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: 8/29/2016
Aric Jack is part of the Mozu Productions team, a group of board game enthusiasts and designers that work to promote not only their own game designs, but other awesome games as well. Aric does reviews, convention coverage, game demos, and more. Keep an eye out for some Mozu Productions games, like AXIOM, hopefully coming to a game store near you sometime soon!
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?
Someone told me I couldn't
What game or games are you currently working on?
Several with my design partners at Mozu Productions, multiple medium weight card games, a Steampunk dice drafting worker placement game, a Steampunk asset control game, A sci fi space exploitation game.
Have you designed any games that have been published?
Not yet, got close twice though
What is your day job?
Lab manager for a Defense contractor
Your Gaming Tastes
My readers would like to know more about you as a gamer.
Where do you prefer to play games?
Home, LGS, Conventions
Who do you normally game with?
A few close friends and design partners
If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Abyss, Lanterns the Harvest Festival, DC Deck builder,
And what snacks would you eat?
Chips and dip
Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
70's and 80's rock or 90's grunge
What’s your favorite FLGS?
What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Favorite: Abyss, Least fav: One Night Werewolf, Worst: Puerto Rico
What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Fav, tile placement Least: Social deduction
What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Frag or Lords of Waterdeep
What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures 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?
Both, but normally theme first
Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Entered yes, won, no... Kubla Con, 2002 I think
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?
Random lightning in a bottle moments, brainstorming with design partners or friends
How do you go about playtesting your games?
In house testing first, partners only, then bring in random friends. Then ship to an outside test group/local unpubs
Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Part of a team, co-designers
What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Trying to create something that feels truly original and groundbreaking
If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
It's never enough, the ideas, good and bad, will never stop coming.
What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Read this The Game Inventor's Guidebook by Brian Tinsman
Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: none, I won't touch crowdfunding at this time, we aren't known well enough and I don't want to run a company, I want to design games.
Currently looking for a publisher I have: One, Axiom, Sci-Fantasy trick taker
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: 2, Gears and Gauges, Sector Raid,
Games that I'm playtesting are: 3
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: 2
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: 3
Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
I follow some, but I'm not a member
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, Pepsi, VHS
What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Photography, Mt Biking, binge watching Netflix
Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Grunge, 90's country, 70's rock / Sci Fi / any genre, as long as it's good, which most comedies aren't since the 80's
What was the last book you read?
The Ocean at the end of the lane by Neil Gaiman
Do you play any musical instruments?
Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I'm a HUGE softy when it comes to dogs
Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Got stuck head first in a hole in a cave
Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Lost while walking the foothills of Mt Etna, at night, while it was erupting
Who is your idol?
John Campea, Collider Movie Talk
What would you do if you had a time machine?
Go back and buy a bunch of Alpha and Beta Magic the Gathering boxes and singles and hold them until now.
Are you an extrovert or introvert?
a mix of both, more extrovert though
If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Nightcrawler from the X-Men
Have any pets?
6 dogs, 4 Pugs, 4,8,13,15 a Puggle 7 and a Shepherd lab mix, 4
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?
Survive: Abyss, Lanterns, Axiom Wiped out: Cards Against Humanity
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):
Ben Affleck, "You were the bomb in Phantoms yo!"
Just a Bit More
Thanks for answering all my crazy questions! Is there anything else you'd like to tell my readers?
I'd like to thank my design partners, Jamie Lewis and Mike McGinnis also in Tucson for joining me in this. Also Michael Girard for pushing me to get off my butt and submit 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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