Wednesday, March 3, 2021

ANNOUNCEMENT: Rolling Seas has been signed by Nuts! Publishing

That's right, you read that correctly!  Rolling Seas has officially been signed by Nuts! Publishing and will be a real game on game store shelves around the world!  Rolling Seas will be my first published game and I can't be more excited.  

Rolling Seas is a 1-100+ player roll & write adventure game about sailing your ship, having adventures, exploring islands, and telling your tale.  It was a semifinalist in The Game Crafter Staff Roll & Write contest and has been extremely well received on PnP Arcade and The Game Crafter (where it will still be available for sale for a while, including a planned crowd sale in April).  

Rolling Seas features:
  • Simultaneous play for any number of players.
  • Multiplayer interaction and solo play.
  • Each game is a new adventure - create a unique map and a tale of your voyage.
  • Plays well remotely over video.
  • Innovative movement cost mechanic based on wind directions.
  • Several planned expansions and map packs!
You can learn more about the game on my Rolling Seas page here or the BGG page here.

Nuts! Publishing is a French publisher of board games and has been around for about ten years.  Though their heritage is war games (both English and French), like This War Without an Enemy, Phantom Fury, and Urban Operations, they've recently started publishing French localizations of some pretty popular titles (including Palm Island, Sub Terra, War of the Ring, Auztralia, and One Deck Dungeon as well as their own line of family games, including the L'Expedition Perdue series.  Recently they've started publishing their own games in English for the international hobby crowd.  They ran a successful Kickstarter campaign for Mini Rogue last year and have several additional upcoming games, including Rolling Seas now.  

Unboxing - Seven Bridges by Puzzling Pixel Games


Seven Bridges features a rendition of historic
Königsberg on the box top.
A few things that I really enjoy: games, long walks, maps, puzzles, math, and history.  Enter Seven Bridges by Ron HallidaySeven Bridges is a roll and write game all about the classic mathematical quandary about the seven bridges in Königsberg, Prussia.  The seven bridges crossed the river Pregel, connecting the two banks with two islands.  For a long time people wondered if it was possible to walk through the city and cross each bridge without crossing any a second time.  It was an unsolved puzzle until Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler proved it impossible in 1736.

The game Seven Bridges takes that mathematical puzzle and turns it into a roll and write game, featuring big, chunky wooden dice, a set of colored pencils, and a historically accurate map drawn by game designer and professional cartographer, Ron Halliday.  Below are some pictures showing exactly what you'll get when you open the box.

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 269: David Collins

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:David Collins
Email:Contact me through FB: vegoilbenz
Location:Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Day Job:Analyzing architectural drawings for energy efficiency
Designing:Six months to a year.
Webpage:www.rebelravengames.com (still working on producing something decent)
Facebook:David Collins
Today's Interview is with:

David Collins
Interviewed on: 11/21/2020

Unfortunately, Climate Change can be a somewhat controversial topic in some circles. It's a global threat to life as we know it, yet there are some that continue to deny or misunderstand the severity. Fortunately there are people that are tirelessly working to inform and educate people through all sorts of methods. This week we get to meet David Collins, a designer working on several games about Climate Change, with the hopes of both educating and entertaining people. Read on to learn more about David and his projects.

Monday, March 1, 2021

Unboxing - Big Easy Busking by Weird Giraffe Games

The box is bright and vibrant, really bringing in
the feel of a New Orleans street performance.

Disclaimer  Support me on Patreon!
One of my favorite types of videos to watch on YouTube is street musicians performing.  I think it's amazing how many amazing musicians are out there that never get the huge recognition they deserve.  It's also amazing how many musicians seem to have gained a huge following from mostly their street performances.  Big Easy Busking is all about performing great music on the streets of New Orleans, kind of like Tuba Skinny, Doreen KetchensSmoking Time Jazz Club, Yes Ma'am, or Grandpa Elliott!

If you enjoy street performances, but maybe New Orleans Jazz isn't your style, go check out Too Many Zooz or Lucky Chops (featuring some of the same musicians), Allie Sherlock, or some other awesome random performances!.  But to get in the mood for Big Easy Busking, put on a great New Orleans Street Music playlist and start playing, or dancing!  Below are some photos showing what you'll get in the box, other than a busking great time!

Friday, February 26, 2021

PRESS RELEASE - This Game is Poo launching on Kickstarter on 2nd March!

Support me on Patreon!

