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.
Interviewed on: 08/29/16
Randal is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for his game, Radiant, an interesting combination of trick taking, area control, and drafting that I had the great fortune to review about a month ago. The game is really fantastic, and if this is any indication of the types of games we’ll see from Randal in the future, keep your eyes on him! While working on the review for Radiant I had quite a few conversations back and forth with Randal and he’s a genuinely great guy. Go check out the campaign for Radiant! It’s only going for a few more days!
Have something else you'd like to ask that I didn't cover here? Go ahead and comment on this post. I'll ask the designers interviewed to answer any questions!
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 first started because I wanted to illustrate a board game, but I fell in love with designing, too.
What game or games are you currently working on?
Radiant is currently on Kickstarter. My next design is dealing with player-developed robots that eventually attain AI.
Have you designed any games that have been published?
No, Radiant will be my first.
What is your day job?
Your Gaming Tastes
My readers would like to know more about you as a gamer.
Where do you prefer to play games?
Who do you normally game with?
My game group is made up of siblings and friends from different seasons of my life. I also play a lot of games with family.
If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
And what snacks would you eat?
I tend to get so focused on the game that I forget to eat, but I do love chocolate-chip-cookies (with napkins of course, because grease is terrible).
Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Only for RPGs. Then anything instrumental and thematic is great. I do love motion picture scores.
What’s your favorite FLGS?
Epic Puzzles and Games
What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Current: Eclipse, Least that I enjoy: Betrayal at House on the Hill, Worst: all games considered, I've never played anything worse than Candyland. Of course, I don't seek out bad games.
What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Area control, Anything involving loss of turn
What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Dead of Winter
What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, RPG Games
Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card Games
OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
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?
A little of both, but I like a very strong connection between the two.
Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I've entered the Ion Award.
Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
How do you go about playtesting your games?
I'm a member of a design guild. I also do a lot of playtesting at conventions for later stages.
Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I act alone, but I put great value in the feedback of playtesters.
What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Finding time to work during the school year.
If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Harry Potter or The Stormlight Archive
What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
It takes a crazy amount of time to do a good job (at least for me).
What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Designing games is its own hobby. Treat it like a hobby, and you'll enjoy it.
Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Lots. The Board Game Design Guild of Utah meets in-person.
And the oddly personal, but harmless stuff…
OK, enough of the game stuff, let's find out what really makes you tick! These are the questions that I’m sure are on everyone’s minds!
Star Trek or Star Wars? Coke or Pepsi? VHS or Betamax?
I love Star Trek, but Star Wars is woven into my very soul.
What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
guitar, cycling, RC airplanes, reading
Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Chill, indie rock and contemporary folk. Brandon Sanderson novels and heavy sci-fi (movies and books)
What was the last book you read?
When Breath becomes Air which was truly fantastic.
Do you play any musical instruments?
Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
In high school, me and my friends broke into the school through a window and played laser-tag.
Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Just a Bit More
Thanks for answering all my crazy questions! Is there anything else you'd like to tell my readers?
I illustrate my own games. I love to be able to control the design, the theme, and the art direction to create a unified, whole experience.
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
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