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Subject: Geek of the Week #566 - Daniel Zayas (dmzayas) rss

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Oscar de Jesus Gonzalez Aguilar
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Thank you very much Brian. This has been an incredible week full of awesome questions.

And for the magic 566 GotW I want to bring you Daniel Zayas. I met Daniel through facebook in a Game Reviewers group and have been following (muahahaha) his career (not that close don't get scared) and his rise in the boardgaming world taking the role of Eagle Gryphon new Marketing Director which I think is a very big and awesome achievement.
So here it is everybody, the man of the week, Daniel!

Dmzayas wrote:

My humble thanks to Oscar for the privilege of being nominated as your 566th Geek of the Week! This award is a time-honored tradition at BoardGameGeek, and is not something I take lightly. Here’s hoping I don’t mess this up.

My name is Daniel Zayas and I am from a lot of places, but I grew up in the Los Angeles area. I’ve lived in many parts of the US and the world from my time as an airborne cryptologic Korean linguist in the United States Air Force. I have a Bachelor’s of Arts in journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, a Bachelor’s in Mathematics from Arizona State University, and other Associate’s degrees in various topics. I currently live in sunny Northwest Florida with my Air Force wife and our two childr- erm... dogs, Darwin and Einstein. In November, I will be returning to Phoenix to become Eagle-Gryphon Games’ new Marketing Director while my wife continues to defend freedom overseas.

I am almost 30 years old, but only as recently as two years ago did I really commit to tabletop as my passion. Let’s start with Puerto Rico in 2012.

I played Catan in my Air Force days, but Catan did not awaken my passion for gaming. I got my start in tabletop thanks to a friend who was obsessed with Puerto Rico (and still is). Three of us worked in a coworking space in downtown Phoenix and started downtown’s first ever official game night, all with just one copy of Puerto Rico. For a few months, it was just the three of us playing multiple rounds of the game every Thursday night with a large growler of beer for each of us.

At some point, the weekly game night grew and we had a full-blown community event on our hands. We were being covered in the local news and we were attracting non-gamer Muggles into the fold. I was introduced to 10-15 new games per week (some of which I even played). This was a better experience than some people see at conventions! And I got to do it each week for about a year!

Soon after graduating college, I started investing a lot of time into web development. Small trivia fact - I actually learned basic web development from Randy Hoyt (of Foxtrot Games and Lanterns fame) via his video tutorial program on some instructional website. Later, I would go on to pick his brain through many conversations on Facebook. Thanks again, Randy!

At some point, my wife graduated ASU, joined the Air Force, left to basic training, then received orders to Northwest Florida. I packed my things and life and connections in a suitcase and headed east. The beach is nice, but I think I am more suited for a drier climate and less Trump stickers.

While game night in Phoenix slowly evaporated away, I doubled down on all the good times I had with Puerto Rico (and newer titles) and tested my web development chops with a topic I was passionate about. I started a little blog called The Meeple Mechanic. On this blog, I decided to one-up those bastards on Reddit with my own weekly roundup of Kickstarter games. This was the birth of Kickstarter Badger (now called Board Game Badger).

Kickstarter Badger from the very beginning sought to root out all best practices that all successful tabletop Kickstarter campaigns employed. I found many answers in the blogs of Jamey Stegmaier and James Mathe, and mentorship from long conversations with the men themselves. I flopped many, many times trying to invent and reinvent a meaningful rubric, and for a short while, it was actually working. Publishers were lining up their campaigns in droves for a chance to be featured on the Badger. It finally got to the point that the word was out on these trusted staples of a good campaign. While that improved the Kickstarter industry overall, I started mostly telling people what they already knew, and I got bored. So I nuked The Meeple Mechanic and tried something else.

