Tuesday, March 13, 2018

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 111: Simon MacDonald

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:Simon MacDonald
Day Job:I am a LEGO Designer for Merlin Entertainment (the LEGO Theme Parks).
Designing:Five to ten years.
Find my games at:None are PnP except Stranger Things. Never had much success.
Today's Interview is with:

Simon MacDonald
Interviewed on: 2/7/2018

Simon MacDonald hails out of Florida and has been designing games for a few years now, and they look pretty interesting. Simon's day job is also super interesting. He designs models for Legoland! I'm sure there's a lot of actual work that goes into that job, but yes, he gets to play with Legos at work! He's also an improv actor and writes musicals. With that much creativity, I really hope I get the chance to play some of his games someday. Read on to learn more about Simon and his current projects.

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Five to ten years.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
I like to design systems to see people adapt to new challenges.

What game or games are you currently working on?
The Reputation of Lying Pirates, Aetherkey, and a Thundercats themed engine.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Exactly none.

What is your day job?
I am a LEGO Designer for Merlin Entertainment (the LEGO Theme Parks).

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At home.

Who do you normally game with?
A handful of coworkers and close friends.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Inis, Seven Wonders, Smash Up, DC Deckbuilder

And what snacks would you eat?
Fruit and veggies, pretzels, lil smokies

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
No. We found it was more of a distraction.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Cool Stuff Games

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Current fave: Scythe. Least fave still playing: Mysterium Worst: X-Files

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Fave: Co-op deck building or dice placement Least: Social deduction and 'party'

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Smash Up

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

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures 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?
As of late, I choose a mechanic style that I dislike and try to design something along the same lines to be something I like.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
No and nopesaroni.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Usually when I'm zoning out or right in the middle of designing one.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I tell my friends and they pop right over.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Follow through and commitment.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Stranger Things! Thundercats, Fringe, Farscape, Lost

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Don't worry about the art design early on and "Less is more".

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Don't design mechanics, design ways to limit the players choices. (Limited resources, 1.5/1 cost/benefit ratio, no 'either/or' scenario)

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Stranger Things, The Reputation of Lying Pirates, Aetherkey
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Gilgamesh, Sunshine State
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Thundercats

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

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, Coke, VHS

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Improv, writing musicals, building LEGO, costuming

What is something you learned in the last week?
I'm the top designer at work for 2017. [GJJ Games] Congratulations!

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Currently...K-Pop, 80's, and 90's alt. non-fiction reference books about fiction, sci-fi.

What was the last book you read?
No comment.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Tuba....23 years ago.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I made a Boba Fett costume out of LEGO.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I was let go at my improv theatre and it opened up different opportunities in other realms of theater and performance.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Future tech now.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Intro-extro. I'm extremely private but when I'm 'on stage' I'm ON.

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

Have any pets?
Cat and a fish

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?
Survive: Storytelling. Die: Religion.

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.

No comments:

Post a Comment