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: 2/3/2017
Eduardo Baraf is a multi-talented designer. Not only has he designed a number of great games, including GemPacked Cards (GJJ Games reviewed), Herbaceous (GJJ Games review coming soon), The Siblings Trouble, Lift Off Get Me Off This Planet, and more, but he's also a publisher (Pencil First Games), board game reviewer (Edo's Game Reviews), and contributor to the League of Gamemakers. He's been an inspiration to me in my journey through game reviewing and game design, and has the honor of hosting my only video review (for Rise!), which I did as a guest review on his channel shortly after I started reviewing games. Read on to learn more about Edo and the myriad projects he's working on.
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?
My first tabletop gig was designing Murder of Crows with Thomas Denmark.
What game or games are you currently working on?
Various: Unkindness of Ravens, Fantastic Creatures, Time Empire, Heroes Welcome, etc...
Have you designed any games that have been published?
Murder of Crows. All my other games are published by my company - Pencil First Games.
What is your day job?
VP Product at zSpace, Inc.
Your Gaming Tastes
My readers would like to know more about you as a gamer.
Where do you prefer to play games?
Anywhere with friends or family.
Who do you normally game with?
Family, Seth Johnson, Various friends at Game Kastle or Cons.
If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Always something new.
And what snacks would you eat?
Anything and everything!
Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
No, not really. Don't mind, but generally don't.
What’s your favorite FLGS?
Game Kastle in Mountain View, CA. Gamescape in Marin, CA.
What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
I love games hard to call out bests. Fortune and Glory was one of my worst game experiences.
What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I love dice drafting. None that I really dislike.
What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
I'm trying to find a Pandemic Legacy group...
What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures Games, RPG Games, Video Games, Other Games.
Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card Games, Video 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?
Each game is different. I've done all of the above.
Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Yes. I was in Tabletop Deathmatch and PAX Indie Showcase
Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
The Bs. Bruno F., Bruno C., and Antoine B.
Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
All sorts of places.
How do you go about playtesting your games?
Friends, Family, Cons.
Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Most designers are better than me.
If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Zelda or Metroid
What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Some games are better than others.
What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Just do it!
Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Murder of Crows, Lift Off! Get me off this Planet!, GemPacked Cards, The Siblings Trouble, Heroes and Tricks, Herbaceous
Games that will soon be published are: Herbaceous is getting international publishing.
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Heroes Welcome potentially.
I'm planning to crowdfund: Unkindness of Ravens, Time Empire, Fantastic Creatures
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Fantastic Creatures, Unkindness of Ravens, Heroes Welcome
Games that I'm playtesting are: Time Empire
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Giants vs Meeples
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Tons, man.
Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
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, Coke, Laserdisk
What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
What is something you learned in the last week?
Strange things happen when you review games...
Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
All, all, all.
What was the last book you read?
Do you play any musical instruments?
Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I was a Japanese Studies Major
Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Can't think of one...
Who is your idol?
Don't really have ideals, but love Miyamoto
What would you do if you had a time machine?
Take some time to sleep.
Are you an extrovert or introvert?
If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Superman covers most of it, no?
Have any pets?
1 Cat - Helen.
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?
Let's see what happens in the next 4 years...
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):
Thanks, George! [GJJ Games] No, Thank you Ed! You’ve been an inspiration to me in my ventures!
Just a Bit More
Thanks for answering all my crazy questions! Is there anything else you'd like to tell my readers?
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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