THIS GAME IS POO is a strategic poo-powered card game which Hollew is launching on Kickstarter on 2nd March! Please check out the link below as we need your help:

Or if you live in the UK check it out on Amazon, available now:

WHAT’S THIS POO GAME ALL ABOUT?

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Four Different Games in One Box! - Aroma: A Game of Essence

PAID CONTENT TO FOLLOW
Disclaimer Support me on Patreon!

Organic Aromas, the publisher of Aroma: A Game of Essence and supplier of a wide variety of essential oils and accessories, is an Elite Sponsor of GJJ Games on Patreon.  They supplied a copy of the game Aroma: A Game of Essence and I'm thrilled to share with you an overview of the four games included in the box!  Also, be sure to check out my Unboxing of Aroma: A Game of Essence to see everything included in the game!

Aroma is a smaller box game (about 6.5"x6.5"x2") that is jam-packed with 20 small bottles of essential oils, boards, cubes, tokens, and more.  Within this small box are four games!  Discover, Survive, Revolve, and Collect each use slightly different mechanics that have you pitting your sense of smell against your opponents.  Discover is for exactly 4 players, Survive is for 2-4 players, and Revolve and Collect support 3 or 4 players.  Each game also features a small, mini-game to help set up the game and determine the start player.

So let's jump into an overview of each of the games!

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 268: Wout Veranneman

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:Wout Veranneman
Email:wveranneman@gmail.com - will change to our professional address in the next few months.
Location:Belgium
Day Job:I'm a financial advisor. My business partner is a web designer.
Designing:Less than six months.
Webpage:www.fatdwarfgames.eu - coming soon!
Blog:Will be on the site.
Facebook:Not up yet, but will be. Fatdwarfgames
Twitter:Not yet
Instagram:Not yet but will be @Fatdwarfgames.
Find my games at:Nowhere yet.
Today's Interview is with:

Wout Veranneman
Interviewed on: 1/2/2021

Wout Veranneman is a newcomer to the board game design community, but he has big ambitions! He's working on a game called Portal and has a bunch of other ideas that he hopes to publish with his partner someday soon. Keep your eyes peeled for Fat Dwarf Games coming to social media soon, and read on to learn more about Wout and his projects.

Win Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale!

Support me on Patreon!

Last month, Organic Aromas became an Elite Sponsor of GJJ Games.  One of my Patreon promises is that I'll run a giveaway for every $100 raised through Patreon, and their sponsorship pushed me past the next $100 level.  Thanks to them, I'm now able to run a giveaway for one of my favorite games, the Kennerspiel Des Jahres nominated Cartographers: A Roll Player Tale from Thunderworks Games!


Be sure to enter below before 11:59pm CST on March 15, 2021!

Monday, February 22, 2021

Thursday, February 18, 2021

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 267: Alfie Dennen

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:Alfie Dennen
Email:alfie@evilcorpgame.com
Location:London
Day Job:I look after the digital product side of a startup which focuses on coaching product leaders. It's great, designing products is much like designing games - it's all about the end user at the end of the day.
Designing:Two to five years.
Webpage:evilcorpgame.com
BGG:Evil Corp
Facebook:Evil Corp Games
Twitter:@evilcorpgame
YouTube:Evil Corp: The Boardgame
Instagram:@evilcorpgame
Find my games at:https://evilcorpgame.com
Today's Interview is with:

Alfie Dennen
Interviewed on: 2/10/2021

We have another week with two interviews! Today we get to meet Alfie Dennen, part of the team that brings you Evil Corp: The Boardgame. As both a game and social commentary, Evil Corp aims to be a title to make you think while you have fun. Read on to learn more about Alfie, Evil Corp, and his other projects!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 266: Mads Fløe

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:Mads Fløe
Location:Denmark
Day Job:I work at a board game café, doing just about everything you can imagine, besides serving, cleaning or book keeping. I make sure the games are in good shape, I choose which new games are added and which go on the "for sale" shelves, I make graphic designs such as the menus, posters etc. and I manage the social feeds, help with marketing and events etc.
Designing:Over ten years!
BGG:Mads Floe
Facebook:Mads Floe
Today's Interview is with:

Mads Fløe
Interviewed on: 1/2/2021

This week we get to meet designer Mads Fløe, who has designed a bunch of games, a few of which have been published or signed! His latest titles should be coming out this year and next from AEG, White Goblin Games, Black Box Adventures, and Crafty Games, so keep your eye out for those! Read on to learn more about Mads and his current projects.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

PRESS RELEASE - Evil Corp Boardgame launches - Just in time for global financial meltdown!

