Tuesday, December 3, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 200: Elisa Prashad

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:Elisa Prashad
Email:elisa@analoggamestudios.com
Location:Toronto, Canada
Day Job:I operate a specialty marketing agency - Boomer Branding, with a focus of reaching the 55+ with clients primarily in real estate, healthcare and financial services industries.
Designing:One to two years.
Webpage:www.onpointegame.com
BGG:elisaprashad
Facebook:@OnPointeGame
Twitter:@gameanalog
YouTube:Analog Game Studios
Instagram:@onpointegame
Other:
Find my games at:www.analoggamestudios.com
Today's Interview is with:

Elisa Prashad
Interviewed on: 11/29/2019

This week marks my 200th People Behind the Meeples Designer Interview! I can't believe how many incredible designers I've had the privilege to feature on my site. The 200th designer to be featured is Elisa Prashad, a designer and ballet dancer from Toronto who is responsible for On Pointe, the ballet themed game that is currently on Kickstarter. I'm really excited about this game. It looks like a fun, simple, family game, but it's the theme that really captured my attention. Last year my son discovered ballet and the world of dance and has fallen in love. He also loves board games, so I'm thrilled that I can get him a game about a theme that he really loves, especially since there are boys featured in the game, too! I hope Elisa continues to make games with interesting themes. If you want to learn more about Elisa and her current projects, read on. And be sure to check out On Pointe on Kickstarter now!

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
One to two years.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
With a background in ballet, and noticed that there was a shortage of girl-themed games, I was inspired to create On Pointe.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Right now I'm looking at a dragonfly themed game and also looking into an extension to On Pointe involving cooperative play.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
On Pointe will be my second game, I also co-designed #demidancer. They will both be available Spring 2020.

What is your day job?
I operate a specialty marketing agency - Boomer Branding, with a focus of reaching the 55+ with clients primarily in real estate, healthcare and financial services industries.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At the cottage, near a lake.

Who do you normally game with?
My partner Richard, and good friends.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
LISTIT or another fun new party game, CATAN or Deep Sea Adventure

And what snacks would you eat?
Salsa, guacamole and tortilla chips...with cider

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Always! Pink Floyd, Drake, Post Malone, I have a wide ranging taste, depends on what I'm in the mood for.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Even though there's 20 FLGs in Toronto, where I live, I love the 'Boardwalk Cafe' in Peterborough and 'The Loft Board Game Lounge' in Ottawa is amazing; they have custom-made game tables.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Azul is always fun to play. Milles Bournes I still play (40+ years later). Pokemon Master Trainer is really bad for many reasons.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Tile placement is fun however deck building I really don't enjoy.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Pantone

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Other 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?
No

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?
Always the theme first.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Yes, On Pointe was a finalist for the CGDA (Canadian Game Design Award) for 2019.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Joe Slack & Susan McKinley Ross

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Through my hobbies and outside pursuits and being inspired by others who design amazing games.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Every month at Designer's Nights at Snakes & Lattes Board Game Cafe

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Definitely with others to bounce ideas off of and brainstorm together.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
It's hard for me to take criticism sometimes and I often need a little help with the mechanic.

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

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
How long it takes and how %$^& hard it is!

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Start with a theme that you know and are passionate about and go from there. Listen to the help of others but remain focused on your vision.

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: On Pointe & #demidancer
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: On Pointe
Currently looking for a publisher I have: I've got Analog Game Studios.
I'm planning to crowdfund: DragonFlyers plus a Co-op ballet-themed game - to be named later.

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Yes, Girl's Game Shelf, Analog Gamer Grrrls, Tabletop Backer Party, The Boardgame Group

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?
Ballet, Kayaking, Reading, Gardening

What is something you learned in the last week?
That Tina Turner just turned 80.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Pop, rock, rap Biographies & Fiction French Movies & James Bond and anything with Kriisten Wiig or Alexander Skarsgard.

What was the last book you read?
Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari

Do you play any musical instruments?
Clarinet

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I love cars and Formula One racing.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I swam with sharks and stingrays.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I honestly can't recall anything but I will when I do.

