Tuesday, October 2, 2018

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 140: Peter Mariutto

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:Peter Mariutto
Location:Minneapolis, MN, USA
Day Job:I am a Client Experience Manager at a decking company.
Designing:One to two years.
BGG:Peter Mariutto
YouTube:Freshwater Game Company
Find my games at:Off of our website if you live outside Minnesota, but if you're in the MSP Metro you can find it at Games by James and the Gaming Goat in the next couple of weeks.
Today's Interview is with:

Peter Mariutto
Interviewed on: 7/28/2018

Peter Mariutto hails from the Twin Cities, where there's a pretty big community of game designers. He's successfully Kickstarted Sectre, an abstract strategy game, through his game company, Freshwater Game Company. He'll soon have his second game on Kickstarter, so keep an eye out for Circuit Breaker. Read on to learn more about Peter and his projects!

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
One to two years.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
I began designing games at an early age as a creative outlet, but didn't take the pursuit seriously until early last year when I met an illustrator who had similar ambitions. We both had a couple game ideas we were sitting on as well as a well placed stint of unemployment and decided to start what is now Freshwater Game Co.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Circuit Breaker

Have you designed any games that have been published?
I have, we published Sectre late last year.

What is your day job?
I am a Client Experience Manager at a decking company.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
I'm a big fan of hosting game nights at my house, but I also enjoy the opportunity to get out and meet new people at cafes and breweries.

Who do you normally game with?
Usually a few designer friends of mine.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Secret Hitler most likely, or The Metagame.

And what snacks would you eat?
Pretzels, or Pistachios.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
We play a lot of Blue Oyster Cult and Eurythmics, and occasionally I'll wedge some Tears for Fears in.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
The Gaming Goat in St. Paul

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Currently, my favorite game is the Shipwreck Arcana. Least favorite that I still play is interesting, I would have to say King Domino, and the worst game I ever played was Shadows Over Camelot- which I know is going to get me in trouble.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Area control is my favorite, although I've never included it in any of my own designs. I would have to say my least favorite mechanic is anytime you have to yell the name of the game to do something (like in Yahtzee).

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
For the Win!

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

OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
Occasionally, but not often.

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 find that creating a narrative helps to make sense of the mechanics in a game, so the theme I would say often comes first.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I have not.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Klaus-Jürgen Wrede has been a long time influence of mine.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
I think good ideas are the ones you get excited about. You think about them when you're at work and you get excited to go home and work on them. But there's also tremendous power in collaboration and knowing you aren't going to make something perfect on the first go-around.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I found that your friends will humor you for awhile, but playing prototypes is definitely different from finished games. So trading playtesting time with others who have their own ideas works, and I would recommend attending all the Protospiels you can go to.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
So far my team has just been myself and my girlfriend Hannah. I'm definitely open to working with artists and co-designers.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Knowing whether or not an idea is worth pursuing. I would like to go after every idea I have ever had, but a game is a lot of work to bring to fruition. It is also sometimes difficult to stay excited about a project when the initial romantic period of design is over.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I would make a game about the National Park Service. It would give me an excuse to make a completely scenic and colorful nature game.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
That you need to let yourself fail. That failure allows you to learn so much more than success.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
I would tell people to design the game they want to design without worrying about who is going to buy it or what it costs to make it.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: SECTRE
I'm planning to crowdfund: Circuit Breaker
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are:
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Brucke

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

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 but only with rum, and Betamax even though I never owned any.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I enjoy repairing and refurbishing electric guitars.

What is something you learned in the last week?
That toilet paper rolls make the best dog toys.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
It used to be Prog Rock, but I'm getting more into New Age. My favorite books are anything by Tobias Wolff or Flannery O'Connor, and my favorite movies are Hot Fuzz and Men Who Stare At Goats.

What was the last book you read?
A Confederacy of Dunces

Do you play any musical instruments?
I did play guitar for a lot of years, but haven't recently.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I get great enjoyment out of painting rooms.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Jumped in with both feet.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I would say Circuit Breaker in general was a happy accident.

Who is your idol?
Pete Townsend of The Who

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Go back to The Big Bang.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Colossus of the X-Men.

Have any pets?
Yes, I have 2 dogs Mila and Ruby.

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 really hope Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes and puzzles in general survive the Apocalypse, especially collaborative puzzles. And I hope the game Hate is right underneath that asteroid.

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):
Hi Mom!

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

That we all have doubts as game designers, especially at the start of campaigns or showing around a new idea, but that sticking with the hobby and standing behind your ideas is well worth it.

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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