Tuesday, September 8, 2020

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 243: Anthony Hore

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:Anthony Hore
Location:Vancouver, BC, Canada
Day Job:Graphic Designer & Art Director
Designing:Two to five years.
BGG:The Pet Cemetery
Facebook:The Pet Cemetery
Other:The Pet Cemetery on Kickstarter
Find my games at:On Kickstarter
Today's Interview is with:

Anthony Hore
Interviewed on: 7/20/2020

This week’s interview is with Anthony Hore, the designer behind The Pet Cemetery on Kickstarter right now! The Pet Cemetery is his first game to be published and it’s already funded in its Kickstarter campaign! Read on to learn more about Anthony and his other 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've always been a really creative person and I felt that I should try and combine that with my passion for boardgames. This is my first time creating a game so I wanted to make something that was fun, easy to learn and play, and something that had plenty of variety and replayability.

What game or games are you currently working on?
The Pet Cemetery

Have you designed any games that have been published?
No, I'm a first time game designer.

What is your day job?
Graphic Designer & Art Director

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At my good friend Ben’s house, they have a really great outdoor patio with a large table so we can enjoy being outside in the summer while also playing games.

Who do you normally game with?
I have a great group of 10 friends who we play with regularly. From larger campaigns with 3-4 people to fun Friday night games nights with the whole crew.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Currently I'm addicted to 'The Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth' as a campaign game with 3 of my closest friends.

And what snacks would you eat?
Pizza and red wine.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
We always have on The Lord of the Rings playlist on Spotify.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Rain City Games at International Village, Vancouver, Canada.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Favourite: Mansions of Madness Least Favourite: Fireball Island Worst: Don't Wake Daddy (from my childhood - the premise and story behind this game is just horrible)

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Dice throwing for both - it can be so amazing to throw successes but when you're on a bad streak, you're on a bad streak.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Tainted Grail - It's an amazing King Arthur inspired campaign game that I've only had a few hours to play but the rest of the crew are hung up on our other campaigns.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures Games, RPG Games, Video 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?
Mechanics are the most important to me when designing the game. I like to figure out the game play, the rubber banding for characters, how the cards or die influence character decisions and motivations. Then I love to test play the crap out of the prototype mechanics to get it right. Once that feels good then I come up with a great theme that I think works for the target audience of gamers.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
No - I wish!

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
I have favourite game illustrators at the moment because I have been so focused on getting the artwork for my game complete in the last few months - I’m most enamoured with Sam Yang who is a digital artist based out of Toronto - check him out on instagram @samdoesarts

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
For the game mechanics my best ideas or inspiration come from playing games and getting frustrated with how somethings don't work, or how the game has broken usability. I have always wanted to play games that feel seamless and clear, where the rules and gameplay match up well and make for a fair experience for all. When I find an issue I think about upgrading the mechanic and creating my own version of a game around it.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I first start with my core group of friends. We will playtest over and over again. Then I reach out to my local game store to get others playtesting and reviewing the game mechanics and art. Finally it's off to google and facebook to find some people who are a good fit for the mechanics or theme of the game to get some unbiased playtesting done.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I love working as part of a small team. For my first game 'The Pet Cemetery' I worked primarily with my partner on all the details and mechanics. I find that having a few other voices and minds in the mix help to really elevate and change the game play. However if it's more the 3 or 4 people then it just becomes a big mess and it's hard to stay focused.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
The biggest challenge is knowing when to take on feedback and when to let it go. I went through so many versions of the game while playtesting that I honestly can't quite remember how the game was first constructed. A lot of the feedback in terms of play and mechanics really helped to elevate and adjust the game however there were some pieces of feedback I knew I just had to let be as they were to help appease a specific person with a specific idea in mind.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I already have an idea for a Harry Potter dungeon crawler campaign game - but good luck getting JK Rowling to sign off on the IP, am I right!?!

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
That it's going to take so much time and effort. It's taken me nearly 2 years to get the game ready for Kickstarter and I don't know how I could have done it faster unless I focused full time on it.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
That you have to be brave and put it out there for people to review, playtest, and comment on. Sometimes it's hard because the game design can feel like your baby and hearing people pull it apart or give negative critiques breaks your heart. But at the end of the day it will make for a much more compelling game.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: None yet, my Kickstarter just went live September 1st.
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: The Pet Cemetery
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: RuPauls Drag Race: Cards for the Crown
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: A Harry Potter dungeon crawler campaign game and an interesting Battle Mage competitive game where you try to dominate the board.

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

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, Coke and Betamax all the way!

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Reading, writing, illustration, plants, video games, and baking.

What is something you learned in the last week?
That the little line on the bottom of a mug is to help water escape when it's in the dishwasher - weird I know, but I just found out about this today!

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Music: Anything I can sing along to, primarily from the 80's and 90's. Books: Fantasy fiction for the win, if there's magic then I’m in. Movies: I'm a sucker for animated pieces, anything from Studio Ghibli and Hayo Miyazaki.

What was the last book you read?
I'm currently re-reading The Name of the Wind series in prep for the final book release.

Do you play any musical instruments?
No I wish! My parents focused my abilities into arts and the creative fields from an early age.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I'm originally from New Zealand but have taken up residency in Canada.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I jumped out of an airplane for my 22nd birthday.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I applied for a green card to the USA 3 times but never got in, so I figured I would give Canada a try. It was the best decision of my life and I love living here.

Who is your idol?
Melisa Koby is a prolific and beautiful artist who inspires me daily.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Ohh, big question! Shift the political landscape of the world, introduce 'Green thinking' to earlier generations, or maybe just buy apple stocks.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
I'm an introvert masquerading as an extrovert.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Storm! She's a powerful queen who can throw lighting and fly!

Have any pets?
I wish, we live in a condo that doesn't allow 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?
I'm hoping that a simple deck of cards survive - I have spent thousands of hours playing different card games with different rules and levels of complexity with all sorts of people. As for what should be forgotten forever, let's not get political. :)

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):
Thanks to George Takei for being an amazing ambassador to LGBTQ rights since the 70s. He has opened doors, hearts, and minds for the community.

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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