Today we are featuring Daniel Newman, a game designer from Brooklyn, NY who will be joining us at #G2SFall. Daniel's first published game, Ahead in the Clouds, is heading to Kickstarter on October 4th, 2016. Daniel recently organized the first ever FeldCon, which I was fortunate enough to attend. It was a one-day gaming event focused on playing games designed by Stefan Feld, one of his favorite designers. Daniel is an active participant within the board gaming Twitter community and the Father of one human kid as well as two fur kids. We look forward to having Daniel back in the Granite State in October, and to playing Ahead in the Clouds.
THREE RANDOM FACTS ABOUT Daniel:
- At the time of this interview, he has 14 tattoos (and plans to get a 15th before G2S)
- Daniel has lived in three different cities, one of them twice, each totaling about 1/3 of his life (NYC has pulled ahead)
- His favorite board game designer is Stefan Feld
Questions by Kimberly Bullock (KB), answers by Daniel Newman (DN).
THREE BOARD GAME RELATED QUESTIONS:
KB: What was your inspiration to transition from board game player to designer?
DN: My wife and I were getting bored with watching tv after our son went to bed and we would play games occasionally but she isn't quite as passionate about it as I am. I suggested that we should try to design a game in our spare time, as an activity that we could do together. Shortly after we started on the project together, I discovered the NYC Playtest group - which just happened to be meeting two blocks from my house - and the progress skyrocketed. It quickly became my new passion, with her involvement becoming more along the lines of consulting after playtesting and brainstorming. She still helps me on designs when I get stuck, more in helping me figure out where I'm hitting walls and coming up with ways to get around them.
KB: Do you design with a basic workflow or does it vary each time?
DN: So far it's been pretty different each time. It often starts with an idea that pops in my head either as I'm falling asleep - which means I jump out of bed, find a piece of paper and a pen in the dark, quietly scurry to the nearest light source, jot down some notes, and try to puzzle them out in the morning - or in the shower. Basically any moment when my brain isn't occupied with other thoughts and I have time to myself. I'm currently working on a game that is a bit more complex and that method is not quite doing the job. I'm doing much more research, both into thematic concerns and mechanical ones. I'm nervous that I may have set a goal that's bigger than I'm capable of, but I'm also really enjoying the opportunity to stretch my design muscles.
KB: I know that your first published design, Ahead in the Clouds is coming to Kickstarter on Oct. 4th. What are you looking forward to, and/or nervous about?
DN: Up until this point, I've been calling myself a designer but haven't really had to prove it. I've had great response from playtesters with a number of games, and I have signed a couple of designs with publishers, but actually having a game produced and out in the world is a little terrifying. I'm putting way too much pressure on my debut than I should, I know, but it still feels like this game is how a lot of people will be learning about me as a designer and will influence their later impressions of my future games.
THREE QUESTIONS JUST FOR FUN:
KB: What are you current top 5 games?
DN: Trajan, Power Grid, The Castles of Burgundy, Gold West, Alchemists
KB: Do you track any your game plays (journal, app etc.)? If so what data do you like to follow?
DN: I use BG Stats to track plays, but have only done so for the last couple of months. I mostly just like to see how many games I get played per month and what my win percentage is (not that the latter is important to me, just kind of interesting to note)
KB: Which games have you played the most? (in person, or online)
DN: I've been playing a ton of Castles of Burgundy lately online, as well as a bunch of Trajan just in the past couple of weeks. But BG Stats says my most played games over the last two months (on the table) is Deep Space D-6, followed by The Game and OctoDice. I guess I've been getting a lot of solo plays in lately!
We will update this article with a link to Ahead in the Clouds' Kickstarter once it is live. Check back in October 4th, 2016 for that.
Daniel's game Ahead In The Clouds, is now live on Kickstarter. A sky high struggle for 2 players. You can find it here: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/239309591/ahead-in-the-clouds-a-sky-high-struggle-for-two-pl