Tuesday, January 14, 2020

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 206: Charley Cross

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:Charley Cross
Location:Springfield, IL
Day Job:Work at an elementary school part time, carpenter part time, game designer full time.
Designing:Over ten years!
Facebook:Arbo Arts LLC
Other:Not yet.
Find my games at:Just direct right now.
Today's Interview is with:

Charley Cross
Interviewed on: 8/16/2019

This week we get to meet Charley Cross, a designer from Springfield, Illinois who likes to make casual, family style card games. You can currently buy a copy of R'Bow, a light color matching, card shedding game with similarities to classics like Uno and Skip-Bo from Arbo Arts, LLC. He's also working on a game called QUEUE and others! Read on to learn more about Charley 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 realized that I have a talent for creating really good family style games.

What game or games are you currently working on?
R'Bow, Queue, and several others not yet ready to discuss.

Have you designed any games that have been published?

What is your day job?
Work at an elementary school part time, carpenter part time, game designer full time.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Home, Parties

Who do you normally game with?
Friends and family

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
They really like Queue. R'Bow, and sometimes Spades.

And what snacks would you eat?
Chips, Dip, Hummus

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Not really, like the conversation.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Titan, Springfield, IL

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Favorite QUEUE. Least but enjoy, Trivial Pursuit. Worst: Old Commodore Game: Docking a Space Shuttle.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Favorite is shedding or collecting. Least is wagering.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
A lot of people do not want to play Monopoly, but they rarely play it by the actual rules, so it goes on forever. I understand, but if you play it by the exact rules it is a real challenge and doesn't usually take that long.

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Card 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?

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?
My games are all modifications of a specific theme.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
I start with a basic structure and keep adding and subtracting options.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Family and friends.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Alone mostly, and with my husband.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
I have already conquered several. The biggest one now is exposure.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
One of the family favorites like UNO, Rook, Phase 10 etc.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Cover all your bases before you spend any money.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Seek advice, be self critical, and believe in your project.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: R'Bow Have a few thousand, will sell these to see how well people like them.
Games that will soon be published are: Queue: Will hopefully publish this year or early next year
I'm planning to crowdfund: Hope to approach Kickstarter as soon as I build more of an online presence.
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: We are ready to go.
Games that I'm playtesting are: We are ready to go.

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 Trek, No High Fructose Corn Syrup!!! VHS

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
carpentry, music, opera, theatre, cooking, gardening.

What is something you learned in the last week?
My adult daughter is dating someone.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
blues, motown, mozart, books, sci fi and historical fiction, action

What was the last book you read?
Les Miserables

Do you play any musical instruments?

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I have lived in over thirty places.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
rope swing on cliff above creek, couldn't reach it from the ground so I jumped off the cliff (low one) to catch the rope in mid air. I missed.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Speeded up my car and used a driveway as a ramp to avoid a collision and landed straddling a ditch, saving myself and my coworker.

Who is your idol?
Bernie Sanders

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Break it into very small bits before I destroyed the world with it.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
I am actually Superman.

Have any pets?
Not in a long time.

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?
QUEUE. Racism just has to 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):
Everybody. Play QUEUE. It really is the best card game since someone took a game played with two decks of playing cards, dressed it up, and became the most successful game since King's Reverse.

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

Email me, I will answer.

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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