Tuesday, June 18, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 176: Danielle Marie Reynolds

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:Danielle Marie Reynolds
Location:Chicago Area, IL, USA
Day Job:I work as a Marketing Coordinator at Williams Architects full-time and as a Graphic Design/Social Media Coordinator for the Neurofibromatosis Network.
Designing:Six months to a year.
BGG:Danielle Reynolds
Find my games at:https://tabletopia.com/games/curbside
Today's Interview is with:

Danielle Marie Reynolds
Interviewed on: 1/13/2019

Danielle Reynolds is another designer that's fairly local to me. She's from the Chicago area and is currently running a Kickstarter for her first game, Nut Stash. Danielle has a number of other games in the works, too, including Curbside, which she recently playtested at her first Protospiel event in Indianapolis last month. I look forward to meeting Danielle at a local designer meetup someday. Read on to learn more about Danielle and the variety of projects she's working on!

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 been making games since I was a little kid. It wasn't until I graduated college and started doing freelance graphic design jobs for game companies that I realized I could make games for more people than just myself, friends and family. Over the past year I have designed my first game and am working towards my first Kickstarter. Thanks to many supportive friends in the industry I am researching and preparing to launch in 2019!

What game or games are you currently working on?
Currently, I am finishing up a Kickstarter for a card and dice game called "Nut Stash" that I designed. I am in the pitching and tweaking stage of my game "Curbside" that I hope to release through another publisher in the next year or so. Beyond that I have two games submitted to design competitions and a few others in the works.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Nut Stash will be my first published game. It is currently on Kickstarter until July 4th and can be found at www.kickstarter.com/projects/nutstash/nut-stash.

What is your day job?
I work as a Marketing Coordinator at Williams Architects full-time and as a Graphic Design/Social Media Coordinator for the Neurofibromatosis Network.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
I have a weekly game night Friday nights at my house. I prefer my home but love gaming conventions as well. If I'm playtesting games I go to one of my two local meet-up groups.

Who do you normally game with?
Typically, I game with my fiancé, friends, local game designers and board game meet-up groups.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Depending on the number of people over is what we play. Recently, I've had larger game nights so we've been playing a lot of social deduction games and party games. With smaller groups we have been playing a lot of strategy games with tile placement and deck builders recently.

And what snacks would you eat?
This past game night featured cheesy bread and popcorn chicken. Normally we have some sort of chip and dip. Also, pizza or some other heavier appetizer. Everyone brings their own drinks.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
My friends are too easily distracted so we don't play music while gaming.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
I don't have a current favorite game but every holiday my family plays Loaded Questions so that game holds a special place in my heart. I have recently been playing a lot of Dominion, Flamme Rouge and Gaia. My least favorite game I played recently was Fox in the Forest which was unfortunate because the illustrations were great. I can't remember the worst game but for years I avoided every spelling game since I always lost.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I love any game with tiles in it. They pull my attention in. I'm not a fan of trading card games anymore. I use to love Pokemon but Magic never interested me.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
I love playing Settlers of Catan and I just got Catan Game of Thrones Edition but I never have the right amount of players to play it. I've only been able to play it twice.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card 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?
Typically it's the theme then mechanics. Creative themes come easily but finding unique mechanics takes longer for me.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I entered my first design competition for Genius Games to design a game about Caffeine with my co-designer Ryan Costello. I am also working on a roll and write for another competition.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
My friend Ryan Costello of Blind Ferret Entertainment is my favorite designer but that's because he's my best friend and idol. He took a passion and made it a full-time job.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
My best ideas come at completely random times. I like having people to bounce them off of to fine tune them.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I start with anyone in my house then grab friends. After getting their opinions I go to conventions, meet-ups, local game designer groups, and game shop events to playtest.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Depending on the project I may work alone or bring in an artist if my skills don't fit the look I want for the game. I enjoyed my first experience co-designing.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Figuring out how to market the game to the right backers as well as shipping/production.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I have some good ideas for a twister spin off I'd love to explore. As far as television/movies I'd love to work with DC or Marvel Comics on a game. My game Nut Stash would work great with a Marvel's Squirrel edition.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Write down any half way decent idea and work on a small project first to test the waters.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Sometimes you need to take a break from designing your game, especially during the art phase. That way you get a fresh pair of eyes on it.

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: Nut Stash 2019, Curbside 2020
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: Nut Stash at www.kickstarter.com/projects/nutstash/nut-stash/
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Curbside at https://www.dmrcreativegroup.com/curbside
I'm planning to crowdfund: Nut Stash 2019
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Nut Stash
Games that I'm playtesting are: Curbside, Caffeine
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Excursions, Forecast
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: A Heist Game, a Christmas Themed Game, a Daycare Game (No Titles yet)

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Tabletop Game Kickstarter Advice, Board Game Reviewers & Media, Game Retailers Who Back Kickstarters

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 if I have to choose, VHS

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I travel, volunteer, play whirlyball, read and stream shows/movies.

What is something you learned in the last week?
Origins is an amazing Convention!

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
My favorite is probably Pop or Rock. My favorite book is the Count of Monte Cristo but I love most Fiction books.Right now I mainly read Marvel's Runaway comics because I have no free time. I don't have a favorite movie. That would be like choosing a favorite child.

What was the last book you read?
The first Game of Thrones book.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I use to play clarinet when I was younger.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I can speak like Alvin and the Chipmunks.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I once made snow angels in shorts and a tank top.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
The best accident was coming back to my apartment early because my friend was running late to go to the mall. Since I went home to wait I was able to meet my roommates new friend Jessa. Now she's my fiancé.

Who is your idol?
For the longest time Lois Lane (fictional character from Superman) was my idol. She was a human with no super powers that I felt was an equal to Superman. She was always sure of herself, adventurous and always willing to do the right thing.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Nothing. As much as I'd love to view the past. I'm too afraid of the butterfly effect.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Supergirl! She has the best powers and our earth doesn't have Kryptonite, the red sun or magic to stop her.

Have any pets?
I have three cats: Nova, Sansa and Banshee.

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?
My guess is any game that doesn't use paper may survive. I hope snakes don't survive, they are my least favorite thing in the world.

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):
Ryan Costello

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

I am currently submitting Curbside to publishers and will be at GenCon if anyone is interested. I will be in the First Exposure Hall.

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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