard part is consolidating the ideas you get. Taking out all the bad stuff in each idea and conserving the small good parts.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Usually we start out testing ourselves, then we move on to trying it in our local designer hub. After that we spread the word on social media that we are looking for people who want to test. I gather in the future we should also go to conventions a bit more.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
We always work as a team. We love getting feedback since we tend to make games that are too challenging from the start.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Getting more people to try our games. Also not sure if it counts as a designer’s job but art is a big problem for us. Since we are a new company we have to consider releasing smaller games at the moment because art is pricey.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
We usually like to come up with our own worlds, that is part of the fun.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
How publishers, distributors, designers and shops work together in the industry.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Concentrate on the fun parts.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Zoomaka
Games that will soon be published are: Chill: Capsicum Capacity, Townsfolk
I'm planning to crowdfund: Curators - A museum tile builder (Kickstarter April 26th 2019), Chill: Capsicum Capacity, Townsfolk
Games that I'm playtesting are: Curators - A museum tile builder, Chill: Capsicum Capacity, Townsfolk
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Witching Weald

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, Board game desgin lab, Conradargo recenserar and many more

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?
Whoa I barely know any of these things.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Pablo: I think Tove's friend once said - is there a hobby your husband doesn't have?
Tove: I like Hiking & Baking, but I am usually up for anything.

What is something you learned in the last week?
That I can ask shops to help me with marketing and that marketing games in the right regions is super important.

What was the last book you read?
Pablo: The gloomhaven rule book.
Tove: A book about motherhood.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Pablo: Guitar

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
Pablo: I once punched a baboon. (He had it coming).
Tove: I usually win at board games.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Pablo: I once punched a baboon. (He had it coming).
Tove: I once swam with sea lions.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Destroy it.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Pablo: Introvert trying hard to be more extrovert.
Tove: Extrovert.

Have any pets?
Just our daughter Lilja.

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?
Isn't this really just the same question as what is your favorite game? It would be cool if one of our copies of Zoomaka was preserved somehow though.

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):
Shout out to all of those who help us in some way with our games. Everything from rules reviews, backing to promoting the games in shops or on the internet.

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

Please help us playtest our current developments. Email me for details.




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, October 2, 2018

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 140: Peter Mariutto

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:Peter Mariutto
Email:info@freshwatergameco.com
Location:Minneapolis, MN, USA
Day Job:I am a Client Experience Manager at a decking company.
Designing:One to two years.
Webpage:freshwatergameco.com
Blog:freshwatergameco.com/news
BGG:Peter Mariutto
Facebook:FreshwaterGameCo/
Twitter:@freshwatergame
YouTube:Freshwater Game Company
Instagram:@freshwatergameco/
Find my games at:Off of our website if you live outside Minnesota, but if you're in the MSP Metro you can find it at Games by James and the Gaming Goat in the next couple of weeks.
Today's Interview is with:

Peter Mariutto
Interviewed on: 7/28/2018

Peter Mariutto hails from the Twin Cities, where there's a pretty big community of game designers. He's successfully Kickstarted Sectre, an abstract strategy game, through his game company, Freshwater Game Company. He'll soon have his second game on Kickstarter, so keep an eye out for Circuit Breaker. Read on to learn more about Peter and his projects!

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 began designing games at an early age as a creative outlet, but didn't take the pursuit seriously until early last year when I met an illustrator who had similar ambitions. We both had a couple game ideas we were sitting on as well as a well placed stint of unemployment and decided to start what is now Freshwater Game Co.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Circuit Breaker

Have you designed any games that have been published?
I have, we published Sectre late last year.

What is your day job?
I am a Client Experience Manager at a decking company.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
I'm a big fan of hosting game nights at my house, but I also enjoy the opportunity to get out and meet new people at cafes and breweries.

Who do you normally game with?
Usually a few designer friends of mine.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Secret Hitler most likely, or The Metagame.

And what snacks would you eat?
Pretzels, or Pistachios.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
We play a lot of Blue Oyster Cult and Eurythmics, and occasionally I'll wedge some Tears for Fears in.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
The Gaming Goat in St. Paul

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Currently, my favorite game is the Shipwreck Arcana. Least favorite that I still play is interesting, I would have to say King Domino, and the worst game I ever played was Shadows Over Camelot- which I know is going to get me in trouble.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Area control is my favorite, although I've never included it in any of my own designs. I would have to say my least favorite mechanic is anytime you have to yell the name of the game to do something (like in Yahtzee).

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

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

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

OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
Occasionally, but not often.

