Tuesday, August 14, 2018

People Behind the Meeples Episode 133: Adam Payn

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:Adam Payn
Email:adam.payn76@gmail.com
Location:Milton Keynes, UK
Day Job: Funding and Development Manager
Designing:Less than six months.
Blog:https://www.board-game.co.uk/first-time-designer-issue-one/
Facebook:Adam Payn
Today's Interview is with:

Adam Payn
Interviewed on: 6/15/2018

Adam Payn is a new game designer from the UK. He's currently working on his first design and he's blogging about the entire process over on Zatu Games. Be sure to follow his journey for some great insight into the process of learning how to design a game.

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?
The idea popped into my head and I ran with it

What game or games are you currently working on?
LAST Stand - a semi co-op game where you build giant robots to defend the world against monsters.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
No

What is your day job?
Funding and Development Manager

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At a bi-monthly Meetup group in a pub

Who do you normally game with?
Friends.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Hero Realms campaign or Viticulture

And what snacks would you eat?
None. Keto diet but others will go for crisps and Doritos

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Something thematic. Usually just put on Melodice

What’s your favorite FLGS?
The CCG and Board Game Social

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
The Pursuit of Happiness, Celestia and Archipelago

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Deck building, area control, and take that.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
This War of Mine

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

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
No

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?
Other games and shaping my design into a system based on what was lacking

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Friends, events, Meetup

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Co-design 100%

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Time. Maintaining momentum while not letting it dominate my life as I have a lot going on

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
UFC (Mixed Martial Arts promotion)

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Not to worry about someone nicking your idea

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Take every opportunity. Don't get disheartened when it sounds like someone is coming out with a similar game. Chances are it'll be very different. Work with someone rather than solo.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Games that I'm playtesting are: LAST Stand

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Yes. The Card one. A designer one and the previously mentioned one.

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, neither (sugary drinks are evil), VHS

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Ultimate Frisbee, watching MMA, movies, podcasts.

What is something you learned in the last week?
It's possible to write a tender bid in a week

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
London Grammar, Elbow, rarely read but enjoyed fantasy and horror in my youth, Marvel movies.

What was the last book you read?
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B Peterson.

Do you play any musical instruments?
No

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I built a company from nothing to a million pound turnover in 5 years.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Did a solo parachute jump

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Building the company (long story)

Who is your idol?
Jordan B Peterson. Derren Brown a close second.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Use it to go forward at 10 year intervals to see how things are.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Introvert mainly

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Wolverine (schnikt!)

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?
Anything that aids survival like archery. Social deduction games

If you’d like to send a shout out to anyone, anyone at all, here’s your chance (I can’t guarantee they’ll read this though):
My co-designer and admin of the Board Game Trading and Chat UK Facebook group, Martin Cubberley.

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

Go for it! Turn your ideas into a reality! (I love Cornwall)




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, August 7, 2018

People Behind The Meeples - Gen Con 2018 Quick Interviews

Welcome to the People Behind the Meeples Gen Con 2018 Quick Interviews. These are just like my regular interviews, only quicker. As I run into other designers I ask them a few quick questions about game design, plus one slightly off the wall question decided by the roll of a d12. I hope you enjoy these!

Unfortunately I didn't get as many interviews as I anticipated at Gen Con. Most of my days were spent demoing games for Thunderworks Games, and then my afternoons and evenings were spent meeting with publishers. This left very little time for conducting interviews, but I did get a few. I even did one video interview! I really liked these quick interviews, so I plan to keep doing them at other events I attend, like Protospiels, meetups, and other conventions.


Daniel Rocchi


Contact: danielrocchi67@hotmail.com

Current Games: Artemis Project with Grand Gamers Guild - hitting Kickstarter on September 12.
Scoundrels with Keymaster Games.

How did you get into game design?
Daniel grew up in a family of five kids, so they were given board games to keep them busy.  They were mostly classic games, like Monopoly until his older brother got him into Dungeons & Dragons and Avalon Hill strategy games.  He then got into Magic the Gathering and started building decks.  That grew into tweaking other games and eventually into designing his own games.

The Die - #7 - If you could be a car, what car would you be?
A VW wagon, but not one of the older ones, one of the new electric ones.  Classic look, modern sensibility.

Patrick Rauland

Contact:  @bftrick on Twitter or at the Indie Board Game Designers podcast.

