Tuesday, June 16, 2020

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 229: Rebecca Horovitz

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:Rebecca Horovitz
Day Job:This. This is my day job. I am an entrepreneur hoping to make my way into the industry as my full time job.
Designing:Two to five years.
YouTube:>Annapurna Board Game
Find my games at:Kickstarter on the way, otherwise, it's in the Steam workshop for Tabletop Simulator.
Today's Interview is with:

Rebecca Horovitz
Interviewed on: 5/3/2020

This week I'm happy to introduce you to Rebecca Horovitz, a true all-around artist. She creates art in many different mediums, including board games! Annapurna: Leave No Trace Behind is her first game that she'll have on Kickstarter soon. Read on to learn more about Rebecca and her projects.

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 want to go into video game design as well and this seemed a place to show off my design skills. I fell in love with designing boardgames and plan to keep making them, even if I work on video games as well.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Annapurna: Leave no Trace Behind and a new game that involves moving parts and concentric circles.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Annapurna is my first game, but we are almost there. We hope to have the kickstarter this year.

What is your day job?
This. This is my day job. I am an entrepreneur hoping to make my way into the industry as my full time job.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
I like at home or at a game shop.

Who do you normally game with?
My roomates.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Fury of Dracula, Mansions of Madness, or D&D.

And what snacks would you eat?
Almost anything.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Whatever music fits the game, unless there is a lot of thinking or discussion.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
It unfortunately closed last year.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
I don't remember the bad games, I delete them from my memory. I love playing the Firefly RPG, D&D and horror games like Mansions of Madness and Betrayal at House on the Hill.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I'm not a fan of games or mechanics fully dictated by chance. A roll of the dice is one thing, but when the big end of the game is determined by it, it can feel cheap to me.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
I bought Cthulhu Wars years ago and still have yet to play it. I played it once and fell in love.

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

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board 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?
Varies. One I tried to make one game and it turned into something else. Another I came up with a mechanic I wanted to try, a few times I thought of places in the market that need to be filled, or problems. For instance the lack of games that are friendly to those with audio or visual impairments is a problem I wish to tackle with a future game.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Not yet.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Two. Curt Covert of Smirk and Dagger and Christoper Badell of Greater Than Games

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
While playtesting or playing other games. Or talking to people.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
First by myself, then with friends, then at local stores or cafes, then at colleges and conventions. Sometimes I will test a specific mechanic, or look for opinions on art. Other times I will throw out the whole game and look at reactions. During, I take notes on what I had to explain or what reactions people had. At the end I will usually give out surveys.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I always am open to working with others. My dream is to collaborate on designs or offer assistance to other designers.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Rules. Writing rules and getting people to understand them. The second, and just as difficult, is getting noticed.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I honestly don't know. I'd have to have a design that fit the IP before I decided. I don't want to make a game and then throw an IP on it, I'd want to have a game that fits with the IP. Although I'd Love to work for Wizards of the Coast.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
You don't need to print your design and have it look pretty out the get go. Use paper and slap on some sticky notes.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Re-re-re-read your rules. Have other people re-re-re-read your rules. Then have a stranger read your rules. I can't tell you how many times I changed things, not because the mechanics didn't work, but because the way they worked was difficult to explain. That said, don't change the full game to fit the rules, two or three people out of twenty not understanding is going to happen. People hate reading rules, so make sure they are easy to read and reference. When in doubt ask yourself if a child could understand or misconstrue it, because someone Will misconstrue it if it's possible. And look for typos over and over.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
I'm planning to crowdfund: Annapurna
Games that I'm playtesting are: Spinning board game
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Spinning race game. A modular board RPG/adventure game.
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Underwater in the pool game. Game for the auditory and visually impaired. Movie Design Memory Game.

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Yeah, there are quite a few. Some are me, some are my page.

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?
Make it so number one.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I have too many. I paint in oils. I draw and write. I'm a rockhound and tumble the stones I find. I enjoy carving, and making jewelry and wire wrapping. I'm learning how to draw on my tablet and trying to get better at realism in my art. Oh, and photography.

What is something you learned in the last week?
Tabletop Simulator has a limit to the level of detail in imported models, and how to lower the level of detail in Blender so you can import said models.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
I like rock and metal with a slight blues or country twang, lots of music in minor keys or major keys with power chords. I'm currently watching How To Get Away With Murder, very good show. I love books, but haven't read many of late, been busy working on my own art.

What was the last book you read?
Re-reading Dracula.

Do you play any musical instruments?

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I work in almost every medium when it comes to art, except thread. I can't sew or use a sewing machine at All.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Jumped from a second story onto a bean bag. I missed, but rolled out of it. My butt was super sore.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I was spray painting some cabinets with stencils and the spray paint got underneath the stencil. It left an awesome mark. I ended up spray painting the cabinets putting textured paper on the wet paint to pull it off and leave reverse stencils on them. It looks awesome.

Who is your idol?
My Dad. He worked extraordinarily hard and built his own business from the ground up.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Travel to numerous points in the past and draw stuff. Maybe get lessons from a painter, but probably not until I knew how stepping out would mess with causality.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Introvert. I love people, but being around them makes me nervous and tired.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Dr. Strange. Magic yo. Immortality. Teleporting. Infinite beer.

Have any pets?
Two kitties. Athena and Artemis.

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?
Anything simple and transportable with dice or anything with records online. What will be popular? RPG's for escapism, anything with betting because gambling is a way to make money and an escape, and anything that causes laughter. I hope single use plastics and the way the current economy works gets thrown out, to that end I hope every copy of Monopoly gets destroyed.

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):
All the people going out on the daily to keep our world running while this virus is controlling our lives. Thank you.

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

Annapurna is on Tabletopia and Tabletop Simulator and we will be at VGC Con.

The sun sets past the horizon, and I see the light fade into a promise of opportunity.

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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