Support me on Patreon!

Conceived in 2016 at the peak of global disillusionment towards Big Tech, Evil Corp The Boardgame satirises a core conceit at the heart of every big name tech CEO’s ego:

Quote:
“Only I can save the world - no matter the cost.”
Mark Zuckerberg wants to “connect every person on the planet”, whilst Elon Musk wants to “take us off-world for a chance to go interplanetary”.

Evil Corp the Boardgame asks the question “who are YOU to decide what humanity needs?”

Evil Corp Box

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

PRESS RELEASE - Lex Arcana Returns to Kickstarter

Support me on Patreon!


LEX ARCANA RETURNS TO KICKSTARTER


LINK TO THE CAMPAIGN

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/qualitygames/lex-arcana-dacia-and-thracia-and-italia


It is the twilight of the V century a.D., thirteen centuries since the foundation of Rome.

The Roman Empire did not fall as the Eternal City, in this alternate timeline, used her Haruspices, scholars and oracles to survive the chain of events that led her version from our world to ruin.

Stability and economic growth brought serenity and wealth to the people of Rome and many others even beyond Imperial borders are considered citizens of the Urbs, protected by the invulnerable Pax Romana. However, mighty and invincible legions and divination magics are not enough to protect the Empire anymore. Ancient demons, dark magic, sorcery and monsters from forgotten depths, all conspire to bring Rome down.


Tuesday, February 9, 2021

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 265: David McCord

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:David McCord
Email:newventuregames@gmail.com
Location:Ionia, Michigan, USA
Day Job:Graphic Designer
Designing:Over ten years!
Webpage:www.NewVentureGames.com and www.dmccord.com
BGG:Daibhre
Facebook:New Venture Games
YouTube:https://www.youtube.com/user/daibhre (soon "NewVentureGames" too)
Other:BGDF, IGA, just beginning to dabble in Discord.
Find my games at:The Game Crafter and Red Hen Toys - some are on Amazon but hard to find.
Today's Interview is with:

David McCord
Interviewed on: 1/1/2021

This week we get to meet long-time designer, David McCord. David has a number of published games to his name, and a ton more in the works. Right now he's running a Kickstarter for his latest game, Mining Mars, so be sure to check it out! Read on to learn more about David and his variety of projects.

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

How long have you been designing tabletop games?
Over ten years!

What game or games are you currently working on?
"Mining Mars" (and about a dozen others)

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Yes

What is your day job?
Graphic Designer

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Indoors, within a half hour of home.

Who do you normally game with?
Aside from myself, and under "normal" circumstances, there is a local game group.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Ticket to Ride, Splendor, 7 Wonders, Castle Panic, Takenoko, Dixit, The Captain is Dead... so many more...

And what snacks would you eat?
Generally stuff with cheese, and Vernors.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
Not usually, but if so, something unobtrusive... instrumental music.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Rookies in Lowell, Mich.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Endangered; Fluxx; Snake Dance (but my grandkids love it).

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
Resource Management; games with physically acting-out stupid challenges.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Ubi - or Amuse-Amaze

What styles of games do you play?
I like to play Board Games, Card Games, Other 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?
No

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?
Usually the theme, but a specific aspect, challenge, or relationship within the theme.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Yes and yes. A Game Crafter 24-hour Design Challenge at GrandCon in 2015.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
No.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Usually ideas come to me just as I'm drifting off to sleep, or waking up.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Myself, my family, my game group, contacts through Facebook groups. Recently starting to generate Print-n-Play and Tabletopia versions of prototypes, and hope to playtest that way in the future.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Just me, but my son is my primary "sounding board" for ideas.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Bone by Jeff Smith. Or the James Blish "Cities in Flight" series.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Find a collaborator that loves the business & marketing side. (I do not.)

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Study games of all kinds and all ages for ideas and perspective and inspiration.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: CardBoard; Tesla: Master of Lightning; Battlefield:Medieval; Battlefield: American Civil War; Battlefield: Space; Victor or Victim?; Stones; Apex - Escape from the Apes; Over the Edge; Bonnets, Bustles, and Boots; Sancti et Malum; Causeway; Master of Worlds; and others...
Games that will soon be published are: Mining Mars; Piracy; Hugs & Bugs; Witch's Wares; Beggar's Banquet; Baron's Bridge; Bohemian Bards; Tower of the Winds; Pursuit of Progress; Just a Matter of Time; Gee Haw; Roots and Rhizomes; Rhombus; and others...
Currently crowdfunding: Mining Mars
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: The list is maybe a dozen games... see above.
Games that I'm playtesting are: The list is maybe six games... see above.
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: THIS list is even longer!
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: And there are dozens of ideas in this list, too.

