Since his recent birth Sam has loved games as a way to meet new people.
A veteran of both digital and analogue games, Sam actively seeks out communities that share a common interest. After throwing himself into the Board Game Designers Forum he quickly found a healthy online community in designers forums as a positive force in tricky work-in-progress and ideas threads. This led to meet-ups with a few like-minded regulars to bash together ideas.
Sam is a bit of a design magpie: he likes bright and attractive things and is easily distracted. He likes theme-rich games with lovely chrome and social interaction. Anything where you sit in silence for three hours considering a spreadsheet in unlikely to leave him smiling. You can, however, trade cockroaches with him, convince him that you are not a witch and make him over-invest in plastic zebra until the early hours. This is expressed in his design: fun is always at the forefront.-Matt Green, 12th June 2013...who are you?
My name is Sam Mercer. Co-founder of the games design commentary site Example of Play
and UK editor of Purple Pawn
. I live in Southampton UK and if you are ever find yourself near Southampton, I would love to have a drink with you. Either a cup of tea at my house, or a pint of real ale at the pub....what do you do?
I am the co-founder of Example of Play
a game design commentary site where my colleague Matt Green
and I approach core topics in game design from a scientific and constructive angle. So far we have had some superb reviews and we hope to keep helping out game designers understand this expansive and surprising industry.
I am also the UK editor for purplepawn.com
which is in my opinion, one of the best and most replete games news sites on the net, we review, preview, and provide industry news to a quarter of a million users every year. This role along with the current 'golden' age of games has equipped me with a keen interest in crowd funding and I welcomed the opportunity to interview Kickstarter's co-founder, Yancey Strickler.
I love games that deliver a fun and hugely satisfying experience and try to design games that give the table energy and make the players smile.
Currently I am in the midst of designing AtomPunk
amongst a host of other games. I'm currently tweaking the rules and collecting artists for the game. It's a grand and ongoing project that is summed up in the AtomPunk blog
Professionally a Marketing Executive by trade and freelancing in graphic and web design, I am enjoy giving advice to anyone who would have it....tell us your story
When I was about 7 I created a very very simple paper-craft game about a Haunted Ghost Train ride at a carnival. It was great ... *wonders*.
But since I was 8 I have been actively playing games. My brother and I used to play our Dad's rendition of Dungeons and Dragons and we loved helping him create games which mostly involved cards printed on an Atari matrix-dot printer - Mum hated the mess on the floor.
I have always been making games: a dice that was based on the landing position of a dice well as it's number got me in deep trouble once when we had guests over and I was entranced by four dice on the floor.
I played Mah Jong, Canasta, and Bridge with Mum and her friends, I played poker with Dad and his friends and I played lots of Crokinole type games with my school friends when I lived in Malaysia. Every lunch at school was dominated by this dexterity game we used to play:
Each player had a single square rubber (pencil eraser) which they have to land on top of your own eraser using tiddlywink style jumps. Man we made obstacle courses and seesaws and stuff. We also made a host of pen and paper war-themed flicking games; tanks would get one flick, helicopters would get two - we added power up icons and things to the maps - it was great.
Then at 16 when I came home to England to start my schooling proper, I was very active in the Friday Games club run by Mr Mitchel, my history teacher and grognard supreme
. Every week: war games, homebrew RPG's, classic games, boardgames. Fridays rocked.
I was heavily into MtG for a while at school (who wasn't?) and also the gamut of Warhammer stuff (Orc's were the coolest; craziest and most fun to sculpt). By this point my life found a large amount of its needed "game" delivered in a digital format and am proudly a PC gamer to this day.
So then I went to FLGS convention and sat down with, what was to be, a great friend of mine and played for the first time ever: Settlers of Catan.
It was really cool ... are there other games like this?
You can now find me in the Board Game Design Forums, hanging out in the bgg design forums, posting at exampleofplay, editing purplepawn, pestering people for interviews at the UK Games Expo or every Monday playing with the Southampton boardgames group I set up. Send me a Geekmail and we'll have a chat about that game you are making,