Tuesday, May 22, 2018

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 121: Scott Almes

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:Scott Almes
Location:Pittsburgh (USA)
Day Job:Mechanical Engineer (Focus on Product Design/Development)
Designing:Five to ten years.
Find my games at:BGG is a great place to start. But they are also available at all your local game stores, online game stores, Amazon, etc.
Today's Interview is with:

Scott Almes
Interviewed on: 5/7/2018

If you follow my blog, or read my very first People Behind the Meeples interview, where I put these questions to myself, you'll know that one of my favorite designers lately is Scott Almes. I love his Tiny Epic series with Gamelyn Games and have enjoyed every other game of his I've played as well. I'm impressed not only by how fun his games are, but also how prolific he's been in the last few years. It seems that every time I turn around there's another Scott Almes game being published. And today is no exception! Right now, on Kickstarter, you can find his latest game, Neverland Rescue, to be published by Letiman Games. Be sure to check it out! I haven't played it yet, but if Scott's track record holds true, it'll be a ton of fun!

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've been a gamer all my life, and grew up with the traditional games like Clue and Risk. I'm a tinkerer, and I love to create things. It was only a matter of time before my love of games and my love of creating things would intersect!

What game or games are you currently working on?
Neverland Rescue is the big one right now. It's on Kickstarter as of May 8th!

Have you designed any games that have been published?

What is your day job?
Mechanical Engineer (Focus on Product Design/Development)

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
My own home, or that of a friend or family member.

Who do you normally game with?
Family and Friends.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Right now, I'm excited to play Zoch's new game called Menara. But, I also have an itch to play a classic game like Power Grid.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Games Unlimited.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
My favorite game is either RoboRally or Power Grid. It changes depending on the day.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
My favorite game mechanic is Pick-Up-And-Deliver, and Programming is a close second. It's no surprise my first game, Kings of Air and Steam, combined both of these elements.

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, 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?
Depends on the group

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 depends on the game. Games like The Great Dinosaur Rush start with the theme first. But, some of my games, like Claim, have the mechanics come first.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Friedmann Friese and Reiner Knizia are my two idols.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
I read a ton, and I think some ideas may come from that. Sometimes it's old hobbies. Childhood dreams. Ideas can come from anywhere.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Mostly alone, but I will have a few co-designs coming in the next few years.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: The Tiny Epic Series, Heroes of Land Air & Sea, Martian Dice, Harbour, Problem Picnic: Attack of the Ants, Best Treehouse Ever
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: Neverland Rescue

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, Pepsi, and we're all digital now :)

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Reading! And a little bit of writing when I can.

What is something you learned in the last week?
Just finished a book about climbing Mount Everest, so I learned a lot about climbing mountains. I also learned that that is something I am never going to do in my life! Not for me. It was fun reading about it.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
I listen to classic and folk rock. For books, I will read just about anything (and do!) For Movies it's about the same, but I do have a preference for crime capers and mysteries!

What was the last book you read?
"Into Thin Air" and "The Master and Margarita" were both finished this week. Both amazing, but very different. Into Thin Air was about climbing Everest, and The Master and Margarita was a playful Russian satire novel.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I know about three songs on the guitar... so, no, not really.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
In addition to the games I've designed, I'm also a published author and a patent owner!

Who is your idol?
Neil Gaiman

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I'd look into the deep past to see the Dinosaurs. I don't think I'd want to fall down the rabbit hole of trying to mess with history (and I try not to worry about past mistakes). But seeing the dinosaurs would be super cool.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?

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

Have any pets?
Nope, but we dog-sit a lot.

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, of course, would love games to survive, and as many books as possible. I would hope my copy of Hive makes it through. Those tiles are very solid!

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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