Tuesday, September 24, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 190: Carlie Cornell

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:Carlie Cornell
Location:Mansfield, TX, USA
Day Job:Graphic design and marketing for Dragon Phoenix Games
Designing:Two to five years.
Facebook:Dragon Phoenix Games
YouTube:Dragon Phoenix Games
Today's Interview is with:

Carlie Cornell
Interviewed on: 8/21/2019 11:23:45

Carlie Cornell has only been designing games for a few years now, but she's launching her first Kickstarter today! Wacky Widgets is available now! Carlie also has several other games in development through Dragon Phoenix Games, a company she runs with her husband and design partner, Harvey. Carlie and Harvey also create cooperative variants for competitive games on their Games for Friends and Lovers channel, so check that out, too!

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?
After years of creating art and graphics for my husband's game, I decided to try my hand on the design side.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Wacky Widgets and Waiting Room

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Not yet.

What is your day job?
Graphic design and marketing for Dragon Phoenix Games

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At a table with friends

Who do you normally game with?
My husband every day, our Meet-Up game group about once a month, other friends weekly or monthly by appointment.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Oh boy! What wouldn't I want to play! I like most of Stefan Feld's games. Anything Midgard. Dungeon crawls (Gloomhaven and Dungeon Alliance currently getting a good amount of table time). Dice games: Colony, Too Many Bones. Silly magic games: Potion Explosion, Broom Service. Euros like Grand Austria Hotel, Yokohama.

And what snacks would you eat?
Popcorn. We have a machine that makes popcorn that's almost as good a movie popcorn.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
No. Much too distracting.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Madness Games and Comics, Plano, TX.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Current favorite: Defenders of the Last Stand. Least favorite that I still enjoy: Quest for El Dorado. Worst game ever: anything with zombies.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Favorite: dice manipulation. Least favorite: social deduction.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Merlin, played once. Gathering dust since.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures 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?
Theme first.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
My husband and I have been finalists more than once. No win yet.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Stefan Feld

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Usually in conversation with someone close. If something sets us to laughing, I'm ready to start designing.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Rough prototype, play with my husband, revise, play, revise, play. When it becomes playable and fun. We workshop it with the Tabletop Artisans Workshop in Plano, TX.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Team with my husband.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
I hate the fiddly details. And most of the fun is in there, dang it.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Robin Hobbs's dragons. Her Liveship Traders stories are the best dragon stories ever.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Start now. The market is going to get hot in 2008-2009.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Stay loose. Examine your assumptions. You might be too tied to a solution that isn't optimal for your game.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Burning Phoenix Inn
Games that will soon be published are: tbd
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: Wacky Widgets
Currently looking for a publisher I have: tbd
I'm planning to crowdfund: Storm Dragons, Mystical Conjuration, Elemental Sorcery and Beast Magic (trilogy of magic games)
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Wacky Widgets, Storm Dragons, Magic trilogy
Games that I'm playtesting are: Gathering Gloom
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: lots
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Waiting Room

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
I am active in the following Facebook groups: Board Game Spotlight, Women of Board Game Design, Dallas Designer Group, Tabletop Artisans Workshop

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?
Yes, Neither (allergic), VHS (late adopter when I saw the trend clearly)

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
singing opera, writing fiction

What is something you learned in the last week?
Even with a good outcome, time spent caring for a family member in the hospital is emotionally exhausting.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Music: opera or other sung stories. Books: beach reads, speculative fiction, technical material. Movies: rom-com, adventure, anything with sharp characters and sassy dialog.

What was the last book you read?
"A Wedding in December" by Anita Shreve. Looking for a new beach novel author. Just finished reading everything by Elin Hilderbrand and looking for the next new friend.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I sing.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I sang opera professionally for a number of years.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I spent a month in Johannesburg, South Africa caring for my (now-ex) husband when he contracted a nearly fatal infection of the liver. I had a driver who took me to the hospital each day because I was not safe traveling alone. Everyone I talked to there had a crazy story about a violent encounter and none of the stories took place at more than one degree of separation. Appalling. But then one of the men who shared a room with my husband invited us to dine with them to see a better side of South Africa. He and his gracious wife fed us on antelope stew and warthog sausage (both very tasty - I understand why lions like to eat them). He showed me the Southern Cross in the sky and we heard lions roaring in the distance at sunset. Very memorable experience.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
As a kid, we got a border collie puppy for Christmas. One of us suggested we name her Molly. My dad - in the other room - heard Holly. So she became Holly, the Merry Christmas Dog.

Who is your idol?
Leonardo DaVinci. He never stopped trying new things, thinking new thoughts. And he wasn't much into limiting his topics.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Visit my grandmothers as younger women. Both were remarkable women when I knew them, but I find it hard to imagine them in their prime. Would love to see them and have dinner and conversation.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Spiderman. That athleticism and depth perception. Both are a bit weak for me.

Have any pets?
A very sweet Maltese mix dog: Duchess

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?
Story telling will survive. And dice. The first because we are wired to think in stories. The second because they've been around forever. No reason to think they're going anywhere (sorry, all you determinists - is that a word?).

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):
Jamey Stegmaier: thanks, Jamey, for your sharing.

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

Did you like this interview?  Please 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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