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Subject: Geek of the Week #524 - GeckoTH rss

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Tristan Hall
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Thanks again for an epic week of questions ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime, big thanks to Markus for nominating me, it's been great fun, and sort of challenging too!

So, it's time to hand over the baton now. I've never actually met this chap, but he's been absolutely cool to chat to in the forums and we've been conspiring together on creative projects on the Dungeons and Dragons Adventure System Games, the Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, even Fortune & Glory: The Cliffhanger Game. Basically whenever I'd try to create a template this guy would deliver one that looked ten times more professional about ten minutes later and turn my scrappy looking mods into something that looked like it could have been released with the game. So who better to ask for help with the graphic design on my own game Gloom of Kilforth. Of course, the second I brought him on board interest in the game and its aesthetic skyrocketed. But beyond his graphic design skills he's also just a lovely chap and a great geek who also happens to work in the movie industry. Ladies and gentleman I give you Tom Howard, aka GeckoTH...

Tom Howard
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GeckoTH wrote:

Wow, a big thank-you to Tristan for nominating me! Back in 2011 when I joined this site, Tristan was the very first BGG member that I collaborated with on a project (for Wrath of Ashardalon). I think it's really awesome that we're still conspiring together on projects to this day!

I grew up in Northern California, in a fairly small suburb near Berkeley, and have been a gamer as far back as I can remember. Video games have always been a huge hobby for me, and I was most certainly a Nintendo fanboy growing up. Board games would manage to creep in from time to time, but unfortunately never really had the staying power due to not having other friends who were as interested in them as I was. I have the fondest memories of playing Heroquest, but was never able to finish the campaign with a group of friends.

I eventually made my way down to Los Angeles to study film at USC. I met some great friends there who were down to play games such as Risk on a fairly regular basis... which was alright... but when I picked up and tried to introduce them to Axis & Allies: Europe, I was met with a lot of blank stares. (I think I only ever managed to play one and a half games of A&A, lol.) So, video games remained my primary hobby (besides making and watching movies of course!)

After college, I was fortunate to find a steady stream of movies and projects to work on, and really get a foothold in the industry. After a few years of working in different departments, I settled into the Set Lighting dept, and currently work as a Lighting Console Programmer. For people unfamiliar with the job, it's similar to the job of running a Dimmer Board at a concert or a play, but instead I'm controlling all the lights on a Sound Stage. I've been working at Warner Bros Studios pretty consistently for the past 6 years.
You can check out some of the projects I've worked on here: www.imdb.me/tomhoward

I love my job, and it's afforded me many opportunities and I've been able to meet lots of amazing people. However, the hours are very long (60-70 hrs/week is normal), so I'm often strapped for free time. Fortunately, a handful of my USC buddies eventually got back into board games themselves, and I finally have a group to play games with! That's when I discovered this awesome site, and really sank my teeth into the hobby. I was blown away by all the creative variants and custom add-ons people had been making for games, and that's where I saw an opportunity to contribute! I never fancied myself a game designer, but one thing I did know was how to use Photoshop. So I started out by creating Photoshop Card Templates so that other users could make their cool custom content look more like the official thing.

I'm a self-taught Photoshop user, but have been using the program for many many years. My wife, on the other hand, is a professional graphic designer and makes movie posters for a living. So I really give her the credit for teaching me to have a better eye for design.

These first few card templates soon snowballed into designing other projects such as player aids, game re-themes, card dividers, playmats, tuckboxes, full-blown expansions, etc. (feel free to sift through my submitted Files and Images if you wish!) Though I do have a tendency to get excited about a new game or project and dive in and bite off more than I can chew (especially given my lack of free time, lol). But it's always been a rewarding experience with all the love and support I've gotten on this site.

So thank you all for having me here!

---------------------



Poll
Two Truths and a Lie:
- I have performed on stage at Carnegie Hall in NYC
- The first time I went skydiving, my parachute didn't open
- I have traveled to all seven continents
      66 answers
Poll created by ninjadorg


And to get the questions rolling:

1) What types of theme draw you into a board game?
2) What's your favourite board game of all time?
3) Who is your favourite game publisher and why?
4) What TV show or movie are you working on now?
5) What are your top 5 movies?

