Tuesday, September 12, 2017

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 86: Jon Moffat

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:Jon Moffat
Location:Virginia, USA
Day Job:I work for the US Patent Office
Designing:Over ten years!
Find my games at:stonecirclegames.com
Today's Interview is with:

Jon Moffat
Interviewed on: 7/31/2017

Jon Moffat is part of the team from Stone Circle Games and has brought us titles like Horrible Hex, Pirate Kings, and more! You may have seen him and his team playing some of their games at some of the conventions this summer, like Gen Con or WashingCon. Read on to learn more about Jon, Stone Circle Games, and the other projects he's working on!

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Over ten years!

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
Fun and curiosity. I played lots of games with my brothers growing up and always had the urge to "improve" on them.

What game or games are you currently working on?
So many half-finished projects... an asymmetrical hidden movement assassins game, a grand sci-fi epic negotiation game, a resource management game about taxing medieval lords, a game about going insane...

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Yes: Horrible Hex, Pirate Kings, and Traders, Raiders & Runners.

What is your day job?
I work for the US Patent Office

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At home with friends

Who do you normally game with?
Friends, coworkers, siblings

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
I'm always interested in trying something new: but I'll always bring my favorites to the table: Cosmic Encounter, Blood Rage, and Libertalia

And what snacks would you eat?
Chips and dip... just be careful with the dip

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Usually movie soundtracks: Pirates of the Caribbean and Star Wars are favorites

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Labyrinth in DC

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Cosmic Encounter is my current favorite. Least favorite that I still enjoy is probably BANG! I have a secret, irrational, and long-felt hatred for Ticket to Ride

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Bluffing, I love to be unpredictable. Set-building is probably my least favorite.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Captain Sonar. You need exactly the right number of the right sort of people for it to be fun.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card 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 varies. A lot of time it's more of a feeling I want to capture, and then I either assign a theme or mechanic to that feeling.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Not really

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Usually when I'm bored or watching a movie

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Due to schedule constraints, I usually do a lot of mental and solo testing before putting a game in front of others. From there I usually start with my regular game group, they're very open to playing broken games.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I usually prefer to design alone, but to get as much feedback from as many people as possible.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Reining myself in and finding time to playtest.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I think a lot could be done with Penny Dreadful: that show just screams semi-coop to me.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
It's not always fun.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Be open to criticism, and to the fact that some ideas aren't as good as you think they are.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Horrible Hex, Pirate Kings
Games that will soon be published are: Burned
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Dry County Dash
Games that I'm playtesting are: Tallage, Solar Treaty, Aberwyvern Besieged, Eye of Madness, Radio Dead
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Plague City, Sulfer

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

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 has my head, Star Wars has my heart. Coke Zero R.I.P. VHS

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Brewing, writing

What is something you learned in the last week?
How to spell "genius". I'm a terrible speller

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Folk Metal for music, science fiction for movies and books

What was the last book you read?
American Gods

Do you play any musical instruments?
Not now, but I have played Piano, drums, and guitar

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
That I had a real mean streak as a kid: and got suspended twice. I'm fine now, I promise.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I once put my brother in the dryer: and ran it

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Meeting my wife

Who is your idol?
Bruce Campbell. That guy is a real working man's actor.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Destroy it!

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Introvert, but a social one.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Spider Man

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?
Mostly, I'd hope our books survive: Tolkien, Martin, Lewis, Ursula Le Guin

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):
Tom Vasel: his hatred of my game has inspired me to try harder. :)

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

Did you like this interview?  Pleasse show your support: Support me on Patreon! Or click the heart at Board Game Links , like GJJ Games on Facebook , or follow on Twitter .  And be sure to check out my games on  Tabletop Generation.

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