Current Games: Fry Thief

How did you get into game design?
When Patrick was in college he loved the game Bang and had a great time playing it with friends.  He wanted to be able to recreate that experience for others.

The Die - #8 - If you could choose a theme song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The Final Countdown

Ryan Laukat of Red Raven Games

Contact: @ryanlaukat on Twitter or www.redravengames.com

Current Games: Several unannounced.  Also Sleeping Gods, an open world persistent game with an atlas, like Near & Far.

How did you get into game design?
At around age 12 Ryan started playing CCGs and Rifts.  He then started making his own CCG games and RPG systems.  He's been in the hobby ever since.

The Die - #3 - If there was a machine that produced $100 a day for life, what would you pay for it today?
How much would I be willing to pay or able to pay?  Hmmm...  $50,000.  Wait, is that too much?  No, it's fine.  $50,000.

Dave Harvey of Et Games

Contact: playetgames.com

Current Games: Not his own designs, but Raft and Scupper and he's currently in talks with a designer about publishing his yard game about kingdoms.

How did you get into game design?
Dave had the idea for Pucket and then built a company around it.  Then he decided that he needed to expand the line of games and designed Roller and other games.  He's always loved how games can break the ice and help introduce you to new people.

The Die - #5 - If Hollywood were to make a movie about your life, who would you like to see play the lead role as you?
Charlie Chaplin.  But he's dead.  But I love Charlie Chaplin.

I forgot to get a picture of Breeze
but here's an older one from PAX East 2017.

Breeze Grigas of Zephyr Workshop

Contact: zephyrworkshop@gmail.com

Current Games: AEGIS Combining Robots and Uproot, a new game about tree spaceships.

How did you get into game design?
Breeze went to school for game design and worked in video game studios for a while. He likes medium weight thematic games and decided to do that in a board game medium instead of video games because he could design a board game on his own in months rather than taking years and a big team, like the video games he had been working on.

The Die - #7 - If you could be a car, what car would you be?
A 2001 Hyundai Tiburon - it's the poor man's Porsche!

Chuck Pint of SFR, Inc.


Current Games: Dragon Dice (currently on Kickstarter for a Swamp Stalkers reprint) and Daemon Dice

How did you get into game design?
Chuck was part of the original development team for Dragon Dice and over the years eventually became president of the company. When they originally acquired Dragon Dice there were a number of issues with the ruleset, so he and his team worked to redo a lot of the rules. The battle dice system is currently on it's 4th major revision and is now very solid.

The Die - #1 - Would you rather fight 1 horse-sized duck, or 100 duck sized horses?
I think I'd rather fight 1 horse-sized duck!

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


People Behind the Meeples - Episode 132: Mark W. Miller

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:Mark W. Miller
(not the one who invented the hex sheet).
Email:webform@dwarfwar.com
Location:Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Day Job:Software Engineer
Designing:Two to five years.
Webpage:http://www.dwarfwar.com
BGG:Dwarf War
Facebook:Dwarf War
Twitter:@DwarfWar
YouTube:Dwarf War
Instagram:@dwarfwar_moondance
Find my games at:Before the KS Campaign we can make some boards for the intrepid few… If you have a serious game club, send me a note and make your case, I might send you a board.
Today's Interview is with:

Mark W. Miller (not the one who invented the hex sheet).
Interviewed on: 6/14/2018

This week we hear from Mark Miller, a published author and designer of the incredibly eye catching Dwarf War game. Mark is originally from the Chicagoland area, but now hails from Amsterdam. Read on to learn more about Mark and his projects, plus read a bit of his poetry!

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

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

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
I played a lot of D&D right from the beginning. I have the original three small manuals somewhere and I met Gary Gygax at a GenCon back when it was still in Geneva, WI. I loved the game, and I was usually the DM and crafting the adventures was the best part! I moved to Ireland to go to school and found a new crew and kept going. Eventually my nomadic European lifestyle meant I lost track of a good group of players and stopped. To fill the creative gap I took to writing Fantasy, not really to get it published, but just for the joy of it. There was a chapter in my book, Winter: The Vracken’s Gate, called Dwarf War, wherein two bands of dwarves have a bloody underground war, and I thought myself when I wrote it: "that would make a cool game." I was thinking computer game at the time, and I pondered the idea off and on for twenty years. One night I was playing around with some balsa wood, and I thought why not do a 3D Board Game…underground…and Dwarf War was born. We are now on Mark X of the board and its almost ready for prime time.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Dwarf War! I have a another game, Slice, in the works, but one thing at a time.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Nope!

