Tuesday, February 11, 2020

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 210: Emma Larkins

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:Emma Larkins
Location:Seattle, WA
Day Job:board game designer/board game media
Designing:Two to five years.
YouTube:Emma Larkins
Find my games at:BGG
Today's Interview is with:

Emma Larkins
Interviewed on: 8/20/2019

This week's interview is with Seattle designer, Emma Larkins. Emma has a few published designs to her name and has just been added to Gamewright's catalog! Abandon All Artichokes will be coming from Gamewright this year! Emma runs a weekly designer meetup in Seattle, so if you're in the area head on out to say hi! Read on to learn more about Emma and her projects.

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Two to five years.

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
made my first board game as a Valentine's Day present for my then boyfriend/now husband

What game or games are you currently working on?
Abandon All Artichokes (simplified deckbuilder), Split the Loot (card-swapping tableau-builder), What to Eat After the Apocalypse, Have You Had Enough Cheese? Comeuppance (using a see-saw to simulate reaping what you sow)

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Heartcatchers, ...and then we died

What is your day job?
board game designer/board game media

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At a friend's house

Who do you normally game with?
local Seattle Tabletop Game Designers, friends from Mox Boarding House

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Anything new!

And what snacks would you eat?
Cheese. Lots of cheese.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Sometimes - instrumental electronic music.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Mox Boarding House (I used to work there!)

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Current favorite: Fantasy Realms.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Current favorite game mechanic: deckbuilding.

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

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

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card Games, RPG Games

OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
it has its uses.

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?
Whatever works. What to Eat After the Apocalypse - theme first. ...and then we died - mechanics first. Abandon All Artichokes - name first.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Entered and won selection to the Indie Megabooth.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Elizabeth Hargrave.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Everywhere. All the time. In my dreams, on the bus, while talking with friends...

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I run a weekly playtest event - Seattle Tabletop Game Designers.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I like to work with a team.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Getting that first prototype to the table. Ideation and development are easier.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Steven Universe.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
It's okay to make weird stuff.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
The earlier you can get your design in front of people, the better.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Heartcatchers, ...and then we died.
Games that will soon be published are: Abandon All Artichokes
Games that I'm playtesting are: Split the Loot
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Sofas for Sale, What to Eat After the Apocalypse, Merge Game
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Untitled Space Botany Game, Have You Had Enough Cheese? Comeuppance, Portmanteau

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?
Yes. Coke. VHS.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Playing video games, hiking, watching movies, traveling, karaoke

What is something you learned in the last week?
RPGs are an incredibly powerful tool to help with therapy and reintroducing previously incarcerated people back into mainstream society.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Anything catchy. Science fiction. Action/adventure.

What was the last book you read?
The Martian.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Electric guitar.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I wrote and self-published a science fiction novel called Mechalarum.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Road trip from Texas to California.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Accidentally moving to New York City.

Who is your idol?
Amy Poehler.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Tell myself that everything's going to turn out great.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Both, depending on the time of day.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Imperator Furiosa.

Have any pets?
Two cats - Inigo and Fezzik. They're brothers.

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 the concept of using play and design thinking to improve all areas of human life survives.

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):
Hello Seattle Designers! You rock!

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

Thanks for reading!

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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