I arrived at the concept of Smarter Backer late last year to build on the ideas The Meeple Mechanic started, but to democratize it and give all backers an equal voice, even to mine. I tried so many ways to make that a reality, but had forgotten how long it actually took to build The Meeple Mechanic’s brand. That was a really tough pill to swallow, that I might have made a mistake dropping one project for another. During that difficult time, I latched onto an offensive card game idea called Antichrist and attempted to self-publish the game on Easter. That was a mistake, but one I own and have since moved past. Actually, since then, I have designed a couple more-palatable games. One actually made it into this year’s Boston Festival of Indie Games Tabletop Showcase! Maybe you’ll see A Meeple in Time on store shelves at some point.

I am also happy to say that, in the end, moving to Smarter Backer was all worth it. The website is more successful than I could ever imagine. We’ve got a growing Facebook community, a publicly-funded weekly Board Game Badger publication, and more in the works.

In my new position as Eagle-Gryphon Games’ Marketing Director, I am thrilled to be building on the overwhelming success the Eagle-Gryphon team has achieved. I finally have the time and resources to bring valuable market analytics data into this industry and to do some valuable research and development via the Smarter Backer blog and other projects. The entire Eagle-Gryphon team is hungry for more success, which is a refreshing environment to work. You can own a piece of our ongoing story by backing Island Hopper by Scott Almes on Kickstarter this August 16th!

Thanks everyone! My nomination next week is even more deserving of this praise, and I can guarantee SHE won’t let you down.


Poll
Which Statement is False?
  Your Answer   Vote Percent Vote Count
I served in the USAF as an airborne cryptologic Korean linguist.
17.2% 10
I have a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics.
32.8% 19
Randy Hoyt taught me basic web development.
19.0% 11
I’ve played Puerto Rico before.
31.0% 18
Voters 58
This poll is now closed.   58 answers
Poll created by ellogan
Closes: Sun Aug 14, 2016 6:00 am



And let me start with some questions:

1 What is your favorite type of dice and why?
2 Roleplaying, are you up to it? Have you done it? If so, what game?
3 Favorite game?
4 Less favorite/hated game?
5 Have you ever been to Mexico?
6 Have you played a Mexican boardgame (designer's or mass market)?
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Congratulations Daniel!
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?
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Congratulations Daniel!

So, here is my regular question:

Which existing Board Game would you've liked to be the designer of? Why?

Have a great week!
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chadnorth wrote:
Congratulations Brian!
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?


I think the appropriate answer based on the story is Puerto Rico. A lot of my influences and gaming preference is so geared around that one game, any game similar (or not) gets compared to it.

As far as non-this-story games, I really enjoy secret saboteur-esque games, as well as secret identity mechanics in general. In that vein, Shadows Over Camelot is a no brainer.

After having written all that and thinking through my answer, I think I will change my answer to Ginkgopolis. I love city-building and I love resource/hand management.

This was a great and surprisingly tough question.
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chadnorth wrote:
Congratulations Brian!
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?


Favorite wizard. I am gonna go with the Moon Priestess from Luna, mostly as an excuse to bring up my favorite Feld game. Luna is the best.
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ellogan wrote:

And let me start with some questions:

1 What is your favorite type of dice and why?
2 Roleplaying, are you up to it? Have you done it? If so, what game?
3 Favorite game?
4 Less favorite/hated game?
5 Have you ever been to Mexico?
6 Have you played a Mexican boardgame (designer's or mass market)?


1. I like dice where the dice roll is only the beginning of the process. Newer games with dice placement, etc. Do this well. If you literally meant which dice, I'll go with a tried and true D6.
2. I've done a couple quick Pathfinder campaigns. I enjoy it, but they take a lot of time. I usually play a rogue who dashes ahead of the party to get treasure early and I usually die as a result.
3. Favorite of all time? I am always down for a game of Harbour. More recently, I'd probably go with Baseball Highlighta 2045.
4. My one caveat to this answer is that us geeks should let other geeks geek out about whatever they want to geek out about. My personal least favorite modern game is probably Disaster Looms and its expansions. Tried playing it multiple times and each time it was brutal.
5. I have! Wife is full blood Hispanic, her whole family speaks Spanish primarily, is from Nacozari and San Carlos among other places. I've gotten drunk in Agua Prietas and drunker in Puerto Penasco. Obviously I am not as at home there as my wife, but I have had good times.
6. Maybe. I don't necessarily know every games' designer's origins, so one of you will have to browse my collection to tell me if I have one.
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Congratulations, Daniel, enjoy your week!
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Congrats Daniel! Enjoy your week! Didn't realise you were hired as the EG marketer - that's super awesome!

