Tuesday, June 2, 2020

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 227: Peter Seiler

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:Peter Seiler
Location:Wellington, CO, USA
Day Job:I'm a computer engineer by trade, and I currently work for HP Inc. in Fort Collins, Colorado. I design desktop workstation motherboards and have been really enjoying the work. I am passionate about inventing, and have quite a few patents pending and granted.
Designing:Two to five years.
BGG:Top Tale
Facebook:Yub Nub Games
YouTube:Yub Nub Games
Find my games at:www.yubnubgames.com - I have a PnP hosted on my website now, so people can download the PnP demo to play Top Tale prior to the Kickstarter.
Today's Interview is with:

Peter Seiler
Interviewed on: 5/3/2020

This week I'm happy to introduce you to Peter Seiler, the founder of Yub Nub Games and designer of the upcoming "Top Tale" social party game. "Top Tale" is Peter's current big project and he has a lot of plans for the future of the game. Read on to learn more about Peter and "Top Tale"!

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?
One day I was shoveling horse sh!t, then a concept for a game and a name for that game hit me! It was going to be a game where there were relatable topics, and people would give responses to said topics with opinions or experiences, and then you had to "top" everyone else's responses. I decided the name would be, "Top That!" Long story short, I've changed the name twice due to trademark conflicts, and the focus on the game is now sharing experiences or short tales, which lead to the name, "TOP TALE". As for why I started? I had what seemed like a decent idea to make a few extra bucks, and so I ran with it! Even though it's been a very windy road, over two years later, I'm still running!

What game or games are you currently working on?
My one and only game that I'm working on is TOP TALE, which is a casual party card game that helps players, "Get To Know Your Fellow Human". The first release of this game will be The O.G.: Volume 1, which is planned to Kickstart in Summer 2020 (trending late July). The game is designed to be extremely scalable, through offering several volumes of the original game, as well as expansions, such as a NSFW edition, speed-round decks, a kids edition, and industry specific booster packs. Depending on how much funding I get, I plan to also develop a mobile app for people to take TOP TALE where ever they go. The TOP TALE series will likely consume all my "free time" for the foreseeable future, so that's what I'm concentrating on.
TOP TALE is relatively simple by design, being a deck of topic 100 cards, where each topic is designed to solicit short tales from players. In each round, a card is drawn and players tell short tales in response to the topic. After all have responded, each player votes for their favorite response, and the person with the most votes wins the round and gets the card. If there's a tie, you have a tie-breaker round with another topic, between those in the tie. Everyone votes on their favorite response again, and the winner gets both the original card, and the tie-breaker round(s) card(s). Game play continues until someone has amassed a certain number of cards, or you call it quits. Most enjoy the act of playing the game and getting to know people on a deeper level, even more than trying to win the game. The topics in the O.G. decks are balanced between light topics that often bring up funny tales, and some dark topics, that get people to open up about serious topics. The gameification of telling tales gets people to share more about themselves than they usually do in casual conversation, and the result is that people often develop a better understanding and respect for the other players. The game can be therapeutic, and works great for just about any group of humans, but like all games, it's not for everyone.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Not yet. I've been designing TOP TALE for a bit over two years now, and I'm close to publishing through crowdfunding. I'm doing all my homework to set up a successful campaign, and play testers have almost unanimously attested to the great value of the game, so it's only a matter of time before it is published and available for all to help get to know their fellow humans.

What is your day job?
I'm a computer engineer by trade, and I currently work for HP Inc. in Fort Collins, Colorado. I design desktop workstation motherboards and have been really enjoying the work. I am passionate about inventing, and have quite a few patents pending and granted. Inventing a card game is just an extension of that passion in a non-technical realm. No matter what I do for a day job, I'll always be inventing something. Growing up I always thought I would become a computer programmer and design video games for a living. I realized out of the blue that I'm actually becoming an analog/digital game designer without even really realizing it for the past two years.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
In general, I'm down to play a game wherever. Whether it be camping, at a friends house, at home, or at some random location. Tables are kind of handy when playing a game, but it's usually not necessary.

Who do you normally game with?
Traditionally it was all friends and family, but since I started designing my own game, it's almost exclusively been with strangers, and about half the time, I'm playing TOP TALE. That's kind of how it's supposed to go when getting into game design. You have to test your product with as many complete strangers as possible and continuously work to improve your design.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
These days, it would be play testing TOP TALE... However if I were to play something else, I think I'd try to go back to my roots and enjoy a good game of Trivial Pursuit.

