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 or in the index.
Interviewed on: 1/28/2017
Christopher Chung is the designer of a little game you may have heard of called Lanterns: The Harvest Festival. This was his first published game and it made quite a splash, being picked up by a few different publishers, earning the 2015 Mensa Select Winner and other awards, and even being featured on the popular Tabletop web series hosted by Wil Wheaton. That's pretty exciting for a first published game design! Read on if you want to learn more about Christopher 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?
Dream I had, literally
What game or games are you currently working on?
Shiengxiao, an abstract game based on the Chinese Zodiac
Have you designed any games that have been published?
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival
What is your day job?
Looking for one
Your Gaming Tastes
My readers would like to know more about you as a gamer.
Where do you prefer to play games?
Snakes & Lattes, friends' houses
Who do you normally game with?
Other game designers, other gamers, sometimes family
If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Would love to finally play Imperial Settlers or Puerto Rico
And what snacks would you eat?
Mini-sandwiches and sliders
Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Usually don't but would put on piano music
What’s your favorite FLGS?
BoardGameBliss & 401 Games
What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Parade / Eminent Domain / In the Year of the Dragon
What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Tile Placement / Rondels
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, Video Games
Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures 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 tend to look at experience first, I'm not picky about starting with either.
Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
My local Board game jam :D
Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Reiner Knizia, Michael Schacht
Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Anywhere and everywhere. I just think what would I like to play and go from there.
How do you go about playtesting your games?
At a few local events like Snakes' designers' night or friends' houses
Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I work well either way, I like working alone mostly but will team up when I know there's an opportunity there.
What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Getting to conventions to pitch games.
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?
How many hours you'll need to sacrifice to get where you want to be.
What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Always be playtesting.
Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Lanterns: The Harvest Festival
Games that will soon be published are: Cannot disclose
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Shiengxiao, Flow
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Shiengxiao
Games that I'm playtesting are: Trick Play, Council of Exile
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Orchards, Weapon Shop Wars, Bad Cats, The Tallest Restaurant in the World
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Draw my Dungeon!
Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Card and Board Game Developers Guild
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?
Neither, Coke Life, VHS
What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Video games, listening to music, reading when I can
What is something you learned in the last week?
Anything can happen.
Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Piano music, post-rock, underground hip-hop / The Long Walk / Inception, The Breakfast Club
What was the last book you read?
Do you play any musical instruments?
Used to play clarinet, trombone
Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I've been a dragonboat paddler for 7 years
Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I tend to not do crazy
What would you do if you had a time machine?
Go back a few years to slap myself for falling in love
Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Have any pets?
I live with 2 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?
I hope Lanterns does (lol) / country music
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
Did you like this interview? Show your support by clicking the heart at Board Game Links , liking GJJ Games on Facebook , or following on Twitter . And be sure to check out my games on Tabletop Generation.