Today we are featuring Jan Gonzalez, designer of Robo Diner. Jan is joining us from Austin, Texas. He moved to Austin from San Juan in 2009 along with his wife Dafne and his son Jan Carlo. Jan has a Master’s degree in Game Production and management. Jan formerly worked in the video game industry for companies such as BioWare/Electronic Arts and Trion Worlds and is currently a Software Development Manager at Infor. This will be Jan’s first Granite Game Summit--make sure to stop by Table C at 10 a.m. on Saturday April 8th to play Robo Diner.
THREE RANDOM FACTS ABOUT JAN:
- Jan was born and raised in San Juan, the capital of the island of Puerto Rico - which (by mere coincidence, of course) turn out to be the names of two of his favorite board games as well.
- Even though Jan grew up on an island in the Caribbean, he does not like seafood; his favorite food group is BBQ (fortunately for him, they do a good job cooking that in Texas).
- Jan worked on Star Wars: The Old Republic, which is also one of his favorite MMO computer games (because he can play it while wearing his Jedi robes, not just because his name is on the credits).
Questions by Kimberly Revia (KR) and answers by Jan Gonzalez (JG).
THREE BOARD GAME RELATED QUESTIONS:
KR: What game(s) are you demoing at G2S? What is your elevator pitch for it?
JG: I will be showing Robo Diner, which is a fast-paced card game for 2-4 players ages 8 and up, featuring set collection and simultaneous action selection mechanics. In Robo Diner, you play as a robot waiter trying to grab the best possible combination of food items as they move around in a conveyor belt. Players secretly select whether or not they wish the belt to move, and may use special powers to manipulate the resulting movement. Serve the right dishes and you will soon have the happiest customers at the diner, winning you the game!
KR: How did you get into designing board games?
JG: I have been designing games since I was in fourth grade, but they were just concepts and ideas that I drew (badly) on paper or index cards, and that were played (sort of) with friends and family. Almost 30 years later, I attended the first PAX South in 2015 and was inspired to work on ideas that could be commercially viable. My first actual board game design (beyond my earlier badly drawn ideas) was Ambassador of the Wasteland, a post-apocalyptic worker placement game that was featured at the First Exposure Playtest Hall at Gen Con 2016, and was also demonstrated at the Designer-Publisher Speed Dating event at BGG.con 2016.
KR: How many game designs are you currently working on?
JG: I am currently working on 3 designs: Ambassador of the Wasteland, which is being pitched to publishers, Robo Diner, which I will be showing at Granite Game Summit, and a cooperative dungeon crawler that still refuses to tell me what it's called.
THREE QUESTIONS JUST FOR FUN:
KR: Is there a mechanic in games that you don't enjoy?
JG: Heck yes. I despise dice-rolling with a passion. And dice have been scientifically proven to hate me as well. It is a mutual feeling that we have accepted so that we could both move on with our lives.
KR: What are a few games you have played the most?
JG: Besides San Juan and Puerto Rico (really, not just because I was born there, they are great games) I also enjoy playing Agricola, Star Wars Rebellion, and Roll for the Galaxy (which is the one and only dice game that I will ever play, because it lets me change the dice to whatever I want when the dice betray me, which is every time).
KR: Are there any other Designer Alley games you are looking forward to playing?
JG: I did not get a chance to try out Robit Riddle when I saw it at Gen Con last year because I was too busy demoing my own game, but hopefully this time I will.
Jan can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org