Tuesday, January 15, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 154: Stavros Polyviou

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:Stavros Polyviou
Day Job:Software Development
Designing:Two to five years.
Facebook:Cackleberry Games/
Find my games at:BGG
Today's Interview is with:

Stavros Polyviou
Interviewed on: 12/16/2018

Stavros Polyviou is a designer from Cyprus that is working with Cackleberry Games to publish Gardens of Babylon, his first published game! Gardens of Babylon is a tile laying game where players build the famous hanging gardens and plant the flowers that made the gardens legendary. Be sure to check it out on Kickstarter next Tuesday, January 22, 2019!

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?
Every time I played a board game I was constantly thinking of ways to improve it

What game or games are you currently working on?
A 4X game based on Greek mythology

Have you designed any games that have been published?
About to Kickstart 'Gardens of Babylon' next Tuesday!

What is your day job?
Software Development

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Either at my home or at a friend's

Who do you normally game with?
Close friends

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Viticulture, Scythe, T.I.M.E. Stories, Exploding Kittens

And what snacks would you eat?
Nuts, pop corn

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?

What’s your favorite FLGS?
We only have one where I live: Isengard Fantasy Shop

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Viticulture is my favorite. I still enjoy Robo Rally though I find it flawed. Worst game I ever played was a card game called 'Zeus and Hera'.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I like worker placement. I don't like Player Elimination, although I put up with it in Exploding Kittens because the games are usually short.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Descent Second Edition

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, RPG 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?
I usually start with a mechanic or combination of mechanics and then try to find a theme that works. But I have also used a theme as a starting point, such as Greek mythology or Japanese culture.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Jamey Stegmaier

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Anywhere really. Anything I see can trigger a new idea which I immediately write down on my phone.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I usually invite people over at my place, but I sometimes do playtests at friends' homes. I test more mature prototypes at cafes and gaming conventions.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I prototype alone. I like doing the graphic design and the boardgame construction myself but a game is always co-designed with my playtesters, which is one of the reasons I love doing game design. I come from a UX background so I really enjoy the iterative and user-centric aspects of game design.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Constantly coming up with new ideas that are not re-hashes of other games.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
That it's so damn addictive!

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Be ready to kill your darlings. Always listen to feedback and be prepared to take your game in a new direction.

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: Gardens of Babylon
I'm planning to crowdfund: Gardens of Babylon - Launching on Kickstarter next week!
Games that I'm playtesting are: Gods of Greece

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Game Maker's Lab, Board and Card Game Designers of Greece, Consortium of Game Developers, STARTUP Board and Card Game Designers, Card & Board Game Designers Guild, Card & Board Game Designers Skills Exchange, The Boardgame Group, Board Game Revolution Community, Board Game Spotlight, Board Game Exposure

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?
Game of Thrones, iOS

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Movies, writing, mythology, Italian cuisine, comic books and pop culture

What is something you learned in the last week?
That 'Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom' is actually a prequel

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
I listen to anything except Heavy Metal. I mostly read fantasy books nowadays, but I like studying mythology, especially Greek mythology. The best movie of all time as far as I am concerned is 'The Godfather'. 'Tropic Thunder' represents the pinnacle of western civilization.

What was the last book you read?
The Crystal Shard

Do you play any musical instruments?

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
People might think that I am very particular about my food because I like cooking, but in reality I'm not too fussy about food when I eat out.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I skied down some pretty scary slopes in my time

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Life itself

Who is your idol?
David Attenborough, hands down

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Go back in time and stop myself from obtaining a time machine

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Introvert but more than happy to speak in public if the need arises

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
3-D Man

Have any pets?

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?
Storytelling will survive: people gathering around a fire and sharing made up stories to help pass the time. I wish we could get nuclear weapons wiped out of human consciousness forever.

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):
To all geeks: our time has come!

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

Tabletop games are a good way to socialize and unplug. Unlike video games, you can customize the rules to your liking. You can learn a lot more about a person just by playing a game, than by engaging in just about any other social activity with them.

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

Did you like this interview?  Pleasse show your support: Support me on Patreon! Or click the heart at Board Game Links , like GJJ Games on Facebook , or follow on Twitter .  And be sure to check out my games on  Tabletop Generation.

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