Who is your idol?
Nelson Mandela

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Go to Ancient Egypt and hang out.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Introvert all the way.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Wonder Woman

Have any pets?
A big furry grey cat named Buttons.

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'm packing Pandemic, Scrabble, a deck of cards and Centrix. Oppressive dictators and polluters can go.

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):
Michelle Obama, she loves board games.

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

Diversity is important, inclusion is necessary and love is best shared.




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.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 199: James Johnson

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:James Johnson
Email:Contact@SkyfallStudios.Design
Location:Houston, TX
Day Job:I am an Administrative assistant for the University of Houston's College of Education. I work with students, but I mainly assist with R&D and design work-flow systems to improve daily operations. If Shardforge and other graphic design and game designs could become our day job, that would be a dream -- a dream which could come true with the community's support.
Designing:Over ten years!
Webpage:http://Shardforgetcg.com
Blog:https://Skyfall.design
Twitter:@Skyfall_Design
Instagram:@skyfall.design
Find my games at:You will find news and links about how and where to play our games at Skyfall.Design as soon as they are available. Information about Shardforge, the Card Game will be available at ShardforgeTCG.com
Today's Interview is with:

James Johnson
Interviewed on: 8/15/2019 (updated 11/27/2019)

Here we are, a day and a half late this week due to some computer issues, but ready to meet James Johnson. James is a designer from Houston, TX that is working on Shardforge, a new story-driven trading card game that should be coming out next year some time. Read on to learn more about James, Shardforge, 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?
I used to design games with my brother with legos and a 3 subject notebook. We'd fill it with rules and just make up these sort of turn-based RPG combat games but we were just kids so I imagine there were some design flaws :)

Later in our mid-late teens I created an entire Dungeons and Dragons world and wrote a narrative that included world lore that was at minimum a subtle influence in the sessions, depending on how close the players traveled to a major, planned event. The world was constantly evolving.

We really got into large scale game design when I was 19. My father started a paintball business and I used to help him design these in-depth outdoor scenario games. We would get around 200 people and they had to last usually around 5 hours. We designed the objectives, specific rules and a narrative for each event. We also designed competitive team games and fields for faster-paced competitions.

I always look back at those times fondly. I think that they were my favorite memories of my father. Now I live for design. I'm designing all the time, whether it's workflow systems for the University of Houston or systems for the card game we're designing, I just love designing. It's hard work, but it's my passion.

What game or games are you currently working on?
I have a small team working on a card game currently called "Shardforge." Sign-ups are currently open for early alpha testing at https://www.skyfall.design We have some deals pending already with some stores and plan to self-pub our card game, though we would love to work with a publisher.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
We have some deals pending with retail stores and plan to self-publish our card game, though we would love to work with a publisher if there is interest.

What is your day job?
I am an Administrative assistant for the University of Houston's College of Education. I work with students, but I mainly assist with R&D and design work-flow systems to improve daily operations. If Shardforge and other graphic design and game designs could become our day job, that would be a dream -- a dream which could come true with the community's support.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
The Houston Hobbyist Guild holds board game nights in the Student Center I building on campus every Thursday night, or at my friend Mark's house. (in the middle of our street.) - He'll get the joke.

Who do you normally game with?
The Houston Hobbyist Guild, currently. I used to game with my friends in New York, and I plan to do a lot more gaming with the Tavern Brawlers on Tabletop Simulator.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Right now? I've been dying to play Twilight Imperium lately. (Whisper: Long live the Lazax Empire...)

And what snacks would you eat?
Ohhh, I'm supposed to be on a diet. But.. if Mark has pizza rolls in his freezer...

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
I remember hearing a variety of music during club nights. From show tunes to modern rock. We often listen to old-school video game theme songs and remixes.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
In Houston: Halycon Games In Ohio: First Strike Gaming In New York: Flipside Gaming

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
My favorite game might be Merchants and Marauders. I wish combat was a little more interactive though. Munchkin is the least favorite game I have that I still enjoy (in moderation.) Monopoly is subjectively the worst game I've ever played. It doesn't end when it's supposed to and the reward loops don't scale to the duration of the game.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
My favorite mechanic is worker placement, but there's a lot more to it than that... that's a story for another time. My least favorite might be the rondel (which is weird because it is almost my favorite.) I think the rondel is a very cool mechanic, but in studying it, it seems restrictive without creating redundancy. I'd like to work more with it in the future though, as I have some interesting ideas based on the concept.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
No one will play one deck dungeon with me. It's only 2 players. Why will no one play? :(

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

OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
Not personally, but I would love to add faction identities and mana costs to this game.

