Thursday, December 29, 2016

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 36: Matthias Bonnici

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:Matthias Bonnici
Location:Newark, NJ
Day Job:Product and Packaging Designer
Designing:Five to ten years.
Facebook:Lost Cog
Find my games, currently Rampaging Jotunn is in pre-order
Today's Interview is with:

Matthias Bonnici
Interviewed on: 8/25/2016

Earlier this year Matthias Bonnici made a splash with his Kickstarter success, Raging Jotunn. But he's not just a game designer. Matthias also has a number of published games that he's done graphic design for, and he's also an author and publisher. Rampaging Jotunn is his company, Lost Cog's first published game, and I look forward to seeing what other awesome games they release in the future. Read on to learn more about Matthias.

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Five to ten years.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
It was by accident, a friend needed help with a design and it kinda stuck.

What game or games are you currently working on?
The Jurassic Arms Race, The Zero Day War & Cobalt

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Rampaging Jotunn was just funded through Kickstarter and is in Production

What is your day job?
Product and Packaging Designer

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
My house, friends houses

Who do you normally game with?
My wife, other game designers

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Sushi Go Party (Wife's favorite), X-Wing, Völuspá, 7-Wonders, Cosmic Encounters

And what snacks would you eat?
Cheese Doodles, Pop Rocks, Swedish Fish

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Probably a score to a game or movie

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Men at Arms Hobbies in Selden NY

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
My Favorite is Space Hulk, been playing that for 20 years

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Both are the same thing, Drafting, it could be fun or it could damn you for an entire game.

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, Miniatures 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?
I used to, but not really anymore

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?
Theme First

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I have entered Rampaging Jotunn and Dragon Chess into the Kublacon Competition, RJ placed 5th, Dragon Chess placed 3rd

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
I dunno, I know a lot of designers and I can't pick one, they are all awesome.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
In the shower or on the subway, always someplace where I don't have a notebook handy.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I abuse my friends and go to a lot of conventions.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I am a co-designer on two games but I think I may go it alone for a bit.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Creating a game is a war of attrition, and bringing it to market is worse. A game surviving through the entire process is the biggest challenge.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
The Thing, Escape from New York or The Last Starfighter

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Be confident, be humble, take criticism gracefully and insight with thanks.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Always have a Plan B.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Rampaging Jotunn
I'm planning to crowdfund: Rampaging Jotunn: The Winter War Expansion
Games that I'm playtesting are: The Jurassic Arms Race
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: The Zero Day War

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
The IGA, Envoy, Kickstand, Tabletop Game Kickstarter Advice, DFW Nerd Night, Board Game Geek, Kickstarter Board Games, Board Game Revolution, Board Game Reviewer... etc... etc...

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, Mountain Dew, Blu-Ray

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Writing, Video Games, Reading and cooking

What is something you learned in the last week?
I learned how to wire money out of the country

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Industrial Music, Dune, Blade Runner

What was the last book you read?
The Battlestar Galactica Vault

Do you play any musical instruments?

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I often like absolute quiet in a near pitch black room, it's calming.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I stood toe to toe against Harlan Ellison in a verbal argument and won

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I accidentally signed up for a design with the macintosh class in college, that was 20 years ago, I am now a veteran graphic designer.

Who is your idol?
I don't know, there are many people I look up to that are both historical and fictional but no one person stands out.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Go far ahead and see where the human race went.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?

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

Have any pets?
Yep one fine Kitty

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?
Art and games have been a part of mankind since before language. What I hope survives is reading and the will to succeed.

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):
Folks know who they are and know I appreciate them.

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

If you read this far, the gold is in that mine in that place in Arizona.

I like tacos.

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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