Tuesday, February 15, 2022

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 315: Sigfried Trent

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:Sigfried Trent
Location:Kent, Washington
Day Job:I'm happy to say, I'm a full time game designer at the moment. I was a software engineer for around 25 years, have taught English in Japan, run movie theaters, and done many other kinds of work.
Designing:Over ten years!
Facebook:Sigfried Trent
Find my games at:https://www.sigtrent.com/shop/
Today's Interview is with:

Sigfried Trent
Interviewed on: 2/9/2022

After a short break People Behind the Meeples is back. This week we get to meet Sigfried Trent, part of the team bringing you Everyday Heroes, a 5E RPG tribute to D20 Modern. The game will be on Kickstarter soon, so be sure to follow along at Evil Genius Games so you don't miss it!

Some Basics
Tell me a bit about yourself.

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

Why did you start designing tabletop games?
Because I love to play tabletop games. I started with making homebrew expansions to my favorite games, then did some small scale self-publishing, and much later worked as a freelance designer.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Everyday Heroes is my current project. I'm a lead designer on the core rulebook for this 5e tribute to d20 modern. It's being published by Evil Genius Games, a new company with a lot of experienced talent. You can find out about it, and join our playtest at: https://www.evilgeniusgaming.com/

Have you designed any games that have been published?
As a commercial designer, I'm best known for my Feats. I ran the Netbook of Feats project for many years, compiling, editing, and balancing a vast collection of 3e era feats. Later I worked in partnership with Kobold Press to put out the Advanced Feats series, bringing my brand of crunchy game-craft to Pathfinder.

What is your day job?
I'm happy to say, I'm a full time game designer at the moment. I was a software engineer for around 25 years, have taught English in Japan, run movie theaters, and done many other kinds of work.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
I most like to play at a friend's home, but I enjoy convention play, and online play as well.

Who do you normally game with?
I'm lucky in that my regular group includes the likes of Jeff Grubb, Stan!, Steve Winter, and John Rateliff.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
I'll play nearly anything! I tend to pick out games based on what I think others would enjoy.

And what snacks would you eat?
I think peperoni sticks are among my favorite gaming snacks, but I always enjoy pizza with gaming.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
I'm into the 18XX series games at the moment, but I've been a D&D player since 1983 and still love playing all versions of it.

I've been in my share of deadly boring D&D games over the years. TTRPGs can be the very best and the very worst, all depending on who you are playing with.

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
I love elegant mechanics. I'd point to the Advantage/Disadvantage system in 5e as being a really simple but thoughtful addition to the game. It encourages good role play and offers a safe way to offer bonuses to actions.

Often my least favorite rules are those for making characters in a game. I tend to start with a strong vision of who I want my character to be, and character creation systems often limit that vision more than I'd like.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
I quite enjoy the board game Titan. It's not to most people's tastes, and for good reason, but I love its mix of randomness and tactics.

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 RPG 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?
I always set a goal for what I'm working on. The goal is generally about what the player is going to experience. From there, I do my design work. That said, I often work on material for a given rules system, so at least some of the mechanics are set in stone, and I have to figure out how to use those mechanics to achieve my goals.

Do you have a current favorite game designer?
I'll give a shout out to Ryan Dancy, the innovator who birthed the Open Gaming License and paved the way for so many newly minted game designers over the years. I'm also a big Legend of the Five Rings fan so props to him for those two efforts that had a huge impact on my life.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
On the rules side of things, years and years of playing games. Experience is the best way to get inspired. On the writing side, years and years of reading books, watching movies, and being a Game Master.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I much prefer working as a team. Teams make you work harder and do better. It's important that the team work well together and have similar goals, but the rewards far outshine the difficulties I think. All my best work had other partners involved.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
For me, it's motivation to stick with a project to the end, especially when working on a solo effort. When there are others counting on me, I always deliver, but when it's just me, I tend to find something else that entertains me and draws me away from the hard work of making a finished product.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
If we are working in fantasy here... I'd love to work on the Star Wars IP with significant creative control. That, second part is never going to happen, but I saw Star Wars at age 6 and it probably changed the course of my life significantly. Space fantasy is a genre that is almost without limits so it would be exciting to write for.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
The main thing is to just start doing it. Take your favorite games and think, "what would I add to this," or "how could I make this better?" Then write it down, then test it out.

Meanwhile, network with people who make games. Seek them out, make friends if you can, and take opportunities to socialize and play with them. These kinds of contacts give you a huge advantage in getting opportunities to put the skills you are developing to work.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Games that I'm playtesting are: Everyday Heroes is my only project currently. Our goal is to create a 5e successor to d20 Modern. We have some of the original designers on our team and I'm putting all my experience and effort into making it fantastic. Sign up on the kickstarter page to find out when it is ready to launch: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/evilgeniusgames/everyday-heroes-the-roleplaying-game

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: http://gjjgames.blogspot.com/p/game-designer-interview-questionnaire.html

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