Tuesday, May 23, 2017

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 71: Alex Wynnter

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.

Name:Alex Wynnter 2
Day Job:I am a graphic designer, teacher and stay at home dad.
Designing:Five to ten years.
Facebook:Red Genie Games/
Find my games at:https://drive.google.com/open?id=0ByAILiQMhYbRfjh3ejNHUVktbFVvcXBSYmlNdTBXSmlKSFdqMlJaRy1paWtJZUV3ZnJDbTg
Today's Interview is with:

Alex Wynnter
Interviewed on: 5/20/2017

Alex Wynnter is a game designer from Australia who has one published game already, and a few more on the way. Next to hit Kickstarter will be Brigade, which I just received a prototype copy of a few weeks ago. So keep your eye out for a review of that one coming soon. If you'd like to learn more about Alex and the projects he's working on, read on!

Some Basics
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?
It was a sort of natural progression for me, I enjoy doing lots of personal projects and I am a graphic designer. When you see bad design work you always think of ways it could be improved, and I guess seeing some games and bad design work makes you want to improve them.

What game or games are you currently working on?
The Brigade is a game we are releasing on kickstarter in August. This is the main one that is about competing fire wardens trying to save a town in order to become the head honcho.

I have recently signed over a drafting game about scenery to a publisher which is exciting.

I am also producing a game called Velvet for the TGDA, to be sold in showbags at this years PAXAUS.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
I have, it was a long time ago, and it was self published. I am proud of the artwork, but like all things in the past, you think you could have done so much better things with it now.

What is your day job?
I am a graphic designer, teacher and stay at home dad.

Your Gaming Tastes
My readers would like to know more about you as a gamer.

Where do you prefer to play games?
I love playing games with my friends, at their house or mine. We have a regular fortnightly thing and I run a monthly event at the local library.

Who do you normally game with?
I enjoy gaming with my friends, they also love games I am inventing. I also play with my father and wife every couple of weeks.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
We have a great selection between us all. Recently we have been playing a fair amount of Scythe and Abyss. We also love classics like Viticulture and Neuroshima Hex.

And what snacks would you eat?
Some of them love baking and actually bring some pretty good food. I am looking forward to a blueberry pie next games night hahaha.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
We do usually have music playing, but it varies greatly. We have digital radio and there are so many stations. One of the main ones is Buddha Radio, otherwise we bluetooth hard rock or metal.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
We have quite a few in Melbourne, NLG Preston, NLG Ringwood, GoodGames Box Hill and Games Laboratory in the city.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Currently I love Blood Bowl Team Manager, our group loves it so much we made a league where we play 10 games and retain decks with special house rules. I was lucky enough to chat to Jay Little about this.

Splendor is probably the least favorite that I still enjoy. I play a few gateway games with my wife as she isn't as into the more complicated games.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I love a good worker placement mechanic. I also love drafting - now - how to combine the two?

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Agricola is something I love but my regular gaming friends are not big fans... It does have a hard theme to convince people to enjoy.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures 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?
It all depends on the game, but I think I come up with an experience I want players to be able to achieve first, then think of a theme that matches that, then mesh the mechanics into it. It's prob not the best way to go about it, but for me that works.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I have entered only a few, but one I did win was a small competitive Game jam. We had some cool themes to work with and created a pretty awesome roll and move game, that was a good combination of bluff and push your luck.

It was an asymmetrical game, where one side (the monster) wanted to eat the child in the bed, the other side - the child wanted to prove to their parents the monster existed and to chase it away.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Bruno Cathala is probably my favorite, but Antoine Bauza is a very close second.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
I get a lot of inspiration from the ideas in books. I don’t copy the books, but something will start to make me think and broaden as I think about it more. I spend a lot of time thinking when I take the dog out for a walk.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
We have a local testing group in Melbourne that I go to regularly, but there are several here. In the TGDA we are trying to work out a national playtesting circuit as well.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I like working as part of a team, I think working solo there are several times you need to be reeled back, or have mistakes pointed out, or things that are just not realistic or bad.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I have thought about this a few times, and my top few answers would be Asterix, Dinotopia and Dune.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Keep prototypes simple and ugly, little effort in display, otherwise people cannot focus on the actual gameplay or mechanics and have more trouble getting you to change things.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Do it! Just put pen to paper and 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: NinjitZoo
Games that will soon be published are: (working name) Dusk
(working name) Pass the Buck
(working name) Golden Idol

Currently looking for a publisher I have: Planitects
I'm planning to crowdfund: The Brigade
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Asphyxia

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
TGDA is the main one, and several board game related groups around the world.

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?
All of the above. Except VHS, I never had betamax.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Team sports, designing, illustration.

What is something you learned in the last week?
Microbes have their own protein engines that are way more efficient than anything humans have made!

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Alternative music, scifi/fantasy books, good movies :)

What was the last book you read?
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

Do you play any musical instruments?
If I had money for how NOT musically talented I am, I would be a millionaire...

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I got nothing...

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Had a baby, it's a rollercoaster!

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I got nothing

Who is your idol?
Robin Hobb is an amazing writer, and Kev Walker, RK Post are both amazing artists

What would you do if you had a time machine?
The future awaits!

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Depends on the situation.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
The most powerful one.

Have any pets?
A great dog called Panda

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?
Board games of course to survive. No idea what should be crushed.

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):
Ben Hoban - Co-Creator of The Brigade

Just a Bit More
Thanks for answering all my crazy questions! Is there anything else you'd like to tell my readers?

Please check out our Kickstarter in August, The Brigade is a fantastic game, and I hope you get to see it on your table soon.

An octopus is my favorite animal hahaha.

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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1 comment:

  1. Nice write up... we should try Agricola sometime... I'd be happy to try it... :) Nice picture of you too! LOL