Tuesday, February 4, 2020

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 209: Alex Wolf

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:Alex Wolf
Location:Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Day Job:I am a data analyst at an insurance company.
Designing:Two to five years.
BGG:Spielcraft Games
Facebook:Spielcraft Games
Other:For Glory on Kickstarter
Find my games at:On Kickstarter
Today's Interview is with:

Alex Wolf
Interviewed on: 8/13/2019

Last summer at Gen Con I got together with a few other game designers for a few hours to chat and play a few games. One of the games I played was For Glory by Alex Wolf. This was a fun deckbuilding and arena combat style game that blended some interesting combat mechanics with very unique deckbuilding elements that seemed to blend elements from many other deckbuilding games into its own interesting combination. Be sure to check out For Glory on Kickstarter today!

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?
I started designing tabletop games without a particular reason. I just started having ideas and started doing the work to get them out of my head and into the world.
What game or games are you currently working on?
I am about to launch a Kickstarter campaign for what will be my first published game, called For Glory. It's a 2-player game about building a gladiator school, sending gladiators to different arenas, and fighting arena battles in Ancient Rome. The focus is on the arena combat system. Players use a deck-building mechanic to build a network of patrons, recruit gladiators and train them in various tactics in preparation for the arena battles.
Have you designed any games that have been published?
Not yet.
What is your day job?
I am a data analyst at an insurance company.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Literally anywhere.
Who do you normally game with?
I play a lot with my wife, Bobo. There is also an awesome gaming community here in Omaha, and I play with loads of friends that I've met over the years at various local game stores and board game cafes.
If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
I usually go for medium-heavy games, in terms of strategic depth (as opposed to complexity).
And what snacks would you eat?
Salisbury steak
Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Sometimes. All kinds.
What’s your favorite FLGS?
All of the FLGSs around Omaha are awesome.
What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
My current favorite is Imperial by Mac Gerdts.
What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I think all mechanics can potentially be used effectively. I don't have a favorite. When a mechanic works in a game, it just works.
What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Diplomacy. The mind games in Diplomacy are some of the most fun interactions I've had as a gamer, but it's an event if it ever gets played.
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, Miniatures Games

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 basically always have the idea faucet turned on, and sometimes an idea pops out. The theme and mechanics are pretty intertwined usually.
Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
When I am not being inundated with information from the internet, ideas flow pretty freely.
How do you go about playtesting your games?
My wife is my number one playtester. I also constantly invite friends to play, and I am a member of the Spielmasons, a group of game designers that help each other develop games here in Omaha.
Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I like to work alone, because I need to spend a lot of time just thinking.
What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
There are a lot of challenges, but the biggest one is probably sticking with a game for the time that it takes to develop it (well over a year for me), and not getting discouraged when a play test uncovers a big problem with the mechanics.
If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Rick and Morty. Actual history is a pretty sweet IP though, and the license is free.
What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Have an idea? Make a prototype and play test now! Literally right now.
Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: For Glory on Kickstarter
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Too many
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Way too many
Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
All of the ones that I know about

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?
Starship Troopers. Diet Pepsi. VHS.
What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
What do you mean, besides tabletop games?
What is something you learned in the last week?
Theseus was the dude who defeated the minotaur.
Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
All, Sci Fi, Sci Fi
What was the last book you read?
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle
Do you play any musical instruments?
I dabble in synth and guitar.
Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I once ordered a thin-crust pizza from Papa John's.
What would you do if you had a time machine?
Visit past and future civilizations, just to look, but I would get sucked into some plot that would end up ruining the present and whatnot. I mean, I'd like to think that I could resist changing stuff, but I know myself well enough.
Are you an extrovert or introvert?
If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Superman. Perhaps not as exciting as others, but I'd want to be ridiculously overpowered. Lol.
Have any pets?
Not at the moment.
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):
Shout out to all of the play testers out there. You are the real heroes.

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

Be sure to check out For Glory on Kickstarter right now!

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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