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 based Shardforge on the theme, but as we got deep into the design, we started changing the theme and design to work together. There is some integration of lore into the mechanics we've designed, which is one advantage of working with your own IP.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I entered Magic's Great Designer Search 3. I didn't win, but I learned a lot by studying for it.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
I read and watch a lot of fiction, and sometimes consider how the way that world's magic might look as a game mechanic. I also get a lot of ideas while I'm designing the UI elements of a game, or from studying the UI of other games or products. Game mechanics and UI are pretty reliant on each other.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
There are parts of our process that I am not allowed to discuss, but a mentor of mine told me at one point that one of the best methods is to dramatically announce your plays like you're on an episode of Yugioh so you can improve these great "wow" moments that are indicative of the reasons people play the game.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I think the quality and efficiency that team-work can accomplish is amazing, though some projects or phases of design I just need a quiet space to work alone. It depends on the task at hand.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
I think worrying about too much too early is a huge challenge. I intentionally surround myself with people who can challenge me and keep me on task. I want to know my team is capable of changing my mind when necessary and they keep me focused on the short-term goals we have set, because I constantly have the big picture in mind, and that gets overwhelming.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
If I can't completely redesign Yu-Gi-Oh!, then I'd love to do a Dragon Quest card game. (Or Secret of Mana... hey Square Enix, wyd?)

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
I wish someone could have told me twenty years ago that if I was interested in designing games, there might be routes to take which could lead to it being a career.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Create a game design document, create 3 or 4 design pillars, and work off of checklists. It's easy to start jumping from task to task if you lack a point of focus. The game design document helps give you that.

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: Shardforge, a card game for 2+ players. We're looking to publish the beta version by 2021.
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: We're crowdfunding organically through retailers right now. Retailers may contact me directly by email if they are interested in pre-alpha Retailer exclusives.
Currently looking for a publisher I have: We would be thrilled to work with a publisher if one should be interested in discussing options.
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Shardforge is in the pre-alpha playtesting stage in which the rules change to accommodate mechanical issues, after which begins beta testing, where we focus on individual card designs more. We are looking for playtesters to sign up and playtest on Tabletop Simulator.
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: We have two other tabletop games on the backburner at this time. One is a parody and the other is a hyper-casual modern adaptation of a classic card game.

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Tabletop game design open discussion, Card & Board Game Designers Guild, art & graphic design for tabletop games, Board Game Revolution Community and more

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?
Easy. Star Wars (Unless it's the new Star Trek), Coke (Unless it’s the new Pepsi) and VHS (unless it's the new... ohhhh, you got me.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Digital strategy games, reading, music & watching videos about game design/UI or economics.

What is something you learned in the last week?
I learned how to design interviews for prospective game designers. This helps you learn everything you need to know about prospective job candidates for designers/playtesters.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Music: Real alternative rock, Book: Morte, Movies: The 2000's X-men movies with Patrick Stewart as Professor X.

What was the last book you read?
If you don't count math textbooks, then Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I play guitar just well enough to make children cry, and I am pretty okay on the keyboard/piano.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I used to work as a promoter for a night club and I met Zach Braff. I sarcastically said "I loved you in 'Friends'," and he didn't hear me. I didn't have the guts to repeat the joke.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
When I was about 22, I was at a bar in New York. The comedian was late to his set, so I jumped on stage. There was a bar stool on the stage, and Ijust moved the stool around very slowly for a full 2 minutes, intermittently stopping to look at the crowd as if I were going to say something, and then going back to moving the stool again. I got some laughs before I got kicked off stage. It was worth it.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
At a previous job, I needed to order 20 new office chairs. I wrote " Order 20 chairs," very quickly, on a post-it. I gave it to one of our back-office interns who read it as "Order 20 cheese" and proceeded to order 20 cheese pizzas. We had an okay office pizza party. The next day I ordered the chairs.

