Ed Baraf is someone who I've had the pleasure of meeting through Twitter and other social media outlets before meeting in person. I first backed his Lift Off Kickstarter campaign when @TheOneTar handed me a tiny purple alien to take pictures of at GenCon! While GenCon kept me a bit to busy to actually enter his photo contest it did successfully introduce me to his adorable game and eventually a friend who would RV up to Seattle with his whole family and get to experience the joys of Seattle Gaming!
Ed also has a youtube channel where he reviews games to stay active in the community and contribute by doing more than just designing fantastic games! I decided to interview him about his experience in making games and of course, being who I am, I could not help but get silly with it.
Your new game, Lift Off! Get me off this Planet! is releasing in friendly local game stores this May. What inspired you to create this adorable alien game?
At the time, in my professional career, I had been making Facebook games at Blue Fang Games (Zoo Kingdom, Oregon Trail, Carmen Sandiego). Those projects concluded, and like all service based games, eventually disappeared into the digital abyss. I love board games and I wanted to make something real, physical to share and enjoy with others. At the time I was playing Ticket To Ride and Small World as well as Super Mario Galaxy and watching Survivor. They all influenced Lift Off! Get me off this Planet! I love color, character, and cute, but the fantastic art was created by the fantastic Nichole Kelley (http://nicholekelley.com/)
I’m a bit of a Jay-Z, Kanye West and Beyonce fan. How do you feel about the song, Lift off?
Lol - Great name!
If you did manage to get off of this planet, where would you visit first?
Fun question! I’ve probably been watching too much Doctor Who, but I’d love to get out of this Solar System. No idea what that means, but it would be fun to find out!
You currently have a game on Kickstarter called The Siblings Trouble. As I hear, you submitted this to Tabletop Deathmatch. What did you learn from that experience?
Yep, The Siblings Trouble is up on Kickstarter now! (http://bit.ly/TST_KS). It was part of Tabletop Deathmatch Season 2 and selected for PAX South Tabletop Indie Showcase.
Being a part of TTDM was a surreal experience. Taking TST aside for a second, it was just incredible to be part of what is essentially reality TV. I’ve never done anything like being on a TV show (I don’t think my review channel counts), so this level of production blew my mind. In regards to The Siblings Trouble, we actually learned a ton playing at GenCon2014 and the First Exposure Playhall. We played game after game with a huge diversity of players from different backgrounds. Tons of feedback. We then also played with a group of industry insiders and to a lesser extent the judges. Even more feedback. The teams bonded over the course of the show and we’ve continued to stay in touch since. Would love to do something like this again!
What are some of your favorite board game that you didn’t create?
I love games and I love experiences. They all touch different emotions, fantasy, pleasures etc. I’ve never been a guy with “favorites.” Recently, I’ve enjoyed Splendor, Rise of Augustus, Dead Man’s Draw, Cosmic Run, and Yardmaster
You say in your Kickstarter video that you were inspired by some Miyazaki films? What were your favorite books or movies growing up that may have influenced The Siblings Trouble?
Oh man, there were just so many. I have to say it all started with Calvin and Hobbes. The movies that stand out from when I was young are The Goonies and Stand by Me. Maybe even The Sandlot to an extent. As I got older, on the movie side Spirited Away, Totoro, and most anything Miyazaki had an influence.
You spoke a bit about Dungeons & Dragons in your Siblings Trouble video, what’s your best D&D story?
My best D&D story, oh man, there are many. The moments I think we all remember most are those incredible 20 or 1 rolls made at the best or worst possible moment. I actually was smitten with Rifts. I ended up reading all those adventures books front to back. Playing those characters, exploring, experiencing, was incredible. I was huge into MtG, but that was nothing like roleplaying.
If you had the opportunity to design a game with any other game designer in the world, who would you work with?
I actually don’t put many designers on pedestals, but the person who has had the most incredible impact on my life is Shigeru Miyamoto. On the card/board side, I’d have to say Knizia. Mainly because he is so good at things I’m not as strong at. I think we might be able to make something entertaining.