Richard, thank you for your time and wishing you the best with your project! (Project link at end of interview)
Here are the 10:
1. What got you interested in designing a deck of playing cards?
I have (like you) long been a collector of interesting card decks. I have long known that the four kings in a regular card deck supposedly represent four famous kings from history (King David from the Bible, Caesar, Charlemagne, and Alexander the Great). I thought it would be fun to create a deck where the four kings are four famous game designers. My first deck I put in the two guys responsible for Dungeons & Dragons (Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson) and the two guys most responsible for SPI (a very popular wargame company back in the 1970′s, Jim Dunnigan and Redmond Simonsen).
2. What was your inspiration for this deck?
I go to a lot of game conventions as a vendor, and there was one convention in Arizona where the organizer had set up an interesting promotion of a “poker game”. When you registered for the con, you got a playing card. When you got a hotel room, you got a card. When you bought food from the official food vendor you got a card. When you purchased anything in the dealers room, you got a card. At the end of the convention, the person with the best poker hand got a big prize. The only thing wrong with this promotion was that, although you could trade cards, the winning hand was always going to be a Royal Flush in Spades. Thus every card was worthless (really) except the top five Spades. It occurred to me that this could be done better. I run my poker game promotion at Origins and Gencon. Everyone who buys/sponsors a card, who has a booth at either convention is listed with their booth number in an ad in the program book. Convention-goers can go to each of these booths and ask for a card. (This gives the sponsor a chance to talk about their products). If the attendee can collect any straight flush (five cards in a row of the same suit) they bring it to me for an entry in the drawing on the final day. This makes ANY card potentially worth one fifth of a sweepstakes entry. Then on the last day I have a big drawing and give away a bunch of prizes.
3. Why Kickstarter?
I have had two successful kickstarter campaigns – one for the Aces of Aces WWI Aerial Combat Game, and one for the Deluxe version of Tunnels & Trolls. I figured that kickstarter would give me some extra publicity among folks who like games. There must be a lot of folks out there who would love to know more about these game designers, and I want to reach as many of them as possible.
4. Do you have any other interesting hobbies or maybe a fun story about an experience involving your deck?
I publish another card game that can’t be used to play regular card games, but is crazy fun. It’s the Nuclear War card game – about blowing up the world with nuclear missiles. Half the time, when you play it, everybody dies and no one wins. So I call it “an educational game”! I’ve been selling this game since 1975. (It was originally invented by an aerospace engineer in 1965).
5. What is one thing you wouldn’t do without?
Diet Mountain Dew. It’s how I wake up in the morning.
6. What’s the best tidbit of advice you’ve ever been given?
Never pass up a chance to take a leak.
7. What advice would you give to other aspiring deck creators/artists?
Make it as high-quality as you can, but don’t go overboard with the expenses, and don’t print too many decks. And especially don’t mortgage your home to pay for it. I don’t think anyone ever got rich by selling playing card decks (just the guys who make Magic the Gathering!) It’s a fun thing to do, but you probably won’t earn back your investment.
8. Do you have an online presence where we can view your work?
Yes. www.flyingbuffalo.com Or specifically for my card decks, www.flyingbuffalo.com/pokerdeck.htm
9. Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Come see me at Origins, Gencon, Essen Spiel, Dundracon, Kublacon, Strategicon Gateway, Maricopa Con, or GAMA Trade Show. Ask to see my Famous Game Designer card deck and I’ll offer you a special discount!
10. And finally, I would like to give you this opportunity to share three to five images and tell us a little about each.
These are from some of my past decks. Frank and Marc are two of the guys from the GDW Game company from the 1970′s and 1980′s. Greg is the creator of the Runequest RPG and many other games. Steve is of course famous for Munchkin, Car Wars, Ogre, and more.
“Chainmail Girl” has been a popular attendee of many of the Origins and Gencon conventions. She has been the “Queen of Hearts” in all our decks so far. Chaosium makes the popular “Call of Cthulu” RPG and has been the Queen of Spades (the evil card in the “hearts” card game) in all our decks.
If you’ve never played “Nuclear War” you’ll be surprised at how much fun it is. A satire and a fun game, all at the same time.
Project Video / Link: