Tuesday, March 27, 2018

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 113: Eliot Hochberg

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:Eliot Hochberg
Location:Los Angeles
Day Job:Video Director and Building Manager
Designing:Two to five years.
BGG:Eliot Hochberg
Facebook:Eliot Hochberg
YouTube:Eliot Hochberg
Find my games at:playfordgames.com, modestgames.com
Today's Interview is with:

Eliot Hochberg
Interviewed on: 2/7/2018

In 2016 Eliot Hochberg ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for his game, ILIOS: Battle for Troy. Late last year it was sent to backers and it's been met with generally positive reviews. Eliot has a number of other games in the works, so read on to learn more about his other projects and how he goes about designing games!

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 found out about blank inset dice and started making a version of Othello. Then, when worked out how long it would take, I decided I should add some features.

What game or games are you currently working on?
I have quite a few: one hidden roles game, a couple of word games, a deck of cards, a time travel game, and an add on for D&D. Plus like a hundred other ideas.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
ILIOS: Battle for Troy

What is your day job?
Video Director and Building Manager

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At other people's houses :^)

Who do you normally game with?
Friends, some people at a game day I attend.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Quadropolis is my current go to. Just got Torres.

And what snacks would you eat?
Pretty much anything.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
I find music to be distracting, but can handle it if it's low.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Right now, Paper Heroes, although the selection at Game Empire is hard to beat.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Worst game is the Kickstarter redo of Red Shirts. Totally frustrating. Favorite is Lords of Waterdeep or Castles of Mad King Ludwig. I still play Werewolf, but everyone always thinks I'm the wolf.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I like engine builders. I hate anything that randomly steals things from another player.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Abstracts are always a hard sell.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, RPG Games, Video Games, Other 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?
I do have the whole set, but it was swag. I have enjoyed a couple of sessions, but it's not my favorite.

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?
Mechanics then theme, usually.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I did enter the Indiecade contest one year. It seemed like they would have liked my game from the notes, but they dinged me for dark printing on the sample. Bummer.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
I'm not good with putting names to games, but I like Patchwork and that designer a lot.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Sometimes from things in life, or from visualizing a way to play with bits that I think will be fun or satisfying.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
First, by myself. Then, with my girlfriend. Then, forgiving friends. Finally, strangers at game days or cons. Finish off with blind tests.

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

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
I am great with ideas (who isn't?!) and getting a first version on the table. Where I fall short I think is in second step execution: pushing past the disappointment of something I thought worked that turns out not to work.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I'm fascinated by the idea of a time travel or mystery story game. Any of the TV series about those topics.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Don't spend so much on prototypes!

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Ideas are cheap. Execution is king. Get your idea out there and test it. And don't spend so much on prototypes!

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: ILIOS: Battle of Troy
Games that I'm playtesting are: Golden Words, Anti-Scrabble, Seasons Deck, Standard Deck
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Card Alchemist
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Untitled Time Travel Game

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

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, Coke, VHS

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Improv, Karaoke

What is something you learned in the last week?
Cement cutters are loud

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
I like all sorts of sci-fi, and as for music, it's hard to say. But Sade and Propellerheads come to mind...

What was the last book you read?
Psychology of Doctor Who?

Do you play any musical instruments?
A little guitar, piano, sax/clarinet.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I can change a tire.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Pretended to be French while working at Subway.

Who is your idol?
Elon Musk

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Nothing! I don't want to destroy the universe!

Are you an extrovert or introvert?

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

Have any pets?
No, but my girlfriend has an awesome dog!

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?
Asteroid wipes out Washington DC while there is a politician convention. I want the game Mille Bornes to survive.

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):
Joseph Limbaugh, Ash Minnick, and Ross Hellwig

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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