I am honored and humbled to be chosen as BGG’s Geek of the Week!
I am grateful that BGG gave me the chance to meet Alf Seegert
. We met because of my interest in a proposed mini-expansion to his game Bridge Troll
and my posting to this thread on BGG: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/article/4415679#4415679
. As an interesting sidenote, adding Bridge Troll (sight unseen) to my OLFLGS order, on the day it was released, just to qualify my order for free shipping, has set me on a whole new board game related path...Who am I and what has been my involvement with board gaming ?The Family Guy
I am married with 2 preteen daughters. The Business Professional
1- IT Business Process Re-engineering / Service Management Program Manager. Software Asset Management Subject Matter Expert.
2- Will be Unemployed as of March 5, 2012 after 25 years with one firm in the Banking Industry in NYC.
3- Currently pursuing the next phase in my career where my creative talents and professional experience can be leveraged on a daily basis. My approach to work is 110% and not just as a 9-5 assembly line. The 9-11 Survivor
I had an office in the WTC tower 1. I was lucky to be visiting a colleague in a building across the street when the first plane hit. I was at the base of the WTC looking up when the second plane hit. It was the worst day of my life.The Gamer
Over the past 4 years, my boardgame hobby has become a big part of my life. With lots of games purchased and played, I have found an activity to keep my mind and creativity stimulated. I really enjoy medium to heavier weight games but also have fun playing lighter games with family.
I find myself gravitating to BGG on a daily basis. I'm a big fan and supporter of the site and this great community. If not browsing the site, I am probably reading the rule book of some new game or watching the latest posted video reviews.
I have fond memories of playing science-based educational games with my family in the early 70s. At the age of 12, I was taught the great games of Bridge
, which became regular activities growing up in a family of six. I can't thank my parents enough for introducing me to interesting games at an early age with the belief that games should be a learning experience. Now as a father of two young girls, I too believe that kids can benefit from gaming; by learning that life is not a roll and move experience but more about having to make tough decisions, while formulating a plan which will lead to success. In my college years, I was lucky enough to live with a group of guys who were very experienced Dungeon and Dragon players.
1- My "Gamer" Game Group Geekbuddies. An awesome group of guys.
They're Young, They're in Love... They eat LARD
Social Justice Wargamer
2- My FLGS - Timp Warp Comics in Cedar Grove, NJ. Thanks Dave and Jim for making board gaming accessible to the community.http://www.timewarpcomics.com/
So what make me tick as a gamer? I enjoy medium to heavier games with simple and elegant mechanics and multiple paths to victory. I prefer games where the mechanics are heavily embedded into the theme of the gameplay experience. The ruleset should be intuitively integrated within the theme of the game.
As far as my likes and dislike in gaming, I don't like gameplay experiences where all players are strategically required to keep fellow opponents in check and someone drops the ball. While winning is not the goal, I am competitive and like to win and feel that the best player should win on his own merit, not because someone handed over the victory. I will play but mostly shy away from purely abstract or party games. To that point, I will play any game once. I enjoy the head to head 2-player or 2-team dynamic of wargames. My game group has helped me transcend beyond just the world of euros, which I still love and enjoy.
Playing games every week with friends and family is an important part of my life. I wish I had time to play all the games I own. This is an ongoing struggle for me.The Game Student
(my initial UberGeekBadge was "Game Student")
My approach to each gaming experience is very analytical. I pride myself on leveraging my 25 years of IT business process re-engineering experience to get my head inside the inner mechanics of each game I play. Games are like a good book and really challenge me mentally. I read game rules all the time, and never stop thinking about game design; either with my own game ideas or those I am play-testing and developing for others. In my spare time, I enjoy laying out all the pieces of a new game, examining the rule-set, and really getting inside the designer's head. What were they thinking when developing the inner mechanics? How do strategies change with a varying number of players? Many of the games I own have been played solo multiple times before ever getting to the table with others.
My formulated approach to new games -
1- Identify games that interest me by watching video reviews. Thanks Joel, Lance, Marco, James, Enrico, Tom, Ryan and Alex
The coolest best thing I have ever done in my life is being a father
The Dread Pirate Caleb!! (age 2)
"My spoon is too big!"
Silenced - BGG's moderation policies have driven me completely from here
Love Games, Love 'Em!!!
Check out DiceTower.com!
"Are you pondering what I'm pondering Pinky?"
"Wuhhh... I think so, Brain, but if a ham can operate a radio, why can't a pig set a VCR?"
2-Study rulebooks. To me this is great reading material. I am fortunate that many members of my game group are members of the "cult of the new" so I am exposed to a lot of new games.
3-For the first game, I don't play to win, I play to experience the inner workings of the mechanics and how all the elements of gameplay are layered. I focus on understanding the potential paths to victory from the perspective of how each player is approaching the game. Which path to victory are they each taking, and who needs to be slowed down? I love games that have multiple paths to victory and multiple win conditions. I used to buy several games a month but have put this on hold given my current job status change.
4- After playing a game the first time, I will discuss the game with group members and then read reviews and rules discussions on BGG. As is often the case with my "CotN" group many games I am exposed to are only played once or twice, unless they are a perfect fit for the group.
