Tuesday, November 23, 2021

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 308: Jason Rittman

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:Jason Rittman
Location:Kentucky, US
Day Job:Retail
Designing:Two to five years.
YouTube:Unka Games
Find my
games at:
The Game Crafter
Today's Interview is with:

Jason Rittman
Interviewed on: 11/19/2021

This week we get to meet Jason Rittman from Unka Games. Jason has been designing games for a few years now and you can find several of his titles over on The Game Crafter with plenty more in the works. Read on to learn more about Jason and the games he's working on.

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 demo’ed a game from an indie designer called Robot Rise! at Acadecon in 2017, thought it would be fun to do. It has been!

What game or games are you currently working on?
.I’m working on two games right now, Rum Runners and The Infinite Hive. Rum Runners is a pirate game about running rum and pvp, The Infinite Hive is a hex tile game where you out-roll the stinging insects on your way to kill the queen.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Published through The Game Crafter, yes, my shop page is https://www.thegamecrafter.com/designers/unka-games. I’ve got 3 games currently for sale, Stick ‘Em Up, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades and Release the Kraken. Stick ‘Em Up is a card flipping game where you play an outlaw trying to steal 50 gold bags first. Horseshoes and Hand Grenades is an unconventional war game and Release the Kraken is a monopoly like collect gold, avoid releasing the Kraken game

What is your day job?

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Anywhere I can!

Who do you normally game with?
Online, working on getting a group going soon though.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Dominion, Ticket to Ride and I’ve heard good things about King of Tokyo and Gloomhaven, I’d really like to play those.

And what snacks would you eat?

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Not generally, but if so it would be the sounds of rain or thunderstorms.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
The Destination. It’s also my LCS.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Current favorite is Dominion, least favorite but still play Love Letter, worst played, War with the Evil Power Master. It pains me to say that because I loved the choose your own adventure books growing up.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Favorite mechanic would be deck building, least favorite would be unit placement.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Any of them. I have 3 I could play every week, Dominion, Catan and Ticket to Ride.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card 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?
Most of the time I start with a theme then work out the mechanics. Last few games I’ve worked on started with mechanics so it’s a mixed bag.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
No, but I plan on entering my first one next year.

Do you have a current favorite game designer?

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Usually hits me in the middle of the night or while I’m at work, I’ll zone out while working.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I solo test them several times, then get family to play then move on to friends.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Yes and no, my wife helps with advertising and feedback on mechanics. I’ve got a list a mile long, help would be nice..

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Putting something out that’s engaging and fun.

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

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Don’t start during a pandemic, seriously…one thing, promotion, promote the crap out of everything you’re doing.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Experience as many games as you can, the more you play, the more you can add to your games.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Stick ‘Em Up
Horseshoes and Hand Grenades
Release the Kraken

Currently looking for a publisher I have: Any of my games!
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Rum Runners
Games that I'm playtesting are: The Infinite Hive
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Wrath of Odin
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Llama-Rama
Rags to Riches

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 Wars, Coke and VHS!

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Reading comics, playing mobile games.

What is something you learned in the last week?
I already forgot it haha

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Heavy metal, fantasy books and action movies.

What was the last book you read?
The Walking Dead: Search and Destroy

Do you play any musical instruments?

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I look grumpy but I’m a really nice person.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Swam in a water fountain at an amusement park.

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

Who is your idol or hero?
I don’t really have one.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I’d go back to see the dinosaurs

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Introvert, very introverted

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be and why?
Venom, he’s badass, also my favorite!

Have any pets?
Not anymore ☹️

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?
Any games to survive, as far as wiped out from our consciousness, probably everyone being offended at everything.

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):
The folks at RPG academy, Acadecon is a fine convention, thanks for your hard work putting it on!

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

Check out my stuff and I hope you like what you see!

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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