Tuesday, July 21, 2020

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 234:Nikolas Lundström Patrakka

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:Nikolas Lundström Patrakka
Day Job:Music and language teacher.
Designing:Two to five years.
Facebook:Nikolas Lundström Patrakka
Find my games at:In the Dragon Dawn Production catalog
Today's Interview is with:

Nikolas Lundström Patrakka
Interviewed on: 5/29/2020

This week I'm happy to introduce you all to Nikolas Lundström Patrakka, a designer who has been working with the team that brought us Perdition's Mouth: Abyssal Rift. He's worked on several of the expansions for the horror themed rondel based dungeon crawler. That's not all that Nikolas has worked on though. Read on to learn more about Nikolas and his 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?
A passion for gaming and an abundance of ideas made me want to create and participate.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Perdition's Mouth: Soul Spire and a yet to be announced card game.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
I've worked on several expansions for Perdition's Mouth: Abyssal Rift such as Traitor Guard and the scenario pack.

What is your day job?
Music and language teacher.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At home or at the store.

Who do you normally game with?
Friends, family and people I meet at local meetups or at my FLGS.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Likely one of the many prototypes I am working on. Among the people I tend to invite co-ops, resource management euros and Magic: the Gathering tend to be popular.

And what snacks would you eat?
Snacks? while playing...?

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?

What’s your favorite FLGS?

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
I would have to pick Magic: the Gathering as my favourite. Despite all it's issues, the design, history and richness of formats puts it in a category of its own. The old Swedish version of Dungeon Quest (Drakborgen) is probably the worst game that I still enjoy. The potential of getting stuck in some rubble in the very first room you enter to then die from running out of time before being able to leave can feel pretty back breaking. It does feel "realistic" in a sense and is so far away from modern design philosophy that I can't help but to love it.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Drafting is definitely up there. The way drafting allows a game to evolve according to what your group thinks is good or not, really allows well crafted drafting games to play out differently every time. Action selection in the style of Race for the Galaxy and Puerto Rico is also something I really enjoy. I don't know that I have a least favourite mechanic. I think it all comes down to how it is implemented and in what context.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Star Craft the Board Game

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, RPG 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?
Never played

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?
It really depends. Each game tends to have a first "Hook", something like a component, a theme or mechanic that becomes the first seed. From there, I try to have the mechanics feed into the theme and vice versa.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Richard Garfield and Eric Lang.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Mostly other games but sometimes works of fiction like films and books.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
A lot of solo testing to start and then slowly expanding to family and friends. Once the game plays well in those settings I'll start bringing it to meet ups or organize playtests at home.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
While I've done work for other people's games I haven't actually co-designed anything so I can't really answer that question.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Finding time to work on all of my ideas.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Travellers is a lesser known Sci-Fi show which has a theme ripe for a great social deduction game.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Ideas are worthless without action.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Reach out to publishers and designers and see if you can help in playtesting. This is a great way to learn. Make variants for games you like and post them on BGG for feedback.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: The Scenario Pack expansion for Perdition's Mouth: Abyssal Rift.
Games that will soon be published are: A yet to be announced adventure card game.
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Doing development and playtesting on Perdition's Mouth: Soul Spire.
Games that I'm playtesting are: A yet to be announced adventure card game.
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: A fantasy themed I split you choose game.
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: A semi cooperative dungeon crawling card game.

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

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, either, What is Betamax?

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Music and computer games.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Classical, Sci-Fi, Mixed

What was the last book you read?
Tiamat's Wrath

Do you play any musical instruments?
Yes, Guitar.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
As a kid I made my own version of Monopoly :)

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
As a kid I played said version of Monopoly solo!

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Probably break it, time travel does not sound like a good idea.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?

Have any pets?

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?
The standard deck of playing cards.

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):
Dragon Dawn Production for being a great publisher publishing unique and exciting games!

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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