Who is your idol?
Mike Fitzgerald, Daniel Felder, Richard Borg and of course Richard Garfield are a few my game design idols. My father… and last but not least, Robin Williams.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I would just go back to when I was twelves years old and tell myself exactly 11½% of everything I know now.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
I used to be an introvert before a near-death experience about 4 years ago. I did the Meyers Briggs test before and after, and now I test as an almost full-blown extrovert.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Oh, definitely Superman, but only for 40 minutes so I could teach him how to actually use strategy. After that I wouldn't mind being me again. If you think about it, modern-day Superman would be an internet blogger by day.

[GJJ Games] Shhh…. Don’t tell everyone!

Have any pets?
I really want a doggo, but no, not right now.

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 Settlers of Catan survives and they write all of their history books about us based on that game and call the planet Catan.
I hope Monopoly takes the brunt of the asteroid for the most dramatic table-flip ever performed, and then no one ever has to pass go again.

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):
Shout out to Dan Felder from Electronic Arts in Sacramento, for always offering kind words and sound wisdom and generally just being a great friend. And to my fiance, Sammy, who has been supportive of my decision to design/develop and soon publish this game (and hopefully many others in the future). I would also like to thank Arjay Schmollinger, Mark Montemayor, Kelly Victor and Andrew Jabs for the hard work they've done with me on this project. I also want to give a shout out to my friend Stourmy Meshaun Wolff, an amazing cosplayer and one of our new team members. She has been undergoing chemo-therapy treatments for HER2+ breast cancer, and has been an incredible soldier and source of inspiration. She recently joined our team as a playtester and designer despite her medical problems.

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

I just want to say the GJJ Games and the other influences in this profession that I look up to have literally saved my life and I want to thank them for their passion in the industry and giving so much to the gaming community.




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.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Eye on Kickstarter #78


Welcome to my Eye on Kickstarter series!  This series will highlight Kickstarter campaigns I am following that have recently launched (or I've recently discovered) because they have caught my interest.  Usually they'll catch my interest because they look like great games that I have either backed or would like to back (unfortunately budget doesn't allow me to back everything I'd like to).  But occasionally the campaigns caught my attention for other reasons.  Twice a month, on the 2nd and 4th Fridays, I'll make a new post in this series, highlighting the campaigns that have caught my attention since the last post.  In each post I'll highlight one campaign that has really grabbed my attention, followed by other campaigns I've backed or am interested in.  I'll also include links to any related reviews or interviews I've done.  Comments are welcome, as are suggestions for new campaigns to check out!

You can also see my full Kickstarter Profile to see what I've backed or my old Eye on Kickstarter page that was too unwieldy to maintain.  Also, check out the 2019 Kickstarter Boardgame Projects geeklist over on Board Game Geek for a list of all the tabletop games of the year.
So, without further ado, here are the projects I'm currently watching as of the fourth Friday of November, 2019:

Live Campaigns from Past Eyes:
Legacies by Brookspun Games
Honey Buzz by Elf Creek Games
Tranquility by Board Game Hub
On the Origin of Species by Artana LLC


HIGHLIGHTED CAMPAIGN
On Pointe
by Analog Game Studios
  • GJJ Games Backed
  • Last year I backed Rechord, a game about playing chords on a guitar that uses real guitar picks as components because my oldest son plays Spanish classical guitar. This year I found On Pointe, which, although mainly aimed at a female audience, has just enough male centric characters and components that I decided to back it as a present for my middle son, who started dancing last year and fell in love with ballet. The game looks pretty simple, with most of the strategy coming from out maneuvering and blocking your opponents (it would be great to have a cooperative variant somehow where the players have to work together as a troupe), but it looks fun and the theme is great for an aspiring ballet dancer of any gender!


On Pointe is a board game where players advance as a professional dancer would, from learning the basic ballet moves, mastering rehearsals, performing on stage, competing to become Prima Ballerina and accepting their bouquet at curtain call.

