Thursday, May 27, 2021

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 282: Paul Waite

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:Paul Waite
Location:Seattle Washington
Day Job:Game Designer at Perfect Day
Designing:One to two years.
Today's Interview is with:

Paul Waite
Interviewed on: 5/24/2021

This week's interview is with Paul Waite, codesigner of the latest game from Wise Wizard Games, Robot Quest Arena! This deck-building game incorporates a board with cool robot miniatures that battle each other, like a board game version of Battlebots or Robot Wars, that he designed with Robert Dougherty, the creator of Star Realms. Paul usually designs video games, but saw an opportunity to create the board game version of Robot Quest Arena, which is already fully funded on Kickstarter. So read on to learn more about Paul 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'm a video game designer by trade but when our new company was waiting for our engineers to come online we started working on a board game!

What game or games are you currently working on?
We are working on several projects at Perfect Day but the most exciting of which is our Robot Quest mobile game. The game will be set in the same world as Robot Quest Arena but will bring a whole new style of gameplay!

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Robot Quest Arena will be my first published board game but I've worked on several mobile games over the years that have been published.

What is your day job?
Game Designer at Perfect Day

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
At the kitchen table!

Who do you normally game with?
Friends, coworkers, family, whoever will play!

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Depending on the group we might play anything from Dominion to Kingdom Death Monster

And what snacks would you eat?
I don't know about eat, but it being Seattle we would be drinking SO much coffee.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
I have a growing Video Game Vinyl collection I like to spin while we game. I just finally got my hands on the Hotline Miami soundtrack that will be getting lots of plays during this summer's gaming sessions.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
The AMAZING Card Kingdom is just a short drive from my place.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
As a recovering Magic the Gathering control player, there is nothing I love more than drawing a card. As far as least favorite goes, I think it would be player elimination. It's just no fun to be watching your friends having a blast while you sit on the sidelines. We wanted to make sure we avoided ever having a scenario like that when designing Robot Quest Arena.

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, Video Games

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 depends on the game but I generally like to define a theme first. Once you have a clear theme in mind some of the mechanic designs can just fall into place and you can save yourself some headaches down the road.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
I try to stay on top of what kind of themes and mechanics are gaining traction in the video game or board game space and see if I can come up with a fun idea to drive that mechanic even further. For Robot Quest Arena I wanted to take all the fun of deck building which is one of my favorite genres and see if we could really push the level of combat interaction.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I like to have a core playtest group for the heavy lifting but also try to include as many fresh faces as possible once design elements start to lock into place. There is nothing more valuable than a fresh set of eyes on a game so be sure not to use all of your playtester pool on your first iteration!

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I strongly believe the best designs come from passionate teams working on a common goal. I'm fortunate enough to have an amazing team to work with at Perfect Day with outrageous levels of talent. Being able to draw on all their years of experience leads to a much better game than I could ever hope to put out by myself.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Knowing when a game is "finished". As a game designer there is ALWAYS something more we want to add to the game we are working on.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Final Fantasy. I would do terrible things to get to work on a true Final Fantasy Tactics sequel.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Stop spending so much time designing in spreadsheets! Early in my career I was always so focused on getting every last piece of a design perfect, down to the last damage number before sitting down to playtest. I've found this is a huge waste of time and nothing can substitute for getting your hands dirty and just playtesting a game even if it's a long way off from "finished".

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Same as above

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: Robot Quest Arena

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, Coke, TOO YOUNG

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
In a shocking twist, as a video game designer I've been known to play a video game or two in my free time.

What is something you learned in the last week?
Kickstarter releases are JUST as exciting, hectic and sleep depriving as a video game release.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
A little bit of everything.

What was the last book you read?
I've been too busy to read anything lately but I'm really looking forward to Jason Schreier's upcoming book "Press Reset".

Do you play any musical instruments?
Nope! Zero musical talent here.

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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