Tuesday, February 12, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 158: Cole Kornell

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:Cole Kornell
Location:Ohio, United States
Day Job:Freelance Director/Filmmaker
Designing:One to two years.
Webpage:www.alliancecardgame.com or www.colekornell.com
BGG:Cole Kornell or Alliance The Card Game
Facebook:Alliance The Card Game or Cole Kornell
YouTube:Cole Kornell or Alliance The Card Game
Instagram:@alliancecardgame or @colagorn4ever
Find my games at:Kickstarter at the moment & www.alliancecardgame.com
Today's Interview is with:

Cole Kornell
Interviewed on: 1/16/2019

Cole Kornell is currently running a Kickstarter campaign for his first game, a game he's been working on since he was eight years old! Alliance the Card Game features some incredible artwork, so be sure to check it out on Kickstarter now!

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?
To make a child's dream come true. When I was about 8 years old, I was a fan of card games like Yu-Gi-Oh, Pokemon, & Magic: The Gathering. However, my friends and I never played by all the rules. We really liked the artwork and characters though. And I figured if we weren't playing by all the complicated rules, then surely other kids weren't as well. So I decided to make my own game. I loved battling games like those, so I made my own, but simplified so that other kids or anyone could learn the rules quickly and play! All my friends loved it. Since then, I kept it in the back of mind, wanting to make it a real game. When I went to college for Film (Ringling College of Art & Design), I took my game with me to see what some artists/20 something year olds thought. The result, they loved it! That's when I knew had something.

What game or games are you currently working on?
I am working on Alliance: The Card Game. After graduation, May 2017, I started developing Alliance. Over 1 year and a half later, Alliance was born with an all new design, characters, and story.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
No, as this is my first game.

What is your day job?
Freelance Director/Filmmaker

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At home or at a friends house, in a comfy living room, in comfy clothes.

Who do you normally game with?
My friends. Every few weeks, when we can meet, my friends and I play games like Catan, Cards Against Humanity, 5 Seconds Game, & even Alliance.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Catan for sure. We are planning to play Catan: Game of Thrones next, as we are huge fans of that show and Catan. To be honest, I've watched some gameplay reviews on YouTube about it, because I really want to play it.

And what snacks would you eat?
We would have maybe popcorn or ice cream and other deserts, with a glass of wine.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Yes. Sometimes we like epic, or dramatic fantasy music playlists because it makes the game that much more exciting. Especially for games like Alliance.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
It used to be our card and comic shop at my town square growing up. I would go there and play in Yu-Gi-Oh tournaments. However, it left when the Walmart was built. Now we don't have a local one.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Catan is my favorite board game. Love having to manage your resources while dealing with the other player's personalities and backstabbing. Stratego is fun as well. Least favorite game would be a classic like Monopoly, but I'll still play it with friends if they want to. Worst game I ever played was Yahtzee. I don't get it the fun in it. I only enjoy yelling "Yahtzee!", and I think that's the only reason it is still around.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Dice. Love the excitement that comes with chance and fate. All from the roll of the die. That's why it's a big part of Alliance. I don't like puzzle boards or mechanics that require putting lots of pieces together. I think it takes too much time to set up, and complicates things. I know I say this after I said I like Catan. But truth be told, usually I'm the not one in the group putting it together. Ssh. Don't tell anyone.

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

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 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?
Theme and story always come first for me. Outside of this I'm a director/filmmaker, where I am always thinking about storytelling. So before remaking my card game, from when I was 8, the story and theme came first. The title "Alliance" came from a fantasy novel I've been writing. So did the characters and existential theme of good vs evil and honor. Then I built the design around that. Luckily I had the original mechanics, so I started with that and tested different changes and added things. One of the things I learned was it was faster and more exciting to not have cards in your hand at all. So you always place the next card from your deck, not knowing what it is, hoping for the best. I also kept in mind that I'm not just making a card game. I'm not just making a story. I'm making an empire. It's not just a card game. It's a world full of story and other characters that can always be expanded on. It's bigger than me and a game. It can be much more than that.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
No, but I hope to!