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Yes... quite a few, actually. Hard to keep up with it all.

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; used to be Coke, but I gave it up (for Vernors), VHS

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
Music, Art, History, Woodworking, Scouting, Costuming

What is something you learned in the last week?
How to use OBS video software, and a former co-worker has opened a furniture store!

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Music: Depends on my mood, but prolly '70s "folk rock"; Books: History or Biography; Movies: Almost anything before 1950, plus Superheroes and "intellectual" Science Fiction (makes ya think).

What was the last book you read?
"The Botanist" - a crime story by a friend of mine. (Not very good, actually.)

Do you play any musical instruments?
Yup: Guitar, ukulele, banjo, mandolin, and a few others.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I have never drunk any alcoholic beverage (more than a sip to see why), taken any sort of recreational drugs, used any form of tobacco (except for one weekend in Junior High), and very, very rarely use "foul language".

[GJJ Games] Yay! I’m right there with you, never drank, smoked, done drugs (other than caffeine), and rarely use foul language. It is possible!!!

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
Oh, man... that's a long list, too. There was this one time...

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Good question... Maybe falling in love with the right woman. Didn't mean to, but it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me.

Who is your idol?
R. Buckminster Fuller

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Seriously, I would probably destroy it. Far too risky.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
Extrovert.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Jim Hensen. (This is a little facetious, but he's dead anyway, so...)

Have any pets?
Nope.

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?
(A) Art (visual and audible) (but there will always be games.) (B) Politics and Greed (yeah, right)

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):
Scott Bultman of Red Hen Toys - my project collaborator helping to bring my game designs to reality.

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

Think globally; Act locally. Make love, not war.




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.

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 264: Chris Williams

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:Chris Williams
Email:alrightgamerchris@gmail.com
Location:Volga, SD
Day Job:I am a banking compliance officer. My love for reading board game rules is what actually led me to a job in compliance, where I get to comb through regulations.
Designing:Five to ten years.
Webpage:https://alrightgames.com/
Facebook:Alright Games
Twitter:@AlrightGamer
YouTube:Alright Games
Instagram:@alrightgames
Other:The Game Crafter: https://www.thegamecrafter.com/designers/alright-games
Find my games at:The Game Crafter https://www.thegamecrafter.com/designers/alright-games
Today's Interview is with:

Chris Williams
Interviewed on: 1/2/2021

This week I’m happy to introduce you to Chris Williams, a member of The Game Crafter’s design community. Chris has designed a number of great games, available on The Game Crafter, including the amazing Trace the Stars (which was recently picked up for publication by 25th Century Games) and the currently crowdfunding 1-2 Punch. Read on to learn more about Chris and his projects.

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?
I started working for an educational video game design startup and was introduced to modern board gaming around the same time. This inspired me to make a board game version of one of the games we were working on and my passion only grew from there. Eventually, the startup shut down but I still wanted to make board games, so I started Alright Games.

What game or games are you currently working on?
I have learned that my favorite type of games to design are 2-player strategy games. So, for 2021, I am focusing on finishing and releasing 3 of them that are already very close to being ready. This includes 1-2 Punch (a boxing card game with action planning), Animal Firm (formerly Lobby Mintcala, a character-driven Mancala-inspired game), and Dark Spires (an abstract game with a chess-like feel).

Have you designed any games that have been published?
I just recently signed my roll-n-write, Trace the Stars, to a publisher and am excited for its release. I also currently have one game I self-published on The Game Crafter called Kickflip. When I worked for that startup, we self-published a game on The Game Crafter called To Make a Dollar, but it is no longer available for purchase.

What is your day job?
I am a banking compliance officer. My love for reading board game rules is what actually led me to a job in compliance, where I get to comb through regulations.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At home with friends. I love hosting game nights.

Who do you normally game with?
I have a couple of small friend groups that are my go-to gamers, but I have also recently been making some more friends online that I game with using TableTop Simulator.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
I really like learning new games and have a ton in my collection that I have yet to play. Santa Monica, Holding On, Bargain Quest, and Fort are a few on my list to play.

