Tuesday, September 21, 2021

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 299: Fabricio Leotti

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:Fabricio Leotti
Day Job:I am Site Reliability Engineer, which is a way to call a programmer that helps automate and maintain a system.
Designing:Over ten years!
Facebook:Dice Coalition Games
YouTube:Dice Coalition Games
Find my games at:Soon on Kickstarter =)
Today's Interview is with:

Fabricio Leotti
Interviewed on: 7/29/2021

This week we talk to Fabricio Leotti, the designer of Hyperwars, coming to Kickstarter next week. Fabricio has a number of projects in the works, with Hyperwars ready for publication as soon as the Kickstarter succeeds! So read on to learn more about Fabricio, Hyperwars, and his other 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?
Mostly to entertain family and friends. I've been playing TTRPG since 1993 and always as a GM/DM, so creating scenarios and games became second nature to me. In 2001 I wanted to play some tabletop that was a mix of Age of Empires and WAR, and that's when I decided to create my first board game. Obviously it was a disaster, but I could squeeze 2 or 3 games out of my friends before moving to another project. :)

What game or games are you currently working on?
I have 5 games under different stages of development current but the most developed one is called Hyperwars and it is a real time area control game in a Cyberpunk setting. It is a very fast paced game where the players act as big Corporations trying to take over districts of the city of Urbana by fulfilling that district's demands for cyber implants, cloning matrices, weapons and computer viruses.

The game really delivers a huge sense of urgency and speed. It has a lot of strategy on it but condensed in a sequence of fast actions to send their agents to each District, produce the goods and deliver them in a timed 5 minutes action phase and then scoring.

I have been developing Hyperwars for 3 years now and it has seen more than 200 hours of playtest and more than 500 players. The games takes 3-5 players and plays in 5-15 minutes.

We are coming to Kickstarter on September 28th you can check our pre launch page here: https://bit.ly/hyperwars

If you like the game, consider subscribing to it so you will know when the campaign starts.

Have you designed any games that have been published?

What is your day job?
I am Site Reliability Engineer, which is a way to call a programmer that helps automate and maintain a system.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At home, definitely.

Who do you normally game with?
Close friends and people from the Telegram group I help maintain for game nights. Due to the pandemic we are a bit slow on that side, though.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Does it have to be one game? :) Well, we have had waves where we play the same game in several different game nights. Currently it is Pipeline and Scythe, but we have been through waves of Cthulhu Wars, Root, Mansions of Madness, 7 Wonders and Cosmic Encounters

And what snacks would you eat?
Pizza or hot dog (or both!)

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
I love to play Hyperwars with some dubstep going in the background, but normally no music.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Dragon's Lair, in Stockholm

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Current favorite: Root Least favourite: Food Chain Magnate Worst - and that's gonna be extremely unpopular, I think: Gloomhaven

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Favorite: Engine building. Least: Roll & Write

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Olympus or Tokyo Metro

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Miniatures Games, RPG Games, Video 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?
I like to do something different. I usually start with the feeling I want the player to feel when playing the game, when winning, when loosing, when trying to catch up.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I have entered a Button Shy contest and I feel I should participate in more contests

Do you have a current favorite game designer?
I really like the work of Stegmaier, Elizabeth Hargrave and Vlaada Chvátil

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Normally during a long walk or in the shower

How do you go about playtesting your games?
At first almost 100% virtually via TTS. Most of my games have a TTS version. And after a while, IRL at the FLGS or at home.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I love to work in a team and had very good experiences co-designing games

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Moving from playtested games to publishing/self-publishing. Some people might say that this is not part of the design process, but I disagree. Games are made to be seen and played, and more players the better. So when you design a game you also need to consider the pros and cons of your design for when you will build your sell sheet or create your crowdfunding campaign.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I would love to make a game out of a sci-fi TV show released in 2006 called The Lost Room

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Stop doing it just as a hobby and invest more of your time on it

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Take it to the table as soon as possible. Can you make a day one playtest? Maybe a week one. Games are made to be played and they got more playable as they are played.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
I'm planning to crowdfund: Hyperwars, the fastest and cyberpunkest real time area control game you have ever seen. For 3-5 players. September 28th on Kickstarter! https://bit.ly/hyperwars
Games that I'm playtesting are: 1) A creepy hidden movement game about grave robbing O.o

2) A story based worker placement with a tweak of semi-coop to play instead of the hordes of boring coop games out there :P

3) Think Amazon fullfilment with robots that can teleport goods. Yes =) Robo Rally meets Tetris.

And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: I'm making a game about a civilization spreading into space in huge bio dome spaceships. I want to make the player feel they are really exploring the unkown and finding new opportunities as they go.

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Board Game Revolution Community, Board Game Design Lab Community, Virtual Playtesting

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, Water, VHS

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I read a lot, make kombucha, take bike trips with my wife and have cats (current head count: 6)

What is something you learned in the last week?
I learned how to make properly grilled hot dogs

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
I like metal - heavy, death, trash, whatever. Sci-fi or non-fiction books. I currently recommend: Sci-fi: Project Hail Mary, Three Body Problem, Six Wakes. Non-fiction: Never Split the Difference, Outliers: The Story of Success, How Democracies Die

What was the last book you read?
Project Hail Mary, by Andy Wier

Do you play any musical instruments?

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
Although I work as a programmer, I have a degree in biology and before all that, many years ago, I was an amateur actor for 12 years

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I once bred cockroaches in cardboard boxes. It did not end well.

Who is your idol or hero?
I always followed and looked up to Eminem

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I would go back in time to see real dinosaurs

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
I say introvert. None of my friends or my wife agree.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be and why?
I would be Iron Man. Best engineer in the fiction worlds!

Have any pets?
6 cats! Starbuck, Tom, Tempestade, Rousseau, Ziggy and Vader

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 a lot of board games survive. I mean, the plastic bits will make it probably. And I hope the asteroid takes all the inequalities with it.

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):
Mom, I would be very happy if you were still around to read this (I would gladly translate it for you). Since you are not, I can only hope you understood how much of you lives in me and how much this gave - and still; gives - me strength to move forward in life. Thanks for teaching me that it is always worth being yourself =)

Thanks for answering all my crazy questions!

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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