5- If a game really grabs my attention, the wheels in my brain never stop analyzing the interwoven mechanics. These are the games I must own. With that said many of my favorite games are designed by Martin Wallace. The Playtester / Game Developer
My Philosophy on Playtesting - The best playtesters suggest how to tweak a game's design rather than over-complicating the ruleset with new mechanics or unecessary "if/then" gameplay conditions. A common error made by new playtesters is to make suggestions on mechanics that they think need to be added to a game. The worse case scenario of this is when new mechanics are suggested to address what is believed to be a break in the current gameplay flow. The best solution in these cases may be to question the initial mechanic which is causing the problem. It probably needs to be tweaked.
I believe that taking notes while play testing is very important. If a game has multiple paths to victory it is important to track these alternate routes. Count how many time a specific mechanic is used or a specific gameplay circumstance arises--every game is different. If there are rules exceptions, how often do they play out. If limited in execution it may be time to tweak the ruleset. Game balance feedback is the best advise a playtester can provide. When playtesting, I will play a game at least 15 times.
I can't thank Alf enough for allowing me to collaborate and contribute with creative development on the Z-Man release of Trollhalla
. I have never met Alf in person or talked to him on the phone, only communicating via Geekmail and email, yet I have learned so much about game board design from him. To me, Trollhalla was my first game design learning experience and a great project to share with my family in the form of playtesting. Trollhalla is still one of my favorite go-to games. Alf has been a great friend and mentor. I hope to one day co-design a game with him.
Through my work with Alf, I have also gained an appreciation for the art design aspect of producing a game. I am a huge fan of Ryan Laukat
and can't wait to play his 2012 release Empires of the Void
I am very excited about the 2011 release of Dark Horse
published by Knight Works, LLC
. Having the opportunity to exchange creative ideas with the game's designer Don Lloyd
as part of his development and game editing team has been a great experience. I look forward to continued development work with Don and Knight Works, LLC
with continued work on the first full box expansion to Dark Horse. The Game Designer
My most recent design work includes the "Outlaw" mini expansion for Dark Horse (Dark Horse: Outlaw
). All my game development projects as well my experience playing hundreds of games over the past 4 years have taught me a lot about game design.
Alf Seegert taught me that the key to great design is simplicity and elegance--not creating overly complicated designs by adding if/then complexity to a game. He's cautioned me to think twice before adding additional game mechanics to solve any issues with other elements of a game which are not quite working as anticipated. He also taught me many ruleset challenges can be simply remedied by making adjustments at time of game setup. Before I met Alf I thought I would only want to design games that have all perfect information. I now understand the need for randomness in a game; adding fun and re-playability while ensuring a non-scripted formulated approach to gameplay strategy. Finally, as Alf says, one approach to the art of design is to look at your work as a block of marble which needs to be chiseled away rather than a recipe to be followed where reusable game elements are just thrown together. His philosophy, which I find fascinating, is game projects are never completed, only abandoned so they can be released and enjoyed by others.
Don Lloyd taught me how to leverage game mechanics to inject theme into a game along with the art of leveraging asymmetrical character roles to extend thematic and strategic re-playability. The concept of adding tension to a game with dual game end conditions as incorporated into Dark Horse, is something which I really love in many of my favorite games. I have really enjoyed my work with Don on Dark Horse
and believe it is a game that belongs on every gamers shelf. Don also has given me an appreciation for the small-time publisher who knows that going into his first game production project will be hard to make a profit, and whose passion and confidence in his work is enough to take the financial risks to see his dream through. I also appreciate Don seeing the value of my design work and bundling it into the Dark Horse: Outlaw
expansion. I look forward to continued development work with Don and Knight Works, LLC
While my recent focus has been on sharpening my game design skills via my work as a game developer, my long term goal is to design my own game masterpiece--developing unique mechanics, creating difficult decisions, and ensuring game balance with multiple paths to victory. I am a believer that all great games need a narrative arc--a build up of tension--a critical turning point that gamers can talk about after the game is over. Game design for me is more about embracing the journey rather than focusing on a destination (or the actual publishing of my own game concept). The Friend
Friends are important to me in life. I value quality over quantity. My game collaborations so far as a developer have been a labor of love (of the project) and friendship (with the designer). For those that are interested this is what I beleive my greatest contribution to BGG:
A Comprehensive Review and Strategy Guide by a Playtester / Creative Development Contributor.
I am looking forward to a great week as Geek of the Week. I appreciate this opportunity to share a bit about myself with the BGG community.
Here is a caricature of me done for use as the Scoundrel Character Card in Dark Horse Paul's Two truths and a lie:
1- Drove 5 test laps with Mario Andretti in a dual seater Indy racing car, reaching speeds of ~175 mph at the Brick Yard in Indianapolis as part of winning a FEDEX sponsored fan-based promotion.
2- Had what might have been an out of body experience while waiting for a train in the NYC subway system...either that or it was the over the counter cough medicine I was taking.
3- Met Bill Murray at the local gas station. He's a tall guy as compared to my 5' 6" height.
This poll is now closed.
Closes: Mon Feb 20, 2012 6:00 am