I consider myself a lucky man. I misspelled a name in my previous interview with Stan Kordonskiy, which lead to an apology to Mr. Nudd. After a little conversation, we have an interview. Mike Nudd is the Co-Designer and Co-Developer of Dice Hospital, is already funded on Kickstarter. I wanted to find out more about his involvement with the project am I was also a bit curious about learning from someone like Mike, who creates, designs, and develop board games. I emailed him a set questions and here are his responses.
Can you share a brief history of your background in the board gaming industry?
Mike: One thing is that I went from paying the Vampire: The Eternal Struggle card game in the 90’s to meeting the creative team and playtesting in the 00’s, through to most recently becoming an official card designer for the surviving player community. My relationship with White Wolf is also what led to the conversation about making an official Vampire board game.
Another thing is a long time ago I started to demo games for Wizards of the Coast at conventions in the UK, which led to me doing similar demo work for Esdevium, Fantasy FlightFantasy Flight, White Wolf and CCP Games. This experience was great for seeing new games come out, learning how to teach them, and really helped me think about what other games I might want to try designing myself.
Over the years I’ve also written for a few (now defunct) hobby magazines, including Scrye, Valkyrie and EON, and I am also a founder of the fantasy miniatures games forums at www.frothersunite.com.
Waggle Dance began as a chance conversation with a friend Henry Jasper, who had founded Grublin Games to support his first self-designed game Cornish Smuggler. Henry needed a new game for his pipeline and everything snowballed from there.
Can you talk a little bit about what type of games you like to play?
Mike: My preference is for more complex games where the theme really shines through. As examples, I really enjoy Eclipse, Trickerion and High Frontier. However, blocking out time with friends to play a big game like that can be tricky, so I’m happy to play shorter and simpler games too. As my tastes are quite discerning, I don’t have much patience for games which aren’t challenging, or which aren’t properly play tested or balanced.
With Vampire: Prince in the City, Waggle Dance, and now Dice Hospital on your resume, you strike me as a designer with a diverse taste in games. Is that a reflection of your taste in games?
Mike: Pretty much. I have over 300 games in my collection and there is quite a diverse selection in there. There’s worker placement games, drafting games, dexterity games, bluffing games, all kinds.
As well as just enjoying playing games, I feel it’s important as a games designer to have a good knowledge of what’s out there and what’s been done before. I don’t think it’s a wise use of anyone’s time to tackle a combination of theme and mechanics which has already been done well. A good knowledge (or library) helps you understand what niches there are in terms of theme or mechanics which have yet to been done well – these ‘gaps’ to me are the challenge.
Please share some details about your involvement with Dice Hospital.
However, the puzzle element wasn’t really there and the engine wasn’t really firing. In my mind I could see exactly what needed to happen – when I explained this to Caezar he asked me to come on board to flesh these things out, establishing the color categories and the department and specialist interactions as we see them now.
Also a lot of playtesting. The game has been through over a dozen iterations and many plays in the last 6 months, as we’ve sought better parity and balance between ambulance and improvement choices. We are likely to keep tweaking through the Kickstarter campaign right up until the game goes to production.
Can you tell potential backers what makes the game unique or special to YOU.
Mike: As a designer I am a big fan of finding new ways to use dice in games. Waggle Dance achieved this to an extent, but I’m really proud of Dice Hospital’s more novel approach.
Also like Waggle Dance, when people play the game for the first time, they get it and enjoy it pretty quickly, and you know you’re onto something special. I’m strongly motivated to design based on being able to capture that magic and see it in people’s eyes.
Is there anything you would like to share about your future projects?
Mike: I think about games all the time, and have over 20 working titles written on a white board at home which are at various stages of conception, design and development.
I am working on a couple of other things now which are signed and should see the light of day fairly soon. I’m also still involved with the VTES community and our third card set should be released by the end of the year.
My relationship with Caezar at Alley Cat Games is also very good, and anticipate working on several more games with him in the next year or two. The next one we have been discussing is another co-design/co-develop with another designer about managing a zoo or safari park, which should start play testing by the end of the year.
I want to thank Mike Nudd for allowing me work with him post goof….
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Images were grabbed from official pages by the publisher and designers.