Tuesday, October 26, 2021

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 305: Anthony Fasano

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:Anthony Fasano
Location:"Where Bad Things Happen In" Philly
Day Job:I even work in a pile of junk! I pack and ship vinyl records at a record store down in south philly!
Designing:Two to five years.
Instagram:@potionslingers @card_game
Find my games at:email me or back the PotionSlingers kickstarter!
Today's Interview is with:

Anthony Fasano
Interviewed on: 10/3/2021

This week we get to meet Anthony Fasano, the designer of PotionSlingers, which is on Kickstarter right now! In addition to designing games, Anthony also enjoys periodically dressing up in 1980s fashion trends.

OK, I'm not sure that was even stylish in the '80s, but you can check out more in the PotionSlingers video below!

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 started out making trading card battle games with my brother when we were little kids; we were obsessed with tcg/ccgs at the time. 10+ years of art school passed, and I decided I should apply it towards what I've always loved doing!

What game or games are you currently working on?
On October 21st, I released the Kickstarter for PotionSlingers, a strategy card game for 2-4 players! Deep inside an endless marketplace filled with junk, face your friends in a wet, hectic free for all! Throw weird concoctions, mix them together to pack a bigger punch, or use them as fuel, powering strange artifacts! Check out more on linktr.ee/potionslingers !

Have you designed any games that have been published?
I've actually curated a community-created card game, where I got as many pros or aspiring designers as I could to contribute their own cards. It's called Card Game, and it is ongoing! We have over 150 submissions, and every time we hit another marker, we print another box, with all of the previous submissions. The rules are created as the cards come in, as this kind of volatile dumpster fire, so any card that has game rules on it mutates the game even further. You should contribute actually! on instagram, @card_game has all of the info.

What is your day job?
I even work in a pile of junk! I pack and ship vinyl records at a record store down in south philly!

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
I've got a setup in my own house for friends, but most of the time I try to go to one of the local game stores, of which there are several here (along with PAX unplugged!)

Who do you normally game with?
My own friends who are game enthusiasts, OR people I tricked into playtesting!

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
I want to play whatever game someone is working on first and foremost. Otherwise, I want to play whatever random dead trading card game from the early 90s I found while traveling!

And what snacks would you eat?
Whatever doesn't get the sleeves covered in slime and crumbs, but who am I kidding?

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
One time when I was working at an LGS, I tried to get the Magic players to leave by looping Will Smith's Wild Wild West. As a testament to their devotion to this game, they didn't leave until nearly 5am. So I guess both that song and NOT that song.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Dark Depths Games or Redcap's Corner in Philly. I LOVE the amount of drink and play stores that have been popping up lately though, and would love to dive deeper into their scenes too!

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
My current favorite game is Power Grid, but I can NEVER get anyone to play it with me, because the description is an amazingly hard sell. My least favorite is Magic the Gathering, but I never learn my lesson; I think I have 40 EDH decks now? The worst game I have ever played is maybe chutes and ladders? I think even most toys have more player agency then games like it, but that maybe isn't really fair. I don't like to be so mean about any in particular!

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I think my favorite has to be deckbuilding. I love FEELING things snowball, and the anticipation that comes with it. My least favorite has to be Group Voting in party games. I just don't feel like points are what these games are about!

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Whatever the most recent Kickstarter game I backed. I can't ever get regular tabletop fans to play something that is new. It has a tiny chance of being bad!

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

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Card Games, RPG 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 like to think that every game needs to be treated differently. Little amounts of theme, a splash of mechanics, and season to taste!

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
I've entered a couple at this point! I think it is healthy to get your game seen by as many people as you can, and most of the time design competitions have judges that provide a lot of constructive criticism.

