Tuesday, June 22, 2021

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 286: Dwight Cenac

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:Dwight Cenac
Location:Florida, USA
Day Job:I run operations for a family-owned home healthcare agency.
Designing:Two to five years.
BGG:High Noon
Facebook:High Noon Game
YouTube:High Noon Board Game
Other:Discord: https://discord.gg/WfDzSnz
Find my games at:Tabletopia
Today's Interview is with:

Dwight Cenac
Interviewed on: 5/19/2021

Today's interview is with Dwight Cenac, the creator of the successfully Kickstarted High Noon. Dwight is a game designer, actor, film director, and more! High Noon is a western themed tactical shoot 'em up game with some pretty cool miniatures. The pre-order for High Noon is still open, so be sure to check it out! Read on to learn more about Dwight and his project.

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 storyteller and dabbled in game design. One day (in a particularly dark point in my life) I needed an outlet and realized that, with board game design, all I needed was something to write with, write on and time to make my passions a reality. It really is the lowest cost of entry into visual story-telling, and probably the most rewarding.

What game or games are you currently working on?
High Noon

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Well, the High Noon starter set is already produced and sold about 800 copies so does that count as a soft publish? ;)

What is your day job?
I run operations for a family-owned home healthcare agency.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Anywhere there's chips and salsa.

Who do you normally game with?
A very close-knit circle of friends and some gaming groups I've recently joined.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Oh High Noon, for sure! But also Dungeons and Dragons or a good game of a Risk variation. Dune Imperium is also a household favorite.

And what snacks would you eat?
Chips and salsa!

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Anything by Basil Poledouris. A lot of film scores. But that's generally what we listen to even when we're not playing games.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
A little place called Borderlands Comics and Games. Though it was recently acquired by a larger chain. And good on them! The owner gave his whole life to that business. He deserved the break.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Favorite is High Noon. I'm biased, I know. But it's mine and it just keeps getting better and better. Least favorite that I still enjoy would be classic Risk. Worst "game" I've ever played would have to be Phase 10.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Favorite game mechanic is anything involving leveling up. Who doesn't like feeling the raw reward of achievement? Least favorite is relying heavily on dice, which is crazy that I enjoy Risk so much.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Lord of the Rings Risk

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, Miniatures Games, RPG Games

OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
It has its moments for sure. Really depends on the crowd.

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 first, then theme. I can't look at a game without seeing it as a mechanic with a skin.

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

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Monte Cook

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Depression, apparently!

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I have a group of very close friends who suffer painstaking hours upon hours of horrible experiences at the game table.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I have a fantastic team of artists and play-testers who give me critical feedback. But I've found in my experience a ship needs a captain.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Right now, exposure. In the immortal words of the late, great George Carlin: "It's a big club and you ain't in it." But we'll get there.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Exo Squad

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
"Get ready to suffer for years and years."

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Focus on your mechanics above all else. Nobody cares what your game is about as long as it's polished and fun. Even the people who claim to care will come around once they see everyone loving your game.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: High Noon
Games that will soon be published are: High Fever
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: High Noon expansions
I'm planning to crowdfund: Forts and Footmen
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: High Noon expansions
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Forts and Footmen

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?
All of these are awesome, are you kidding?!

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I dabble in musical composition and will accept just about any karaoke invite.

What is something you learned in the last week?
Liam Neeson was Gawain in Excalibur. (I know. Shame!)

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Music: Instrumental Books: Self Improvement Movies: Mindless Action

What was the last book you read?
Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

Do you play any musical instruments?
The piano

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I can nail a Louis Armstrong impression

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
My NDA prohibits me from doing so. ;)

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
This one time, about 38 years ago, my mom forgot to take her birth control.

Who is your idol?
I honestly don't have one. I know of some admirable people, but I learned the hard way a long time ago to never meet your idols. Everybody's human and has an admirable side to them. Best to admire their achievements and leave it at that.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I'd go into the future, grab the over-the-counter gummies that cure cancer, bring them back and make them mainstream now.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
A little bit of both.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Does Starlord count?

Have any pets?
I did! I had two cats. Sadly, they passed but I absolutely plan to get another in the next couple of years.

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?
Games of chance will always survive if even the most basic forms of them. And as long as something that resembles a ball exists, there will always be a pastime to move it around. If we could all forget Phase 10 was ever a thing, that would be greeeeeeeeeat.

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

I hope you guys like my game!

El Blablazo!

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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