Tuesday, April 13, 2021

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 275: Raphael Stocker

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:Raphael Stocker
Location:Vienna, Austria, Europe
Day Job:I am an architect
Designing:One to two years.
BGG:Hidden Leaders
Facebook:BFF Games
YouTube:BFF Games
Find my games at:https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails?id=2298981108 https://tabletopia.com/games/hidden-leaders
Today's Interview is with:

Raphael Stocker
Interviewed on: 2/10/2021

This week's interview is with Raphael Stocker, part of the design team working on Hidden Leaders, a cool looking strategic deduction game where players are secretly working to manipulate several factions on a board to complete their leader's secret agenda. The leader who's preferred faction is successful is the winner! The game looks really cool, so be sure to check it out on Kickstarter on April 20th. In the meantime, read on to learn more about Raphael and his projects!

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
One to two years.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Hidden Leaders - A 20-30min strategic deduction board game for 2-6 players

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Not yet. We will launch Hidden Leaders on April 20th 2021

What is your day job?
I am an architect

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Definitely offline with friends. As this is currently not possible I have found joy in playing games on TTS.

Who do you normally game with?
My usual game group are the other two designers for Hidden Leaders, Markus and Andreas, apart from them several friends (heavy and non-heavy gamers) and lately also my little girl :-)

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Rising Sun or A Game of Thrones: The Board Game 2nd Edition...It has been so long since I played them and they are marvellous!

And what snacks would you eat?
Pizza (haha), NicNacs and Chips...pretty standard on this front :-)

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
This highly depends on the game for me. With strategic games I do like music very much, but with eg social deduction games I like the sweat mess of conversation over music.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
The one and only Planet Harry here in Vienna

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
I am in love with the elegant design of Rising Sun. The least favorite would probably be Kingdom Builder as it is pretty standard. I have played a few, but if I have to choose I would say Ligretto...I am a turn-based player haha.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I am enjoying area control/4x and social deduction very much. I am not a big fan of tile-laying games like Carcassone.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
A Game of Thrones: The Board Game 2nd Edition

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

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games

OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
I actually still have to play it.

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 have different approaches. At the moment I have a list of both mechanics I would like to give a try and themes I would like to implement. For Hidden Leaders the mechanics came first.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
No, we are fairly new to the game but we are eager to try it out for future projects.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
I love Eric Lang’s work.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Usually when I browse through games/facebook or listen to content creators.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
First step always is playing it with my close friends. Most games won't get past this stage.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I am all in designing with my friends. Working together keeps me going and engaged as there are so many different angles to look at a game.

The Hidden Leaders design team.
(Raphael, Andreas, Markus from left to right)

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Streamlining a game which you think is good but still takes to much time/effort to be really enjoyable.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Probably "The Last Airbender". The TV-series is one of my most precious childhood memories.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
It takes time :-D

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Don't forget the people you care about over designing a board game.

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: Hidden Leaders via licensing partners
I'm planning to crowdfund: We will launch Hidden Leaders on Kickstarter on April 20th 2021. We are so excited
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Hidden Leaders is at its final stage of tweaking (some minor word changes here and there)
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: We want to implement a Solo mode/variant for Hidden Leaders.

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

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?
I enjoy both Star Trek and Star Wars. Coke all the way. VHS as I don't know Betamax :-)

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Playing a sport called Jugger. Cooking and eating.

What is something you learned in the last week?
I learned I am becoming a father for the second time <3 [GJJ Games] Congratulations!

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
I am usually listening to HipHop (Samy Deluxe, Logic, Chika). I did read a lot of Katja Brandis and Brandon Sanderson ages ago but haven't read a book in some time now unfortunately. My favourite movie would be "The Shawshank Redemption"

What was the last book you read?
I actually don't know anymore...

Do you play any musical instruments?
I do play flute but just for my daughter. I am not talented at all.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I was very irascible back as a child.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I went to London with practically 4 strangers and they became some of my best friends till this day.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
My girlfriend am I once were rescued by two Greek women after our car broke down being chased by 3 wild dogs on Santorini.

Who is your idol?
Probably Samy Deluxe. He is an amazing musician and inspiring person.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I would put it somewhere safe and store it for later. I like the way life turned out and wouldn't want to change a thing.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
I would consider myself a shy extrovert.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
I would like to be a Jumper (teleporting from one awesome place to another)

Have any pets?
No, there was never the space. But I do like cats a lot

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?
Endless Winter :-) I would love to give back the Earth to nature so I guess I am fine with humans to be gone to be honest.

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):
A shoutout to my fiance who stood by my side all those long nights developing our very first board game.

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

Be creative, Be bold!

Thank you for this opportunity.

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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