The game is competitive for 2 to 4 players and stays true to its theme throughout. Points are accumulated by collecting gems and treasures for the tutu or tunic score board, with the winner decided by total points scored at the end of the game. There are plenty of strategic and tactical options available to the player when deciding on which dance move they select and when they apply their power-up tokens.





Bewere
by Bewere Card Game
  • I saw this earlier in the month, but skipped right past it, thinking it was just another Mafia/Werewolf ripoff. But then something about it caught my attention and I looked closer. It's not a social deduction ripoff game, instead it's a card game with some pretty interesting mechanics. Your goal is to get villager cards in your hand to turn into werewolves, but not die because they've received too many bites, but also not survive as villagers or they'll riddle you full of silver bullets. I think this one was definitely worth the second look and it could use some help in its last week.


Wallet Games Reprint
by Button Shy Games


Rare Roses
by Cravon Studios
  • People Behind the Meeples Interview
  • Rare Roses was on Kickstarter a few months ago. Now it's back with a lower funding goal (it's already funded) but the same intriguing gameplay and great artwork.


Ducks in Tow
by First Fish Games
  • This is an absolutely adorable looking game, with quite a bit of strategy and puzzle solving. I love the custom meeple pieces that bring their own ducks with them!


Loot of Lima
by BoardGameTables.com
  • For a while now I've been thinking of an idea for a roll & write game, but was stuck on how to get it to do what I wanted. Then I saw a picture of the dice in Loot of Lima and inspiration hit! My game has been coming along just great, and I'm happy to say that, other than the dice, it has nothing in common with Loot of Lima. The idea did cause me to look into Loot of Lima more closely, however, and I really find it intriguing. I love deduction games and this really seems to be a novel approach at it, without relying on an app to store the solution.


Goblin Teeth
by Jellybean Games
  • Jellybean Games is becoming very well known for putting out some excellent lighter games, perfect for families or as fillers. Goblin Teeth is the latest in their line of fun games, with some fun press-your-luck mechanics.


Venice
by Braincrack Games
  • This is a really unique looking worker placement type of game with cool gondola pieces that travel around Venice, activating workers as it passes. I really like the twist on worker placement that this offers!


Dispel Dice Debut Collection
by Dispel Dice
  • I'm not a huge fan of dice (though my wife thinks my huge bin of them that I use for game designs says otherwise), but these really caught my eye. They look like gorgeous gemstones with inclusions that sparkle like fireworks. These are absolutely gorgeous, though $48 for a set of seven seems quite expensive. I'm happy to oggle over their beauty and then go back to my bag of 100 random dice I got for $20.


Turrim Dice Tower
by Moonmares Games
  • Check it out, two sets of dice in one update! This is probably the most unique set of dice that I've ever seen. On their own each is a unique type of die that generates its result by rolling or spinning. But it's when the dice come together that things really take a unique turn. Stacked, these dice create a work of art - a wizard's tower that can stay out on display even when you're not using the dice.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 198: Sarah Trice

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:Sarah Trice
Email:sarahctrice&$64;gmail.com
Location:Maryland, USA
Day Job:Sales Associate at a local Walmart
Designing:Five to ten years.
Twitter:@cardgamedesign1
Today's Interview is with:

Sarah Trice
Interviewed on: 8/13/2019

This week we get to meet Sarah Trice, a designer who is working on getting her name out there with several game designs. Read on to learn more about Sarah and her projects, and stop by to play her games at UnPub 10 next year!

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 definitely made a few games as a kid. I don't recall what exact age I was though.

What game or games are you currently working on?
I'm working on 2 asymmetrical 2 player games. One is a Christian war game, and the other is based on 2 animals in a food chain. The 3rd game, I'm working on is a roll and write party game about making the next best destination to travel to.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Not yet, but hopefully, one day that will happen.

What is your day job?
Sales Associate at a local Walmart

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Either at board game night or at home

Who do you normally game with?
Mostly friends and family

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
It depends on which group of friends that I invite. But I'll definitely list some favorites: A Game of Thrones 2nd Edition board game, Superfight, Bad Medicine, Robo Rally, Red Dragon Inn, Just One, Azul, Betrayal at House on the Hill and Machi Koro.