And what snacks would you eat?
Twinkies! Not entirely of course, but I do enjoy me a Twinkie. I have flavor text on each card in the form of a silly response to each topic. Some might pick up that there are... trends, in the responses. I eat a lot of candy, and junk food as snacks honestly. At least it hasn't killed me yet.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
I lost some of my hearing while in the Marine Corps for five years with a tank battalion. So, I've found that listening to music while doing anything that requires me to hear when other people are talking is a bit distracting. If music is on, it's got to be mostly instrumental and fairly low so I can hear people better. Sounds blend together these days unfortunately.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Honestly, I've not gotten to frequent one. If I ever have spare time again, I'd love to branch out and play more games. For now, I've been getting new games to try through Kickstarter, which also helps me see what to do, and what not to do, for my own Kickstarter campaign.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
I really enjoy chess. It seems that I never play it though. Perhaps it's because there are more than two people to play a game, or because it's too much of a classic. Either way, there's a reason it's been around forever.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Video 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?
I've really only designed the one game. With TOP TALE, I started out more with a mechanic (topic cards that people give responses to), and a name ("Top That!"my first failed name). Whether that's how I design future games or not, who knows, but for TOP TALE it seemed to lead somewhere compelling.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I've not. It would be interesting to enter TOP TALE into such a competition.... I'll have to go find such an opportunity now.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Not really. I've not gotten to know many game designers, at least not big-time game designers.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
It seems I get some really great ideas while either in the shower or while cleaning horse stalls. I think it has something to do with the brainless, and repetitive motions, that allow you to think about whatever.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I've been going to conferences when I can to playtest with other designers and people that seek out games to playtest, but I've also done a fair amount of playtesting at local breweries. I offer anyone who wants to play a free pint of beer in return for feedback, and some have played for hours. That tactic has worked out rather well, up until COVID-19. Since conventions started getting canceled, I've been struggling to get playtesting in, since my game isn't very visual to be a hit on Tabletop Simulator, and it's really a game best played in person, so you can see body language and really engage with other humans.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I honestly like to work as a team, but it's a lot to ask others to work on your passion project. I've had an incredible graphics designer in my friend, Meagan Tallman, but it's a lot to ask someone if you can't afford to pay them much. I've also been getting support and help from my wife, Kirren Seiler. Outside of that, I've had countless people give advice and help out in small ways, but it all adds up!

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Staying motivated is tough when you're doing it all as a side job. My day job really takes a lot out of me, both mentally and emotionally. My day job isn't very physical, so I end up struggling with mental and emotional fatigue more than anything. The important thing to do is not quit because you're tired. There's always tomorrow, but at the end of the day, you need to avoid relying on the fact that there's always tomorrow. It helps to go through bursts of progress once in a while.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
I wish someone told me how much money you have to sink into something like this up front. I figured I could do a lot of things for little money, but the reality of it is, that it takes money to make money.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Never be too proud to scrap a feature of your game design. Listen to your audience and let them be who decides what stays and goes. Of course you'll get outliers, so ask a bunch of people for their opinion, and then make a judgement call at the end of the day. It's your game, but you're designing it for as many people as you want to sell it to.

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: TOP TALE - The O.G.: Volume 1
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Nope. I'm going to try self-publishing first to see how it goes.
I'm planning to crowdfund: Yes, TOP TALE. Launching July 14, 2020.
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: TOP TALE: I've just received over two dozen manufactured games to send to reviewers, previewers, and other content creators. I'm willing to tweak a few things here or there, but the overall design is more or less final.

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Yes! As many as I can. Tabletop Game Kickstarter Advice, Tabletop Marketing Collaborative, Gateway and Filler Games Group, Game Retailers Who Back Kickstarters, The Boardgame Group, Board Games Launching on Kickstarter, Table Top Family Games, and more!

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! (..."Yub Nub" Games). Coke. VHS.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I enjoy hunting, fishing, camping, and generally being outdoors.

What was the last book you read?
Superintelligence. It's a heavy book that I'm listening to as part of an Artificial Intelligence book club at work... Certainly not light reading.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I played percussion (e.g. drums) growing up, a bit of guitar, and even some trumpet, but none of it really stuck.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
People are usually a bit surprised when I mention I'm a former Marine. I'm not as intense as most Marines go, and so strangers don't seem to expect that I was in the military, but then it seems to make perfect sense after they find out.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I once bit the head off of a live fish... Teenagers do some odd things.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I would use it to go back in time just a bit to place bets on things that are yet to happen. Then I would use the wealth to start my own companies and invent really cool things.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
A bit of both honestly. I grew up an introvert, and the Marine Corps reformed me and gave me confidence. Now, on the outside I come off as an extrovert, but in the end I still can feel a bit introverted sometimes.

Have any pets?
My wife has a lot of pets. I try not to claim any of them as my own though.

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?
Chess. That's a game that will never die. I wouldn't want one specific thing to be wiped out necessarily. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of stupid in this world, but you need the stupid to contrast with the good. How else are you going to appreciate the good?

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):
I would like to send a shout out to anyone with a large following that wouldn't mind helping me promote my game a bit. If you're out there, I could use some help getting humans to see my game and maybe give it a shot. Thanks in advance!

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

If you don't think TOP TALE is for you, that's fine. I completely get it. However, if you know someone that might like it, I'd appreciate the help spreading the word a bit. Please and thank you!


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.

No comments:

Post a Comment