« dreamwithboardgames »
« Matt Leacock »
« Added by Matt Leacock - Mar 23, 2009 »
How did you come up with the idea to create “Pandemic”?
The seeds of the idea came while on a walk with my daughter. Who knows where ideas come from? I wanted to try my hand at a cooperative game and that sort of game requires an opponent that behaves in a way that a game designer can program. Fighting disease seemed like a natural fit -- they're scary and you can model them with common game components. I came back from my walk and sketched a quick board, modified a deck of cards, grabbed some cubes and experimented. I knew I was on to something when I discovered the rules for recycling the infection cards.
How do you define yourself as a game designer?
A devoted hobbyist. I design the games that I want to play and teach. I have a hard time imagining doing game design for a paycheck. First, I fear it would become a chore, and second, because it would be very hard to pay the bills.
When did you realize that create games were your dream?
At a very young age. I couldn't have been more than about 8 when I made my first board game. On a couple of occasions I recall, after being disappointed with a game purchase, flipping the board over and drawing a better game on the back. I've been making them ever since.
You play games time to time, or the games are part of your daily life?
Oh, they're a daily part of my life now. I spend a good deal of time reviewing games in production, playtesting new designs, keeping an eye on the Geek, and I meet once a week with friends to play a variety of other games.
Can you tell me the game you enjoy playing the most? Why?
The games I typically enjoy can be learned in about 10 minutes, played in under an hour, involve a good deal of player interaction, meaningful decisions, the ability to recover from mistakes, a variety of strategic options, and a good narrative arc. I don't like a lot of "chrome" in the games I play, but am a sucker for good artwork, design, and playful and unique bits.I like these designs because they offer a great experience in a short time frame and also because I appreciate how much work they are to create.
Can you tell me your favourite game? And your favourite type of game?
Tigris and Euphrates has held up well for me. I'm terrible at it, but at the end of each play, I'm convinced I'll do better the next time.
Do you prefer play the games or create them?
I enjoy testing fresh designs -- the process of seeing a creation take life. It's hard to separate the two. I enjoy watching the process of a game come to life -- finding the spark that brings life to the whole package.
Can you tell me the name of your next project? Will be a game like “Pandemic”?
What can you tell about the game?
I'm in the process of reviewing the art for On The Brink (the Pandemic Expansion) that I designed with Tom Lehmann. I'm also working on a cooperative card game and usually have about a half-dozen ideas for other projects.
I designed the upcoming expansion with Tom Lehmann. It will include a batch of new roles, petri dishes for holding components, rules for 5-player games, new special action cards, and three new ways to play the game.
The roles and 5-player rules can simply be added to the base set. Players looking for more variety can add a 5th disease "The Mutation." For more challenge, players can add "The Virulent Strain" which makes one of the 4 diseases particularly nasty. Lastly, players can add "The Bio-Terrorist" which pits one player against the others.
I'm expecting the game to come out in mid-2009. You can check the Z-man site for official release information.
Do you normally follow any particular game designer with especial attention?
I keep a special eye out for new Knizia, Kramer, Teuber, and Rosenberg designs.
Do you have another job, or you are a full time game designer?
I'm a user experience designer for a small startup company in Silicon Valley. I've been able to take a lot of what I love about game design and apply it to my work there.
What you think about the economic crisis? It will affect the games sales?
Very hard to predict. My hope is that families may turn to board games as a less expensive form of entertainment that brings them together and that game sales won't suffer that much. I do think they'll fare better than video games.
What you know about Portugal?
My knowledge, I fear, is limited to the fine Port my wife and I enjoy together. We'd love to come visit to see what else your country has to offer.
Have you ever visited Portugal?
Not yet. When the kids are a bit older, we're hoping to see more of Europe.
Thank you very much for the interview.
Thanks for the opportunity!
Lecture by Matt Leacock
|Pandemic: On the Brink||Pandemic|
|Game Rules||Z-Man Games|
Pandemic: On Brink - COMING THIS SUMMER