And what snacks would you eat?
I'm eating pretzels, chips, oreos, carrots and dip, and probably drinking some soda.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Not too often, I guess it happened more often when playing D&D.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Superfight is probably in my top 10 favorite games. It is easy to get to the table and doesn't require much thought, but it can still generate so much laughter. It also can be rather competitive. Quelf is easily one of the worst games I've ever played. Something about quacking like a duck for no specific reason, just doesn't really sit the best with me.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I really like Betrayal at House on the Hill's flipping room tiles mechanic. I would really love to make a game with that sort of mechanic some day. I'm not a big worker placement player; it probably isn't my least favorite mechanic. But it does trend that direction. I think I get analysis paralysis when trying to decide what my best course of action.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
A Game of Thrones 2nd edition board game, Technically, I don't currently own it. Some of my friends own it, but it takes planning ahead to set a time to round up enough players to have time to play it all the way through.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card 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, Other Games?

OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
It has been a while since I last played it. I have to be in the mood for it and with the right group of people. I generally preferred when I made my own decks for it online, and then played with a group of online friends. Basically, all the decks I made were a bunch of inside jokes we had with each other, so it got pretty hilarious at times without going all that awful.

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 think I can go either way. But I think I am more a mechanics first person. I'll have a thought about what I want to see happen and then shoot off from there.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I've entered some game design competitions. I haven't won though.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
I have too many to count.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Pacing around the Kitchen/Dining area or in the Bathroom or Driving

How do you go about playtesting your games?
This is where I struggle. I attend Unpub events to get playtests, but I struggle to do this more in my local area.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I generally work alone. I feel like it would be cool to collaborate on designs with someone at some point.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Getting my games to the table to playtest has been my big challenge so far.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Stargate Atlantis, Stargate Sg1, Quantico (tv show), The Perfect Insider drama, The King's Avatar (Chinese drama)

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Write it all down, even if you think you will remember it all. Allowing yourself to free up your brain to have other thoughts can be beneficial. Also, get plenty of sleep, lack of sleep can reduce your creativity. While receiving plenty of sleep will allow your brain to transfer short term memories into long term memories there by (at least in my mind) allowing you to have more opportunities to think about your game.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Games that I'm playtesting are: In My Place
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Saul and Paul, Possum and Buzzard

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

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?
Stargate Sg1 and Stargate Atlantis, Both Coke and Pepsi, VHS was cool

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Dancing, reading

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
I like lots of types of music. Not country though, Rock and Alternative are probably the most prominent. I don't know if I have a favorite book or movie type. Mostly fiction I guess

What was the last book you read?
Stiletto by Daniel O'Malley (Please read The Rook aka book 1 first)

Do you play any musical instruments?
piano and steel drums

Who is your idol?
Simon Sinek, Michael McIntyre, and James Veitch

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Maybe go back and fix a regret, otherwise hopefully destroy it so as not to be tempted to abuse it

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
ambivert

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Deku from My Hero Academia

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):
Hi AnnMaria Jackson-Phelps, you are awesome.

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

Triceratops kind of has my name in it. Trice, Sarah hehe. My middle name isn't tops though.




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.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 197: Dave Neale

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:Dave Neale
Email:daveneale.writer@gmail.com
Location:UK
Day Job:I am a researcher in the Centre for Research on Play, Education, Development and Learning (PEDAL) at The University of Cambridge, and I look at how play helps children learn and develop. From October, I will be doing game-design full-time for a while, though intend to return to academia soon.
Designing:5 to 10 years.
Webpage:www.dneale.com
BGG:Dave Neale
Twitter:@DaveNealeWriter
Instagram:@daveneale.writer/
Find my games at:Most online stores and probably their FLGS
Today's Interview is with:

Dave Neale
Interviewed on: 8/13/2019

This week we get to meet Dave Neale, a UK based designer with a penchant for designing games based on Sherlock Holmes. He even has a title coming out next year in the classic Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective line, one of my wife's favorite series of games! Keep reading to learn more about Dave and his Holmes based games and other projects.

