Tuesday, January 22, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 155: Samuel W. Bailey

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:Samuel W. Bailey
Location:Washington State
Day Job:Freelance Game Designer
Designing:Five to ten years.
BGG:Samuel Bailey
Find my games at:Some of the stuff I did with FFG is still in stores. Others will be found through various publishers once they are printed and shipped!
Today's Interview is with:

Samuel W. Bailey
Interviewed on: 1/10/2019

Today's interview is with Samuel W. Bailey, a designer that you may have on your shelf. He's designed several games, including Forbidden Stars, as well as expansions to games like Talisman, Elder Sign, and XCOM. Samuel is active in a number of game design groups, so say hi if you cross comments with him!

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?
It’s one of the few things that I enjoy, am good at, and can make money doing!

What game or games are you currently working on?
Conan: Eternal Warfare for Shinobi 7. Lawyer Up for Rock Manor Games. Boarding House London, Masquerade Ball, Demolition City, and Dreamweavers are all prototypes I am still working on that need a home.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Several, though Forbidden Stars is probably the most well known.

What is your day job?
Freelance Game Designer

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
My house or a friends house.

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?
Something I haven't played before, or a prototype that has been filling my brain.

And what snacks would you eat?
Chips and Hummus.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Not usually.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Best Buds Gaming Bar and Pair o' Dice Games

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Spirit Island is my current favorite. I am a bit over hidden identity games like Avalon or Secret Hitler, but still enjoy them. Worst game is https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/4845/star-wars-escape-death-star-game

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I really enjoy deck building as a mechanic. I don't have a solid least favorite, as I think most all game mechanics have their place somewhere.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Twilight Imperium

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

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures Games, RPG Games, Video Games, Other 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?
They usually need to go hand in hand. Theme informs mechanics, and mechanics inform theme. As development happens, both mechanics and theme can change though.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
I don't really fan out.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Usually when I am falling asleep, but sometimes even from my dreams!

How do you go about playtesting your games?
My wife first, then friends, then taking it to game nights.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Usually by myself these days, though I enjoy co-designing.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Maintaining focus when I get stuck in the process.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Dune or the Commonwealth Saga

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
That the best thing you can do to be a game designer is to just start designing your own games. I waited 10 years before I thought I was "ready" when I could have just started going a lot sooner.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Game design is about constant failure, so don't feel discouraged. Just make a new iteration and try again!

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Forbidden Stars, Talisman: Cataclysm + Woodlands + Firelands + Harbinger, Elder Sign: Gates of Arkham + Omens of Ice, XCOM: Evolution, Relic: Halls of Terra
Games that will soon be published are: Rambo the Board Game, Lawyer Up, Conan: Eternal Warfare
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Boarding House: London, Masquerade Ball, Dreamweavers, Demolition City
I'm planning to crowdfund: Lawyer Up, Conan: Eternal Warfare
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Everything, it never stops until its published! But mainly Dreamweavers and Lawyer Up
Games that I'm playtesting are: Deep, Conan: Eternal Warfare
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Bastions of Earth, Journeys in Steam, Primordial
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: So many. I have idea files for about 30 games, 5 that I could turn into prototypes pretty easily.

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
As many as I can, including Game Maker's Lab, Card and Board Game Developers 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?
Star Trek, Coke Zero, VHS

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?

What is something you learned in the last week?
That the ruins of Pompeii contain ancient graffiti with your mom jokes and graphic sexual phrases.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Chillstep, history/fantasy/sci-fi, good ones.

What was the last book you read?
On Writing by Stephen King

Do you play any musical instruments?
No, but I wish I did.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I haven’t thrown up in 20 years.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Decided to try and climb an oceanside cliff without ropes. Part of the cliff weakened by moss gave way and I almost fell 30 feet onto wave swept rocks. Took me 20 minutes to slowly pull myself up. Maybe more stupid than crazy!

Who is your idol?
I don't do idols.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Go everywhen. Take pictures.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Ambivert. Its a real thing!

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
My own. With shapeshifting, time manipulation, and super speed. So like Flash and Mystiques baby.

Have any pets?
None currently, but I want a kitten.

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?
Classic games like chess, checkers, and especially go will live on. Their rules are well known and the pieces and boards are easy to recreate with basic elements. Sure would be nice if bigotry of all kinds would be wiped out by a big 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):
Thanks, Mom!

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

Be awesome to each other, and play lots of games!


Arma virumque canō, Trōiae quī prīmus ab ōrīs Ītaliam, fātō profugus, Lāvīniaque vēnit

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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