Tuesday, January 21, 2020

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 207: Jeremiah Donaldson

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:Jeremiah Donaldson
Location:London, Ky
Day Job:Was in call centers the last 5 years, but that's bad for my health and I'm in the process of switching things up.
Designing:Five to ten years.
Facebook:Ephiroll Productions
YouTube:Jeremiah Donaldson
Find my games at:Everything is on Amazon, my card games are also on The Game Crafter, and my RPG stuff is on DriveThruRPG.
Today's Interview is with:

Jeremiah Donaldson
Interviewed on: 8/17/2019

Jeremiah Donaldson is a designer and author from London, but Kentucky, not the UK. He's written several sci-fi and horror stories and designs games set in the worlds he's created for those stories. Read on to learn more about Jeremiah and the projects he's working on.

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?
It's an extension of my writing.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Death Derby expansion stuff (combat racing game), Post-apocalyptic Escapades (a 18+ RPG game), and Full Moon Tech (a capture type game in which rival biotech companies try to capture the most werewolf DNA before the government).

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Death Derby and The Disturbance Timeline RPG with its two modules.

What is your day job?
Was in call centers the last 5 years, but that's bad for my health and I'm in the process of switching things up.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?

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?
It'd probably be up to them and it'd probably be Death Derby.

And what snacks would you eat?

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Industrial Rock stuff (like Powerman 5k) and/or Industrial Techno (like Phosgore).

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Don't have one.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
My current favorite is my game Death Derby, there's not been repeat race in nearly 500 hours of playtime. Yahtzee. You Are the Maniac.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
No favorites, I just do what needs to be done to do what I want something to do and then to smooth it out.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Any old Shadowrun tabletop game.

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

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Card Games, RPG 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?
I'm a writer, so the theme is always first. Furthermore, my main card games are an expansion of my RPG. Death Derby is the vehicle combat section pulled out and made into a game and Post-apocalyptic Escapades is a super stripped down version of the RPG itself.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Sid Meier

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Everywhere, but I also have a sandbox SF world that covers the next 2k years of human history that my SF and most the game stuff is set on.

How do you go about playtesting your games?

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Alone. Anything I need done is essentially contracted out as needed. Some playtesters also double as actors and cameramen, etc.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Marketing, but that's more on the publishing side.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Arcanum: Of Steamworks and Magick Obscure

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Try it out sooner.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Playtest, playtest, and playtest. Then when you think you've playtested enough, playtest some more.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Death Derby and The Disturbance Timeline RPG
Games that will soon be published are: Death Derby: Nature's Rage expansion
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Death Derby: High Octane
Games that I'm playtesting are: Post-apocalyptic Escapades
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: PA Escapades expansions: Mad Mansion and Escape from Xan
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Full Moon Tech, along with a few others: Scavenger Lords that stalled before Alpha, Post-apocalyptic Arena that failed initial playtests and was reworked into PA Escapades, and a serial killer capture game that was a collaboration which stalled a short ways into playtesting and inspired Full Moon Tech.

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
The Game Crafter, the majority of FB groups are swamped with beginner questions and too noisy for real work.

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?
Both. Pepsi. VHS.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Writing, gardening, and taking care of my place.

What is something you learned in the last week?
That all the call centers in my town have bad air and I have to find another line of business to pay the bills.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Industrial. Non-fiction science and history. The ones not many others like like American History X and Fight Club.

What was the last book you read?
Several stories out of Stephen King's Everything's Eventual.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I wish.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I'm going to try making my 1/2 acre of property self sufficient.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I chased my married friend's husband out the door on break to apologize and risk a punch in the jaw to keep anyone involved from losing a job.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I got a horrible infection in my left leg that cost me a job, but the job I went to is where I met a friend that helped me a great deal.

Who is your idol?
Neil Degrasse Tyson

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Probably run back and forth in time like I was on a road trip.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Introvert with short periods of extroversion.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Tony Stark

Have any pets?

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 think any game has a chance, which is why I want to make a couple stand alone card games, and the more those games teach as far as strategy goes, the more useful they'd be to anyone that finds them. Nothing would be wiped out though. Everything comes back around after enough time just like bell bottoms.

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

I hope the interview thing doesn't bug out this far in. :)

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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