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
I'm still new in this industry and learning about all the different game designers, so it's too early to tell.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
As a creative, I always have to create things. It fills my soul or I don't feel like myself. Usually the right music playlist will inspire me, or when I'm alone with my thoughts when I'm trying to sleep. Late at night I tend to feel my most creative. I think of all these different ideas, stories, and goals that I want accomplish. Side effect...it keeps me up.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
For Alliance, I've played it with many friends and have given it to acquaintances and mutual friends. I have Feeback Forms for anyone who plays to fill out. This way I get feedback and can see if there's anything else to adjust. These people then pass on the prototype to others who will then play and fill out the Feeback Forms. When people play test, always make it aware to them that you want brutal honesty. You should want it. If somebody hates it, find out why. There may be something worth looking at or changing that will save you lots of money in the long run.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Teamwork makes the dream work. Unless you got all the skills and talents you need, then you'll need others to help you. I designed the game and made early card designs. However, I like professionalism and accept nothing less for my product. So I hired an artist who makes stunning artwork for the card artwork, and a graphic designer for my logo, card design, and packaging. Luckily, I'm a director/filmmaker, so with a crew and VFX artist I've been able to make my own commercial and videos for it. This has saved me thousands!

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
The biggest challenge is getting it in front of people. You think you have a great game, but you really won't know until people play it. In order for people to play it you need to make it and get prototypes. Prototypes cost lots of money. Another challenge that goes along with being an artist in general, is that you poor all of your being into a piece/project, that may take weeks, months, or years, and then a viewer or player can look at it for a second and go, "eh". The beauty is that not everyone will have that same reaction. You can't have the positive without the negative.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
This is something I've thought about with Alliance. I'd love to make an Alliance: Game of Thrones version, a Star Wars version, and others.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
It will take everything you got it. There will be times when you doubt yourself and what you've done because of all the time and money you've put in it, and then there will times to be greatly proud. I learned that you must have full confidence in yourself and your game, in order for it to be successful. If you don't care, than why should others?

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
I would tell others that you must remember why you started making it in the first place. I think of that 8 year old Cole, who made his own game, so anyone could play and easily understand it.

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: Alliance: The Card Game
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: Alliance:The Card Game
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Alliance: The Card Game (probably self publish)
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Alliance: The Card Game. Still play testing and will take feedback from our backers. More will be added in the manufactured version, if needed.
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: One game, but I can't share all my ideas or they may not be my ideas anymore ;)

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Board Game Exposure, Board Game Spotlight, Board Game Reviewers & Media, Tabletop Backer Party, THE BOARDGAME GROUP, & Everything Board Games Community

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 WARS always. Pepsi, but Coke for headaches. VHS

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?

What is something you learned in the last week?
You can do everything you can to the best of your ability, but there comes a point where you must let go and have a trust in all of your hard work.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
80's, 90's, and a little bit of everything else. No rap. Fantasy novels. Time period, Fantasy/Sci Fi, Drama, Romance, Adventure movies (I don't mean all in one lol, but would watch it).

What was the last book you read?
Angel In A Foxhole.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Used to play guitar and trumpet. None at the moment. Always wanted to learn piano.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I believe Dragons were real "once upon a time". It's too convenient that cultures around the world, that were separated for thousands of years, depicted these awesome creatures.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Making Alliance is financially the craziest thing I've ever done.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
A video project idea with my classmates became my career and passion.

Who is your idol?
Optimus Prime, Gandalf, Obi-Wan Kenobi, Steven Spielberg, my father

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I would check out the dinosaurs and maybe fix a few mistakes I made, but mostly the dinosaurs.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
I find that I'm both. I need to be around people and may appear to be an extrovert, however I need time with just myself and my thoughts. Time to recharge, so I can be the real me.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Iron Man because that's actually possible if I had the money. Plus I think I could be Tony Stark. Like him I wouldn't be afraid to say "I'm Iron Man".

Have any pets?
A Border Collie named Jesse James and an orange Tabby cat named, Cowboy. The best brothers I could ask for.

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?
Alliance: The Card Game, the United States, and cheese can survive. I hope man-buns and low pants are gone 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):
Here's a shoutout to my family, who have always supported me and encouraged me to follow my dreams. To my Dad specifically who, through in this process when I have had doubt, reminds me of what I have and what I've done. To Alex Stubbs and Emma Hegner, thank you for being the biggest fans of Alliance and for your support in its creation. Without your love for the game, it would have been harder to make.

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

The job you don't want will always be there for you. Your dreams, opportunities, and loves will not be. Build your own life. Don't believe you have to be what society or someone else tells you to be.

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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