Tuesday, February 27, 2018

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 109: Casey Hill

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:Casey Hill
Location:California, United States
Day Job:I work a full time job as a marketing consultant for a SaaS tech company called ONTRAPORT in Santa Barbara, CA.
Designing:One to two years.
Blog:Game Design Blog/
Find my games at:https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1080559033/arkon?ref=bj6jqw
Today's Interview is with:

Casey Hill
Interviewed on: 2/7/2018

Casey Hill is a designer from California who's first game is currently on Kickstarter, and doing great! Arkon is live for only four more days, so check it out now. It has incredible artwork and looks like an interesting game. So read on to learn more about Casey and his projects. If Arkon is any indication, we can look forward to more awesome games from Hill Gaming Company in the future!

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
One to two years.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
I started game design because I have a genuine love for what this hobby represents. Tabletop games are an arena where people from any walk of life, any gender, religion or political affiliation can come together over a shared passion.

What game or games are you currently working on?
My company’s first game, Arkon, is a non-linear strategy bidding card game set in a high fantasy landscape. It is currently on Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1080559033/arkon?ref=bj6jqw

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Our first game is Arkon and we are self-publishing.

What is your day job?
I work a full time job as a marketing consultant for a SaaS tech company called ONTRAPORT in Santa Barbara, CA.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At my house or friend’s house.

Who do you normally game with?
My family and close friends

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
O man, it really depends! I love Star Realms, Splendor, Ticket to Ride, Mysterium, Pandemic, Scythe, Viticulture and so many others!

And what snacks would you eat?
I like cashews!

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Sometimes light Lord of the Rings or Gladiator soundtrack in the background sets the tone.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Metro Comics in Santa Barbara, CA

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Current Favorite: Star Realms. Least favorite that I still enjoy, maybe something like Werewolf? Worst game = Oregon Trail. I drew the insta die card on the first round......

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Granted I might be bias on this as it's a central mechanic to Arkon, but I love flexible use cards. The worst thing in a game is when you get stuck and just have to wait or flat out have no shot. Flexible cards facilitate deep strategy and reduce "dead card in hand" phenomenon.

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, Video Games

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Card 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?
For Arkon, we built the mechanics first and then developed the theme.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I have not.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Jamey Stegmaier is an incredible inspiration in the gaming world.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
I think brainstorming with my family and close friends.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Often and with strangers. My philosophy is to get the game in front of as many people as possible, both reviewers and people you meet at game nights and gather the feedback.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Team, 100%. Everyone has their strengths and a team allows you to play to that.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Exposure. When you are a new game brand, even if your product is very well built, getting eyes on it takes time and energy and isn't easy.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Ooo good question. Not sure on that one but I love everything high fantasy ( Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones etc.)

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
How long the process is! It took us 2 years from start to finish to build Arkon.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Ask questions. Don't be shy about gathering feedback or taking advice. Look for trends. If you one person says something is broken, it's an anomaly. If 20 people say it, you want to pay attention to that.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: Arkon

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

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. I don't drink soda and I don't know what Betamax is?

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I love to read and write.

What is something you learned in the last week?
How crucial Custom Referral tags are on your crowdfunding campaign. FB can tell you you are getting all the clicks in the world but if it isn't equaling conversions, that is bad. So use those custom tags and that will help you see what is happening.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
I love epic instrumental, my favorite book is Name of the Wind and my favorite movie is Gladiator

What was the last book you read?
A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George RR Martin

Do you play any musical instruments?
I do not.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I spent a year after college writing a book.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I once kayaked 30 miles from Catalina Island to the mainland.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Randomly decided to go to an ice cream social (I don't eat sweets) and met my future wife my freshman year of college!

Who is your idol?
My parents, Richard Branson and Jamey Stegmaier

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Check out how the future looks, I'm super curious.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?

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

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 love tabletop and video games. Reality TV I could do without.

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):
Just to all the incredible members of the gaming community that help and support each other every day. We are all in this together and your kindness, constructive feedback and willingness to help your fellow gamer/designer is what makes these communities awesome.

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

This interview was pretty thorough!

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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