2020 brought us a global pandemic and, along with it, social distancing, masks, financial uncertainty and postponed delivery dates. For our end-of-the-year special we decided to turn to some of our favourite solo and soloable game designers and ask them to share their own experiences, feelings, plans and hopes both for the year we leave behind and the year to come. Every day until December 31 we will publish one of these short interviews (we have no patience for long ones). Our guest today is Tom Russell. Designer of Agricola, Master of Britain, Charlemagne, Master of Europe and Aurelian, Restorer of the World, among others. She was kind enough to answer our 3+1 questions.
1. Nobody likes being forced to stay at home, but did the quarantine actually help you concentrate on your design work? Or did it instead feel restraining and cause designer's block? Did you miss any face-to-face meetings or conventions?
I'm in a unique position in that I've been a full-time game designer, working out of the home, since early 2017. So the quarantine did not really disrupt the normal rhythms of my day-to-day. However, my design work and my playtesting did move a lot slower this year, and especially over the summer I hardly did anything at all. I think that had more to do with my egg cracking than anything external.
I'm a shy girl who doesn't necessarily do well in a convention setting, so not going to conventions this year wasn't a huge deal. I did, however, miss seeing some of my friends, though I did get to play some games with them online.
2. Marie Kondo shows up in your dream in the form of a yokai. She is throwing away your entire board game collection and only lets you keep one game: the one that 'sparks the most joy'. Which one is it?