Tuesday, August 28, 2018

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 135: Raymond Northcott

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:Raymond Northcott
Location:Ashern, MB Canada
Day Job:stay at home dad
Designing:Two to five years.
BGG:MrGeekabyte (wasn't thinking about branding back then.....)
Facebook:The Hackers Guild Boardgame/
Other:I'm part of the Indie Game Alliance
Find my games at:They can reach out to me and I can send them the link to either the PnP or the digital versions on Tabletopia or Tabletop Simulator
Today's Interview is with:

Raymond Northcott
Interviewed on: 6/15/2018

Raymond Northcott started his game design with a goal in mind; to design a board game about computer hacking. Over two years later his vision is about to become a reality. Look for The Hackers Guild on Kickstarter soon! Read on to learn more about this stay-at-home dad turned game designer (and hopefully publisher, too).

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?
Back in January 2015 I quit my full time job and decided to stay at home with the kids. Spent the rest of the year trying to find something I could do from home to replace the lost income, but didn't ever find anything. Then one day in December 2015 I woke up and just had the thought "I should design a board game and it should have to do with computer hackers." Shortly after the first iteration of what has become The Hackers Guild was born. It was "supposed" to be a super quick endeavor but then reality hit and more than two years later still working on the same game.

What game or games are you currently working on?
The Hackers Guild is the main game I'm working on, but I also have a kids card game tentatively called The Great Lunch Swap percolating in the background.

Have you designed any games that have been published?

What is your day job?
stay at home dad

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
around the kitchen table with family and friends

Who do you normally game with?
wife and two kids

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
hmm hard to say. The Game, Little Drop of Poison, and Dino Dude Ranch (with or without the Hatchlings expansion) are current favourites.

And what snacks would you eat?
Popcorn and/or potato chips if anything at all

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
usually don't

What’s your favorite FLGS?
probably a toss up between A Muse N Games and GameKnight Games

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Does The Hackers Guild count? Seriously there are really so many good games. I think if I had to pick one it would be Dino Dude Ranch. I'm not a huge fan of Catan. As for worst game - there haven't been many I haven't enjoyed but Cirkus didn't really do it for me.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I don't really pay all that much attention to mechanics, but worker placement, set collection, and area control can be fun. Not a huge fan of traditional role and move games.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Probably Dirigible Disaster

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

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, 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?
So far I think I would have to say that I am a theme first designer, but that may change.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Hmm haven't really thought much about it but I really enjoy Matt Leacock's games and Jamey Stegmaier is an awesome example of how to give back to this wonderful community.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
I pull a lot of inspiration from other games, listening to podcasts while driving, while talking to other designers and gamers, really anywhere.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I'm a big fan of digital playtesting and do the majority of my testing over Tabletopia and/or Tabletop Simulator. I also attend as many local cons as I can, attend a regular protospiel event, and family and friends when I get the chance.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I have very little graphic design and art talents, so I work with a great person with those talents. I currently don't have a co-designer, but would be open to trying it out.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
While I can mitigate this with the digital play testing, I would have to say lack of access to gamers and gaming events.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
hmm haven't even thought about it really - I think a Calvin and Hobbes game could be fun

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
That there is a definite order to design, and to not bother with spending money on prototypes and other things like art until absolutely necessary.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
That there is a definite order to design, and to not bother with spending money on prototypes and other things like art until absolutely necessary.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
I'm planning to crowdfund: The Hackers Guild
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: The Hackers Guild
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: The Great Lunch Swap

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
A number including Canadian Analog Game Designers and Industry, Digital Tabletop Game Playtests, Tabletop Game Kickstarter Advice, Tabletop Game Publisher's Guild, Kickstarter Best Practices, Art and Graphic Design for Tabletop Games, Card and Board Game Designers Guild

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?
hmm Star Trek, Coke, and VHS

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I'm a big baseball fan, enjoy listening and playing music, and while not strictly a hobby, I love being a dad.

What is something you learned in the last week?
Hmm that's an interesting question, but I'm not sure I can think of anything

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Like games, I will watch/read/or listen to pretty much anything once. If I had to pick I think it would be Jazz, anything by John Grisham, and romantic comedies

What was the last book you read?
probably Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Do you play any musical instruments?
piano, tuba (been forever) and most other brass instruments with the exception of the french horn (but not very well)

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I was born at home and my son was born on the side of the road in a back of an ambulance

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
won a banana eating contest

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
attending the wrong church for the area I was living in which meant I got back in touch with the woman who became my current wife

Who is your idol?
I don't really have one

What would you do if you had a time machine?
married my current wife first

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
probably introvert

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
hmm don't really follow the superhero stuff, but Iron Man is pretty cool

Have any pets?
a cat named Jazz

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?
all board/card/other games for sure - and the internet I guess. Not sure about the last part - politicians maybe?

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 hi and I love you to my wonderful wife Sharon and awesome kids Abbey and Jack

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

No I think that is everything

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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