What is your day job?
Software Engineer

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Home

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?
I let other people make that decision for me. They are really competent.

And what snacks would you eat?
Raw vegetables. Nachos. Beer, you know, stuff like that.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Yea, but no one else does...

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Friends & Foes

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
I've never been good with rating. Fun or not fun is the best I can manage.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Roll them bones!

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
30 Pieces. Problem is, I have not written it yet.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board 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?
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?
They come to me independently.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Nope.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
It will always be Gary Gygax, but I’m pretty old.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
When I am writing fantasy fiction.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I try hard to get other people to do it =) But I am still really learning.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
A good co-designer is essential. Two heads are better than one, but I do the majority of the details of the design myself. And I outsource that stuff other people do better than me.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Ummm. Wait, I know this one… Oh Right! Making fun games.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
My own universe, there is no place I love better.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Get busy and stay that way.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
See above.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
I'm planning to crowdfund: Dwarf War
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Dwarf War

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Not really, still looking for a home.

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?
BetaTrek Adds Life!

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Designing 3D TableTop Games, Writing and poetry.

What is something you learned in the last week?
That one can spend any continuous block of time social mediaing.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Stuff I can sing to.

What was the last book you read?
The Futurological Congress.

Do you play any musical instruments?
No, well Garage Band, does that count?

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I'm 1/4 Angel.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Skied the Sur de Glace in Chamonix, France, on really heavy skis which nearly killed me up in the powder and saved my life down in the ice caverns.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
My struggle to find the most amusing answer to this question has failed...

Who is your idol?
Bruce Springsteen. Have you ever noticed just how much fun that guy has on stage?

What would you do if you had a time machine?
It all over again =)

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
An extrovert in my own mind.

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

Have any pets?
Two cats, Sonja and Hogan.

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 first part is easy, this was already addressed in an episode of Futurama, and if it’s good enough for Al Gore, Gary Gygax, Stephen Hawking and Nichelle Nichols, D&D is good enough for me.

And I wouldn’t change a thing. Mankind is awesome and most of what we do is beautiful. The thing is our brains are really difference engines and once you get that, you realize we will always be halfway between Heaven and Hell. It’s not about what’s happening in the world, it’s about how you choose to cope with it.

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):
37 years ago a friend of mine, Tim Townley, hung himself in a jail cell. He was 19 years old, high on acid and locked away down in the basement of a cop shop in Oak Park, Illinois. He hadn’t done anything really wrong. He was a keen D&D player and his main character was Hogan Ironshield the king of a Dwarven Country. I used Hogan in my book and much of the inspiration for Dwarf War came from that character. Anyway, my shout out is to Tim, wherever you are.

I like to write poetry as well, and a few years back I wrote this about the whole non-stop gaming thing and that ugly pointless incident:

Stallions in the Quasar

Streams of light,
Filled our nights,
Some mother’s house a ghost,
We saw a path,
We did the math,
We rolled a mighty host.
We sought to believe,
To pound the weave,
Heavin' heavy,
We sundered the stars,
A bloom of youth,
In need of proof,
Fresh stallions in the quasar.

A crystal of rage,
We wrote on the page,
A thundering cannonade,
We slipped,
We slayed,
We were at play,
A barley-hopped charade.
When lightning struck,
No need for luck,
As the minstrel strummed his song.
Forgin' annealed tempered steel,
Bringin' it down hard,
A rumblin’ tumblin' cavalcade,
Spillin' out across the yard.

A smoke,
A toke,
A mushroom cloak,
Dreams from the local bazaar.
Shruggin' off real,
Just tryin’ to feel,
Always goin' too far.
Fine paranoia,
Swinging sequoia,
Pull the shades,
Turn up the guitar,
Keep firin' out words,
Ignore the damn birds,
We were
The Stallions in the Quasar.

A brace of blades,
A hand of Spades,
Just stabbin' in the dark,
We left no sign,
Blew past the line,
And did not miss the mark.
When we clicked,
We sure were quick,
With an agile turn of phrase.
We shouldn’t,
We couldn’t,
But no way we wouldn’t,
Unwind in an epic haze.
The dogs they won’t find us,
The cats they don’t mind us,
Cool how they fight in a pile.
We stressed up the big view,
Us guys with the new clue,
Certain we did it with style.

...