Enjoy your geeky week sir !
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Congratulations Tom!
Have a great week!

My usual question: Have you a favorite wizard? If so, who? If not, why?
And which game (if any) is he/she from?

And the unusual question: What big lesson could people learn from your life?
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Dave Daffin
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Congratulations Tom!

Working in the film industry, do people ever get you confused with Ron Howard?

Have a great week.
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Markus Weihrauch
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Dave in Ledbury wrote:
Congratulations Tom!

Working in the film industry, do people ever get you confused with Ron Howard?

Have a great week.


Actually I asked myself the same! :-)

Congrats, Tom, enjoy your week!
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Congratulations Tom, well deserved!

1db If you are not contracted to refuse this question; who is your favourite Warner Bros cartoon character?

2 If you could have any living person in the world attend your home for a dinner of your choosing followed by a boardgame; who would it be, what's for dinner and which game?

2 If you could have an expansion developped, produced and released for any game that you own which game would it be for and what would the expansion include? Would it add something new or expand existing parts of the game?

d10-4 Have you ever won any competitions here on Boardgamegeek?

5vp If you could play one game from my collection that you haven't played before, which game would you choose and why?

Enjoy your week!
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Congratulations, Tom, enjoy your week!
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Congrats!

What is your favorite mechanic and least favorite popular mechanic.
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Congratulations Tom. Have a great week!
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Congratulations Tom.
I only knew your work for GoK's cards (which I really like it and was a major improvement from the Tristan's previous), but after look through you images and files sections I have to say: you are GOOD!

Since you're a game pimper guy (is this even an expression? ) like Tristan, I have to repeat a question I made him: Which add-on are you most proud of having made? And game variant?

Enjoy the week!!
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Congrats!

1 What type of food do you enjoy the most?
2 Is there a country you think produces the best food?
3 What do you eat when gaming?
4 Is there any food you enjoy, that most people don't like?
5 And finally...is there anything you can recommend to us? Perhaps an interesting recipe, or something unique to your country?
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Very much, and very well deserved.

It's about time to be honest haha

Congrats Tom!
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Congrats Tom!
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Congrats Tom, enjoy your week!
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Congrats Tom, have a fun week!!

Great nomination Tristan!
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congratulationsblanktom

thumbsupcoolthumbsup

Question:

You rate The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game a 10. What "wows" you the most about this game?
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Great nomination Tristan, and welcome to Geek of the Week Tom!
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Great choice for GotW - glad to see this travesty of injustice (that the gecko hadn't been nominated till now!) corrected!

How many film stars have you met? Of those, whom has been the most down to earth?
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Thank you again to Ninjadorg for the nomination! Let's get this ball rolling, shall we?

ninjadorg wrote:

And to get the questions rolling:

1) What types of theme draw you into a board game?
2) What's your favourite board game of all time?
3) Who is your favourite game publisher and why?
4) What TV show or movie are you working on now?
5) What are your top 5 movies?


1) Fantasy theme is my bread and butter. Though pirates make a strong candidate for second place!

2) Heroquest for the nostalgia factor. But I would have to say that The Lord of the Rings LCG is my current fav.

3) I'd probably have to go with FFG. The sheer amount of production value they pack into each game is always astounding.

4) I was recently helping out on the Supergirl TV show and Marvel: Agents of Shield. Now I'm working on the TV show The Last Ship.

5) No particular order for these, but some of my favorites are:
The Shawshank Redemption, Amadeus, Contact, The Princess Bride, Ferris Bueller's Day Off

chadnorth wrote:

My usual question: Have you a favorite wizard? If so, who? If not, why?
And which game (if any) is he/she from?

And the unusual question: What big lesson could people learn from your life?


1) Gonna have to go with Gandalf for this one. Because, well, he's GANDALF.

2) Going with the deep questions right outta gate! Hmmm... I would say that I'm pretty good about living in the moment and enjoying each day as it comes. I've known lots of people who worry a great deal about the future, that they often miss out on the present!

Dave in Ledbury wrote:

Working in the film industry, do people ever get you confused with Ron Howard?


