Today’s featured designer is Chip Beauvais, designer of the games Smoke and Mirrors and ChromaCubes. He also runs a game on Twitter, A Little Alliteration, which can be found @LitAlliteration. He plays the saxophone, is a father, and encourages supporting creators with Creator Appreciation Day via social media. He’ll also be joining us at Granite Game Summit in May.
Three random facts about Chip:
- He read the same book to his daughter every night for over a year.
- Since 2010, He’s given up a specific food for an entire year. (This year it is french fries.)
- He sometimes levitates.
Questions by Kimberly Bullock (KB), answers by Chip Beauvais (CB).
Three game design related questions:
KB: What has been the most rewarding aspect of designing games?
CB: While I really value the relationships I've established since I began designing games, the most rewarding part is watching people enjoy playing my game. Sometimes, the rules and mechanics fade away, and the game becomes a battle of wits between friends, or a shared storytelling experience. Bringing some fun into the world isn’t always easy, but the results always make me smile.
KB: How does the design process start for you, e.g., a new mechanic, a theme, a character?
CB: Inspiration can come from anywhere: a mechanic that I want to explore, a component restriction (e.g. a 4x game using only 18 cards), or a punny title (Seven Card Stud). Early in the design, however, I try to identify who the game is for (see my psychographic profiles), and the type of experience that player is looking for. There are a lot of decisions to be made while designing a game, and this guidance is invaluable.
KB: Is there one type of game you would really love to design but just aren't sure about?
CB: Not one, there are many.
- I'd like to design a co-op game, but I don't find them engaging as a player. I'd like to design the tabletop equivalent of Rock Band.
- I'd like to design a game that gives players a cover of anonymity, so they can confess socially unacceptable thoughts to their friends, and find out that others have those thoughts as well.
- I'd like to design a nonviolent miniatures game.
- I'd like to design a deck-building game that emulates a slot machine.
My main challenge is deciding which of these ideas is most promising, and which I can find playtesters for.
Three questions that are just for fun:
KB: Aside from boardgaming, what is a hobby you enjoy?
CB: I enjoy making music. I've played alto saxophone in a town concert band, a jazz band, and I've lead a small group to raise money for the Salvation Army around Christmas. I haven't been able to participate in these groups as much as I'd like since the birth of my daughter, but I'm looking forward to rejoining them again soon.
KB: What is your favorite New England vacation spot?
CB: Cold Springs Resort, in New Hampshire. My wife and I own a timeshare week there in May (two weeks before G2S!), and we love it. We always go to Hart's Turkey Farm and Funspot at least twice during our stay. We'd love to visit with some local gamers while we're there.
KB: What is your favorite animal, and why?
CB: You'd expect me to say sheep, wouldn't you? And sheep are pretty awesome. While my wife and I have also had guinea pigs and hedgehogs, I'm going to say my favorite animals are bunnies. They don't talk much, and their noses are really cute when they are eating.