(How many questions am I allowed, excluding this one?)

How did that happen? Can you share the story of how you got introduced to the team/how they became aware of you and what the hiring process was like?

(Although I imagine that could be an interesting full blog post!)

Do you have any plans you can share?

What (if anything) annoys you about the world?

What is/are your favourite non-boardgaming thing(s) to do?
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Congrats Daniel! Enjoy your week!
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Congratulations, Daniel!

Whats the best game you've ever only played once?

Whats the best game you've ever only played twice?

Whats the best game you've ever only played three times?
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congrats Daniel
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Bezman wrote:
Congrats Daniel! Enjoy your week! Didn't realise you were hired as the EG marketer - that's super awesome!

(How many questions am I allowed, excluding this one?)

How did that happen? Can you share the story of how you got introduced to the team/how they became aware of you and what the hiring process was like?

(Although I imagine that could be an interesting full blog post!)

Do you have any plans you can share?

What (if anything) annoys you about the world?

What is/are your favourite non-boardgaming thing(s) to do?


The process was fairly quick. I heard they had the position open, reached out to a contact in the company, arranged a meeting with the CEO, and had a printed out plan of the job he'd be hiring me to do. A big part of the hiring process that helped me is that I have a very small hill to climb in terms of comfort in the industry. I get a lot of stuff that even veteran marketers don't really understand about the tabletop industry. One example I can easily point to is that NYT or CNN might sell you a couple extra titles, but Wil Wheaton's Tabletop series will sell your inventory faster than either of those. Niche markets are sometimes better places to work in that regard. Local politicians have told me the same thing before when comparing D.C. politics.

Plans? The plan for Eagle-Gryphon is to be everywhere and to help people whenever an opportunity presents itself. Again, this is a niche audience, so doing good for others has way more value than on a national stage.

I am usually annoyed by things I don't understand, much like everyone else. As far as things I do understand, I'm not a big fan of humidity?

My favorite non-game activities are literally long walks on the beach, but also bicycling through the urban jungle, helping with community festivals and events, eating things I haven't tried yet, etc. I understand fully well that I will die someday, so I am living how I want until then.
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Jrtolf wrote:
Congratulations, Daniel!

Whats the best game you've ever only played once?

Whats the best game you've ever only played twice?

Whats the best game you've ever only played three times?



I play a lot of games so we'll have to target my recent memory.

Once? La Isla, because I just got it.
Twice? Seven7s. Can't seem to get it to the table but Jason Tagmire made an awesome card game in that title.
Three times? I'm gonna go with Between Two Cities. It is a great easy game that requires a bigger group to really shine.
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Woo Daniel! cool

If you could play a social deduction game with a handful of historic and/or fictional personages, who would they be?
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mind_ranger wrote:
Woo Daniel! cool

If you could play a social deduction game with a handful of historic and/or fictional personages, who would they be?


Social deduction with the cast of A Goofy Movie. I arrived at that answer faster than we'd all like to hope I didn't.
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Congratulations on making Geek of the Week!

I have a few questions for you......
1 What is your opinion of war gaming?
2 Do you have a favorite war game; if so, what is it?
3 What are your opinions or memories of playing Risk?
4 What are your opinions or memories of playing Axis & Allies?
5 What game would you tell all gamers about that just has no publicity and that nobody knows about?
6 Which game most reminds you of serving in the Air Force?

I thank you for your time and for your service. thumbsup cool

-M_R
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Congrats Daniel and enjoy your week!
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Congrats Daniel, from this week's Love Spreader of the Week!

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.

Is there something you cannot resist buying, if you see it (of course board games, silly, what else?)?

What is a song that you can listen to over and over? If you could only listen to one genre of music, forever, what genre would you choose?

