Our featured designer today is Brian Bollinger of The Wild East Game Company. He is the most rootin tooninist', train loving game designer this side of the Mississippi you will ever meet. If his mustache doesn't prove it his fun games like Lightning Dice and Pie Rats will.
Three random facts about Brian:
- I also work on the railroad road. I currently work part time as a conductor for the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad but I worked 7 years in freight before that. And... I own a caboose. Because doesn't everyone?
- I know a lot of people really like nature, and I think that's great but I really like the city. I like the tall buildings, the buses and subways, all the people. I like the variety of people - if you're a people watcher that's a bonus. I like that there's a night life and when most people go to bed there's a whole different set of people that work at night. I like the 24 hour diners and grocery stores and the cultural diversity. My favorite is Boston - I grew up there, but I think New York is a close second.
- I would love to go back and time and be a part of the Wild West! ...but I would be horrible at it... I am allergic to cows and horses! I would be the sneaziest cowboy or lawman ever. I'm also pretty addicted to indoor plumbing and electricity. But it would be fun to mine for gold, wear a badge, visit a casino, do a cattle drive... It just seems so cool. And I really love all the cloths people used to wear back then. Girls in their long dresses and guys in their suits. (even if they were covered with mud and dirt) I'm sure the real Wild West wasn't as romantic as I am making it out to be - so I would need to live in a "movie version" of the Wild West. ;-)
Questions by Kevin Craine (KC), answers by Brian Bollinger (BB).
Three game design related questions:
KC: What is your favorite part of designing games?
BB: I like coming up with the mechanics. I love math and I love statistics and probabilities so making the game "work" is what I enjoy most. More than once I have come up with a game with story line, theme, or image ideas and I have added all that after the game works. I have a folder of games on my computer and those files are named "Untitled Game 1", "Untitled Game 2"... and so on.
KC: Is there a particular component or mechanic you especially like to work with?
BB: In general, I'm a logical person, so I am drawn towards games I can develop a strategy to vs a game of luck. A lot of my games start out as logic based and then, to make them more fun for the average person add components of luck or silliness.
KC: Where do you draw your inspiration from for your designs?
BB: As I'm new to the gaming market I don't have a lot of games under my belt yet. But I am trying to design different types of games so that, hopefully, at least one of my games will appeal to each gamer someday.
Pie Rats is a bit strategy and bit luck, with great artwork. At some point I was sitting around my kitchen table a couple years ago thinking of what might be funny and I came up with the story line for Pie Rats. I had no idea of what I wanted for rules or artwork. So that game was born from the story line first.
PITMAN is a cross between poker and liars dice. There is a luck component to it but for the most part it's a very psychological game. Because of the die rolls it can be a lot of laughs watching someone loose the pot after winning the bid.
I'm a couple years away from being ready to release it but Lobstergeddon will be a very distinct type of deck building game. Players that compete against each other will have very different decks of starting cards.
Three questions just for fun:
KC: What is your favorite part of living in New Hampshire?
BB: Fall time. No doubt... Fall time. I like riding on trains in the fall through the White Mountains.
KC: What game has seen the most plays for you?
BB: That's easy - Killer Bunnies! I used to play this ALL the time with kids in my youth group, at summer camp, or with the friends my age - if I could get them away from Risk or Monopoly (or some other old fashion game). Currently I really like Machi Koro. I'm excited to learn Doomtown reloaded... but I can't figure it out and can't find anyone to teach it to me.
KC: Your mustache is mighty, how long have you been growing it?
BB: Just since last summer. I have never had facial hair. When I was trying to name my company I finally came up with The Wild East Game Company. I like the wild West and cowboy movies and all that but I'm from the East. I thought that when I go to shows I want to be easily recognizable and started growing my "mighty", as you put it, mustache and wearing 1880's cloths. (at the conventions - not all the time)