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.
Pedro P Mendoza
Interviewed on: 8/29/2016
Pedro P Mendoza is a game designer from a pretty robust game design community around the Orlando, Florida area. He's been designing games for a few years now and is about to have his very first game published. Congratulations! Keep an eye out for Bushido from Grey Fox Games coming out sometime this year. And read on to learn more about Pedro and the other 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?
I designed my first and only game in 2012. In 2015 I began working on multiple designs.
What game or games are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on a 6-player wild west game, a small push-your-luck card game, and a game based on the pop music industry.
Have you designed any games that have been published?
I have two games under contract, one that should be published before the end of 2017.
What is your day job?
I work as a freelance music producer. I compose and produce music for different mediums. I also work part-time with a bank in my community.
Your Gaming Tastes
My readers would like to know more about you as a gamer.
Where do you prefer to play games?
I prefer playing games in a house, mostly. I like the atmosphere and feeling relaxed. I don't shy away from playing at meet-ups in different commercial locations.
Who do you normally game with?
I game with a Monday night play group that shares my odd schedule as well as some friends I get together with on Wednesday evenings. I also game with other game designer friends when the opportunity allows about 1 or 2 days a month.
If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Specifically, medium to heavy weight games. Lords of Vegas and Evolution are commonplace. I do enjoy the occasional battle game like Cyclades or X-Wing.
And what snacks would you eat?
Kettle corn popcorn and bottled water...BOTTLED!!
Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
I tend to have music playing when I can. Any kind of music that sets the mood. For the most part it's cinematic scores from all the action and sci-fi movies I enjoy.
What’s your favorite FLGS?
Coolstuff Games is my local store. Not only do they have a strong online presence, their brick and mortar are designed very nicely and are very inviting.
What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
My favorite game currently is Twilight Imperium 3rd edition. Least favorite that I still enjoy is Power Grid. Worst game I've ever played was Phase 10, if you can even call that a game.
What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
My favorite game mechanic is hand/card management. Least favorite, action selection (not necessarily worker placement)
What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
A game that I like that I can't get to the table is Core Worlds.
What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card 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?
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?
It's 98% theme first when I design. My goal is to use mechanics to create the experiences I want my theme to evoke.
Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I have not entered any game design competitions.
Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Right now Eric Lang is the game designer that I get blown away with.
Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Most of my ideas come from the point of view of wanting to create interesting experiences for the players through emulating interesting worlds, both real and fantastical. Other ideas are game design exercises that sometimes a neat concept springs forth from.
How do you go about playtesting your games?
I play test on my own until I feel I have a playable systems. Then I play test with my Monday night groups at the end of the evenings. I also play test with member of the SUP Guild which is the game designer group that I meet with occasionally.
Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I have done designing on my own, but I wouldn’t pass up the opportunity to work with a team.
What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
My biggest challenge now is that my current game to be published is also my first design. I have been in the hobby for over a decade and I’ve studied much about game design and development more out of curiosity but never really produced anything, so I feel I lack experience. Game design is like composing music. You can study and know a lot about music, but unless you write, you cannot improve your craft. I expected my first design to be mediocre and instead was received well. Living up to this bar I’ve set for myself is taxing at times.
If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Star Wars. I love Star Wars
What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Follow your instincts. I was told I have a knack for designing games and that I should trust my intuition more when it comes to creating systems in games.
What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Games are like music. You can create all the songs you like in your house and write great lyrics and even create something beautiful, but it means nothing unless other people listen to your work. Creating games is a great hobby, and I would guess to venture that the majority of people in the hobby dabble in a lot of game design. However, to truly get the most out of your creations share it with others. Some will like it, others will appreciate it. In the end, it helps you become a better creator and brings enjoyment to peoples lives.
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: Bushido with Grey Fox Games
Currently looking for a publisher I have: current title: The Dry Gulch Gang
Games that I'm playtesting are: The Dry Gulch Gang; Repair Guy card game
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Pop Music game; Civ-like/Crafting game
Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
SUP Guild in Florida
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?
disc golfing and cooking
What is something you learned in the last week?
That a nun's outfit is called a habit. That makes the Sister Act sequel make so much more sense.
Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Orchestral and progressive metal. Fantasy fiction and sci-fi books. Sci-fi and adventure movies.
What was the last book you read?
A Dance of Dragons: AGOT
Do you play any musical instruments?
Yes, all of the rhythm section in a typical band. Guitars, keys, drums, bass, etc.
Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
The fact that I'm a game designer, that's actually the surprising thing with the majority of people I know
Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
A group of my buddies decided on a whim at 6:00pm to take the Man vs. Food eating tour of Florida, all in 12 hrs.
Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I was almost in an accident when I took a sharp right turn too fast. Instead of going off the road I actually drifted the car on the turn as if I've been doing car stunts my whole life.
Who is your idol?
What would you do if you had a time machine?
Destroy it. You don't mess with space-time continuum
Are you an extrovert or introvert?
If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Batman, because being rich is the best superpower any hero can have
Have any pets?
2 cats too many
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'm pretty sure freeze tag isn't going anywhere. As for under the asteroid, let's hope Monopoly is under there.
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):
Shout out to the Hungry Cliff crew, Monday Night gamers, SUP Guild crew, and of course, my wife Amanda
Just a Bit More
Thanks for answering all my crazy questions! Is there anything else you'd like to tell my readers?
My most recent project was creating music and sound design for the London Dread board game companion app. If anyone would like to hear my work or would like me to create music/sound design for you (especially game related), send me a message!
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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