Confused with? No. But am I asked if I'm related to him on occasion? Yes. (The answer is 'no', by the way)


Mohrlock wrote:
Congratulations Tom, well deserved!

1db If you are not contracted to refuse this question; who is your favourite Warner Bros cartoon character?

2 If you could have any living person in the world attend your home for a dinner of your choosing followed by a boardgame; who would it be, what's for dinner and which game?

2 If you could have an expansion developped, produced and released for any game that you own which game would it be for and what would the expansion include? Would it add something new or expand existing parts of the game?

d10-4 Have you ever won any competitions here on Boardgamegeek?

5vp If you could play one game from my collection that you haven't played before, which game would you choose and why?


1db If you are not contracted to refuse this question; who is your favourite Warner Bros cartoon character?
Gotta go with Bugs Bunny. I do have a soft spot for Marvin the Martian though! Also, every time I walk by the Warner Bros Water Tower, I wonder if the Animaniacs are still chillin' up there...

2 If you could have an expansion developped, produced and released for any game that you own which game would it be for and what would the expansion include? Would it add something new or expand existing parts of the game?
Well, for the longest time I would have said Merchants & Marauders. Fortunately, its expansion has recently been released, and it ticks ALL the boxes for what I think makes an amazing expansion.
-Expands the base game by adding new cards and pieces for more variety (more Captains, more Events, more Ships, etc.)
-Introduces brand new components that puts a twist on the base game and adds new paths to victory (Weather spinner and Storm token, Spanish Treasure Fleet makes a juicy late game target, Location tokens opens up a whole bunch of new choices, etc.)
-It's Modular! Add what you want and leave out what you don't! (Seas of Glory goes the extra mile by indicating the complexity and added game time of each individual module. Brilliant!)

d10-4 Have you ever won any competitions here on Boardgamegeek?
Speaking of Merchants & Marauders... I actually won the 52nd Monthly Pimp My Boardgame contest in Dec '14. Here are some of the pics:




5vp If you could play one game from my collection that you haven't played before, which game would you choose and why?
Probably Dungeon Petz. That game has always intrigued me, but it's something I would very much like to play before buying.


Redward wrote:

What is your favorite mechanic and least favorite popular mechanic.

My favorite is pretty tough to narrow down... I really love exploration in games, so that would probably be at the top. Close second would most likely be tableau building / tech tree type stuff.

My least favorite would definitely be acting / performing. I do like RPGs, but that's different. Stuff like Cranium, charades, etc. really turn me off for some reason. Perhaps I'm simply more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it.
I have a love-hate relationship with deduction/bluffing games, as that involves a certain aspect of performing. I really like the concept of most of them, but aren't very comfortable or at least very good at playing them, haha. BSG is still a classic though.


mspider_89 wrote:
Congratulations Tom.
I only knew your work for GoK's cards (which I really like it and was a major improvement from the Tristan's previous), but after look through you images and files sections I have to say: you are GOOD!

Since you're a game pimper guy (is this even an expression? ) like Tristan, I have to repeat a question I made him: Which add-on are you most proud of having made? And game variant?


Thank you!!!

That's a tricky one! Picking a favorite project is like picking your favorite kid (or so I would imagine, as I have none yet). I'll highlight some of my favorites and my reasons for them though.

Both my Star Wars Love Letter re-theme and Legend of Zelda: Dungeon of Mandom re-theme were two projects that were completed in a very short time. Once I had the initial idea to do them, I had a pretty clear image in my mind of what I wanted them to look like. So it only took a day or two to execute them, and I'm very happy with the results:


As far as bigger projects are concerned, I'm actually very pleased with my Glory to Rome re-skin using the European art. This one took a very long time to get right, and the extra additions such as the player boards and custom manual really make it a complete package for me.


TomTi89 wrote:

1 What type of food do you enjoy the most?
2 Is there a country you think produces the best food?
3 What do you eat when gaming?
4 Is there any food you enjoy, that most people don't like?
5 And finally...is there anything you can recommend to us? Perhaps an interesting recipe, or something unique to your country?


