Tuesday, May 17, 2022

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 316: Justin DIaz

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:Justin Diaz
Location:Denver, Colorado
Day Job:I am currently a graduate student at the University of Denver.
Designing:Two to five years.
BGG:King of the Castle
Find my games at:Kickstarter! We are launching in June!
Today's Interview is with:

Justin Diaz
Interviewed on: 2/23/2022

Justin Diaz is a new designer that is launching a Kickstarter for his first game, King of the Castle, very soon. It's been a work in progress for some time but is about ready to hit the big time, so keep it on your radar!

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 designing games the summer of 2019

What game or games are you currently working on?
We are currently working on King of the Castle, a 3 to 6 player board game for friends and family. Check out our pre-launch page! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/kingofthecastle/king-of-the-castle

Have you designed any games that have been published?
This is our first!

What is your day job?
I am currently a graduate student at the University of Denver.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
I typically just play games at our home.

Who do you normally game with?
I love to play with anyone! I mostly play with friends and family though.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
Some of my go-to games include Smash Up, Exploding Kittens, 7 Wonders but I am open to anything.

And what snacks would you eat?
I love anything salty, so usually potato chips or pretzels.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
I am not against music but I don't usually play music while playing games.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Wizard's Chest is great, I also love Night Owl Games in Littleton.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
That is a tough question. I think all-time I love Smash Up but not everyone does so I don't play it as much as I used to. The worst game I ever played was Risk just because it often takes like 6 hours to finish and I am impatient.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
I am a big fan of Catan but my family cannot stand it.

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

Do you design different styles of games than what you play?
I like to design Board Games, Card 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 think for me I really just spew ideas and try to organize them. So with King of the Castle, I think I had the theme first and then tried to fit the theme to the mechanics if that makes sense.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?

Do you have a current favorite game designer?
Too many to name just 1.

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
I am not really sure. I think sometimes the best ideas just come at random times and I try my best to write them down clearly.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
We are currently playtesting our game a lot! We are taking it to different groups, friends, family etc. Then we bring it back to our team and look at how it can improve.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
We are a 3 person team! It is myself, my partner, and one of our best friends. I am the idea man mostly because I am terrible at art, while the other 2 do the logistics/artwork for the game.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
I think trying to please everyone. Not everyone is going to like your game. For example, our game is geared towards friends, family, and older kids. Some adults are really looking for complicated multi-hour games and that just isn't our game. I think finding the healthy balance of who we are aiming towards and trying to accept that not everyone loves every game is an important reminder.

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Be patient. Especially with COVID this process has taken us almost 3 years just to get it on Kickstarter. We wish we had paced ourselves better for the long-haul.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Be patient

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
I'm planning to crowdfund: King of the Castle

Are you a member of any Facebook or other design groups? (Game Maker’s Lab, Card and Board Game Developers Guild, etc.)
Yes Board Game Developers Guild. Great 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?
Star Wars for sure.

What hobbies do you have besides tabletop games?
I love sports and reading.

Favorite type of music? Books? Movies?
Favorite Movies are hard to narrow down. I love anything Christopher Nolan has done, Tenet, Intersteller etc. I am re-reading the Harry Potter series which is always great.

What was the last book you read?
Harry Potter

Do you play any musical instruments?
I do! I play guitar and piano (very poorly)

Tell us something about yourself that you think might surprise people.
I grew 4 inches senior year of high school so now I am 6'2.

Tell us about something crazy that you once did.
I once ate a live cricket from a dare I lost.

Who is your idol or hero?
Too many to answer.

What would you do if you had a time machine?
I am not sure. Maybe visit my grandparents in Michigan.

Are you an extrovert or introvert?

If you could be any superhero, which one would you be and why?
Batman because it is Batman

Have any pets?
Not yet sadly

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 gotta think Catan and Monopoly will survive just because they live forever. I swear everywhere I go (except my parents) someone will love Catan. I don't understand it.

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

Thank you for taking the time to check us out!

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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