And what snacks would you eat?
I tend to forget to eat when I’m gaming.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
I love finding some thematic background music. I will usually just find a video game soundtrack that fits the theme. Like Dark Souls for fantasy or Mass Effect for sci-fi. If it’s Wingspan, I just turn on bird noises.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Brost’s Aquarium and Hobby in Brookings, SD. I typically stop in every Friday when he gets in new games.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
My favorite game might be a tie between Splendor and Tiny Epic Galaxy. Least favorite that I still enjoy is Pokemon Master Trainer. And worst game would actually have to be Catan. I know it’s a classic, but I just really don’t like it.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I love dice chucking and choosing how to allocate those dice. I also love push-your-luck. In my own designs, I really like using a circle of cards as a sort of map. For least favorite, I’m not really a fan of drafting. While I think there are games that it works really well in, Inis being one of my favorites, it usually just feels like it would have just been as easy and nearly as effective as randomly drawing cards. This is typically due to me not playing games more than a couple of times, which means I don’t have enough information or knowledge to go on to feel like I’m making an informed decision.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Root. I have only played it once and I loved everything about it. The gameplay, the art, and the characters are all amazing, but the nature of an asymmetric game makes them difficult to teach.

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

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

OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
No

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 mix of the two for me. I typically have a small idea of a core mechanic and then I then figure out a theme that fits, which I use as inspiration for the rest of the mechanics.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I have entered a few contests and my game, Trace the Stars, is currently a finalist in The Game Crafter’s Roll and Write contest.

Do you have a current favorite game designer or idol?
Jamey Stegmaier. His games are so well thought out and he does so much for the community, including not just his countless blog posts and discussions, but also the way he manages his company and releases his games. He always has the consumer’s interest at heart and purposefully tries to be inclusive. He just seems like an all-around great guy.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Many of them just come randomly when I’m driving or trying to fall asleep. I will also explore Pinterest to help find inspiration, especially when I have something specific in mind. I keep an ongoing Pinterest board of things I find interesting that might give me inspiration at some point.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
Lately, it’s just been through TableTop Simulator with a handful of other designer friends that I’ve met through The Game Crafter community. As for in-person, I have a couple of really good friend groups that are usually up for a playtest. I attended Protospiel MN in 2020 for the first time and had some amazing playtests there, too.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I have bounced some ideas around with some friends about co-designing but haven’t fully gotten into anything yet; however, I think it would be a lot of fun. I have a fairly good handle on where my design strengths lie, and this really helps when working with someone so that we can complement each other. As for artists, I love finding artists to work with; however, it’s not always in the budget. Depending on the scale of the project, I can sometimes create the art myself, but again, I know my limits. The same goes for graphic design.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
I really struggle with giving myself that last step to finishing a game, like creating the final rulebook and marketing. I really hate marketing.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
I have a dream game that I would love to make that actually uses a bunch of different board game IP’s. I want to make the equivalent of Super Smash Bros but as a board game. Not necessarily a fighting game, but just something that uses characters from a bunch of different board games. However, I definitely do not have the resources for something so ambitious, so please, someone make this game.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
To use The Game Crafter right out of the gate for things like card and box templates as well as component possibilities. Having these sort of “constraints” really helped shape my games into more than just ideas on scraps of paper.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
To just power through and finish your first game. It’s not going to be good, and it’s important to understand that, but it will help give you the experience and drive to move forward with your other games. You will grow as a designer, but only if you actually have those experiences to learn from.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Kickflip (self published on The Game Crafter)
Games that will soon be published are: Trace the Stars

This is what I have currently crowdfunding: 1-2 Punch
Currently looking for a publisher I have: Anything
I'm planning to crowdfund: Dark Spires, Animal Firm
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Dark Spires, Animal Firm
Games that I'm playtesting are: After the Stars Fell, Risky Kittens, Super Hyper Combo
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: DRAWmalgamation
And games that are still in the very early idea phase are: Adult Friendships

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
A few different groups but I am active on The Game Crafter Designer Discussion Facebook Group.

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 are fun but I’m not super into them. Coke for making a rum and Coke, but I drink Mt Dew daily. I grew up on VHS.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I play a lot of video games, especially Overwatch. If anyone plays on PS4, let me know!

