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
Will Lentz is the founder of Gamenomicon, a company dedicated to bringing his game designs to light. He also hosts a podcast called The White Book, about the Game of Thrones card game. He currently has plans to launch at least two games on Kickstarter this year, so keep your eyes open for those. Read on to learn more about Will, Gamenomicon, and the games he's working on!
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?
Well, I had spent a great deal of time playing card games competitively, and had been invited to playtest on occasion. It turns out that if you get that peek behind the curtain and get to see some of the iterative process, that it can frequently spark a drive to be in charge of doing that yourself. And so it was with me.
What game or games are you currently working on?
Currently working on a couple of games with plans to publish next year. One codenamed "Project Throne" at the moment and another with a full title "A Very Important Date."
Plus at least half a dozen others that don't have that firm of a timeline yet.
Have you designed any games that have been published?
Not yet. But planning to in early 2017.
What is your day job?
Appraisal Review Coordinator at a bank.
Your Gaming Tastes
My readers would like to know more about you as a gamer.
Where do you prefer to play games?
At a local store.
Who do you normally game with?
Longtime friends, but at tournaments I love meeting new people.
If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
D&D, Sentinels of the Multiverse, AGOT LCG, LotR LCG
And what snacks would you eat?
Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Not really. We usually talk too much to realize that there was music anyway.
What’s your favorite FLGS?
What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
A Game of Thrones LCG- Favorite, Not sure how to answer the second, and worst - that is hard to pick. Maybe The Game?
What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I love the "cardboard AI" of solo games. It's fascinating. Least favorite is easily dice rolling.
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, RPG Games, Video Games
Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card Games, RPG 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'm generally a theme first kind of guy. Theme is usually what gets someone to pick a game up off the shelf the first time. If you can't get them to do that, the best mechanics in the world won't save you.
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?
Ha, generally in my down time during work, or while jogging, or showering. Any of those times where you can let your mind drift.
How do you go about playtesting your games?
I'll grab some local buddies that have been longtime gaming friends of mine. Just looking to branch out now.
Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I think being part of a team really helps iron things out easier. Plus, excitement is contagious.
What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
I think the biggest challenge is going to be getting the first game out the door. That's a huge inertia hurdle!
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?
Just do it.
What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Play as many other games as you can. Exposing yourself to more ideas only helps your own.
Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Games that will soon be published are: "Project Throne" & A Very Important Date
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: Not until early 2017
I'm planning to crowdfund: "Project Throne" & A Very Important Date in early 2017
Games that I'm playtesting are: "Project Throne" & A Very Important Date in early 2017
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: "Project Empire," Dug, and a few others without names yet.
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: A pair without names yet.
Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
IGA Developer's Lounge
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, Coke, VHS
What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Jogging, reading voraciously
What is something you learned in the last week?
Trademarks are very complicated
Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Rock and alt-rock, Fantasy & Sci-Fi, All sorts!
What was the last book you read?
The Fifth Heart
Do you play any musical instruments?
Who is your idol?
What would you do if you had a time machine?
Are you an extrovert or introvert?
If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
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?
I hope we keep Dominion, and increasingly, I hope we lose Donald Trump.
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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