1 What type of food do you enjoy the most?
My wife and I really love legit Japanese ramen. I was lucky enough to visit Japan and try out some of their regional ramen, and it was delicious. Fortunately, Los Angeles also has a pretty excellent ramen scene, so we love discovering new ramen shops around town.


OMG... I could go for some of this RIGHT NOW

2 Is there a country you think produces the best food?
I really like variety, so it's tough for me to peg down a specific country. I will say that since America has adopted the cuisines of many different countries (some could say bastardized in some cases), there's no shortage of options to choose from.

3 What do you eat when gaming?
Typically when we have friends over for a game night, we'll either go out for dinner and eat or make something beforehand. Then we'll bust out the games after the meal. Therefore we don't often have snacks at the table when gaming. (note: I'm totally cool with food at the table while gaming, it simply doesn't occur too often at our house!)

4 Is there any food you enjoy, that most people don't like?
I'm sure there probably is, but nothing is actually coming to mind at the moment!

5 And finally...is there anything you can recommend to us? Perhaps an interesting recipe, or something unique to your country?
I'm a huge fan of Alton Brown and his recipes. His old show, Good Eats, was a favorite of mine and a lot of his recipes feel like part science-projects. His recipe for cooking a Porterhouse Steak using a charcoal chimney starter is brilliant and always turns out amazing. His recipe for Fried Chicken is also a big crowd pleaser at our house.

Ashitaka wrote:

You rate The Lord of the Rings: The Card Game a 10. What "wows" you the most about this game?


It's a combination of a couple of things. First off, it's a co-op game, and that's a huge plus in my book. Secondly, it's Lord of the Rings, which is probably my favorite IP. And as the game has evolved, I'm constantly impressed with how the developers have married theme with mechanics across the various scenarios, and with the player cards as well. It's also a game that's held my attention since it's initial release over four years ago.



------

Thank you to everyone else for your kind words and support!
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Jokemeister wrote:

How many film stars have you met? Of those, whom has been the most down to earth?


I've met quite a lot of film stars! I'd say that Cameron Diaz was the most down to earth. She was so much fun to hang out with on set, was totally approachable, and was overall a blast to work with.
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GeckoTH wrote:
5vp If you could play one game from my collection that you haven't played before, which game would you choose and why?
Probably Dungeon Petz. That game has always intrigued me, but it's something I would very much like to play before buying.

It's a great game! I was worried it would be a little too heavy for a Euro but then I finally got to play it with my wife after owning it for a year. It's really enjoyable and had alot of replayability.

If you randomly find yourself this side of Australia would happily host a game or two and a decent meal
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Quote:
Great choice for GotW - glad to see this travesty of injustice (that the gecko hadn't been nominated till now!) corrected!


There's always the Geek Citizenship Award. Tom could use some more stars.
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GeckoTH wrote:
4) I was recently helping out on the Supergirl TV show and Marvel: Agents of Shield. Now I'm working on the TV show The Last Ship.


Do you prefer working on movies or TV shows? Is there any difference from your point of view?
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Congrats Tom!

What was the biggest screw-you moment you have had, in a game? Giving, receiving, self-inflicted, or some combination therein.

If you could say one thing, in this world, that is true, what would it be?

If you had to live in either perpetual darkness, perpetual light, or perpetual gloom; which would you choose?

What is the most money you have frittered away, in the shortest amount of time?

If you had to participate in an eating competition, what would be your food of choice?

What would be your UFC/WWE fighter name?

If you drink, what was your cheap drink of choice, as a young person?

If money were no object, what would be the object on earth you would buy? Collectable or not.

What is a song that you can listen to over and over?

Who is your favorite villain?

Do you have a favorite BGG post? Either yours or another person’s.
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Mohrlock wrote:
2 If you could have any living person in the world attend your home for a dinner of your choosing followed by a boardgame; who would it be, what's for dinner and which game?


Bumping this one as I incorrectly numbered my third question with 2 which left this one unanswered

And just have to hear your answer - it's my favourite question to ask every GotW!
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Congrats GeckoTH!

Paging through your work I was very impressed. Thanks for your many wonderful contributions.
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