Tuesday, May 24, 2022

People Behind the Meeples - Episode 317: Till Peters

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:Till Peters
Location:Christchurch, New Zealand
Day Job:I help farmers. From the desk, rarely in the field.
Designing:Over ten years!
Other:Kickstarter: Castleshire - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cheapsheepnz/castleshire
Find my games at:Castleshire - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cheapsheepnz/castleshire
Today's Interview is with:

Till Peters
Interviewed on: 4/27/2022

Today's interview is with Till Peters, the designer of Castleshire, on Kickstarter by Cheap Sheep Games right now! Castleshire will be Till's first published game ant it looks amazing, so be sure to check it out. Be sure to continue reading to learn more about Till and how he goes about designing games.

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?
Back as a kid I enjoyed playing games but couldn't buy many, so I built my own – by myself, together with my brother and with friends. Also often I had ideas to change existing games, sometimes quite dramatically. Then there were games I didn't understand (language barrier, too complex for my age or just TLDR; the rules). I made up my own rules using the original components.

What game or games are you currently working on?
Castleshire. It's situated in a mystical kingdom ruled by an eccentric Majesty, who is besotted with the idea of building the perfect castle. This obsession leads to the erection of magnificent buildings in a world that will be remembered as the land of the thousand castles. The players are rising master-builders and dream of leaving a lasting legacy. They compete in building the chambers of their Majesty’s perfect castle, driven by only one goal: to become the most famous master-builder of all time.

It's a bluffing, memorizing, and shenanigans strategy board game for 2-6 players aged 8 and up. It comes with up to ten built-in expansions and plays in 30 to 45 minutes.

It's on kickstarter from 24th May Check out the reviews: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/320199/castleshire/videos/all

Have you designed any games that have been published?
Castleshire will be the first!

What is your day job?
I help farmers. From the desk, rarely in the field.

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

Where do you prefer to play games?
Often in a relaxed setting in a familiar game cave. The other extreme is a busy Board Games By the Bay convention #BGBTB, see boardgamesbythebay.org.nz

Who do you normally game with?
I've had the same gaming group of friends for years now. Good bunch of gamers.

If you were to invite a few friends together for game night tonight, what games would you play?
We often play strategy games. Euro games. Sometimes party games even. Smallworld probably got the most table time overall.

And what snacks would you eat?
All sorts of (corn) chips with adventurous salsas.

Do you like to have music playing while you play games? If so, what kind?
We actually never do. Maybe we should! Something suave perhaps.

What’s your favorite FLGS?
Hobby Games www.hobbygames.co.nz – They've got a great collection, in-store and online. Good people, too.

What is your current favorite game? Least favorite that you still enjoy? Worst game you ever played?
Very tough one. Today I'll go for: Neuroshima Hex! Tomorrow it'll be another one. Samurai? Least favorite that I still enjoy is Risk. It's so terribly based on luck where it has the potential to be super strategic. That is just sad. However, I do enjoy playing it with a particular pair of friends. Worst is Horror Zombies from the Crypt (video game).

What is your favorite game mechanic? How about your least favorite?
So many great mechanisms out there. I can't possibly name a single one to be the best here. It's always a combination of them and got to match the type of game and theme. I like worker placement in strategy games as an example. Least favorite has got to be player elimination. It just doesn't fit with how I like to play games to be eliminated and have to wait while others play on. Or play on while others wait. Lose a turn is in the same boat - its small sibling.

What’s your favorite game that you just can’t ever seem to get to the table?
Skat: https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/6819/skat

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, Video Games

OK, here's a pretty polarizing game. Do you like and play Cards Against Humanity?
What now?! ;)

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 more like the general game concept that just forms in my head, inspired by whatever I'm doing or seeing at that moment. The theme is rarely the first bit. It's often the main challenge to merge the mechanics and game concept with a theme to create an immersive experience.

Have you ever entered or won a game design competition?
Entered, not won. An indie board game design workshop running through the board game Twitter community: theboardgameworkshop.com

Do you have a current favorite game designer?

Where or when or how do you get your inspiration or come up with your best ideas?
Life. There's hardly any topic I'm not interested in, so I have a lot of inspiring sources. Once I have an idea, the sauna is a great place to ponder.

How do you go about playtesting your games?
First step is play testing in my head. Just to get the idea worked out. Next I start to scribble stuff down, draw some diagrams if helpful. It always pays to kick around some ideas with a fellow designer (we've got game designer meetings once in a while) or gamer friend at that stage. Then I build prototypes. Either just by drawing on cardboard or I visit the library to laser cut and 3D print stuff. A very useful tool is also spreadsheet software. Certain types of games can be simulated and automated so I can play through dozens of games in a few minutes. That is super helpful in fine-tuning balances between different mechanics, components or even tactics. Nothing beats the interactive good old personal play test with my game group, though.

Do you like to work alone or as part of a team? Co-designers, artists, etc.?
I mostly start by myself with an idea and then get others involved along the way. Some a little bit, others full-on.

What do you feel is your biggest challenge as a game designer?
The parts I don't enjoy – marketing, production, publishing. I want to make and play games, selling them isn't the fun part.

If you could design a game within any IP, what would it be?
Tintin. I always loved Tintin. Haddock is just hilarious. “Billions of blistering Barnacles!”

What do you wish someone had told you a long time ago about designing games?
Designing the game is less than 5% of the work. Fine-tuning, play testing, publishing is way more work than I knew.

What advice would you like to share about designing games?
Just do what you love. Don't do it for the money. Very few game designers can make a living from this.

Would you like to tell my readers what games you're working on and how far along they are?
Games that will soon be published are: Castleshire
This is what I have currently crowdfunding: Castleshire
Games that I'm playtesting are: A couple of hot candidates
Games that are in the early stages of development and beta testing are: Way too many and too early to mention here

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

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):
Robbie and the whole crew at the Turanga Library in central Christchurch. Thanks so much for supporting me with all my prototyping while working on my board games.

Jason and Juliet from Board Games by the Bay for hosting the most amazing board game conventions in New Zealand.

And all the play testers that helped me on the quest to perfect Castleshire, e.g Heath, Sam and Martin my main play testers.

Sven from Cheap Sheep Games for all his engagement in the whole indie board game community.

So many people helped with the game, I'm very humbled. They'll all find their names and a special thanks in the rule book!

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

People that play board games together don't go to war against each other. Let's all play board games.

And be sure to check out Castleshire on Kickstarter now!

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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