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.
Kelly North Adams
Interviewed on: 8/26/2016
In the year or so that Kelly North Adams has been designing games she's made quite a splash! A number of her games have been featured prominently in some competitions, including Chibi Quest, which is currently a finalist in Hasbro’s Next Great Family Game Challenge! She active at many game conventions and even made it onto the guest list at Dice Tower Con later this year! Read on to learn more about Kelly and the games she's working on!
Tell me a bit about yourself.
How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Six months to a year.
Why did you start designing tabletop games?
Because I had ideas for games that I wanted to play.
What game or games are you currently working on?
Oh gosh, too many to name!
Have you designed any games that have been published?
I have two games under contract now! One is about to got to print!
What is your day job?
I am a graphic designer / dance instructor
Your Gaming Tastes
My readers would like to know more about you as a gamer.
Where do you prefer to play games?
In my game room or at our local game store, Cool Stuff
Who do you normally game with?
My besties :) Plus random people I find who are interested in gaming.
If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Light game to break the ice, then heavy euro to work the brain, the medium to light games for the rest of the night.
And what snacks would you eat?
I have a snack bowl that gets replenished (often), sometimes i'll bake treats, other times we'll order pizza.
Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
not usually no, people chatting and laughing is the best music ;)
What’s your favorite FLGS?
What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Castles of Burgundy running 3 years strong is my favorite. I'm not a huge fan of Merchants of Venus, but i'll still play it and take pleasure in that my friends are enjoying it ;) LCR - Left Center Right - that game is just nonsense.
What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I rather enjoy worker/tile placements and do not particularly like area control high conflict games.
What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
I've always enjoyed Alhambra but most of my gaming group doesn't.
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
OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
It makes me feel like an awful person, especially when my answer is picked. I generally try to avoid this game.
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. I'm a huge fan of mechanically sound games that have a solid theme. I don't "love" when a game just tacks a theme on. Generally I'll think of something I want to make a game about and then start developing it from there. But there have been times when I've thought of a mechanic first.
Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Years ago I entered the Ticket to Ride Map contest and made the finals. I lost and as a prize they sent me the winners map...(>.<)... I also never got my game back which was kinda a bummer since I spent like 300 hours on it. I also entered Hasbro's Next Great Family Game Challenge and my game is a finalist. There are 5 finalists and the Grand Prize Winner will receive $25,000, a trip for 4 to Hasbro HQ, and the opportunity to work with Hasbro to make their game a reality. The contest goes until February 12th, so if you’d like to vote for my game you can at http://bit.ly/chibiquest
Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Stefan Feld <3
Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
You know, I think I'm just lucky. I've always been a creative person and my brain rewards me with some really interesting ideas.
How do you go about playtesting your games?
I do most of the play-testing myself. Then when I feel it’s ready, i'll introduce it to real people.
Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
For the game design/mechanics, I like to work alone. However, I welcome feedback and improvements from my friends and play-testers always. I usually do some inspiration artwork because I am in graphic design, but prefer a professional artist to make the artwork. I also prefer to work with a publisher, rather than self-publish.
What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Time. There never seems to be enough time in the day to do everything I want to do. This includes working on my ideas.
If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Pokemon. Don't judge.
What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Not everyone will like all your ideas. You have to be okay with throwing out ideas, starting over, reworking elements, or just being okay with that some will like them and some won't. For example, I don't particularly like Twilight Imperium, but lots of people do!
What advice would you like to share about designing games?
You have to be willing to take criticism. If you aren't, game design is probably not for you.
Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have:
Games that will soon be published are: "Veggie Garden" is about to be on sale in March http://www.quicksimplefun.com/product/veggie-garden/ / "Musical Chairs” is under contract / “Swipe Right!” is being looked at by publishers / “Chibi Quest!” is in Hasbro’s Next Great Family Game Challenge
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: A heavy euro i'm working on that is still in Beta.
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: I have a whole book of ideas I need to get into beta and prototyping! Ugh, don't remind me....
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?
Both. Coke. I'm too young for that sh*t.
What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I am a dancer - swing, lindy, balboa, charleston, ballet, jazz and tap! I also love to make costumes, scrapbook, and play video games.
What is something you learned in the last week?
Tug of war used to be an event in the Olympics.
Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Vintage Era music, sci-fi books and period piece movies.
What was the last book you read?
HIs Majesty's Dragon
Do you play any musical instruments?
I've been 'trying' to learn piano, but play? no.
Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
When people find out I design board games, that usually gets a neat reaction.
Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I went to an elephant refuge and spent a week bathing, feeding, riding and hanging out with rescued elephants. It was pretty awesome, i'm not gonna lie.
Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I heard Potato Chips were made by accident... and boy, do I love me some crisps! But personally I have done nothing awesome by accident.
Who is your idol?
An idol is a person that is greatly admired, loved, or revered - that would be my husband.
What would you do if you had a time machine?
Go back to 1930's and dance balboa with all the originals.
Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Extrovert, who also likes alone time.
If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
I guess maybe Storm? Because she can control the weather, so I could make it rain when I'm ready to go to bed. Oh and she can control humidity, which is basically Florida's downfall. So i'd fix that.
Have any pets?
A cat, Mindy. And she's kinda a bitch.
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 - Dancing and the Stefan Feld Collection. Wiped out - whaling and poaching.
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):
Jason! When are you coming over to play pandemic? we need to save the world still this month!
Just a Bit More
Thanks for answering all my crazy questions! Is there anything else you'd like to tell my readers?
I’m on the guest list at Dice Tower Con this year! Come say HI and let's play some 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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