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Six months to a year.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
I've always dabbled in ideas for board games since I was a child, but it really started in 2012 when I played Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective and had an idea for a case. I liked the idea of coming up with mysteries and letting my friends and family investigate them.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Three very different mystery/narrative games, all due to be released at some point in the next two years. I'll also soon be checking the proofs for my Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective set, 'The Baker Street Irregulars'.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Yes. The scenario 'Sherlock Holmes - The Scarlet Thread of Murder' in 'Unlock! Heroic Adventures'; the real-time tile-laying game '5-Minute Chase'; and 'Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Baker Street Irregulars', which is due for release in around 4 months' time.

What is your day job?
I am a researcher in the Centre for Research on Play, Education, Development and Learning (PEDAL) at The University of Cambridge, and I look at how play helps children learn and develop. From October, I will be doing game-design full-time for a while, though intend to return to academia soon.

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

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
A variety. Perhaps a euro-style game with a good narrative, like Village or Alchemists; an escape game such as Unlock! or Exit; and then some social deduction to finish - probably The Resistance: Avalon. Alternatively, we could make a whole night out of a good Consulting Detective case.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Heffers in Cambridge - friendly, knowledgeable and dedicated staff; huge games selection and great games nights.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Right now I am really liking Black Sonata by John Kean - it's technically a solo game, though I've played it as a co-op. It's not my current favourite in the sense of the enjoyment I get from it (though I definitely do enjoy it!) but because I am impressed and fascinated by the design. I mean, a hidden movement game for one player, how can that work? Well, it does. And it's not a narrative game, so it is a refreshing change from the heavy story stuff I spend most of my time buried in when designing my own games.

Least favourite I still enjoy...? That's tricky - I have to think of something I like less than almost everything else, but also do like a bit? Coup probably falls somewhere in that zone for me, because it's primarily a bluffing game, and I prefer the simplicity of Skull. Yet, every time I play it I enjoy it. There must be others like that but I can't think of them right now.

And I don't know what the worst game I've ever played is, but it's probably something based on a tv gameshow. They seem to be universally bad.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I don't tend to think about mechanics in isolation, but more about the theme and experience around them. I think any mechanic can work or fail depending on the context. Even roll and move - which is often lambasted by gamers - works well in games such as Deep Sea Adventure.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
I like This War of Mine, but have only managed to play it once. It requires a big time commitment and the right mood - you need to be prepared for some depressing stuff!

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?
Rarely.

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 have done both. Normally, as I primarily design narrative games, it is the theme first.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Often when exercising - running, walking, cycling. When the brain is allowed to drift a little, new, unusual ideas can sometimes emerge.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I attend a weekly play test group which is part of Playtest UK. I also have various groups of friends and family who tend to be first to experience new ideas and mysteries, when they are normally a little too challenging...

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Both. I designed 5-Minute Chase with Anthony Proietti, and am currently co-designing games with Matt Dunstan and various other designers. But I created my Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective set alone, my Sherlock Unlock! scenario alone, and have a few other games in the pipeline that will be all me.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Creating a realistic, immersive, believable, highly interactive, world in a box.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Playtesting is everything. Although in this, and many other aspects of game design, narrative games are a very different beast to more conventional games. I don't have the time to outline all the ways in which this is true, but over the past few years I have learned narrative game design is a very specific craft.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Sherlock Holmes - The Scarlet Thread of Murder', in Unlock! Heroic Adventures
5-Minute Chase

Games that will soon be published are: Sherlock Holmes Consulting Detective: The Baker Street Irregulars
Perspective (a mystery-solving card game)
The Science of Deduction (title TBC, essentially Sherlock Holmes the party game)

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

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!

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Hiking, traveling, rock climbing, running, playing guitar, songwriting

What is something you learned in the last week?
That dolphins juggle jellyfish

What was the last book you read?
Appropriately, The Player of Games by Iain M. Banks

Do you play any musical instruments?
Guitar!

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I once got drunk with the Foo Fighters.

Who is your idol?
Not sure, but Sherlock Holmes has to factor in there somewhere!

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
I tend to come across mostly as an extrovert, but growing up I was always more of an introvert, so it's a bit of both. The best way to phrase it is probably that I'm an introvert trapped in an extrovert's body.


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

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.