Monday, March 16, 2020

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 215: Ammon Anderson

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 and fill out the questionnaire! You can find all the interviews here: People Behind the Meeples. Support me on Patreon!

Name:Ammon Anderson
Location:Utah, USA
Day Job:I’m a full time artist.
Designing:Two to five years.
Find my games at:My website
Today's Interview is with:

Ammon Anderson
Interviewed on: 3/8/2020

This week I actually have two interviews coming out. The first interview is with designer Ammon Anderson. Ammon has been working on his game T.A.C.O. for a while now and plans to launch it on Kickstarter very soon. T.A.C.O. is a party game about building the best taco, while messing up your opponents' recipes. So be sure to check out T.A.C.O. on Kickstarter in the next couple of weeks (it should have been live this week, but COVID-19 has delayed things a bit) and read on to learn more about Ammon and his other 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?
I’ve been designing games since I was a kid. But I’ve only been seriously designing games this past year and I’m working on my second already. I love it.

What game or games are you currently working on?
I am launching TACO, and am developing a board game called MOLD.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Not yet. Soon:)

What is your day job?
I’m a full time artist.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
I love all sorts of games. Right now my kids and I have been playing colt express a lot.

Who do you normally game with?
Friends, family, and a board gaming group in Utah.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
I love Carcassonne. I can’t help it. It was my introduction to strategic board gaming.

And what snacks would you eat?

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
I’ve never played with music on. That may be distracting to me.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Game Grid Lehi.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Current favorite is colt express. I Really enjoy the laughter, setting a bunch of actions put in place, and then watching it play out. Least favorite? Tikal. It’s so LONG, But it’s mesmerizing. worst game I ever played? Worst: trivial pursuit. I HATE that game. And so many people love it.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Favorite is strategic tile placement games. Least favorite is luck. Like exploding kittens. I don’t like grenade in the deck games.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Star Realms. It's hard to find people who want to play it.

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, Miniatures 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?
It’s kind of a combination. But mold is definitely a game that spawned from the name. The game mechanics naturally developed from the idea that mold is pretty amazing.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
My friend Travis Hancock at facade games. He’s doing awesome things

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Just bouncing ideas off of my fiancé. Our conversations bounce back and forth and the ideas just grow.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I play with my fiancé Mel, and my kids and family and a lot of friends. Then I open it up to fans of my art.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
So far, I only work alone and Mel refines my ideas.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
I love some of my ideas so much but others cannot always grasp them. I have to kill a lot of those little darling ideas.

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

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
How much I would adore it. So many people warn you not to waste your time. But that is crap. I’ve never been happier.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Follow your passions. It’s the oddest ideas that make the best games. Experiencing something new.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
I'm planning to crowdfund: Taco
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Mold

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Most of them

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, coke, Blu-ray

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Fine art. Raising 3 amazing kids as a single dad.

What is something you learned in the last week?
I learned how to make a killer salad that I actually crave every single day.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Audiobooks. All sorts. I read every genre except romance. Favorite is Brandon sanderson. Movies. Yes. Everything. And Netflix is my addiction.

What was the last book you read?
Eye of the world. For the 6th time.

Do you play any musical instruments?
Nope:( regret.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I illustrated 80 cards for TACO in 3 weeks.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I eloped. It was CRAZY. and I wouldn’t recommend it. Lol

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
I was laid off work 18 months ago. I thought it was a disaster. It’s been the single greatest blessing of my life and taken me down a totally new and wonderful road.

Who is your idol?
Brandon Sanderson. I LOVE how he thinks and what he creates.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I’d hide it. Nobody is going to screw up history. I mean look at how we’ve screwed up the world!? I doubt anybody is smart enough to go back and “fix things”

Are you an extrovert or introvert?

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Uh... Superman. He’s. SUPERMAN.

Have any pets?
Not currently. I miss having a dog.

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?
Lol. Mine! Haha. And Carcassonne.

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):
My mom. She taught me how to be creative. And my dad. He taught me to be grounded.

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:

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