Who is your favorite villain?

Do you have a favorite BGG post? Either yours or another person’s.
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Grats Daniel! Well deserved!

What is your favorite non-traditional pancake?
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midnight_reaper wrote:
Congratulations on making Geek of the Week!

I have a few questions for you......
1 What is your opinion of war gaming?
2 Do you have a favorite war game; if so, what is it?
3 What are your opinions or memories of playing Risk?
4 What are your opinions or memories of playing Axis & Allies?
5 What game would you tell all gamers about that just has no publicity and that nobody knows about?
6 Which game most reminds you of serving in the Air Force?

I thank you for your time and for your service. thumbsup cool

-M_R


1. I appreciate and understand war gaming, but to me the thrill of outflanking and out shooting still being reduced to a luck of the roll (even an augmented roll) leaves a lot to be desired. If anyone has a favorite diceless war game I would love to take a crack at it.
2. I really do love watching people play X-Wing (even though the name is somewhat ironic for folks who never use XWings to play). But that love is entirely theme-based.
3. Opinions and Memories of Risk.... I actually have fond memories of Risk. Today, the combat system hasn't aged well, so that'd be an obvious and noticeable flaw, but I enjoyed playing in my youth for sure.
4. I actually learned about WWII via a high school history class game of Axis and Allies. That I think was an awesome way to learn this topic.
5. I think Blood Rage doesn't have enough publicity. In all seriousness though, Clockwork Wars came before Scythe and Blood Rage, is in some ways better than either of those two games (in my completely biased opinion) but none of the glory. So I'd recommend folks take a closer look at least.
6. I first played Catan in the Air Force, so I'll have to say that. But my buddy is working on a Korean language game which sounds right up my alley.
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bigloo33 wrote:
Congrats Daniel, from this week's Love Spreader of the Week!

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.

Is there something you cannot resist buying, if you see it (of course board games, silly, what else?)?

What is a song that you can listen to over and over? If you could only listen to one genre of music, forever, what genre would you choose?

Who is your favorite villain?

Do you have a favorite BGG post? Either yours or another person’s.


Biggest screw you moment is probably the last time I played werewolf. I was the werewolf, and always voted to kill off the other werewolves in the day phases, so at some point I was the only werewolf with zero suspicion. I won that game.

One true statement. You will die. People who truly get that live differently I think. I don't want to ever be an old person with regret.

On a purely practical note, perpetual light would generate some decent vitamin D.

Backpacking trip to Europe after serving is easily my largest expenditure.

I really like pie. So pie.

Any WWE name with Badger in it. I could be the Basic Badger and have my back story be that I was a reality TV star who had one too many caramel frappucinos and flipped.

I enjoyed gin and tonic early on, and I still do. I guess Rex Goliath Cabernet is cheaper still, so it depends I guess.

I would buy a Tesla, and all future Teslas.

It depends on the circumstance on what I would buy. I guess I really like the white Gatorade, so that is usually a must have. Also, in the grocery store, I usually opt for fancier bread. I also collect jams. I enjoy different foods, so I guess that's as good an answer as any.

I am unashamedly in love with the new. In that vein, any indie song I haven't heard usually sounds good to me. I get bored fast, but some Spotify playlists I could recommend would be Young and Free or Indie Pop.

My favorite villain is Will Smith in I am Legend. Ooh what a twist!

I usually pop in here for W Eric Martin's updates and news.
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riddlen wrote:
Grats Daniel! Well deserved!

What is your favorite non-traditional pancake?


If crepe counts, I'm going with Crepes Suzette. If you don't know what that is, you need to get on my foodie level.
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Congratulations, Daniel!



What's your favorite color to play, and do you reserve it for yourself?
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Congratulations Daniel!

1 So Eagle/Gryphon Games... is there anything you can share with us right now about what to expect next from the Defenders of the Realm line?

2 Will there be another Kickstarter for Defenders before the end of the year?

3 How did Triassic Terror do? Will there be anymore dinosaur action incoming from Eagle/Gryphon games?
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Congratulations Daniel!
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