Tuesday, September 29, 2020

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 246: Sam Stockton

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:Sam Stockton
Location:Lincoln, Nebraska, United States
Day Job:I am a Business Development Specialist for a Truck Manufacturer. Basically a Marketing Consultant for truck dealerships.
Designing:One to two years.
Facebook:Cult of the Deep
Other:Board Game Atlas : KingoftheHilltop
Find my games at:We actually have a calendar where we are playtesting games or just having game nights. Go to: https://bagames.setmore.com/
Today's Interview is with:

Sam Stockton
Interviewed on: 7/18/2020

This week we get to meet Sam Stockton, who is hoping to publish his first game, Cult of the Deep, next year. He also runs B.A. Games and writes for the King of the Hilltop blog where there is a ton of great information about board games and more! Read on to learn more about Sam and his projects!

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?
I am one of five brothers. Playing board and tabletop games is one of our favorite ways of hanging out. We played enough that we would always start talking about creating our own games. It was more of a casual pursuit until about 2 years ago.

What game or games are you currently working on?
I am mainly working on Cult of the Deep right now as it is coming to Kickstarter soon. I have a couple of others I am working on, but Cult of the Deep has been taking over any spare time I have.

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Not yet but hopefully soon!

What is your day job?
I am a Business Development Specialist for a Truck Manufacturer. Basically a Marketing Consultant for truck dealerships.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Home, game store, friends house, floor of a convention hallway, you name it.

Who do you normally game with?
My brothers, local friends, as well as a couple of online communities.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
I would like to start the night off with something faster like Dice Forge and then move on to something a bit meatier like: Pandemic Fall of Rome, Terraforming Mars, Wingspan, etc. Then if it was a shorter game, end it with a quick warm down of Century: Golem or Splendor.

And what snacks would you eat?
I am a huge fan of chips and queso, I just keep it away from the table and have a hand cloth to clean my hands.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Not really. Not sure why but normally it just distracts me.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
I love my local Hobbytown USA.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Current favorite is Dice Forge. Least favorite is likely Ecos, but I do enjoy it still. I have a hard time picking out a worst game. So many games at least do one thing well. I can tell you what game I wanted more from, Barbearian. I like the theme, I like the dice rolling, and the dice placement. I just wanted more from it. I see a lot of potential for that game.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Worker placement is my favorite right now. The one I like the least is player elimination, some games can get away with it but I find it hard to swallow that it is the best choice a lot of the time.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Terraforming Mars but it just seems not everyone agrees to it or there is not enough time. One day I'll get another game in!

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, 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?
I tend to work with themes first as it is what excites me and gets me thinking about the game.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
We have entered into the Board Game Design Lab (BGDL) and Boston FIG but unfortunately FIG was canceled this year and we got some great feedback from the (BGDL) community.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Shem Phillips is my favorite right now.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Reading books and playing other games.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I have multiple groups locally as well as online that I can now playtest my games. I still like to get people I have never met before for blind playtesting.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Working as a team for me is the only way to go. Especially love working with artists as they are far more skilled than I am and can do a better job of bringing my vision to life.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
My biggest challenge right now is experience. The knowledge and experience of how to tweak or change designs is something I am going to have to earn. I am looking forward to it but it's going to be a challenge!

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Warhammer 40,000!

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Design your first game, just do it and be prepared to shelve it afterwards. You are not going to be great overnight, it takes time and practice. So get out there, get it on the table, and then move on with your next game.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
The same as above. Get that 1st design finished. If it is terrible, awesome! Now do it again. You only get better by actually doing.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
I'm planning to crowdfund: Cult of the Deep
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Monster Hunter like game
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Superhero team builder

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

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 Wars. Dr. Pepper or Mt. Dew I think is the better question. VHS.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Well, when you play tabletop miniature games, it's an all encompassing hobby with miniature building, terrain construction, and painting.

What is something you learned in the last week?
Citadel Primer does not wash off if you soak it in Simple Green for a week and you hit it with a vigorous toothbrushing. It laughs at you...mercilessly.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
For music I am a huge Ska fan but I do love me some power metal with Sabaton!

What was the last book you read?
I read Super Powereds Year 4 by Drew Hayes

Do you play any musical instruments?
Fun fact, I was a music major in my first years of college and I played the tuba.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I actually lived and worked in the country of Peru for 2 years.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I used to put hot pastrami on my cheeseburgers. Man, that was a good time!

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
My current day job is really awesome and I work with great people. I applied thinking it was a more local job for a dealership. Didn't realize it was for an international company.

Who is your idol?
My Dad. To this day, he can still work my brothers and I into the ground and still keep going. The man is a complete haus who can outwork anyone I have ever met.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I would like to go back in time and just do historical surveys of Ancient China and other great civilizations. I am just curious how people lived and what things were like.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
EXTROVERT!! (Sorry, is that cliche? Oh well. We'll be friends anyway!)

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Colossus from the X-Men would be sweet. Super Strength and impervious skin.

Have any pets?
Do my children count? No? Well, then 0.

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 only highly magical fantasy games survive. Then everyone centuries later would be like, these people had magic and stuff!?

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):
To all of those people who have been supporting us in bringing Cult of the Deep to life. There have literally now been 100s of people who have helped make this game happen. Thank you! All of you!

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

We are prepping for our first Kickstarter that will be launching February 2nd, 2021. Check out our website, Facebook group, and sign-up for our newsletter to make sure you stay in the loop!

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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