Tuesday, April 17, 2018

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 116: Martino Chiacchiera

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:Martino Chiacchiera
Day Job:I'm both a game designer freelance and Junior Editor at dV Giochi
Designing:Five to ten years.
BGG:Martino Chiacchiera
Find my games at:Board game stores and the fairs like Essen, GenCon.
Today's Interview is with:

Martino Chiacchiera
Interviewed on: 3/29/2018

Today's interview is with the very prolific Martino Chiacchiera. You may not recognize the name, but you'll probably recognize some of his games. He just recently had successful Kickstarter campaigns for Mysthea and Barbarians: The Invasion, and currently has a campaign running for The Faceless, a very interesting looking game that uses a really unique mechanic with magnets in the figures and a compass. With 20 games published in the past few years, Martino is a designer to watch!

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?
Because I was fascinated by the idea that a bunch of rules and bits could engage and entertain people so much.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Too many! Icaion, new games to extend the Deckscape and the 3 Secrets series, some stretch goals for The Faceless, a Feldish game, a bulk of prototypes, and a super top secret yet revolutionary game you'll hear about in a year or two!

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Yes, I've managed to have more than 20 games published in less than 4 years.

What is your day job?
I'm both a game designer freelance and Junior Editor at dV Giochi

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At home or in a board game cafè but only when there is not so many people talking loud.

Who do you normally game with?
Gamers which are also good friends.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Whatever I think might suit the best for the party. It really depends on the people, the mood and the setting.

And what snacks would you eat?
Biscuits with tea, of course!

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Not really; I rather prefer trash talk around the table.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Polo Nerd, located in Ponte San Giovanni, Perugia, Italy

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
My favourite is probably Notre Dame from Stefan Feld. A game I do not particularly like is probably Munchkin, but I could accept to play it with the right group of people. The worst game I've ever played is probably one of my many prototypes I trashed after one or two playtest sessions.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
My favourite game mechanic is probably the draft, or the workers placement. I do not particularly enjoy memory, dexterity, and the auctions.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Strasbourg from Stefan Feld.

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?
It's a fact that it works pretty well with casuals.

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?
I usually start from the mechanics, and immediately look for a theme that could fit.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I entered the Lucca - Gioco Inedito competition some years ago, and made my way up to the final trio of selected games. I also won the Österreichische Spielepreis 2017.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Stefan Feld has made great games which I love, especially due to their great elegance and depth in comparison to the few rules. Another designer I really admire is Wolfgang Kramer. Last but not the least, Eric M. Lang for his innovative "dudes on a map" games.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
It can be every time in any given situation. It's unpredictable.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
First I solo-test my games, then I run sessions with groups of people. At the very end of the process, I find blind-tests very useful.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I designed a lot of games together with a co-author; I collaborated with many other designers. It was a great time and I had great opportunities to learn a lot! However, in the upcoming years I want to try to design most of the games on my own.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
I think we are continually searching for NEW ideas. Something that can spark a light and inspire the next generations of game designers. Nothing is really new, evolution is an iterative process. However, I do think that we'll slowly identify new ways to make board games more and more immersive and engaging. I want to create strong experiences that can have a huge impact on the players feelings, not just fun.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
The Prestige, a very well known movie by Christopher Nolan, or Warcraft, the RTS game I loved to play with my friends.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Ideas are just a multiplier of execution.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Fail fast! In other words: iterate the more you can, and the faster you can. Also be ready to change your ideas a lot, or to change your mind about them.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Mysthea
Party Bugs
The Frog Kiss
Cloud Mine
Deckscape: Heist in Venice
Barbarians: The Invasion
Ali Baba
Bobbidi Boom
Deckscape: The Fate of London
Deckscape: Test Time
3 Secrets
Quickpick: Mutant Dinosaurs Park
No Slots
Hall of Fame
Quickpick: Island of Monster Masks
Mood X

Games that will soon be published are: 3 Secrets - Time Crimes (not final title)
Deckscape 4 (not final title)
Deckscape 5 (not final title)
Wilson (not final title)

This is what I have currently crowdfunding: The Faceless
Currently looking for a publisher I have: So many prototypes I cannot list them all
I'm planning to crowdfund: Icaion
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Hexploria (not final title) and so many other prototypes I cannot list them all
Games that I'm playtesting are: Adventure-up (not final title) and so many other prototypes I cannot list them all
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: So many prototypes I cannot list them all
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: So many prototypes I cannot list them all

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
I'm part of the SAZ, the biggest association of board game 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 Wars. Ice Tea.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Street basketball, freestyle cooking, black music.

What is something you learned in the last week?
I'm currently studying German.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Black Music such as old school Rap, Jazz, Ragtime, Reggae, and so on. I love One Piece and thriller or noir movies such as Slevin, The Snatch, and The Prestige. I was a huge fan of The Boondocks series.

What was the last book you read?
Flow, (Csikszentmihalyi Mihaly)

Do you play any musical instruments?
I played the piano for 8 years.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I'm 25. I work most of the time wearing my pajamas.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I cannot tell you. There would be consequences! :D

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I fell in love and never came back.

Who is your idol?
Michael Jordan

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I would visit the past to see the dinosaurs, and the future to see the cyberpunk!

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Both, I guess.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
The Joker.

Have any pets?
I had a few cats and dogs. Now I have a baby! :D

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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