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 find that creating a narrative helps to make sense of the mechanics in a game, so the theme I would say often comes first.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I have not.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Klaus-Jürgen Wrede has been a long time influence of mine.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
I think good ideas are the ones you get excited about. You think about them when you're at work and you get excited to go home and work on them. But there's also tremendous power in collaboration and knowing you aren't going to make something perfect on the first go-around.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I found that your friends will humor you for awhile, but playing prototypes is definitely different from finished games. So trading playtesting time with others who have their own ideas works, and I would recommend attending all the Protospiels you can go to.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
So far my team has just been myself and my girlfriend Hannah. I'm definitely open to working with artists and co-designers.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Knowing whether or not an idea is worth pursuing. I would like to go after every idea I have ever had, but a game is a lot of work to bring to fruition. It is also sometimes difficult to stay excited about a project when the initial romantic period of design is over.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I would make a game about the National Park Service. It would give me an excuse to make a completely scenic and colorful nature game.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
That you need to let yourself fail. That failure allows you to learn so much more than success.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
I would tell people to design the game they want to design without worrying about who is going to buy it or what it costs to make it.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: SECTRE
I'm planning to crowdfund: Circuit Breaker
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are:
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Brucke

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Board Together, Board Game Exposure, THE BOARDGAME GROUP, and Board Game Revolution

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 but only with rum, and Betamax even though I never owned any.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I enjoy repairing and refurbishing electric guitars.

What is something you learned in the last week?
That toilet paper rolls make the best dog toys.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
It used to be Prog Rock, but I'm getting more into New Age. My favorite books are anything by Tobias Wolff or Flannery O'Connor, and my favorite movies are Hot Fuzz and Men Who Stare At Goats.

What was the last book you read?
A Confederacy of Dunces

Do you play any musical instruments?
I did play guitar for a lot of years, but haven't recently.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I get great enjoyment out of painting rooms.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Jumped in with both feet.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I would say Circuit Breaker in general was a happy accident.

Who is your idol?
Pete Townsend of The Who

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Go back to The Big Bang.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Extrovert

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Colossus of the X-Men.

Have any pets?
Yes, I have 2 dogs Mila and Ruby.

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 really hope Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes and puzzles in general survive the Apocalypse, especially collaborative puzzles. And I hope the game Hate is right underneath that 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):
Hi Mom!

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

That we all have doubts as game designers, especially at the start of campaigns or showing around a new idea, but that sticking with the hobby and standing behind your ideas is well worth it.




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, September 28, 2018

Eye on Kickstarter #50

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 2018 Kickstarter Boardgame Projects geeklist over on Board Game Geek for a list of all the tabletop games of the year.
So, without further ado, here are the projects I'm currently watching as of the fourth Friday of September, 2018:

Live Campaigns from Past Eyes:
Dice Coins 2018 2nd Release - ENDING TODAY!!!
Eye for an Eye


HIGHLIGHTED CAMPAIGN
Lockup: A Roll Player Tale
  • GJJ Games Backed
  • People Behind the Meeples Interview
  • I'm a huge fan of Roll Player, so when I found out that there was going to be a standalone game in that universe I was super excited. I got a quick preview of the board and box in April at Protospiel Milwaukee and then finally got a chance to play at Gen Con in August. This is a wonderfully competitive worker placement game by Stanislav Kordonskiy, the same designer that did Rurik: Dawn of Kiev a few months ago through Piecekeeper Games. Lockup is another innovative title from Stan, featuring a competitive power struggle style of worker placement that's fairly unique. Since this is being published by Thunderworks Games you know the component quality and campaign management is going to be top notch.


During the Dragul Invasion of Nalos, King Taron’s loyal soldiers throw captured minions into Kulbak Prison, where enchanted gates and Construct guards make escape all but impossible. Once each year, Taron releases the toughest gang of war prisoners into the royal Colosseum to fight for their freedom.

In Lockup: A Roll Player Tale, players command squadrons of captured minions. They must keep their suspicion from the guards under control while hiring the strongest crew and building the most powerful items. The crew with the highest reputation wins the game and a chance to fight for their freedom.

Lockup is a worker placement game with elements of bluffing, set collection, resource management, and variable scoring to make sure each game feels different. Collect and play tome cards at the right moment to get the upper hand. Each player's crew has members with different strengths and abilities. Knowing when and where to use each member of the crew is key to success in Kulbak.





The Artemis Project
  • People Behind the Meeples Interview
  • Everything about this game looks wonderful, from the incredible artwork and great theme to the dice placement and engine building mechanics. Travelling to Europa never looked like so much fun!