But somehow we lost one,
The kid had his shoes on!
His hell was all he could see.
Down in that cell block,
He punched out his own clock,
The things we do to get free.
His axe it had failed,
His mates they had bailed,
His darling screwed loose,
and off-center.
The dice said: Two zeros,
Scratch out: One hero,
And what’s left is:
“Speak Friend and Enter.”

Down on respect,
And down on the deck,
As Nero fiddled with zeal,
Sack laden grease jacks
Led you down wrong tracks,
Bad news, when your ship has no keel.
Someone was missing,
We all just went fishing,
Played pinball in a Chicago-town bar,
The numbers are in,
We learned nothing of sin,
Following bread crumbs through the bizarre.
A magnificent wreck,
But whaddya expect?
From some stallions in the quasar.

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

Designing table-top games is the funnest thing I do alone.




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, July 31, 2018

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 131: Jeff Wilcox

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:Jeff Wilcox
Email: jeff@knowbodyknows.com
Location:Suburbs of Chicago
Day Job:Software Consultant
Designing:Over ten years!
Webpage:www.knowbodyknows.com
BGG:Knowbody Knows
Facebook:Knowbody Knows app
Find my games at:Amazon is the solid one. But, you'll find it at other places.
Today's Interview is with:

Jeff Wilcox
Interviewed on: 6/14/2018

Jeff Wilcox is a Chicago area designer that self-published Knowbody Knows, a silly party game, about 13 years ago. Since then he's worked on other designs, including a follow-up to Knowbody Knows called Who Knows. Read on to learn more about Jeff and his projects!

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?
I've been making various games since I was a kid, so just always been part of me.

What game or games are you currently working on?
I'm working on resurrecting the "email version" of my main produced game called Knowbody Knows.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
I self published Knowbody Knows, years ago.

What is your day job?
Software Consultant

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
around a kitchen table with a beer or two.

Who do you normally game with?
Neighborhood friends

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Anything social. Party games mainly.

And what snacks would you eat?
Pretzels and cream cheese.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Definitely. I'm a Phish guy, but the group is more of a classic rock group.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Sad, but I don't have one

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Bubble Talk is a family favorite.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I'm not sure what you mean. But, why I love my game, Knowbody Knows is that there is a winner, but it's so secondary to the actual fun. So, having a winner, but not being super competitive is when I like party games the most.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Balderdash. I love when you can be creative in a game, and that is definitely one. But, some of our friends feel pressure to be creative and don't like that. That's my take anyways!

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card 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?
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?
The best ones kind of just happen. I like to notice fun conversation, why did everyone love talking about that? how did that come up? And, then kind of back in to that, force that fun conversation. With Knowbody Knows, it all started, thinking about my brother's statement about his unborn son, 14 years ago. He said he'd tell him to save every single bottle cap from every beer he drank, so he'd know how many he had. Then, discussing just how many that'd be. Our answers were wildly different, and it sparked some fun conversation. I took that and ran with it.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Yes. Knowbody Knows received the "Major Fun Award".

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Not really. I'm way more in to developing games, and barely care who came up with the games I like. For better or worse.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
As mentioned before, I like watching people and what makes them tick, so I will make mental notes when people are laughing or enjoying themselves, and find ways to channel back to that.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Nowadays, Just asking friends. When I was developing Knowbody Knows, I ran a game night at a local bar. Kind of testing various rules and all, not necessarily Knowbody Knows related, but definitely used those nights and friends I met through there, to help test that and other games I just never "finished".

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
"I'm a loner, Dotty!" - Pee Wee Herman.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Getting it noticed (in the sea of fun games out there) in a side job capacity. I would call some places, send them a Sample game, then get busy with my main job. Six months later, I'm calling them to see if they liked it, they're like, "what game?!" It's hard to sell part time, but I like my main gig and have a mortgage and family and all, so just don't want to go "all in" either.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I'd love to come up with games for that Celebrity Party Game show with Jane Lynch. I forget the name.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Tough question. I could say I wish someone told me how hard self-publishing a game would be. On the other hand, while it hasn't made me millions, I can't believe my life without trying to run with Knowbody Knows. We've had so many good times playing and talking about it. My wife's a teacher, and her whole staff plays during their off hours on Fridays. That's the stuff I just love hearing about. And, so while it's been a financial loser, it's been a huge spiritual winner, so ...

