Tuesday, July 18, 2017

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 77: Bryce McNalley

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:Bryce McNalley
Email:info@dicederbi.ca
Location:Alberta, Canada
Day Job:I am a Lieutenant Firefighter / Paramedic for a suburban community outside of Edmonton, AB. Working full time shift work has given me some challenges developing my games, but as a whole I feel it has been advantageous. It is however quite the contrast from career to hobby. One day however my hobby WILL become my career.
Designing:Two to five years.
Webpage:dicederbi.ca
Blog:tumblr.com/dicederbi
Facebook:facebook.com/dicederbi
Twitter:@dicederbi
YouTube:youtube.com/dicederbi
Instagram:@dicederbi
Find my games at:Amazon (Canada) as well as many other online stores. They can also be ordered directly from www.dicederbi.ca . There are not currently any USA dealers...but I will have many of them soon.
Today's Interview is with:

Bryce McNalley
Interviewed on: 6/16/2017

Coming up in my review queue is a fun dexterity game called Dice Derbi by Bryce McNalley. Here's a spoiler: it's not a deep, meaty Euro, but it's a ton of fun! It's great to get non-gamers playing something and great for outdoor play. This is the first game that Bryce has published, but he has a whole line of similar games planned. I'm really looking forward to seeing what Bryce has up next, but read on and you can learn more about Bryce and his projects!

Some Basics
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 began designing tabletop games because I recognized a new play style that I incorporated into my games designs, and have decided to run with it and take it all the way. My passion is enriching people's lives and I find that the games market is a very genuine way to do this.

What game or games are you currently working on?
I am currently working on an entire library of games for my company, %90 of them are top secret (not even my wife knows) but I have concepts and prototypes for many of them. There will be another title released very soon however...

Have you designed any games that have been published?
My original creation called "Dice Derbi" is published and already has sold hundreds of copies, and I look forward to selling many many more to gamers all over the world. My mission is to "Bring FUN and ADVENTURE to game nights across the globe!" and I plan on doing whatever I have to do to achieve it.

What is your day job?
I am a Lieutenant Firefighter / Paramedic for a suburban community outside of Edmonton, AB. Working full time shift work has given me some challenges developing my games, but as a whole I feel it has been advantageous. It is however quite the contrast from career to hobby. One day however my hobby WILL become my career.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
I am a big fan of party games so you will usually find me playing games with friends at a get-together or at home for an intimate gathering. I enjoy playing games outside as well and that is why I have accustomed Dice Derbi to be playable on picnic tables.

Who do you normally game with?
I have a small group of friends that usually game together, and my family is also very into games. Whenever we get together for holidays there are always many games out and being played. Anything from Scrabble to Outburst, Monopoly to Chess, and Dice Derbi to Cranium.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Well obviously we would have to bust out Dice Derbi and have a few rounds of it, I would let people provide some insight into my future titles, and then we would wrap things up with the Drinking Game version of Dice Derbi (soon to be released as a pdf download / add-on to the original game) and we also like Cards Against Humanity.

And what snacks would you eat?
Chips and dips...that is all there needs to be!

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
I am a big music fan so absolutely there has to be ambience and mood. Music is by far the best way to create this. Turn the lights down and turn on some classics or even top 20.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
My go-to store up to recently has been River City Games as they always have a great selection of what I need. However since several stores now carry my game as part of their inventory, I have to honestly say all of them because they are all unique in their own regards and I have developed relationships with the people that work there and run them. That is after all the most important part, the relationships we get to build with each other!

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Aside from my own creation obviously, I would have to say that my favourite game is Slang Teasers. A classic that takes me back to my childhood every time I play it. Very rare these days, but still a classic that deserves to be reborn.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I love group interaction in games. It's a great way to get people involved and create great memories. There are also times when I enjoy a 2 player game of crib or something similar with my wife, but I definitely prefer bigger crowds when playing games, and I think my line of games reflects that.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
It truly is a shame that more people don't play Star Wars Trivial Pursuit...especially against me...I love the movies, I love the game!

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

OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
Yes

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?
When I design my games, first of all I come up with a play style that is similar to all the other titles that I am working on. Afterall, it is the play style that makes my "Derbi" games unique. I usually think of a suitable game or sport that already has been established in the world, and put it into a game style that can be played on tables.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
No I never have entered a competition, but it is something that greatly interests me and something I would jump on for sure if I had the chance. Being that I am still relatively new to the industry, I am still finding out new and exciting ways to get my game in front of people.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
You have to stand in awe of some of the great names in the industry, and for me it goes to Parker Bros or Mattel.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
It's actually pretty funny because whenever I have an idea I always say "uh oh....(and then I grab my head) "my brain is getting stormy!" I get my inspiration from my hobbies and passions. I am an avid outdoorsman and so making games based on those passions that already exist comes like second nature to me.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I do most of it myself and with my immediate family, but I also do have a large group of people who give me input through trials and test-runs. It makes things go much smoother having people I can depend on to help me out (and give me the honest truth and sometimes ridicule/critique ).

