Tuesday, August 15, 2017

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 82: Jeremiah Fred

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. Support me on Patreon!

Name:Jeremiah Fred
Location:Ohio, USA
Day Job:I work at a help desk for a small tech company. I do enjoy that world but I have found a real passion in game design.
Designing:Two to five years.
Facebook:Savage Games LLC
YouTube:Savage Games
Find my games at:Eventually you will see at least Dungeon Brew on The Game Crafter.
Today's Interview is with:

Jeremiah Fred
Interviewed on: 8/5/2017

Today's interview is with a newer designer on the scene. Jeremiah has been designing games for just a few years, but currently has a Kickstarter running for his first game design, Dungeon Brew. Be sure to read on to learn more about Jeremiah and if you see him at GenCon this week maybe you'll get a chance to play Dungeon Brew.

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 would guess like many others, because I love playing them. With that in mind I started making them because I had an idea I thought others would enjoy. From there it just kind of snowballed and the ideas started flowing.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Dungeon Brew is my first game. About 80% complete. It at its core is a resource management card game. I am also working on two others. Castle Erect, which is easy to compare to Lords of Waterdeep but building a castle, and Rocket Puppy Pack. Another card game where you try to get your puppy to the moon while fending off the cats.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Not yet, Dungeon Brew should be published and on sale by next year.

What is your day job?
I work at a help desk for a small tech company. I do enjoy that world but I have found a real passion in game design.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
There is a local hobby gaming store that really creates a great atmosphere called Fantastic Games. But truly, at a friends table with chips and soda.

Who do you normally game with?
My wife and roommate along with some of my closest friends.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
That is a really hard question. A solid go to for me is Legendary. Though I could always enjoy a game of Crossfire. Or heck even my own game, even if I have only won once.

And what snacks would you eat?
Chips, cannot go wrong with that. Plus pizza or sandwiches.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Only if it's a low volume. The genre really depends on the game being played. If it's something like DnD then epic orchestrated music. Boardgames, more some manner or rock or metal.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Fantastic Games in Columbiana Ohio. The owner is a great guy and there is a fantastic play space for any game you can imagine.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
My favorite game would probably be Lords of Waterdeep. It's really never the same game twice. Cards Against Humanity is fun, but I can put it away in favor of another one pretty easily. Worst game, I can't really speak to this.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I love the idea of resources and building things. Power Grid for example. As far as least favorite. I am not a fan of games without turns.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Scythe I think. I have played a small amount. I loved what I got to try. Sadly just never seem to have the time.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures Games, RPG Games, Video Games

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card Games, RPG 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 has varied, for Dungeon Brew the base mechanic came first and got built on from there. For Castle Erect honestly the idea of building came first. Then the name came up. After that I made a basic idea and played with it.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
No, but if I find one I will.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Andy Looney from Looney Labs. I got to go to a panel he had at Cleveland Concoction a couple of years ago. Really got to pick his brain on what he had done, what he was working on and just how he works. It was really inspiring.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Getting out of the shower seems to always be a moment of clarity and inspiration for some reason.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
The very first step is simply having a few key people play it. Once I feel I have is solid I take it to a local game shop or two and see if others can break it or if it's actually any fun.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I suppose I prefer to work alone for initial stages. I am not silly to think I can do it all of course. Having the ideas and opinions of others has helped greatly with Castle Erect.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Getting my game into the eyes of gamers really. Generating a following is hard to do.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I would love the Overwatch IP from Blizzard. Not sure what I would do with it right off. But the universe they have created is very vibrant.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
It's hard to get people to notice you.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Have no shame in promoting yourself.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: I don't have any published yet.
Games that will soon be published are: Dungeon Brew is nearing its point of readiness.
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: I have Dungeon Brew up on Kickstarter right now.
Currently looking for a publisher I have: I am looking around online mostly for a publisher.
I'm planning to crowdfund: Eventually Castle Erect will probably hit Kickstarter. Along with another gaming accessory I am developing.
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: At the end of designing Dungeon Brew really it came down to a few small number changes.
Games that I'm playtesting are: This point I thought was the most fun for me. To see random people play and have a good time is really gratifying.
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: At first I thought this was going to be the hard part. I was really lucky to see Dungeon Brew work right out of the gate. Before I had done some research it said that game development could take years.
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: This I thought has been the quickest point for me. Putting together the mechanics needed along with working them with the theme just seemed to mesh.

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Board Game Revolution Group on Facebook.

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 Trek, I love the focus on the science. Of course I’ll happily enjoy me some Wars. Pepsi, anyone who knows me knows it’s Pepsi. I never owned a Betamax, so really by default I would have to go VHS.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I enjoy video games online and off. Then of course getting out, disk golf would be my sport of choice.

What is something you learned in the last week?
A big lesson has been what to do to get my name out there. Thus being here filling out this survey.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Metal probably, I love Octane on XM radio. My favorite book is Ender’s Game followed by Ready Player One. Movie wise, Tron:Legacy, I love the feel of the whole thing.

What was the last book you read?
iVillan, loved that book, I have the next two on order. It’s a great series.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I picked up the guitar back in high school. I saw a lot of my friends who could play and asked my dad to teach me.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I grew up in California, right on the coast. I don't like mexican food and cannot surf.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
The day before my wedding my best man’s mother sent both him and I skydiving.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I honestly don't know. It's hard to look at life and see accident. Master Oogay said it best. There are no accidents.

Who is your idol?
Patrick Stewart, good man good roles and a great outlook.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
A lot of cliche things. I would do the whole Back to the Future thing and give myself insider info on the stock market.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
I am probably an extrovert. I have never had trouble being friendly.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Batman, I mean come on. But a VERY close second The Shadow. Not as skilled as Batman but he has the mental powers which are awesome.

Have any pets?
We have four cats and a dog. The dog is a tiny beagle. She was the runt of her litter which is funny because she is not the biggest animal we have.

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 would hate to see Role playing games disappear. Would be okay to see a lot of weapons of mass destruction go away.

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):
Hey Dad! I know he will never see this. But I still wanted to say hey.

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

I will be at GenCon not as a presenter but next year I hope to be.

I hope your blog has continued success. [GJJ Games] Thanks!

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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