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Playtest a ton.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Knowbody Knows and Uncle Rez Pets (much smaller run)
Games that I'm playtesting are: Who Knows. It's a follow up to Knowbody Knows.
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: A lot, just busy coaching little league and all these days.
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Tons.

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

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, and VHS.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Sports and live music

What is something you learned in the last week?
That soup is bad for you! At my age, I have to watch my salt, and recently someone said, "Soup has a ton of salt." I said, what kind of soup? They said ALL Soup!! That's ridiculous. So, Chicken Noodle Soup is bad for me now?!? Geez.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
I'm a jam band guy. Phish is my favorite band of all time. Books, I like that Malcom Gladwell guy, Tipping Point and more. Movies, it's stupid funny movies for me.

What was the last book you read?
The Hunger Game series. The whole family read it.

Do you play any musical instruments?
No. Someday.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I'm 49 and I can still dive. I dove in college, and try to keep doing some of those dives as long as I can. So, people see this gray haired guy on the diving board, and think ... whu-huh?!?

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I did one of those tandem skydiving jumps

Who is your idol?
My Mom and Dad

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Sell it for billions.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
extrovert

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

Have any pets?
Yes, Mooch, our 100 pound mutt.

When the next asteroid hits Earth, causing the Yellowstone caldera to explode, California to fall into the ocean, the sea levels to rise, and the next ice age to set in, what current games or other pastimes do you think (or hope) will survive into the next era of human civilization? What do you hope is underneath that asteroid to be wiped out of the human consciousness forever?
A deck of cards. Amazing how many fun games there are with just those 52 cards.

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

Try my Email Version! It's fun, simple, doesn't take much time, but makes the work day go by faster.




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.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

GJ Games at Gen Con!


Support me on Patreon!

You may have been asking yourself over the past few months, "what happened to reviews on GJJ Games?"  Well, a few things have caused my reviews to slow down.  Last year we added another player to the family (he's 13 months now and has been in full toddler mode for 4 months already, so that's pretty exhausting).  Because of this my free time to play review games was cut by quite a bit.  But I was still managing to get a review or two out every month.

Then in April I was offered the opportunity to attend Gen Con this year (a huge thanks to Keith at Thunderworks Games) in exchange for running demos for Roll Player and Skulk Hollow from 10am to 3pm each day.  This is a huge opportunity for me since I don't really have the money or time (another huge thanks to my wife for letting me leave her with three kids for almost a week) to attend big conventions.  This is actually the first non-Protospiel convention I've ever attended.  So I really wanted to make the most of the weekend.  I've been working hard to fine-tune a number of my game designs, update components, create sell sheets, and set up opportunities to pitch my games.  Unfortunately, this means that I haven't been spending the time writing up reviews that I usually do.  I have a few reviews started, and I plan on finishing them up after Gen Con, so I'm not out of the reviewing business, just taking a bit of a hiatus.

So, what will I be pitching at Gen Con?

I'll be bringing a bunch of games to Gen Con.  On Thursday I'll be pitching 8 Seconds at the Designer/Publisher Speed Dating event from 7pm to 9pm at the Slippery Noodle.  On Friday I'll have Pharmacology at the First Encounter Designer Showcase from 9:30pm to 11:30pm at the JW Marriot's White River Ballroom.  I'll also be pitching Les Petits Pirates and Tanuki in the Garden to publishers that specifically expressed interest in them.

In addition to the games that I have pitching sessions scheduled for, I also have sell sheets and postcards for Trick Builders, Race to the Moons and my MiniSkull Games (which includes MiniSkull Castle, MiniSkull Quests, MiniSkull Dungeon, MiniSkull Caverns, and MiniSkull Adventures).

I'll have copies of all these games with me (except for MiniSkull Caverns and MiniSkull Adventures), and several copies of a few of them.  If you are interested in playing or learning more about any of these games, let me know!  I'd be happy to meet up!

What else will GJJ Games be doing at Gen Con?

Outside of demoing and pitching, I'll also have a game or two at the Play the Best of Protospiel event on Thursday evening (6pm to 8pm).  Other than that I'm planning on wandering around and taking everything in.  I'll be doing some quick, 3 minute interviews for my People Behind the Meeples series, so if you're a designer and you see me wandering around, stop me for a quick chat.  I'll be asking for your name, contact info, what got you into game design, what game(s) you're currently working on, and then a random silly question.  I may do a few as video interviews, too!