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I like to work alone for the most part, however I do rely on artistry from other professionals, because that is definitely NOT my strong part. I design them, let others do the artwork based on my drafts, and then together we make a masterpiece.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
The biggest challenge I think we all face as game designers is coming up with new and exciting ways to get people to play. Board games have been around for a very long time and people usually buy one, play it a couple times, and then quickly stack it with the rest of their games in the storage closet. Well, I am hoping to make a change to that habit.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I think the best way to answer this question is to say that I would be more than flattered to be doing this within ANY IP. I think truly that whoever gets to do this for a living is very fortunate. I think we all grow up wishing to make games for a living in some way, shape, or form.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
I honestly have yet to experience this "sensation" of wanted clairvoyance. I am sure it will happen some day, but in the meantime I have nothing but positive feedback from most people. I guess if I HAD to choose something I would say "Why didn't anyone tell me to do this a long time ago!" I have undergone a lot of personal growth over the past decade and learned a lot about chasing dreams and entrepreneurialism. Needless to say it's been incredibly rewarding.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
TAKE YOUR TIME! Test everything, take no shortcuts, and accept nothing but perfection. Don't rush things to meet deadlines, don't try to cut corners on quality, and never stop dreaming!

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: I currently have one game called "Dice Derbi" that is published and available for sale.
Games that will soon be published are: That's top secret....haha
I'm planning to crowdfund: possibly some titles in the near future...
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: 2
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: 5

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
There are a few boardgame groups that I am a part of on Facebook yes.

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 ALL THE WAY! I want to be seen flying my Millennium Falcon sipping an ice cold Coca Cola Classic, with Empire Strikes Back playing on VHS in the background. I can see the illustration already...haha.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I enjoy fishing (obviously as my game Dice Derbi is based on that) and I also love hunting and camping. I play sports of all kinds including Volleyball, mountain biking, swimming, and much more. I am also very involved with music as a second passion. I play guitar, drums, and also sing and have even written my own music. I mess around with video editing, and I am very big into professional development and helping people achieve their goals and dreams.

What is something you learned in the last week?
I learned what a FLGS is from the previous question...

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
I love the Top 20 type music, classics from the 80's and 90's and generally anything with a catchy tune or beat.

What was the last book you read?
Master Money - by Tony Robbins (A MUST READ!)

Do you play any musical instruments?
As stated above, yes I do. Guitar, drums, vocals, a bit of piano and I even played trumpet in my younger days.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I once hypnotized my sister and made her chase Smurfs around the campfire.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I like to think I have done many crazy things in my lifetime, but one thing that always stands out in my mind is when I was given the "pleasure" of being the first one to test out the new trolly ride in our treehouse. I actually got nominated because I was the youngest and didn't know any better. BUT, none the less I sat on the ride and flew 20 feet in the air across the zip line to the landing platform on the other side. SCARY? Hell yeah! Worth it? UNDOUBTEDLY!

Who is your idol?
I have a couple idols but one of my biggest ones is Leonardo DiCaprio. He's an amazing actor and I just really like his style. Aside from that I also am a big fan of Tony Robbins, Jim John, Nick Sarnicola, Blake Mallen, and my brother Arliss.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Oh wow...what WOULDN'T I do? I would take huge advantage of my knowledge of the future and establish a big chunk of wealth. Make myself famous, and then go retire on a lakefront mansion where I can fish and hunt every day.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
I am very much an extrovert. I like to think of myself as a people-person and very outgoing.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Luke Skywalker ( kind of a controversial superhero, but he's by far the right choice).

Have any pets?
I actually just put down my great dane of almost 8 years, Apollo. He was my best friend his whole life and we had many great times together that have lead to some awesome memories. There are also 3 cats in our family.

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 really hope that dice live on! They offer such a tremendous experience with games. BUT as far as I am concerned we could put all the horses, tomatoes, and tax collectors under that asteroid and let it smack down!

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):
I want to give a big shout out to the person who read this thing through to the end. The person who might be where I was back when I began, thinking to themselves "can I do this?". There is nothing more satisfying that making it on your own terms...GO FOR IT and don't look back!

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

"The only limitations are those you set up in YOUR OWN MIND! There is no such thing as impossible. If you can believe it, you can achieve it!"




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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