Tiny Epic Mechs
  • GJJ Games Backed
  • People Behind the Meeples Interview
  • It's no secret, I love the Tiny Epic games. Every single one of them has been a blast to play and I can't believe how much game is packed into those small boxes. Tiny Epic Mechs brings a fun theme, interesting programming mechanic, and mech suits for your meeples to the lineup! What's not to love?!


Brains!
  • In this third entry into the Treasure Hunters series by Jellybean Games you play zombie cards (plus one kid dressed like a zombie) to try and score points. It looks fast and simple, and can be combined with the other games in the series, Scuttle! and Ninjitsu!


Periodic
  • I love games based on actual science and Genius Games does a great job making games that are not only based on accurate science, but also fun to play. Periodic looks to be another hit in their lineup with simple mechanics, fun gameplay, and an educational theme, too!


Builders!


Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer
  • This game was at Protospiel Milwaukee back in April, and while I didn't get a chance to play, it looked very interesting. This is a less common theme, but the work that went into matching the worker placement and resource management mechanics to the bee theme of the game is impressive. The artwork is gorgeous, too!


Waters of Nereus
  • This is a relaunch of a game that was previously in a combined campaign with another game by Dr. Finn called Cosmic Run: Regeneration. Both look like awesome games, but I think Waters of Nereus will be a lot more successful in a campaign on its own (Cosmic Run: Regeneration funded successfully in its own campaign a few months ago). This is designed by Dr. Finn (Steve Finn), who is known for designing really awesome middle-weight filler games. Waters of Nereus is a bigger game, but looks to have the same fast pace, player interaction, and excitement that has become expected of Dr. Finn's games. Plus it has wonderful artwork by Beth Sobel.


Into the Black Forest
  • Into the Black Forest is another small box from Green Couch Games. Green Couch Games is known for releasing games that fit in a small box but pack a big punch. They're simple enough to play with casual gamers, but deep enough to provide an interesting experience even for hard core gamers. Into the Black Forest is yet another game with gorgeous artwork, too.


The Stygian Society
  • The Stygian Society uses an interesting cube tower mechanic that I've seen before (Wallenstein uses it, although I still haven't played my copy of it), but is not used very often. The Stygian Society looks like an interesting use of that mechanic.


The Jasper - Board Gaming Table
  • I'd love to have a dedicated game table. I do have a table that's primarily for games, at least it's supposed to be, but it's often filled with schoolwork and clutter from the kids and it's just a regular table. Most dedicated gaming tables are priced well outside of mu budget, but luckily a few are becoming more affordable. The Jasper is one of two more affordable game tables on Kickstarter right now and it looks beautiful. It's still not cheap, but it won't take a second mortgage to get one either.


GameChanger Gaming Tables and Toppers
  • The second game tables on the list this week are the GameChangers. These are actually even more affordable than the Jasper for an equivalent table, plus there is a bigger variety of options (and some are very affordable).

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 139: Cameron Parkinson

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:Cameron Parkinson
Email:thecap@brokenthings.ca
Location:Canada
Day Job:Currently between jobs
Designing:Two to five years.
Webpage:www.brokenthings.ca
Blog:
BGG:BlitzKreigur
Facebook:Cameron Parkinson
Twitter:@TheCapOfficial
YouTube:
Instagram:@broken_things_official
Other:
Find my games at:Those that are published should be available at your FLGS, To Err is Human is available on DriveThruRPG.
Today's Interview is with:

Cameron Parkinson
Interviewed on: 8/8/2018

Cameron Parkinson is the third interview from the Broken Things team of designers. This team from Canada pools their talents to come up with some great games. Their game Builders! just launched on Kickstarter, so be sure to check it out! And read on to learn more about Cameron and his other projects.

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

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

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
2014

What game or games are you currently working on?
A magical girl boardgame, First Contact, and After Ragnarok; a Norse mythology RPG.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Yes. Most notably Buffy the Vampire Slayer along with a number of lesser known titles from the same company.

What is your day job?
Currently between jobs

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Usually at a friend's place or FLGS

Who do you normally game with?
Basically anyone who's around and willing to play!

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
As of late? We've been addicted to Terraforming Mars and its' many expansions

And what snacks would you eat?
I'm a big fan of tortilla chips and salsa, or sour candies with gaming

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
I do! It depends a lot on the game and the group. For role playing games I like to try matching the mood and setting with the music I play. Usually I prefer putting on instrumental tracks while gaming so that players aren't distracted by lyrics while trying to roleplay or think out their next move.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
The Dragon. It's got a great focus on community and being a safe, welcoming space for fans of all walks of life.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Current favourite is probably Terraforming Mars. I feel like I learn a little bit more about its' strategy and flow each time I play.