Like I said, this is my first non-Protospiel convention, so I'm excited and a bit nervous.  I really just want to take it all in so that I know what to expect if I should ever make it back (hopefully I will).  So if you have any tips, ideas, or suggestions, let me have them!  If you'd like to meet up to play games, get interviewed, or just to hang out, let me know that, too!  I'm currently free all Saturday evening and part of Friday.












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



Thursday, July 26, 2018

Eye on Kickstarter #48

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 July, 2018:

Live Campaigns from Past Eyes:
Rurik: Dawn of Kiev
Clustered


HIGHLIGHTED CAMPAIGN
Rurik: Dawn of Kiev
  • GJJ Games Backed
  • I usually don't feature a game two Eyes in a row, but occasionally a game I featured previously still has my full attention, even more than the newest launches. If it's a game I'm really excited about anod nothing else has usurped it, I'll feature it again. Such is the case with Rurik: Dawn of Kiev. There have been other interesting games launched on Kickstarter in the past two weeks, but none that have me quite as excited as Rurik. I playtested Rurik several times over the past 9 months and am thrilled with how it turned out. And you know what? It keeps getting better! The game has blown past funded and has been knocking out stretch goal after stretch goal. There are now 8 leaders and minis, a ton of component upgrades, and more! Plus, Piecekeeper Games listened to feedback and worked to find a more cost effective shipping solution for international backers. So if you live outside the US and were dissuaded from backing because of shipping, take another look. Or, if you're a fan of highly thematic blends of Euro and American style games, like Scythe, Blood Rage, Kemet, etc. then be sure to take a good look at this. I truly believe Rurik will be on a bunch of top 10 lists next year when it's released! Check out the last Eye on Kickstarter to see what I said about it then, too.


Rurik: Dawn of Kiev is a euro-style realm building game featuring area control, resource management, and a new mechanic - "auction programming."

Establish your legacy by constructing buildings and performing great deeds or pursue your own agenda by ruling large areas of land and collecting tribute. Will you win over the hearts of the people to become the next Grand Prince or Princess of Kiev?

Rurik brings to life the ancient culture of Kievan Rus - the precursor to both Russia and Ukraine - with game design by Russian game designer Stanislav Kordonskiy and illustrations by Ukrainian artist Yaroslav Radeckyi.

Auction Programming. The gameplay in Rurik revolves around a central strategy board. Openly bid for actions with your advisors in this novel “auction programming” mechanic. Higher numbered advisors earn greater benefits, but lower numbered advisors resolve their actions sooner.






Bilder
  • Do you like games like Pictionary, but can't draw? Well, in Bilder you use wooden blocks in all sorts of interesting shapes to build a scene, item, etc. for the other players to guess. It looks like an interesting twist on an otherwise fairly played out style of game. You don't see that very often.


Atlantis: Island of Gods
  • When I was in high school I did a research paper on the myth and legend of Atlantis. That sparked quite an interest in the fabled lost continent and even now, over 20 years later, I find myself fascinated by anything Atlantean. This game takes the mythology, twists it a bit, and creates a new story for the island, and packages it all into an interesting looking game.


Tiny Trees
  • Every so often a game comes along that's pretty simple, but looks incredible in three dimensions. Tiny Trees looks like a gorgeous, three dimensional cousin of Kodama.


Call to Adventure
  • I'll be honest, it's the box cover that caught my attention here. The split artwork is incredibly eye catching. In Call to Adventure you get to build your character based on experiences and decisions that you'll make throughout the game. Will your character become a hero? Or will you walt the patch of evil and treachery? The decision is yours in this intriguing game.


Era of Kingdoms
  • At first I was about to write this off as another deck-building Dominion clone, but then I looked closer. There's a lot more going on in this game than just deck-building. You have to build up your kingdom, upgrade locations, and manage resources. The game does quite a few interesting things in a fairly simple, quick playing package.


Knights of Glory
  • So often bluffing games are either too simple or just not interesting. I was about to pass by Knights of Glory when I decided to take a closer look and watch the preview video from Brody at Everything Board Games. I'm glad I did because I found a very interesting blend of bluffing and press-your-luck. In Knights of Glory each player is a knight trying to earn a place in the king's guard. To do so they must survive the dungeon. The mechanics blend hand management, press-your-luck, and bluffing into a quick playing, fun little game.


