Tuesday, June 15, 2021

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 285: Eric Mosso

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:Eric Mosso
Location:Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Day Job:I’m a dentist.
Designing:Five to ten years.
BGG:Eric Mosso
Find my games at:Unfortunately just in my gaming groups. However, Thunderworks Games is now taking preorders for a late summer release of Cape May.
Today's Interview is with:

Eric Mosso
Interviewed on: 5/18/2021

This week's interview is with Eric Mosso, the designer of Thunderworks Games' upcoming title, Cape May. Eric is also an award-winning historical miniatures painter and has designed scenarios for Memior '44 that have been used in worldwide tournaments! I personally had a chance to play Cape May at a Protospiel event pre-pandemic and thought it was wonderful! To learn more about Eric and his projects, keep reading.

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?
I initially made scenarios for Memoir '44 that were well received and played in tournaments all over the world. After this success, I then decided to try to make an original game with my own mechanics.

What game or games are you currently working on?
I like to design games that are based on real facts. I’ve designed four board games over the last 5-6 years that are themed on reality; ‘Renaissance, Ruin and Renewal’, ‘Botanical Garden’, ‘Modern Medicine’, and ‘Best in Breed’. I’ve also designed a card game ‘Araci’ which is based on Oriental Carpets. As of yet, none of these have been published.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Yes, Cape May by Thunderworks Games. TW Games is now taking preorders for a late summer release.

What is your day job?
I’m a dentist.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
I have three different gaming groups that meet regularly mostly at my house or theirs. I also go to the World Boardgaming Championships each year, though it has been cancelled last year and this year.

Who do you normally game with?
Mostly friends and some family.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
I mostly enjoy Euro games and some war games though I’ll try other genres.

And what snacks would you eat?
If we’re playing at my house my wife will make a dessert of some sort like a cake, cookies, or a pie. I also have other snacks like chips, pretzels and nuts. Drinks are also provided. Once a month on a Saturday I go to a friend’s house for ‘game day’ which lasts from twelve noon until two or three in the morning. They provide sandwiches and other snacks.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
No, we don’t play music. We have conversation during play.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Hobby Express in Cranberry Pa.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
That’s tough. Right now it would be Brass Birmingham, Great Western Trail, Underwater Cities, and any Lacerda game. I still like Orleans but it’s not one I would suggest to play. The worst game I have played is ‘Bunny Kingdom’.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I like games that incorporate varied mechanics like worker placement, deck building, set collection, hand management, etc. Least favorite would be dungeon crawlers.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Most any Vital Lacerda game. You have to have the time to explain the rules. Many players don’t want to take the time to learn the game.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card 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?
Definitely come up with the theme first since all of my games are based on real facts.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
No, I have never entered a game design contest.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
I like games designed by Vital Lacerda, Vladimir Suchy, Alexander Pfister, and Martin Wallace.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
I get most of my ideas from life experiences. I take that experience and ask myself can I develop a game from it. Some of these ideas I can work out some good game mechanics, others never get off the drawing board.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I play test them myself first to work out stuff that obviously won’t work. Then I get each of my gaming groups to play test the game. What’s nice is none of the three groups I play with know each other. I get excellent feedback from each group as I perfect the game mechanics.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I work alone but wouldn’t be adverse to work with someone on a design.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
The biggest challenge is getting production companies to take a look at my prototypes. Unless you’re an established designer it’s very difficult to get the prototype reviewed.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I haven’t though of any IP that would interest me for a design.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Since I’m somewhat isolated as a designer I really haven’t received any advice from any established designer.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Mostly have fun with the process in the design.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Cape May by Thunderworks Games
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Renaissance, Ruin and Renewal
Botanical Garden
Modern Medicine
Best in Breed

Games that I'm playtesting are: The Art of Electronics
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Master Merchant

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 Trek, neither Coke or Pepsi, VHS

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Paint military miniatures, tennis, hiking, reading, miniature ship building.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Motown. History and non-fiction mostly, though I like good science fiction and will read other fiction. Historical movies like Saving Private Ryan and period pieces like Downton Abby.

What was the last book you read?
Vietnam by Max Hastings

Do you play any musical instruments?

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I’m 68 years old.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Went snorkeling when I didn’t know how to swim. Saved by my brother.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Nothing I can think of.

Who is your idol?
Don’t really idolize anyone. If I had to pick anyone it would be my wife.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Go ahead 100 years.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Mostly introvert

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

Have any pets?
Not at the moment

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 hope all my games survive. Give me something to do while civilization recovers. The Republican and Democratic Party should be wiped out of human consciousness. Let’s start over.

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

All my game designs are hand drawn. I don’t have any graphic design skills.

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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