Do you have a current favorite game designer?
I'm going to cheat a little bit. With my game "Card Game," I get to treat every person who submits a card as a game designer. I have a couple of submissions that I hold very close to my heart, even though some of the contributions are completely anonymous.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Probably on the toilet, or right as I am falling asleep and too comfortable to turn on the light and write it down.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
I try to get as many children to play as I can, once I finish subjecting my friends and family to it. One time a little kid said that "Adults’ brains are filled with stupid. That is why they can't use their imagination. I'm 8 and only have a little stupid in my head so far." Children come up with way better ideas for improving games and have zero tact. Adults tell you to make games more like ones that already exist.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
Again depends on the game. PotionSlingers is my baby, and I am pushing out at least the base game by myself so I can get that sweet sweet momentous rush of accomplishment. That being said, games are meant to be played in a community, so it makes more sense for games to also be a communal effort. I think I like to be the driving force behind the structure, but I want other input to really make it shine.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
Balancing the fun stuff with the hard stuff. I swear if I have to learn indesign again to data merge cards I'll have a fit.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Oh, probably Homestar Runner. I would love to be able to run loose with that nonsense.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
I wish someone told me that Game Theory only goes so far. You need to MAKE games to learn how to make games. As Ms Frizzle says, "It's time to take chances, make mistakes and get messy!"

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Ask for help. The tabletop community is really friendly and cooperative, not competitive. Also, don't listen to everything that is "required" to make a game. YOU get to define what makes a game.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Published games, I have: Card Game. Go design a card and submit it! Be a game designer by technicality! insta: @card_game
Games that will soon be published are: PotionSlingers! I'm working on a promo video right now, evoking the nostalgia I get from watching the heroquest commercial.
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: As of October 21st, the above game! PotionSlingers
Currently looking for a publisher I have: I'm not, for no good or bad reason. Hit me up!
Games I feel are in the final development and tweaking stage are: Potionslingers Expansions. I'm not through with this game yet!

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

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 is better, but I like Star Wars more. I can't drink a full can of either. Give me coffee. VHS baybee. I might still have the old tapes of Nickelodeon reruns I made.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I like going to restaurants, and then later replicating a meal I really liked. It's rewarding to take the first bite of something that took you hours to get ingredients, make, and then plate.

What is something you learned in the last week?
For mixing drinks, put mint or basil in your palm and SLAP it to release its flavor the quickest.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
New Wave, Punk, ska ; ) , NYC 90s hip hop, other people's old cd mixtapes, stoner metal, and grunge. I love frame stories and really dense books. Ones that you can't read all of and feel bad about not finishing, then come back to months later and hammer through. I love terrible amateur movies, sci fi horror, and big box office flops.

What was the last book you read?
Albert Camus' The Stranger. I confused it with a different Camus book I was going to read, but liked it anyway.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I know how to play the ukulele and the keyboard, but don't ask me to play anything.

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I like to collect Daruma dolls, and I think the more I collect them, the luckier I am actually getting. Thanks, guys!

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I got drunk in times square over a decade ago, and ran under a 16 wheeler at a red light because I didn't feel like walking around it.

Who is your idol or hero?
There was a girl named Paris that made her own anime at 12 years old. Complete with an opening theme, ending credits, standard 23 minute runtime with no commercials. All in microsoft paint, with her friends and microsoft sam voicing the characters.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
Go back and help myself as a kid make whatever crazy ideas I had real. Then grab a pint with my grandpa.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?
I think one can be both.

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be and why?
Marvel's Jamie Madroxx, the Multiple Man. His clones can live entire lives on their own, and if he absorbs them he gains all of their experiences.

Have any pets?
Nope. I get the best part of having roommates with pets though. I do all of the hanging out, none of the cleaning poop.

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 that at the end of the day, the game of Ur still lasts. I would love to see any cash grab IP fueled games to disappear though. Every game of monopoly but the original and the first parker brothers version I suppose.

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):
Shoutout to my little brother, who was there from the start! I still have laminated copies of his cards from when he was six!

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

Grab a coffee with me!

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

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