Aromat
  • Now this is an absolutely gorgeous game. The handmade wooden pieces are absolutely stunning. However, without a gameplay video, rulebook, reviews, or any other 'requirements' of a modern Kickstarter campaign, I can't recommend backing this. There are a few other red flags, too, like a promise of November delivery when there's only one person doing the manufacturing in his personal workshop. So oggle the beautiful pieces, but I say pass on backing this one for now.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 130: Joriam Philipe

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:Joriam Philipe
Location:Berlin, Germany
Day Job:CEO of a game company - Hard Question Studio
Designing:Two to five years.
Webpage:www.jojojo.cards
Facebook:Jojojo Cards/
Twitter:@jojojo_cards
Instagram:@jojojocards
Other:www.hardquestionstudio.com
Today's Interview is with:

Joriam
Interviewed on: 6/14/2018

This week we get to learn about Joriam Philipe. Joriam is the designer of the social party game, Jojojo Cards. He also runs Hard Question Studios, a game publisher based out of Berlin. When Joriam moved from Rio de Janeiro to Berlin he was inspired to create Jojojo Cards to help foster communication. The game features a ton of wacky or profound questions, actually pretty similar to a lot of the questions in this interview. So read on to learn more about Joriam and see how he answered my questions!

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?
A lifetime passion for Magic the Gathering and the need to stay out of the screens once in a while!

What game or games are you currently working on?
It's a secret =X but also my next release is a digital game (also make those)

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Yes! Jojojo (www.jojojo.cards)

What is your day job?
CEO of a game company - Hard Question Studio

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Bar table at 1am

Who do you normally game with?
Of course with my friends, but my profession also pushes me to game with a lot of strangers and other game designers. It's pretty fun!

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
My favourite game of all times is Go, the ancient boardgame. Not a lot of people play it, but it's my go-to option.

And what snacks would you eat?
Is wine a snack?

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Oh yeah! Hm not any specific genre, but I just left a vaporwave phase and now I'm deep into Simon & Garfunkel.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Redbox back in Rio de Janeiro

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Apart from Go, I recently tried Get Your Rocks On and thought it was hilarious. Least favourite, but alright is Bang. Worst is the Warcraft boardgame — good god who approved that?

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Storytelling mechanics are my weapon of choice. Dexterity mechanics are meh.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Go — it's very complex, I admit

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 Card Games, RPG Games, Video 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?
My gamemaking process can start anywhere really — from one idea I can generate 10 games. But my latest release was based on a problem. A real life problem. I guess that's a theme? Not sure.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I... guess? My first-ever game (www.mairoj.com) got a sort of prize, but it was all very confusing. I got a medal though.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Jenova Chen. He's in digital, but still my idol.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Combining my ideas with other people's ideas. Aka: talking.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I have a very meticulous playtesting process and philosophy. Jojojo went through more than 700 iterations 'till it was complete.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I have one teammate, but he was only recently added to the studio.

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

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Honestly I'd love to work with Invisibilia or Welcome to Nightvale. I'm sure those folks would be more enjoyable to work with than Lego or some shit.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Here's 8000€, you have two months to deliver me a game.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
When you playtest, write down everybody's facial expressions while interacting with different systems. Sometimes their tongues won't talk, but their frowns mostly won't lie.

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

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Oh so many, at least 15

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. Pepsi. VHS.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I'm a huge youtube nerd, have a couple of channels.

What is something you learned in the last week?
German frozen peas are remarkably good! Oh my.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
I really dig all types of music, but if I had to choose one I'd say prog rock. I'm currently enchanted by Terry Pratchett, but I do have a Stephen King tattoo. I'm not sooo into movies, but Monty Python gets me every time.

What was the last book you read?
Terry Pratchett - Sourcery

Do you play any musical instruments?
I used to sing in a band! I'm a little rusty, but I can beat any karaoke amateur.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I've experienced several ayahuasca rituals. It's pretty amazing actually.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I played a note (just a single note) in an ancient instrument that used to belong to Chopin.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
So I was working in Rock in Rio, a big music festival, and this beer truck got stuck in the mud. They gave everyone free beer to lighten the truck so it could move.

Who is your idol?
I'm gonna go for Hank and John Green.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
At first be extremely afraid. Then I'd just vanquish my enemies throwing them in the future.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Oh man, extrovert.

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

Have any pets?
A dog! His name is Matrix.

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 go, tarot and poker survive. Pretty sure we can rebuild everything else.

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):
Jacinda Ardern, you are such a legend.

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

Be weird. Be very weird indeed.




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.