Thursday, December 22, 2016

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 34: Daniel Rojas Arboleda

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 and fill out the questionnaire! You can find all the interviews here: People Behind the Meeples.

Name:Daniel Rojas Arboleda
Day Job:I´m a journalist and a writer.
Designing:Less than six months.
YouTube:Board Gamers del Sur
Find my games at:Don't know yet.
Today's Interview is with:

Daniel Rojas Arboleda
Interviewed on: 8/24/2016

Daniel Rojas Arboleda is a game designer from Colombia that is spearheading several South American board game ventures. He has started both a Facebook group and YouTube channel called Board Gamers del Sur for those board gamers to the South. He's relatively new to game design, but I look forward to seeing what he creates in the future! Read on to learn more about Daniel.

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?
I started as a player but then I realised, as a writer, that many of my ideas could be turned into games.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Destination: Ithaca, a secret action and bluffing board game, and Garage Kings, and eurofiller card game.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Not yet. Pretty soon, I'm sure.

What is your day job?
I´m a journalist and a writer.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At home.

Who do you normally game with?
I created a Facebook group (Boardgamers del Sur) and I have a group of people, members of BGS, I usually play with.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
I like to start with fillers, like Avalon or Codenames, then go for Ticket to Ride, San Juan or Survive: Escape from Atlantis. Then I like to play some euro style games or something like Blood Rage.

And what snacks would you eat?
Potato chips, sandwiches or pizza.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Sometimes we play some rock or jazz music while playing.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
There's an LGS called Draco Hobbys I like to play in.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
I'm enjoying Blood Rage and San Juan too much. I enjoy Zombicide, though is not my favorite. I didn't like Forbidden Desert

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I really enjoy card drafting and movement programming. Auction and bidding allows a lot of player interaction, and I like that. My least favorite mechanic is line drawing, and, if there's a clever way to replace dice rolling is a winner to me.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
I haven't been able to get Dead of Winter to the table, and I'm dying to play it!

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 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?
I usually come up with the theme first and then I start to dream about mechanics and components.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I'm currently participating in Prototipia, an spanish contest.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
The Bruno twins (Cathala and Faidutti), hehehe. They're like magicians to me. And Eric "Midas" Lang is definitely getting my attention.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
I got my office at home, and is a place in which every corner has been arranged to be creativity-booster. There's where my ideas tend to land into my brain.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Friends, family and local stores.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
My wife is always taking part of my projects, then, I like to involve other people, according to what they do best.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Testing is always where you must be paying attention. Not every gamer is a good tester. You need to find people willing to give you valuable feedback.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I would like to do something with the Need for Speed flavor on it.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
How fun and stimulating it is.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
You need to have a lot of time at your disposal, and be ready to put a lot of effort into it.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Garage Kings
Games that I'm playtesting are: Garage Kings.
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: , Destination: Ithaca.

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Card and Board Game Developers Guild; Tabletop Game Publisher's Guild; Boardgame Geek.

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?
Lord of The Rings, milk and BlueRay

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?

What is something you learned in the last week?
There's a lot of people around the world you can exchange ideas and work with.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
I really like heavy metal and rock; short stories and short novels, and drama.

What was the last book you read?
El coronel no tiene quien le escriba, written by Gabriel García Márquez.

Do you play any musical instruments?

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
Actually, my closest friends are quite surprised with me designing board games.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Actually following my dreams has been always perceived as craziness by my family.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I had a fight with my father and he threw me out of his house. I realized how good that was for my self development after the years went by.

Who is your idol?
My idols are Eddie Vedder and J.R.R Tolkien. I admire their creativity and the power behind their work.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Go back in time to avoid Álvaro Uribe Velez parents from knowing each other.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
I have to go with Wolverine.

Have any pets?

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?
Reading and playing any kind of game would be good for humanity. Fanaticism is definitely something to take out of the equation.

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):
Play more games people! Turn the world into a huge playground!

Thanks for answering all my crazy questions!

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:

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