Alex Wynnter of Blue Room Games – Interview

Another Aussie designer spotlight interview. Alex Wynnter is the man behind independent Australian board game design company Blue Room Games.

In Blue Room’s own words when posed with the question of what they make, the answer is “board games. But [sic] our goal will always be to recreate that feeling of wondrous discovery we had as kids”.

We like that idea here at Gameapalooza, because we feel that as adults, for many people that sense of wonder is quashed, both due to personal constraints and social norms. It’s a shame, but that’s life. Still we can shine a light on those trying to keep that joy alive. So let’s delve deep as we interview Alex Wynnter from Blue Room Games.

Firstly who are you? Tell us a bit about yourself and your company Blue Room Games.
​My name is Alex, I started getting interested in game design about 4-5 years ago now​. With another guy – Paul Nicholas – we created and self published ​a take that game with amazing characters aimed at a 10-15 year old market. From there I have been doing talks and demos at conventions and events since. Blue Room to me is about having an amazing time, whether that be working on a game, playing a game or talking about games and some various other non game related things – but not many. ​I also founded the TGDA (Tabletop Game Design Australia) which currently has 600 members and is moving to be a Not For Profit venture.

Alex from Blue Room Games Dylan from Table Tyrant Games Australia - Gameapalooza interviewAlex (center) with his pals Dylan Shearer (Table Tyrant Games – Right) and Paul Nicholas (Left).

What games are you working on at the moment, can you share anything about what we can next expect from Blue Room Games?
​I have found that my strength lies in ideas. Over the last couple of weeks I have been asked to collaborate on a 3 different games by different owners. I am not sure how much I can divulge on those games but I am currently working on two personally. One of them is called Planitects – First Contract. It is a euro style game in which you are contracted to build a planet with a really cool time management mechanic. I recently pitched this to a publisher an they are looking into it now, so fingers crossed for that one. The other one I am working on doesn’t have a name yet but it based on Sirens, singing to ships, taking the treasure and eating the sailors souls.

Where can people purchase Blue Room Games… err… games?
​I sell my games through a dependable Australian distributor 93Made Games.

Let’s get to what we all want to know and possibly the easiest / hardest question. What are your personal top 5 tabletop games and why?
​So many to choose from but currently:
Istanbul: I really like Istanbul​ ​for its modular board, and the mechanic that leave workers around. It is a very inspiring game.
I really like Agricola – I have been hanging to play Caverna for a while. Agricola is very punishing, and I really like the challenge.​
I recently played Concordia, which has some really streamlined things happening within its card dynamics and the way you interact with other players and the board.
A lighter game “The Little Prince: Rising to the stars” is really nice, it has a Tokaido feel, but with a little more choice, also a little more random.
And lastly, Dominion. It was the original and still one of the best deck building games with many expansions and lots of engine building in so many different ways.

In your personal opinion, are there any games in particular that lend themselves well to newcomers, that is, people who have never played anything other than perhaps the non German-style games (Scrabble, Monopoly etc.)?
​There are lots of great gateway games. I use them all the time with relatives and family that are not that into board games. I have a small collection that I keep just for these occasions and it includes:
Camel Up
Dixit
Tokaido
Takenoko​
Ticket to Ride
Hanabi
Qwirkle
– I can play this with my grandparents.

If you could get one major license made into a board game, what would it be and why? (movie, TV, book, comic, video game).
​There was a cartoon I absolutely loved back when I was a kid, there was absolutely nothing cooler then the ability to ride a dinosaur and fire lasers at the bad guys. I would love to make a game based on Dino-Riders.

Planitects board game playtesting. Blue Room GamesPlanitects – First Contract from Blue Room looks pretty sweet. Lots going on.

Are there any American style (Ameritrash) board games that you think manage the sort of depth that many German-style games offer? Do you have any in your collection?
​Unfortunately (Fortunately?) I do not own any and the few that I have played I have not enjoyed at all. ​

Have you used Kickstarter to back any tabletop games? What was the last one you backed and received and were you happy with it? Anything you’re waiting on?
​I have used kickstarter to back/help a lot of games – give us a follow – Count is at 70 at the moment. The last one I received was actually Cogz by Raez, which is an awesome game. ​ ​I received it so late because the designer Wesley Lamont wanted to give it to me in person at PAX. ​There are a few that were cancelled that I was a bit upset about, like Dann May’s polyhedral D6 set. I am seriously hanging for my copy of Spirits of the Rice Paddy and Scythe. Spirits was finished a long time ago, and Scythe recently just finished.

What is the oldest board game you still own and why? What older game do you wish you still owned?
​The oldest game I own is actually something I bought from the Op Shop down the road called Mid Life Crisis (for our non Aussie readers an Op Shop is a secondhand store / thrift store). Its a terrible game from the 80’s , roll dice and move style where you either have to struggle through your life or have a psychotic break down. One that I wished I owned would probably be HeroQuest that my father in law actually has.

Last question, let’s end on a real downer… Of the new slew of board games of the last decade or so, what ones have made you want to throw pieces at the wall or do a table flip and why?
​Many people know I am not a fan of Munchkin, and even watching people play it makes me want to throw rotten tomatoes in their general direction. ​

Bonus Question!
What do you do in your day job?
I spend my time teaching graphic design at a TAFE level, online and face to face. I also do freelance graphic design specifically for boardgames under the name House Of Cards. Being a specialist there are a tonne of things that I know and can discuss with the game designers that other graphic designers won’t think of.
​

Where can people find and connect with you?
The TGDA Facebook Group
BlueRoom on Twitter @blueroombg
Blue Room Games Facebook Page
House of Cards
The Blue Room Games Website – (Under Construction)