Alex Wynnter is the Creative Director of Red Genie Games and a very busy dude.
Along with recent fatherhood he juggles podcasting, designing and developing games, teaching design, managing the TGDA Facebook group and generally being a man about town in the Australian board gaming community.
But let’s hear it in his words:
Where and when did your love of gaming begin?
I began playing games to entertain myself when I was very young – before 5 years old. There was a terrible Cabbage Patch Kid board game but I loved it. My father taught me Stratego and Chess, and at the time we played Chinese Checkers a little. When I was introduced MTG when I was 16 and then Settlers of Catan I really started getting into the hobby. It’s now been over 10 years and it is just getting better and better.
What is the game that holds the favourite memories for you ?
At the moment it is Blood Bowl Team Manager. I absolutely love that game, and when playing it the games don’t let you cycle through decks too much. Me and a few friends have designed/are tweaking a league – which is ten continuous games, where we really get to develop our deck and game strategy. This is the second time we are running it, and so far it has the best and most interesting plays. Besides that, I have always been a big magic player as mentioned and you can do some pretty crazy stuff with that.
When did you design your first game?
I think I was 23 – trying to make the next big Munchkin. It was not great. My ration of games invented to games reaching actual prototype form is probably 60:1, so that idea I think has been long deleted.
What is your role in Red Genie ?
I would like to say I am the Creative Director, Ben does a bit of this too, but I think I have the final say hahaha, you would have to ask Ben. We both do most of the roles simultaneously, we are both good at tweaking and considering good game design, and how the rules should be, and looking at the overall picture. There are a couple of things that I am not great at, so I leave them to Ben.
Do you have a favourite game designer?
Antoine Bauza. He makes some of my favourite games. Tokaido, The Little Prince (both games). Hanabi, Seven Wonders. He has such a good imagination and creates great player experiences. Each game is so unique and beautiful, they all have a great feel to them. My favourite game he did is The LIttle Prince, Rising to the Stars, great graphics, really fun gameplay, not too difficult so I can play it with almost anyone.
What games are in rotation in your group at the moment ?
Blood Bowl Team Manager is a good one, Scythe is also awesome. Mysterium is one I play with my family and my dad loves word games, so Boggle comes out fortnightly.
What was the last tabletop Kickstarter you backed and why?
It was Remarkable Rhymes of the Traveller’s Times, an Australian social game that was pleasant to play. I thought my wife would enjoy playing it with friends as well.
What would be your dream game to design ?
I would love to work on something with Jamey Stegmeier, I think the games he produces are of a very high standard and I think I would learn a lot from him. As for a subject I would like to work on, I would have to say Asterix and Obelix, but it seems it is very hard to get a license for it.
What do you find hardest about game design ?
Getting time to playtest. It’s a crucial part of making a game, but getting together the people and time is a pain. I have recently been bribing friends with food and drinks to play them over to test the Brigade out to perfection.
Do you have a day job?
Currently I am a graphic design teacher at a TAFE level. I also freelance graphic design work, run the Tabletop Game Design Australia group and I was just contracted to do a few escape rooms which is going to be an exciting prospect.
What are the most useful game design resources you have come across?
Spreadsheets and google docs are probably the most useful to me. I like working everything and laying it out so you can see everything in the most compact form for tweaking. I can also make prototypes quickly of all the data is done well with inDesign. It’s a boring answer, but the most honest one.
You can have any 3 people in the world around a game, what is the game and who are the people?
For a fun time: Jim Carey, Jackie Chan, Bill Bailey – Something fun like Apples to Apples or Dungeon Fighter.
For a lesson: Mike Selinka, Bruno Faidutti, Jamey Stegmaier – Something like 7 Wonders or Citadels. A thinking game.
What is the game in your collection you will never part with and why?
Abyss – it is a beautiful game. Beautiful production quality, lovely artwork, quality components. It is just a masterpiece to me.
How do you account for the renaissance in gaming and can we keep it up?
It has been rising for sometime. I think it will level out a little, but more and more gateway games are being made and introducing more and more people to the hobby. So I think it will level but continue to grow.