Industry Spotlight & Top Ten Games - Andy Hopwood, Designer
Let’s go back to 1984 (ish) when I was off school for a day or two and my Mum bought me a copy of Warlock of Firetop Mountain, the Fighting Fantasy book. It was a revelation to me. The idea that you could “play” with your reading experience opened up new worlds. Shortly after this I was a regular at the Games Workshop store in Birmingham and bought games like Kings & Things, The Awful Green Things From Outer Space and Block Mania. After a brief dabble with warhammer and epic I found that I spent as much of my time inventing new rules for games as playing them.
Forward to 2008 and brain surgery! I decide life is too short and publish a game called Niche. I made it in support of the Foundation for Conductive Education with the idea that if I was only going to make one game then it might as well do some good in the world. Having made one game though it seemed as if the floodgates opened and the ideas came thick and fast. In 2009 I came up with Mijnlieff which won the award for best abstract at the UK Games Expo in 2010. Twelve games later I am now launching my first ever kickstarter and the learning curves never seem to get easier, but as I always say, you either win and learn or lose and learn. These days I tend to have an idea for a game mechanic about once a week, which makes developing everything a mammoth task but also an adventure.
Daring Dustbunnies is available on Kickstarter throughout July (2019) and is a game of hidden identities and push your luck set in a world of tiny creatures beneath the sofa. I am a firm believer that it’s choices that make good games and it has plenty of social tactics built into the mechanics in which every decision you make. It also sits very nicely with my theory that laughing, thinking and swearing are the lifeblood of a good gaming experience.
I’ve been asked for my top ten games, which turned out to be a tough question. I’m not including any of my own in the list and I went with the games I would never say no to playing.
In no particular order
The Voyages of Marco Polo – Roll the dice, get in each others way, deal with it! Love it.
Twilight Struggle – The only game that inspire dread, not bad for something made of cardboard.
Tales of the Arabian Nights – Who cares who wins, the stories that it inspires between players is the memorable part.
No Thanks – Purely delightfully spiteful.
Keyflower – Played it, bought it online as soon as I got home. Excellent interactive worker placement mechanics.
Agricola – The sheer volume of possibilities in the base set is immense, definitely the desert island game.
Evolution – Was not sure at first but when I realised it’s mostly a bluffing game it really clicked
Castles of Burgundy – Delightful mechanics
Race for the Galaxy – My most played game
Flamme Rouge – I love the marriage of mechanic and theme in this one (but big shout out to Snowdonia too on that score)
You can find out more about Andy's games on the Hopwood Games website.
(Article published 16/07/19)