Tuesday, September 5, 2017

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 85: Marshall Britt

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:Marshall Britt
Location:Rhode Island
Day Job:I am a game publisher full time.
Designing:Two to five years.
BGG:Yanaguana Games
Facebook:Yanaguana Games/
YouTube:Yanaguana Games
Find my games at:Our website, Stir Fry Eighteen is also available online at Board Game Arena for free. Re-Chord Kickstarter will offer worldwide shipping, and Stir Fry can be added making it available outside the US for the first time.
Today's Interview is with:

Marshall Britt
Interviewed on: 8/1/2017

Today's interview is with part of the Yanaguana Games team, who brought you Stir Fry Eighteen (an 18 card game, and those that know me know I love 18 card games) and Shipload o' Gold. His latest game has won some awards and will be on Kickstarter this month. Keep an eye out for Re-Chord, a game about playing the guitar that uses actual guitar picks as components! It looks pretty cool!

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 love games and being creative, after years of office work, I decided to start designing and publishing games.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Re-Chord (Kickstarter launches Sept. 2017) and three new projects without final names yet.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Shipload O' Gold and our hit game Stir Fry Eighteen

What is your day job?
I am a game publisher full time.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
The Board Room in RI

Who do you normally game with?
A large group of members from the Board Room, as well as friends worldwide on Tabletop simulator.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
I'd ask the friends, but left up to me I'd choose a big game like Great Western Trail.

And what snacks would you eat?
Pizza, beer, and anything grubhub delivers!

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Usually no because the game space we play in is fairly loud just from gaming.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
The Dragon's Lair in San Antonio, TX and Newington Tabletop Shop in CT.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Current favorite may be Ethnos but I rarely label a favorite. Least favorite that I still enjoy is probably Dominion.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
My favorite mechanic is probably Deck building, my least favorite is Math heavy mechanics used for scoring. I hate playing spreadsheets if that makes sense.

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, Miniatures 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?
Not anymore, it's overstayed it's welcome for my groups.

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?
Usually a mechanic followed by theme, but if I am designing around theme the mechanics generally personify the theme.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
We recently won the Connecticut Festival of Indie Games "Most Innovative game of 2017" award for Re-Chord. We are also part of the 2017 Boston Festival of Indie Games Showcase with Re-Chord.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
I'm a big fan of most of what Uwe does.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Late at night is when I brainstorm best, but I keep a 3 inch notebook near me most of the time. When an idea pops into my head I try to write it down in the book to pull from later.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
We have playtest groups in TX that play everything we design before we test it publicly. After the initial testing we will take it to shows, game shops, or friends houses often.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I have a development partner named Andrew Toth who is the other half of Yanaguana Games. We have recently begun working with outside artists as well.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Holding onto mechanics or bits of a game I personally like even though I know they do not fit a design.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
The Muppets

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
That designing games and publishing your own games are two different worlds.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
It's a career not a hobby. Don't wait to be "inspired", sit down and work on games every day.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Shipload o' Gold & Stir Fry Eighteen
Games that will soon be published are: Re-Chord, Food Fights Back, and one I can't talk about yet.
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: Re-Chord launches Sept 2017

I'm planning to crowdfund: Re-Chord, and Food Fights Back
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: We have roughly 5 games in this state
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: We have 12+ projects in this state

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 designers guild, Board game publishers guild, and board game design group I believe.

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, No Soda for many years, VHS.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I play the guitar regularly, I also love video games and digital art. Occasionally I also embarrass myself on a golf course.

What is something you learned in the last week?
How senate reconciliation bills work!

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Anything with good guitars. I enjoy Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal, and various cartoonist books. Huge fan of the Muppets, Guardians of the Galaxy, and most things geeky.

What was the last book you read?
Ready Player One

Do you play any musical instruments?
The guitar, banjo, mandolin, keyboard, and lap slide guitar. All in a mediocre fashion of course.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I'm a champion roller hockey player (JCC 1990's kids roller hockey league).

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I've caught a shark in the ocean and held him in my arms after fighting him in.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I've had a number of happy mistakes, but I can't remember one that stands out.

Who is your idol?
I..... I do not know. You've awakened a sense of loss, I don't think I have an idol.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I'd take a film crew and document history, without changing anything.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Aquaman, just because I really want to know what is going on down deep in the ocean.

Have any pets?

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 the idea of creating fun with tiny bits of rock or wood survives at the very least. I'd hope that the idea of severe poverty being acceptable to any other human would be crushed and at least that very basic level of empathy was inherent.

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):
The entire New England game scene, but specifically, The Board Room RI which is where I found a home after moving from TX to a city of strangers.

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

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