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: 8/25/2016
Daniel Dulek is another local Chicagoland game designer. He designs science based games that he can use in his high school Chemistry classroom. Fun fact, my wife used to be a high school Chemistry teacher, too! If you love games and love science, be sure to check out some of Daniel's games. And read on to learn more about Daniel.
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?
A started because I wanted to see if I could create board/card games I could use in my classroom. I teach high school chemistry and I love to play games. I thought I would try to create something that was educational and fun at the same time.
What game or games are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on Atom Dice. It's a dice version of Molecules a card game I funded on Kickstarter last year.
Have you designed any games that have been published?
Yes, Chemistry: An Atom Building Game, Meltdown: A Cooperative Chemistry Game and Molecules.
What is your day job?
High School Chemistry Teacher
Your Gaming Tastes
My readers would like to know more about you as a gamer.
Where do you prefer to play games?
At home, at schools or at the local game shop
Who do you normally game with?
Family, friends, students
If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Just about anything! Currently, Dominion, X-wing, Blood Rage, Pandemic, Legendary, and many others!
And what snacks would you eat?
Depends on who I play with. Family/Students: chips and pop. Friends: beers and chips
Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
What’s your favorite FLGS?
Wandering Dragon, Grapple Games, Amazing Fantasy
What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Favorites: X-wing or Blood Rage Least: Sorry or any traditional game my kids want to play. Worst: Exploding Kittens
What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
War of the Rings
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
OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
Depends on the group!
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?
Mechanic and the theme!
Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Eric Lang, Donald Vaccarino, Matt Leacock
Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
While playing or teaching
How do you go about playtesting your games?
Family and friends first and then students
Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Alone. I design and create all aspects of my games, including the artwork.
What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Time. I never have enough time to work on my game designs.
If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Indiana Jones has much potential!
What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Give it a try. I remember as a little kid coming up with games with components from my uncle’s games that were beyond my abilities at the time. I wish someone would have encouraged me to give it a try when I was younger.
What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Don't set out to create the next big game! Just create something that is interesting and fun to you.
Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Chemistry: An Atom Building Game, Meltdown: A Cooperative Chemistry Game and Molecules
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Atom Dice
Games that I'm playtesting are: Ion Dice, Chemistry Slam
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Western Game, Chemistry Smasher
Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, 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, Coke, VHS
What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Woodworking, Miniature Painting,
What is something you learned in the last week?
Saltwater pools generate chlorine just like regular pools.
Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Music: Classic Rock, Punk, Alternative, Classical Books: Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Thriller Movies: All types except musicals and romantic comedies.
What was the last book you read?
American Gods-Neil Gaiman
Do you play any musical instruments?
Who is your idol?
What would you do if you had a time machine?
Go back and live during the 1930 or 1940s.
Are you an extrovert or introvert?
If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Have any pets?
A dog and two cats
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?
Dominion and X-wing. Musicals!
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):
Hey President Obama!
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: http://gjjgames.blogspot.com/p/game-designer-interview-questionnaire.html
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