Tuesday, July 20, 2021

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 290: Gerald Kielpinski

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:Gerald Kielpinski
Location:Orleans, MA
Day Job:Graphic Designer
Designing:Two to five years.
BGG:Card Z
Facebook:Manti Games
YouTube:Manti Games
Find my games at:Upcoming kickstarter Oct 1
Today's Interview is with:

Gerald Kielpinski
Interviewed on: 6/22/2021

This week we meet Gerald Kielpinski, who has been working on his Card Z zombie apocalypse rpg card game. It'll be coming to Kickstarter in October, so keep your eye out for it! Read on to learn more about Gerald and his projects.

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?
To fulfill my childhood dream (I designed several games in my teens).

What game or games are you currently working on?
Card-Z: a zombie survival card game

Have you designed any games that have been published?

What is your day job?
Graphic Designer

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Inside, somewhere cool with proper lighting.

Who do you normally game with?
I have two groups that play group games about once a month (optimistic), then my brother & house-mate who I play war games with (1v1).

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Well the game I have yet to play that I most want to play would be War Room, but if it were to be a game that I own, I might go with an old school AD&D mini-campaign.

And what snacks would you eat?
Pizza (NY style), Doritoes

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Board game yes, depends on the theme, we like to play music from the time period of the game, or sometimes players have something they want to listen to..RPG we use sound to story tell.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
I used to go to The Encounter religiously (now Gamers Edge) in Stroudsburg. Sadly, I purchase most of my games online these days.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Current favorite is Bolt Action (WW II miniatures), least favorite I still enjoy is Axis & Allies, worst game might be the original Car Wars by Steve Jackson, we ditched the rules altogether and made our own (great concept though and cool art!).

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Fog of war. I can't say I have a least favorite, I think mechanics aren't intrinsically good or bad, but can be applied good or bad.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
East Front (Columbia Games)

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures Games, RPG 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?
Theme first.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Nope and nope.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
I love designers that brought something new to the table that just works really well. To me, the Columbia Games system (Dagliadesh), Magic: The Gathering (Garfield), of course D&D (the Godfather Gary Gygax) come to mind..among others..

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
For me it is an ebb and flow, knowing when to take a break and let your subconscious work things out. Generally ideas can come from anywhere and at any time, but inspiration or energy comes from having a detailed vision of what you want to accomplish.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Core group, ProtoSpiels (amazing but $$ fly and hotel), plenty of blind tests ($)

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I think a singular vision is what works for me. My co-designer knows it is my vision, and that really works for me. He tries to destroy everything I create, and he has contributed a huge amount to the game, because after the arguments we usually sort out the best solutions, or the next day(s) those solutions come to me. Because the next iterations have much of his points (and more) he knows he is listened to, and the process has worked well.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Writing the rules!!!

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Naked & Afraid

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
How expensive it would be in both time and money. 1 year turned to 5 + ~$5,000 at least

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Don't do it unless it is out of pure love and you are ok with just the act of creation and not $.

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: 1
I'm planning to crowdfund: 1
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: 1
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: 4
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: 2

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

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. Pepsi. VHS.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
surfing, mountain biking, hiking

What is something you learned in the last week?
The first witches in the Salem Witch trials most likely ate a type of mushroom that grows in the area, known for giving epileptic fits.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Devo is my all time favorite band…BOOKS: Hitchhikers Galaxy series, LotR, Kurt Vonnegut, Hunter S. Thomspon…MOVIES: Star Wars, Road Warrior, Butch Cassidy & the Sundance Kid, Ghost in the Shell, Iron Giant..28 Days Later...

What was the last book you read?
Antifa: Unmasked

Do you play any musical instruments?

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
As a kid I was a gifted computer programmer, but for some dumb reason I went to college for art.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I did a 10 day silent vipassana meditation retreat (meditating 8-10 hours per day!)

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Broke my leg hiking in Ecuador, to rehab I ended up getting into surfing.

Who is your idol?
Bill Watterson (Calvin & Hobbes)

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Go back to the 1920s and have some drinks with beautiful flapper ladies and listen to them with their cute slang and talk to them about the future.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Milk (from Milk & Cheese-do they count!?)...ok John Constantine (does he technically count?)

Have any pets?
1 cat

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?
AD&D (complete set), East Front, Card-Z…I will go with a statue of Mao Zedung and his philosophy of control via terrorism as the thing to be destroyed.

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):
Oh it would be to my older brother who got me into this stuff in the early 70s. He bought me my first lead figures and took me on my first adventure (I was a hobbit).

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

This time we are living in is a true game-lovers renaissance–the quality of indie games we are seeing is pretty unbelievable. We are so lucky to be living in a society where we have this prosperity, it is truly epic!


How to make a Pan Galactic Gargleblaster:
Take the juice from one bottle of Ol' Janx Spirit.
Pour into it one measure of water from the seas of Santraginus V — Oh, that Santraginean seawater! Oh, those Santraginean fish!
Allow three cubes of Arcturan Mega-gin to melt into the mixture (it must be properly iced or the benzene is lost).
Allow four litres of Fallian marsh gas to bubble through it, in memory of all those happy hikers who have died of pleasure in the Marshes of Fallia.
Over the back of a silver spoon float a measure of Qualactin Hypermint extract, redolent of all the heady odours of the dark Qualactin Zones, subtle, sweet and mystic.
Drop in the tooth of an Algolian Suntiger. Watch it dissolve, spreading the fires of the Algolian Suns deep into the heart of the drink.
Sprinkle Zamphuor.
Add an olive.
Drink... but... very carefully...

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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