Tuesday, July 2, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 178: Liz Marr

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:Liz Marr
Location:Chicago, IL.
Day Job:I am a e-commerce rep /product development for a distro that sells; E-juice, smoking hardware, etc. Nothing too exciting, lol.
Designing:One to two years.
BGG:SUMMONED: The Devil Inside Edition
YouTube:Attack from Marrs Games Chicago
Other:Indie Game Alliance: SUMMONED "The Devil Inside"
Find my games at:The Game Crafter
Today's Interview is with:

Liz Marr
Interviewed on: 1/12/2019

This week's interview is with another Chicago area designer. Liz Marr is building up a library of off the wall games with unusual themes, starting with SUMMONED "The Devil Inside", a party game about challenging your opponents to do dares or be cursed. Look for other titles from Liz and her company, Attack from Marrs Games. Read on to learn more about Liz and her current 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 was working in corporate america and missed being creative. I did art my whole life, I love games and building things. I had a gathering one day with my friends, they are a good mix of personalities. As we were playing a game, some people needed a break, others started their own conversations, and some of us was about just the game. So I came up with a game idea that night, and started to write down my idea.

What game or games are you currently working on?
I am currently working on completing my updates for SUMMONED “The Devil inside” our party game. We just ended the Indiegogo campaign for SUMMONED and are now in the fulfillment stages. I am also working on our next party game, and we will be making a Sub Company “Little Green Kids”, that will kids games. We have a kid camping game in development now, but we won’t be making prototypes for that game until 2020.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
I own my own Indie Publishing company, so SUMMONED will be my first Published game, once it is funded. I wanted to make my own Publishing company to help people like me who never did this before. So now we are taking game pitches, but the entries can just be ideas of a game. If we decide to move forward we will help the creator from ground zero. We want to help other creatives who are just starting out grow together with us.

What is your day job?
I am a e-commerce rep /product development for a distro that sells; E-juice, smoking hardware, etc. Nothing to exciting, lol.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At home, I like being the host.

Who do you normally game with?
Friends or my niece. My niece is getting into board games. I brought over a Kickstarter card game named Quirk that I got for her. Now she is hooked on board and card games. My nephew is too young still but he will be next.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
I would definitely play Villains, or Walking Dead Risk. Risk does bring out the trust issues we all have when people need to take photos of the board before they use the bathroom.

And what snacks would you eat?
Popcorn or Nacho Cheese Doritos.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Depending on the game. If something spooky, I would play some Industrial. If it is something chill, I would play either 90's top or 90's alternative. So it is depending on the feel of the game.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Dice Dojo in Chicago, IL.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
I would say now that Fireball Island is back, that is my favorite. I played that game for years when I was younger. I wanna say Gravwell is my least favorite, but I still enjoy playing it. Worst game I ever played? The exploding pig game my niece made me play. I have not found a bad game yet, with the more grown up games.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I like Territory Building or Area Movement games. My least Favorite, Memory games, I can't remember what I had to eat this morning. I am horrible at those games.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Fireball Island, the new one. I need to get it!

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

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card Games, RPG 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 do the theme first, then working the mechanics around that.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I have never entered or won a game contest.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
I get ideas from my everyday life and the people I am around. Like in SUMMONED i was inspired by my party situation, and my love for horror movies.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I start off with people I know that don't play games often. I want to make games that everyone can understand and play. So I play test in levels by starting off with new players, social players, than I send it off to play test groups.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I don't mind either. I enjoy working alone, but I also enjoy working with others.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Funds! Having to work 10 hours, 6 days a week at my day job. Then working full time after on my own company and games can be crazy hard. I live alone with my dog, so I have to work a day job and do extra things to get funds for equipment, marketing etc. So mixing no sleep, money stress, and going through the game development process can make a sane person go crazy. But I have been lucky to find support on twitter. I feel like the board game community helps with emotional support when things get challenging.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I wouldn't even know how to answer that, lol. My brain is always at "100", so I will save you from a 50 page long response with the crazy ideas in my head.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Nothing, even though I have ran into some walls. I enjoy learning, and growing on my feet. So I wouldn't of wished for any "pre warning" about anything. Because I would still be in the same place I am now.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
My only advice would be to treat the game you are designing as a game. If elements of your game or designs don't work out. If you hear that players don't Dig something in your game, it is hard to not take it personally. I treat every hurdle as just that, I need to find out a way to get over that hurdle. Working a lot on something you’re passionate about, it becomes a part of you. So listening and learning to everything people have to say about your game is key. Don't take it personally, because the end goal is to make a game everyone will love to play.

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: SUMMONED "The Devil Inside
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Our Marjuana Theme Game, we still have to name it.
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Our kids camping game where kids will do tasks to win parts to build a campsite. First player to build their campsite wins.

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
IGA developers group on Facebook

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! but I do love me some Picard. Pepsi...and VHS

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I like to do MMA to unwind. I also make cosplay.

What is something you learned in the last week?
How to work OBS to make my video content better.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
I love horror movies, Elvira is my hero. When it comes to books, I like comics. I am a big Johnny the homicidal maniac comics. I actually used to Minor in music so I listen to everything. But the goth in me still love Industrial.

What was the last book you read?
Sin in Second City

Do you play any musical instruments?
I do actually, I have picked up on ukulele. But before that I have played Bass, drums, Piano and organ.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I am pretty weird and had an interesting life lol, so a lot would surprise people.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I was a manager at a night club. My boss went out of town and wanted me to drive his nice SUV to pick up our booked entertainment. While pulling out the car to drive to the airport I hit a pole and destroyed the passenger side door. I proceeded to pick up the entertainment and ended up fixing the SUV before my boss came back. He never knew about it.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I went to a casino and accidentally thought I was playing a penny game. I kept hitting a bonus round and winning. My friend came up to me and started freaking out. I then found out, I was playing a 50 cent machine and won over $500 in 2 mins.

Who is your idol?
Elvira, she is herself. She has kept in the spotlight, still working on new things and has always done it without losing who she is.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I wouldn't do anything, but a part of me would maybe stop by in the renaissance times. Grab some Mead and hang out lol.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Both, Can I be both?

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
I guess does Harley Quinn define as half hero? lol I would be her, because she is the product of the world. Even though she had a crazy life, she still loves and cares. But she will also switch over to kickass when needed.

Have any pets?
I dog named Chewbacca aka Chewie.

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 hope Monopoly survives, because if you think an apocalyptic life is hard. Try playing monopoly without killing someone. I would actually pick a video game to be wiped out. The free one that came with Sega when it first came out. When the guys become werewolves. It was the worst game ever lol.

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):
A Shout out to Emma from Emmerse Studios aka the wise owl. She has helped me a lot in my growth in board games, and had to listen to my crazy rants lol.

Thanks for answering all my crazy questions!

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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