Tuesday, October 16, 2018

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 142: Brendan Black

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:Brendan Black
Location:Beausejour, Manitoba, Canada
Day Job:Media and Marketing Manager for a fireworks company.
Designing:One to two years.
BGG:Mythic: Legends of the Earth
Find my games at:If a person is interested the my game, they can contact me through the website or FB pages for more information. In addition, we are on Tabletop Simulator as a Free to Play game! Just search for Mythic: Legends of the Earth.
Today's Interview is with:

Brendan Black
Interviewed on: 6/18/2018

Brendan Black is a Canadian designer that's been working on a game called Mythic: Legends of the Earth. This is his first game design and he's shooting to have it up on Kickstarter in the first quarter of next year. Read on to learn more about Brendan and Mythic.

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?
Broken leg, gave me free time to really jump in.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Current game is called Mythic. It's an expansion card game that has a unique resource management system and utilizes ranged combat in a 2d setting.

Have you designed any games that have been published?

What is your day job?
Media and Marketing Manager for a fireworks company.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Private settings with family and friends. If at all possible, i like digital games on the PC but most times physical copies play better.

Who do you normally game with?
Friends and family

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Depends on the friends. TCG/CCG friends I would get to play my game Mythic. Family and more casual gamers would be simple party games like Telestrations.

And what snacks would you eat?
Salt and Vinegar chips.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
More likely to have something like a twitch stream playing in the background.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Local place nearby called A Muse N Games.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
current favorite game is my own game, Mythic. If you don't love your own work, why do it? Least fav that I still enjoy to play would be Catan. Worst game I have ever played.... some weird game called Gender Wars I think.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Deck Building. Any game that has strong elements of this always interest me, even if in a non traditional sense, like Baten Kaitos for the Gamecube. Least favorite would be press your luck games. I very much like to be in control of my games and rely on my choices rather than luck decide how things turn out.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Pictionary or Cranium.

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

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design 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?
I find that they build off of each other. First you need to have basic mechanics in my opinion. Theme, to me, is what helps steers the development and refinement of the game.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Entered, yes. Tried for the Cardboard Edison award but our ideas were just not refined enough to succeed. Currently entered in another contest with a much better version of our game for the Canadian Game Design Award. Was not selected as a finalist due to the fact it was a battle card game.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Removing myself from my game and playing other games. Can be video games, card games or board games. Just taking time away from my own games and appreciating other games really refreshes the brain. Sometimes all you need is that one partial spark that another game can give you.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Start designers only, to online private invites, to private friends only invites. Once we break out of that mold, we use relationships with our LFGS to set up blind-playtest events.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
As much as I like to work alone, having a partner or co-designer really helps with keeping my sanity in check. It also allows me to rely on another person in areas that I can admit I am lacking in.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Getting recognized. I can have the greatest game in the world, with 100% raving reviews, but it means nothing if nobody outside of local reach takes notice.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Arc Rise Fantasia and Baten Kaitos. Couldn't pick because either one of these would be way too incredible.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Discover is part of the fun. I have no answer for this.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
If you don't love it, move on. There are too many challenges that come your way that test your desire to push your project through to completion.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Games that will soon be published are: Mythic: Legends of the Earth Disciple Pack
I'm planning to crowdfund: Mythic: Legends of the Earth Disciple Pack

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Tons of Facebook groups, too many to mention. Most of which have awesome communities that seem to support people who put effort in and give a damn.

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?
Wars. Pepsi. VHS.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Volleyball, generic video gaming, anime, cooking.

What is something you learned in the last week?
Wood-working is not my forte.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Country/Harry Potter/Anything that is funny.

What was the last book you read?
I don't know the last time I sat down and completed a book.

Do you play any musical instruments?

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I'm a 6'6" Div 1 volleyball player who turned down a pro contract in Europe to move to a small rural town and design board games/work for a fireworks company.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Allowed myself to spend way too much money on a mobile game. I didn't know the term "whale" existed until I was one.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Broke my femur, led me to using free time to design board games and led me to my current job which is awesome.

Who is your idol?

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Break it. Time Travel is too large of a power/responsibility for anyone to have.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?

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

Have any pets?
1 fish

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?
Any physical sport survives. Crypto mining dies in a fiery death.

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

Watch out for info on my game Mythic! There really is nothing like it around! Kickstarter Q1 2019


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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