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: 8/24/2016
With over ten years of design experience and several well received published games, Diane Sauer is definitely someone to keep an eye on. Her most recent game was just released at this summer's GenCon. Diane is a member of the Indie Game Alliance and the owner of Shoot Again Games. Read on to learn more about Diane and be sure to follow along to find out what her next fun design will be!
Tell me a bit about yourself.
How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Over ten years!
Why did you start designing tabletop games?
It was just a natural next step after playing so many games.
What game or games are you currently working on?
Currently working on Pinball Showdown which is just about done and expected to hit Kickstarter later this year or early next. In it the players are pinballs during multi-ball trying to score the most points and complete the most combos before draining.
Have you designed any games that have been published?
Conspiracy! was just released at GenCon 2016 and I worked on Looting Atlantis. My first game was Legends and Lies.
What is your day job?
I have a business restoring old pinball machines.
Your Gaming Tastes
My readers would like to know more about you as a gamer.
Where do you prefer to play games?
At home though I also enjoy conventions.
Who do you normally game with?
I have a game group that has been meeting weekly since 1982.
If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
It depends on the mood and on the friends. We have a collection of games that is almost 3000 games in size.
Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
We went through a period where we played music during gaming and we found it too distracting for some people.
What’s your favorite FLGS?
Family Fun Hobbies in Hamilton Square, NJ
What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Not counting our games, right now I am really enjoying New Bedford and the Networks. Least favorite I still enjoy is Bang!. Worst I've ever played is tough as there have been a lot of bad games over the last 35 years I've played. Limiting it to current games that others like for some reason I would say Love Letter.
What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I like worker placement games though I've yet to design one. Worst is player elimination.
What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
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, Miniatures Games
OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
Not my cup of tea.
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?
It can work either way, but more often than not I come up with the theme first and decide what mechanic would best work including coming up with new mechanics when possible.
Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
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?
They really can come from anywhere. Something just needs to strike me or make me want to know more about it.
How do you go about playtesting your games?
I'm lucky with my group being such experienced gamers. they are awesome play testers. I also go to a lot of UnPub events and have even run a few myself.
Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I work on all of our games with my husband Nick. We are very good at filling in each others gaps and blind spots.
What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Making the games fun with great replay value.
If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Dawn of the Dead (classic 1978 version of course)
What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Having an excellent playing game is only half the battle.
What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Be very open to changing things in your game even and especially things you are resistant to change.
Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Conspiracy!, Legends and Lies (out of print)
Games that will soon be published are: Pinball Showdown, Born to Serve (with Nick) and Bigfoot vs. Yeti
I'm planning to crowdfund: The above listed
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Pinball Showdown, Born to Serve
Games that I'm playtesting are: Bigfoot vs. Yeti, Conspiracy! expansion called MIB
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Several
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Many
Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Indie Game Alliance
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, Pepsi, Betamax
What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Playing pinball and old arcade games, I love watching documentaries. I have several different collections.
What is something you learned in the last week?
Hitler was spared by a british solider who came across him lying wounded on a WWI battlefield.
Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Classic Rock, Science Fiction and all sorts.
What was the last book you read?
Divinity of Doubt
Do you play any musical instruments?
Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I tried out for Survivor and made it to the in person interview stage.
Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I jumped off a very high bridge with a rope we had attached to the center of it.
Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I missed a movie showing and end up seeing Dawn of the Dead instead. It turned out to be my favorite horror film still to this day.
Who is your idol?
Are you an extrovert or introvert?
I little of both really.
If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Have any pets?
Two dogs Kara and Booner.
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?
Somehow, despite all the odds I hope pinball makes it.
Just a Bit More
Thanks for answering all my crazy questions! Is there anything else you'd like to tell my readers?
I often think very meta when i design games. Sometimes, there are even games within games.
Thank you for reading this People Behind the Meeples indie game designer interview! You can find all the interviews here: People Behind the Meeples and if you'd like to be featured yourself, you can fill out the questionnaire here: http://gjjgames.blogspot.com/p/game-designer-interview-questionnaire.html
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