What is something you learned in the last week?
How to make reindeer poop.
[GJJ Games] OK, I’m intrigued. What exactly is reindeer poop? https://pin.it/XPe40d2 - It is super delicious and easy to make! The recipe calls it “White Trash”, but I’ve always heard it called “Reindeer Poop”.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Death Cab for Cutie (depressing), This is How it Always is (depressing), and The Royal Tenenbaums (depressing).

What was the last book you read?
I am currently reading Sophie’s World.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I’ve been trying to learn the harmonica.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I have a huge collection of Pokemon memorabilia.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I broke my ankle skateboarding back in high school but I didn’t want to stop hanging out with my friends, so I waiting a few hours before finally going home and having my mom take me to the hospital.

Biggest accident that turned out awesome?
Years ago, I applied at a coffee shop without actually wanting to get the job, but I got it and it taught me to like espresso drinks.

Who is your idol?
I typically don’t like to idolize people because I have come to the realization that no one is any better than anyone else, and everyone is really just faking it till they make it. However, I got to meet Tony Hawk a few years ago and that was pretty cool.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Jump into the future when space travel is normal and affordable.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
I’m right smack in the middle.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be?
Hellboy is my favorite.

Have any pets?
A dog, 2 cats, and my daughter’s 2 cockroaches.

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 would like Chess to survive as I think it helps teach patience and strategic planning. I would be happy to see Football die out because it gives kids numerous concussions that can have lifelong consequences.

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):
Brian LaPorte, Ben Moy, and Donnie Coleman are other designers that I’ve met through The Game Crafter community. They are extremely supportive, helpful, and kind and are simply amazing people.

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

I love to brainstorm with other designers and help them think through their ideas. I like to support indie designers in any way I can. Please reach out if you’d like to chat!




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.

Monday, February 1, 2021

Unboxing - Aroma by GJJ Games Sponsor: Organic Aromas

Disclaimer  Support me on Patreon!

This unboxing is paid content for Aroma: A Game of Essence from Organic Aromas.  Organic Aromas is an Elite Sponsor of GJJ Games.

I want to send out a huge Thank You to Organic Aromas for sponsoring GJJ Games on Patreon.  Over the next month or two, I'll be writing a few more articles for them about their new, innovative game called Aroma: A Game of EssenceAroma is a new game system (there are actually four different games included in the box), designed by Odd Hackwelder.  The games use essential oils as the primary component, meaning players use their sense of smell strategically in these games.  I'm very curious to see how these games play out, so the next articles will cover the gameplay of the different games included.

In the meantime, you can see exactly what you get in these unboxing pictures, below.  And if you just can't wait to get your own copy of the game, you can enter to win one of two copies here or order a copy from the Organic Aromas website here.

The game box was smaller than I expected, at 6.5" square and 2" deep.  What you can't see on
the cover is some nice spot UV printing that highlights the colors and some outlines of some
game icons.  It's a nice, thick box, too.  Great quality here!

The game name only appears on the back and four sides of the box.  The front is kept clean and simple.

The back of the box highlights the four different games that are included.

The first thing you see when opening the box is the rulebook.

The rules for each game appear on the accordion-fold rules.

The rules for each game are short, concise, and well laid out, with plenty of graphical examples.

Under the rules are four large tiles.  These can be arranged in different formations for different games.

The back of each tile shows all four aroma categories and the scents in each category. 
This side of the tiles is used for the Survive game.

Under the tiles are the rest of the game components.

Next up are an Aroma token, four smaller tiles for each category, and a small deck of cards.

The reverse side of the Aroma tile is the game logo.
The reverse sides of the category tiles show a numerical list of all the scents in the game.
The cards are business cards that include a description of each essential oil.  There are also two
coupons to save on a diffuser at the Organic Aromas website.

Under the cards and tiles, we have some wooden components, smaller identification tiles,
and some paper strips I assume are for applying the oils to for easier sniffing.

Here is a better view of the wooden components - a wooden token and five cubes for each category.
Also, the bundle of paper strips.  I found a few more of the strips underneath everything in the box, too.

There are four sets of identification tiles that have the names of every scent in the game.

Here we have the essential oils - the main component of the game.

Each cardboard holder can hold five of the small oil jars. 
These are glass jars with plastic screw-on lids.

Each jar of oil has a number that can be matched to the reference tiles to identify the scent.

Opening a jar shows a small ballbearing roller that can be used to roll a small
amount of the oil onto your hand or one of the strips of paper.

Everything fits back into the box nicely!



Did you like this unboxing?  Show your support: Support me on Patreon! Also, 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.