Tuesday, June 25, 2019

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 177: The Collins Family

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:Collins Family (but Dad is answering)
Day Job:Students and Healthcare employees
Designing:One to two years.
Facebook:Empty Space Explorers Game
Find my games at:www.emptyspaceexplorers.com
Today's Interview is with:

Collins Family (but Dad is answering)
Interviewed on: 1/11/2019

This week I'm happy to introduce you to the Collins Family! Together they've been playing and designing games for the past few years. Over the last two years Peter and his 12 and 14 year old daughters have designed Empty Space Explorers. This is their first game available, so look for it 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?
We started in 2016.
What game or games are you currently working on?
A game called Jungoals and a game called Empty Space Explorers
Have you designed any games that have been published?
Empty Space Explorers will be on Kickstarter on June 26th!
What is your day job?
Students and Healthcare employees

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
On a tropical beach at sunset with cocktails (and mocktails for the kids with little umbrellas and strawberries on top) but usually it ends up being the kitchen in England
Who do you normally game with?
Extended family
If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
A mix of dexterity, quiz and strategy games to keep everybody engaged
And what snacks would you eat?
Chips, olives, chocolate, candy, sausages, pizza, nachos, burgers, carrot sticks, celery, cucumber with dips and a large bucket of caramel popcorn
Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Yes to try to drown out the tapping, whistling, humming, mouth popping and another annoying habits we have when waiting for our turn
What’s your favorite FLGS?
We don't have any near where we live but I do love that one near Camden Lock in London, you know the one I mean, next to the canal and opposite the Hot Dog shack, that looks like it wouldn't be out of place in a Charles Dickens novel or should be on a quaint picture postcard - I'll have to google it.
What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Played Perudo at Christmas with 10 people and had a lot of fun. I always pull a face at Guillotine but once we get going I still kinda enjoy it. Worst game was Chrononauts -we just didn't get it!
What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Love worker placement. Don't have a least favourite as enjoy a mix of mechanics.
What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Civilisation - the board game. The thought of a 12 hour marathon game sends my wife running...
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?
We love Space so games always start with this but sometimes they morph
Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
We are going to enter Cardboard Edison hopefully this year
Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
We like to mix things up so we don't get drawn to the same type of games/branding/mechanics
Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Strolling in the beautiful English countryside
How do you go about playtesting your games?
Start small then expand out to blind testing
Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
As a family making decisions (and yes that is probably harder to come up with a consensus than working with a whole team of designers and artists)
What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Getting the word out amongst all the other designers
If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
It would have to be about the Football World Cup
What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Just do it. Stop reading and procrastinating, just do it!
What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Just do it. Stop reading and procrastinating, just do 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: Empty Space Explorers
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: Empty Space Explorers
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Jungoals

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Loads of gaming and astronomy groups. Also, Peter is the admin for 'Kickstarter Collaborators Club'

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?
Trek Wars. Diet either. Had both Betamax and VHS but you know what was the funniest thing we had with our first VHS recorder? It was a remote control (which we thought was amazing) but it was a wired remote control! It wouldn't actually reach from the TV to the armchair - but we still thought it was the coolest Star Trek like technology back then!
What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Astronomy, Dancing, Diving, Scuba, Tennis, Football (that's not just me by the way, that's the whole family otherwise I wouldn't have time for game design)
What is something you learned in the last week?
A day on Venus is longer than a year
Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Vinyl, Paper and in the Cinema
What was the last book you read?
Wonders of the Solar System and Universe by Professor Brian Cox
Do you play any musical instruments?
Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
We have visited more countries than there are years in this century
Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
We tracked Orangutans alone in the rain forests of Borneo using the state of disarray of the nests they built in the treetops as a guide (they build a new one each night and abandon it) and eventually came across a mother and baby, so cute but crazy as we nearly got lost.
Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Daughter number 1 (only joking!)
Who is your idol?
Brian Cox
What would you do if you had a time machine?
Go forward in time as far as I could
Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Some of us are in and some of us are ex
If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Oooh, good question, let me think about that one
Have any pets?
Yep, Flower the cat (and the various creatures she brings in)
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?
Would love Civilization the board game to survive. Would love mental health issues to be wiped out of our brains.
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):

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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