Least favourite that I still enjoy? The Omega Virus, an electronic board game from 1992. The game itself is super limited, but no other electronic board game captured the sneering, taunting computer that you just HAVE TO DESTROY.

Worst game I've ever played is probably "The Walking Dead Board Game", which mostly involved circling a monopoly-esque board and rolling dice. Not much decision making or efforts to accurately portray the source material.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
One of my favourite mechanics is programming moves in secret and then seeing how they resolve. It's useful for competitive strategy games (such as Forbidden Stars) as well as hectic cooperative games (like Space Alert).

My least favourite mechanic has to be rolling for movement. Luckily, it has mostly become a relic of the past.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Neuroshima Hex! It's a fantastic, simple, strategy game that has a ton of replay ability thanks to its diverse factions.

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, 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?
I usually start with a theme and construct the mechanics to accurately reflect that as much as possible. However, there have been times that a particular set of mechanics practically demanded a certain theme be applied to them.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I have not

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
There are too many great designers to choose from, I don't think I could pick a favourite.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Usually inopportune moments. It's very hard to write down good notes in the shower and I've definitely had to get back out of bed to write or sketch something out!

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Depending on what stage of development a game is in, I'll bring it to my fellow Broken Things designers, or a local creative networking night at the FLGS. When it's far enough along to start looking like a proper game I like to get friends and family to try it out as well, especially if they're not hardcore gamers or designers.

As much variety in playtesters as possible and always take good notes!

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Definitely as part of a team. This does require finding a group of people who can compliment your strengths, cover your weaknesses and bring creativity and positivity into the workspace. It's also vitally important for everyone in a team to become adept at offering and receiving constructive criticism!

If everyone has the same goal of creating an excellent experience for people, they should be able to set ego aside and always push for whatever is best for the project!

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Scheduling.

I often joke that I don't understand how time works, so I've made very good friends with the Alarm and Reminder functions of my phone. With some help, I've been improving on that front as I move forward.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I would love to get the chance to make a strategy or roleplaying game with Armored Core. Customizable giant robots, dealing with ammo costs and upkeep, taking contracts from opposing mega corporations. All sounds like good times.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Get things in writing. Don't trust anyone who won't give you copies of your paperwork.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Learn how to parse your idea down to MVP. Minimum Viable Product. As excited as you can get about this cool thing or that awesome addition, figure out what the bare-bones minimum is for your game to still be a "game". Then, prototype it out with cue-cards and actually sit down to play it.

You'll learn quickly what does and doesn't work and you can build off of the MVP easier than trimming an unwieldy behemoth down to something that is both manageable to play and cost effective to produce!

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Sherwood's Legacy, Neverland's Legacy, Albion's Legacy, Deep5 and To Err is Transhuman.
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: Builders! The Building-Building Deck Building Game
Games that I'm playtesting are: After Ragnarok
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Magical Girl and First Contact
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Project: Mayhem

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

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I also enjoy theatre, sword fighting and rock climbing

What is something you learned in the last week?
How to properly pronounce Saehrimnir

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
My favourite band is Diablo Swing Orchestra, favourite books may be the Hitchhiker's Trilogy and favourite movie is The Fifth Element.

What was the last book you read?
I'm currently reading Empire in Black and Gold by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Do you play any musical instruments?
Sadly no

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I never consider myself the smartest, or most qualified in a room full of people. Despite liking to joke about being the greatest, I tend to get caught off guard by genuine compliments.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I once laid down on the 401 on a dare

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Getting into game design as a career.

Who is your idol?
Chris Hadfield. I enjoy that he saw the Moon Landing and said "I'm gonna do that." and then went on to become an astronaut. His blending of hard science, fun and natural charisma is exactly what we need from educators to make sure that the next generations gains an appreciation for the sciences.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I'd get future-Cameron to stop trolling me.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Extrovert

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Hands down Korra, from Legend of Korra. Not only controlling all four elements, but bending just LOOKS COOL.

Have any pets?
Only vicariously.

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?
Roleplaying games 100% survive, here's hoping that the ice age gets some of the bigots to chill 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):
Shout out to Arik for killing it at Gen Con this year

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

The Kickstarter for Builders! is live now! Check it out and tell your friends!




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.