Today we are featuring Marshall Britt of Yanaguana Games. Marshall, his wife Courtney, and their son Harrison moved to Rhode Island last Spring from Texas. This will be Marshall's first Granite Game Summit. He will be showing off his games Shipload O'Gold and Stir Fry 18. We met Marshall at Boston F.I.G. and knew he'd be a great fit for #G2SFall. Lets make sure to give him a New England welcome and play some games on the 22nd.
THREE RANDOM FACTS ABOUT MARSHALL:
- Marshall is strongly considering buying a blue canary night light.. to install in the outlet by the light switch.
- As a kid he stood in the top of one of the Twin Towers and put his head on the glass to look down at NYC.
- He names his video game avatars after obscure characters from the 1988 film "Willow".
Questions by Kimberly Bullock (KB), answers by Marshall Britt (MB).
THREE BOARD GAME RELATED QUESTIONS:
KB: How did you get your start within the board gaming industry?
MB: The short version is that three friends (Alex, Andrew, and I) who played Magic together at a small shop in San Antonio went to the first Pax South in 2015 and were inspired to begin making games. We founded our company a few months after that convention and began working on our first game. We printed and self published a small run of "Shipload o' Gold" with plans to sell it at Pax South 2016 as our first and only game. Our second game, "Stir Fry Eighteen" was a prototype that got such great feedback we decided to attempt to print it in time for the convention. We could only get the cards themselves in time with shrink wrap on them. A week prior to the convention, Andrew and I printed 100 sets of rules, and stuffed each game into a Chinese take-out box with it's own fortune cookie. We sold out of Stir Fry Eighteen over the weekend at Pax which essentially is what I tend to consider the "start" of our career in tabletop development.
KB: Yanaguana Games seem to be focused on card games. Will all of the games be card games or have you considered making other styles of games as well?
MB: We do have quite a few projects in development that vary greatly in mechanics and components. We use a project management software to keep track of our various projects and I think the count is up to roughly 14 game ideas in many stages. Some of these are simply a mechanic and theme, others are fully built prototypes in testing. We certainly have plans for building some larger "euro style" games. Our first two games taught us many lessons about production costs, surprises, and various issues that might arise for a self funded development team. Now that we have our footing in the tabletop world, we can't wait to share our larger game ideas with folks.
KB: What are some of your favorite things about designing games?
MB: The opportunity for innovation is the driving force behind game design for me personally. I can't speak for my partners other than to say we all enjoy the back and forth of testing and attempting to break things and find holes in designs. I also greatly enjoy being able to use the creative and often silly side of my brain to generate something tangible and fun. I think all of us often get far too wrapped up in the day to day, so making games is a very easy way for me to escape the reality of life's less pleasant bits. The BEST feeling I get is when I see someone exploit a mechanic in a game we made that was maybe not intended or designed with that purpose in mind but it works perfectly within the rules; it's like watching your game take on a life of it's own.
THREE QUESTIONS JUST FOR FUN:
KB: How long have you lived in New England?
MB: I moved to Rhode Island with my Wife and two year old son in April, so less than a year. We formerly lived in San Antonio, TX which is where Yanaguana Games was founded.
KB: What are your favorite games to play? (that you didn't design)
MB: The list is ever changing but lately Neolithic by Small Box Games (John Clowdus is a great designer) and High Heavens by Wild Power Games have been on the table a ton. I always enjoy Puerto Rico, Agricola, Race for the Galaxy, and some Star Wars X-Wing from time to time.
KB: Do you have a favorite type of game you love? (It could be theme, mechanic, designer whatever)
MB: I personally really enjoy the euro style games with multiple avenues towards victory. Uwe Rosenberg really nails this in a bunch of his games, most notably Agricola. Puerto Rico and most of the more popular euro games share a similar play style. Lords of Waterdeep is another of my favorites, so the larger campaign type games with heavy themes seem to be my favorite, though I get to play less often than I'd like these days.