Tuesday, December 29, 2020

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 259: Cody Spears

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:Cody Spears
Location:The southern United States.
Day Job:Dedicated to designing games, writing, a few other odds and ends, mainly because I'm the neat freak in the house and my fiancé isn't, so she rather I be the stay at home person in the relationship.
Designing:Five to ten years.
Webpage:Nightbird Games
BGG:Nightbird Games
Facebook:Cody Spears
YouTube:Nightbird Games
Find my games at:The Game Crafter.
Today's Interview is with:

Cody Spears
Interviewed on: 11/20/2020

This week we get to meet Cody Spears, a designer that's been working on games since he was a teen! He's currently designing games that can be found on The Game Crafter, under the name Nightbird Games, so check him out over there.

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Five to ten years.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
Originally? Out of boredom. One day when nothing was happening I said hey, I want to make a board game based off my favorite horror film. Which was Phantasm. After that I made a Friday the 13th board game. Next came numerous batman related games. I then started to make other games through my own creative ideas.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Numerous, I can never stop thinking about something design related.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Yes. Words from Beyond the Grave. Published through the game crafter.

What is your day job?
Dedicated to designing games, writing, a few other odds and ends, mainly because I'm the neat freak in the house and my fiancé isn't, so she rather I be the stay at home person in the relationship.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
In a room with very little distractions, however I've been playing music themed to the games we play lately.

Who do you normally game with?
Same 4-5 people, all my friends moved away lol

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
The Thing: Infection at Outpost 31 is always fun when you have a group of 4+ but that's rare to happen these days. Sons of Anarchy: Men of Mayhem. Lately Jaws by Ravensburger, they did a phenomenal job with that game.

And what snacks would you eat?
NONE! No greasy fingers on my games. Clean freak.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Yes. Music themed to the game we're playing. If it's zombie related we play the original soundtrack to Night of the Living Dead, or for something more fun we play the soundtrack to Return of the Living Dead. You can already guess what we play when we play Jaws.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Don't have one where I live.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Sons of Anarchy: Men of mayhem is my favorite. Betrayal at House on the Hill. Funkoverse.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Hidden role is my favorite. Phase order is my least, I prefer a more sandbox style of play.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
I really like Dead of Winter, but my game group is already exhausted by the time it's all set up.

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

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card Games, RPG 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?
It usually hits me at the same time, my theme goes hand in hand with my mechanics.

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

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Jason Glover has been doing some great work. It's been a bit of an inspiration to see his games from start to where he is now.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Usually in the shower, or right when I turn off my computer and lay down for bed.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
With my brutally honest gaming group, along with anyone else who happens to be around.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I usually work alone as far as designing a game goes, but I work with an artist on nearly all of my games who's done some great work.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Time. A few of my game designs and ideas I've been working on for a while have been done by another company this year, when previously (I checked thoroughly) nobody had. Had the designs down pat, just not the art yet. Now I have to try and find a way to change them up, so they aren't compared.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Friday the 13th. Mainly because the one I designed when I was like 14 was much more fun than the one that came out this year, very disappointed by that.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Play test more.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Make sure it's original, or at least a new take.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Words from Beyond the Grave
Games that will soon be published are: No more room in hell. The Invasion of Pucker County. Escape the Witch. An untitled thief card game. Turf. The Re animators Apprentice. Hairy Mountain. Volatile. Among many others.
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: In the near future.
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Couldn't hurt.
I'm planning to crowdfund: With the right game, yes.

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

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, but only the original trilogy. Pepsi. VHS.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I'm getting into diorama making.

What is something you learned in the last week?
Burt Gummer dies in Tremors: Shrieker Island... spoilers lol.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Most people would call it depressing music. I like Keaton Henson, Jake Bugg, Tom Odell, and many 50s-60s songs. Misery was a great read. One flew over the cuckoos nest, Meatballs, Stand by me, Clue: the movie, and Phantasm are my favorite movies.

What was the last book you read?
Lord of the Flies

Do you play any musical instruments?
Does tapping/drumming various things around my work station count?

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I'm very educated in pop culture, despite my age.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
You know that scene in the notebook where Ryan Gosling's character lays in the middle of the road while a car is coming? Yeah, me neither...

Who is your idol?
Can't say I've had one sadly.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
My answer would depress lol.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Introvert until we get talking.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Superman. Kryptonite doesn't exist IRL, so bow down!

Have any pets?
One or two, three...

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?
Clue should survive. Politics can go away.

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):
Hi mom!

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

Do the truffle shuffle!

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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