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.
Odd "Hack" Hackwelder
Interviewed on: 08/22/16
Odd Hackwelder... What an odd name, but it's one you've probably seen around a lot, especially if you follow any of the BGG Game Design contests. Hack (or Odd or Hacko) runs several of the annual contests on BGG, including the Microgame Contest and the 18 Card Contest. Both of these are what really sparked my love of designing games within tight component restrictions. Hack is also very active on many of the Game Design groups on Facebook and has run several successful Kickstarters for his games. He's definitely someone to keep your eye on to see what he's planning next!
The Burning Question
That everyone is wondering...
I have to ask the million dollar question that I'm sure everyone wonders =) Is 'Odd Hackwelder' your given name, a nickname, or short for something else? It's such an unusual name, and I know others have wondered about it, too.
My real name is Todd Hackwelder
I have been called Hack for over 20 years.
When i joined facebook with my real name every new friend called me Todd
I didn't like explaining no one calls me Todd, except my parents
So I dropped the T, it just became my new identity.
It also suits me
i am odd
funny side note
facebook blocked my account till i proved it was my real name
i sent them a picture of me holding my license covering the T with my finger
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 had a meeting with a publisher/distributor because I wanted to sell games in my cafe/store. At the end of the meeting I had a job designing art for a couple games and that started the ball rolling.
What game or games are you currently working on?
I am working on so many I wouldn't even know where to start. I am getting a few games ready to print now. One is called Glass Face which was a recent kickstarter. Another game is called Uwrong which will be a kickstarter soon.
Have you designed any games that have been published?
I have had 2 games published by other companies and 6 published by my own company,
What is your day job?
I have been a graphic designer for 25 years. I also teach part time in Taiwan, I have been doing that for 13 years.
Your Gaming Tastes
My readers would like to know more about you as a gamer.
Where do you prefer to play games?
I prefer to play prototype games at my monthly playtest event with other designers.
Who do you normally game with?
I play with my students and members of TBD (Taiwan Boardgame Designers)
If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
I like fun games that make me laugh.
And what snacks would you eat?
Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
No problem with that as long as it 's good music.
What’s your favorite FLGS?
What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Balderdash has been my favorite game forever. I love making up definitions for weird words. It's the creator in me.
What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
It's hard to pick a favorite, maybe bluffing. I can't think of any I don't like, depends on the game.
What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Usually I can get any game to the table if I am teaching it to my students.
What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Other 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?
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 come up with theme first. I do a lot of strange things when designing. I sometimes design cards and print them before I have rules for the game.
Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I have entered over 35 design competitions. I have won over 10 of them, but I really don't care about winning.
Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Daryl Andrews and Sen-Foong Lim. They host a show called the Meeple Syrup Show. I watched every episode so far and it really helped me become a better designer. I am now friends with them and they are awesome. I am co-designing a few games with Daryl.
Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
I am inspired all the time. My ideas keep coming and it's actually a problem. I start more projects than I can finish.
How do you go about playtesting your games?
I have a monthly designer group I playtest at and I playtest with my students.
Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I have the ability to design an entire game by myself, but I do enjoy working with other designers.
What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Finding the time to work on all the games I am designing.
If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
A game about Tom Hanks and his movies or Bob Marley and his music.
What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
I wish someone told me it was something I could get into 20 years ago.
What advice would you like to share about designing games?
I believe anyone can do it with hard work and passion. The most important thing is research. I spent 5 hours a day reading and watching videos on game design for over a year when I started designing games. Also enter contests, they are great.
Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: 8 the Liar, 10 Down, Ninja Bowling, M80, Monster Deck 55, Pride Deck, Gamer Deck
Games that will soon be published are: Glass Face, Uwrong, Moogoo People, Gamer Deck 2
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: Nothing at the moment, but Uwrong and Gamer Deck 2 should be coming up soon,
Currently looking for a publisher I have: So many
I'm planning to crowdfund: So many
Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Yes, most of them.
And the oddly personal, but harmless stuff…
OK, enough of the game stuff, let's find out what really makes you tick! These are the questions that I’m sure are on everyone’s minds!
Star Trek or Star Wars? Coke or Pepsi? VHS or Betamax?
Spaceballs, Lemonade and Youtube
What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Art, golf, riding motorcycles, traveling the world
What is something you learned in the last week?
I learned a lot about printing and manufacturing.
Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Reggae. I don't do books. I love movies.
What was the last book you read?
I don't know
Do you play any musical instruments?
I tried many, but I suck at them
Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I got kicked out of 3 schools and no one thought I would graduate high school. I found a passion for art when I was 16 and I went on to college where I was on the Dean's list 5 times. I also attended Yale school of design in Switzerland, one of the most best specialized design programs in the world.
Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Most of what I'm thinking, I can't talk about. I went to Ghana to study African drumming and dancing. While there, I went 200 mph on the back of a motorcycle with no helmet on. I had to stick my hand in the engine to keep from sliding off the back while drool ran across my face into my ear. That was really crazy and stupid.
Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I totalled my car. I used the insurance money to travel to Taiwan which led me to where I am now. It has been an awesome experience living in Taiwan and traveling the world.
Who is your idol?
My idol and hero has always been my dad. We are so different, but I love and respect him more than I could ever say.
What would you do if you had a time machine?
I would like to see what the world looks like in 300 years.
Are you an extrovert or introvert?
If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Something to do with speed, get things done faster or go places faster. That ability where I can just go to any place I've been in a second would be fun.
Have any pets?
A long haired hot dog named Ginger. She is super cute but she still pees in the house and she is 7 years old.
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 don't think any game should be destroyed. Someone worked hard to make that game happen. Everyone has different tastes and we all grow and learn from our experiences. I hope an asteroid never hits earth. I love the Earth.
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):
A shout out to all of you. Life is about passion, love and experience. Take advantage of the little time you have here on Earth,
Just a Bit More
Thanks for answering all my crazy questions! Is there anything else you'd like to tell my readers?
If you are a designer and you want to co-design a game with me, don't hesitate to ask. I love designing games.
You Rock! [GJJ Games] Thanks! =)
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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