Tuesday, March 9, 2021

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 270: Daniel F Flanagan Jr

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:Daniel F Flanagan Jr
Location:Harrisburg, PA
Day Job:IT Support
Designing:Over ten years!
Webpage:Warriors of the Crystal
Facebook:Warriors of the Crystal
YouTube:Warriors of the Crystal
Find my games at:https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/warriors-of-the-crystal:-two-player-starter-pack
Today's Interview is with:

Daniel F Flanagan Jr
Interviewed on: 1/13/2021

This week's interview is with Daniel Flanagan, the designer of Warriors of the Crystal, a new trading card game available on The Game Crafter. Warriors of Crystal has been a passion project of his for years and it keeps growing. If you're interested in independent TCG style games, be sure to check out Warriors of the Crystal and read on to learn more about Daniel and his projects.

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Over ten years!

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
I've been working solely on the one game. It started as a project in college, where I turned Final Fantasy into a TCG. (At that point, the franchise didn't have one.) After I fell in love with my own concept, I basically ran with the mechanics and opened the floodgates that resulted in the game and all of its extended lore.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Just Warriors of the Crystal.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Warriors is published as of 03/05/21!

What is your day job?
IT Support

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
While I do enjoy my tabletop games, my heart lies with Nintendo and all things JRPG.

Who do you normally game with?
Usually with my friends, or my wonderful boyfriend.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Depends if we have youngin's with us. If we have the rugrats, we usually play a rousing game of Clue. But if it's us adults, we tend to break out the big games like Boss Monster.

And what snacks would you eat?
Ever have Cape Cod's aged white cheddar/sour cream chips? There's a reason they're known in my circle as "crack chips."

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Depends on the game. If it's a combat focused game, for example, I have a playlist of Video Game Battle Themes we jam out to.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Two! Third Eye Games in Annapolis, MD; and the Game Table Café in Mechanicsburg, PA!

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Current Favorite: Boss Monster. Least Favorite: CAH... it gets old fast. Worst, though... is Monopoly. Can't STAND the game.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Not sure I have one, to be honest.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Trial by Trolley... never get to play it anymore, it seems.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, RPG 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?
I prefer Personally Incorrect.

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?
The gameplay came first for me. Once I got that down, I put the theming and whatnot over them.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I haven't. Maybe I should one day?

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Not a board game designer, but he did bring to light the series that inspired me to make this: Hironobu Sakaguchi

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Just from my love of fantasy in general. The mechanics came easy when translating a turn-based style of play to cards. The thematic features, however, a lot of that has been bouncing around my head for years. I love to write, and I love to compose music, and a great deal of that ended up in my extended lore stuff for Warriors.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Usually through groups of friends or through demos at various vendors I have a working relationship with.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
50/50. While most of the game was developed by me alone, I relied on outside help from friends and experts for choices I was debating on, and for some artists to do the things that I just couldn't do.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Networking and marketing. Those have been my single greatest obstacles so far. A lot of my time and research went into those, and honestly, I'm not even sure I'm still doing it right. But, persevere I must!

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Final Fantasy, easily. Heck, I even have ideas lurking in my mind about how a Final Fantasy themed expansion would work. I would have class jobs like Dragoon and Red Mage there, but I would also have SOLDIER 1st Class and SeeD Cadet in for fun, too!

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
It's long. It's hard. And prepared for people to reject your work. Putting a creative product out in the world and hearing harsh criticism, even when it's valid... it hurts sometimes.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Don't give up. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Even if you never fully release it, or you get some bad reviews, don't let that rain on your parade. YOU MADE A GAME! BE PROUD! SHOW IT OFF!

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Warriors of the Crystal
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Warriors of the Crystal
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Warriors of the Crystal Series 2 Expansion

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Not at the moment.

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 (never saw Trek.) Coke AND Pepsi. VHS, obviously.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Video Gaming, Boxing/Sparring, Writing, Composing, Art, and TCG Collecting to name a few.

What is something you learned in the last week?
OneDrive for my day job. That thing was a wall to figure out for my job's tablet project for field users. Ugh...

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Nobuo Uematsu is my favorite musician of all time. As for books, do DC Comics count? And the best movie is actually three: The original Lord of the Rings trilogy. (Extended editions, of course.)

What was the last book you read?
The Kingdom Hearts II Volume 1 Manga.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I used to be a percussionist back in high school. Timpani is where it's at.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I hate heights. Like really, really bad. But... I kinda wanna skydive...

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I accidentally drove through Manhattan. During rush hour. Never again.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Like... half of the damn game I'm working on. Seriously. Accidents turned awesome might as well be my motto at this point.

Who is your idol?
Still, I'd have to say Nobuo Uematsu. He's had the most impact on me in my creative life, and that's a long time.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I'd probably go and figure out the unanswered questions of the universe. And see dinosaurs, of course.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Introvert, but I can make extroversion work if I need to. (I have to do it for my day job, of course.)

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
I'd love to go and be a member of a Super Sentai team... as long as I'm blue and I have a lance/spear/polearm.

Have any pets?
I wish! Pupper, please.

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?
Nothing electronic will survive. Possibly things made of non-paper material. Personally, if our current civilization would survive, no one would notice that. They'll be too busy trying to figure out who was Mickey Mouse, and the people who built monuments and cities around their rodent overlord.

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):
These people whom my game would have not been possible without: Talmadge Frank, Dan Brubaker, Brad Wert, Joe DeSantis, Chinh Van, Erik Ingeman, Joe Zieja, Jolan Lanza, Nick & Alyssa Sardino... and a whole bunch more.

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

It's a project I'm proud of and passionate about. I hope that some lucky players will be able to enjoy it as much as I did creating it.

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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