Ed is a local Connecticut designer and podcaster. I've seen Ed around at various local conventions, and chat with him from time to time in the Geek Gods Discord channel.
Let's start off with you telling everyone a bit about yourself and what you do.
Hmm... I'm between "Day Jobs" at the moment, my education is in Chemistry / Chemical Engineering, and my last job was working in the pharmaceutical industry managing the manufacture of developmental drugs for clinical trials. In the gaming world, I'm one of the "ducks" in Angry Duck Games, and I'm working on a podcast called Which Game First.
Let's talk about Angry Duck Games first. You're a designer, correct?
Yes, I work on the designs along with the other ducks. Usually one of us takes a lead role, but the others contribute ideas and suggestions when we meet to discuss the project. I also do some project management for some of the projects, when I'm not the lead designer, which looks at production and other "non-design" elements of the project. For example, one of our current projects is "Bad Juju", which has Mike Grenier as the lead designer and Tim Lee is the managing the development.
So what are some of the games you've got under your belt?
Student Bodies, an ‘I just have to outrun you’ zombie game set in high school, is our first game, which was published though Smirk and Dagger Games. Other unpublished games I have in development with the Ducks include Petri Wars, a game of cellular warfare in a petri dish, and Centauri, a game about asteroid mining and trade in a dynamic solar system. Before ADG, I have worked on a LARP that ran several years ago at GenCon and I’m an author of Streets of Silver, an RPG supplement for the Twin Crowns setting. I’ve also dabbled in computer game programming, but those were all for personal use.
What's your history in gaming? How did that lead to game design?
I played board games as a kid, but it was probably the early computer games and D&D that really got me hooked into gaming. The VIC-20 was my first introduction to computers, loading games from cassette tapes. Around the same time, I got the "red box" from Toys R US, and I would walk across town on a snow day to play D&D with my cousin. On the computer side of gaming, I went down the Commodore line, C-64 and Amiga, until crossing over to PCs, also got a bit into programming, computer graphics, and audio/video (TV) production. Some of my favorites from that era include Zork, Elite, and Civilization. After college, some of my friends from RPG groups and LARPs starting playing board games regularly. I owned and played some board games before then, Titan, Civilization, and Axis & Allies. We started to have regular board game nights with games like Settlers of Catan, Twilight Imperium and Power Grid hitting the table, and I've been playing and collecting board games since then.
Some of my friends were running a LARP, and that's when I got into writing some stuff for D&D. DM's are creating stuff all the time, in this case, you are creating for a wider audience. I had another group of friends would get together and talk about game design. They were often involved in other creative projects like filming movies, but they formed Angry Duck Games and invited me to join them. We would we have design and playtesting nights alongside our regular gaming.
How about the podcast? How'd you get involved with that?
Celeste called me up and tells me she wants to produce a podcast about board games, and I was of course interested. Soon afterwards we started playing games for the podcast.
Seems pretty straightforward!
So what's a typical day in the life of Ed like?
One nice thing about being between jobs at the moment is that days are less “typical”. While eating breakfast, Dexter, my cat, will “politely suggest” that it’s time for me to pet him, and I comply with my training. Then I head over to my mom’s to help with some home improvement project. Catch up with a friend for lunch and talk about “projects”. Head home and create a new card layout in Photoshop for the next version of a game. Then head out to game night, perhaps playing a couple of games for the podcast at Evan’s house. Lastly, I’ll play something on the computer, just picked up Battletech during the Steam sale, so that may be a good way to close out the day.
Sounds like the life to me.
What are some of your current games at the moment
I’m playing in a few RPGs, there’s a long-running Pathfinder game, a Star Wars game, a couple of 5E games, and a new one to playtest an RPG by my friend Doug. Board games are always changing, recently I’ve played Terraforming Mars, Puerto Rico, The Game, Through the Desert, and some Netrunner. On the computer, I’ve spent a bit of time playing ARK lately.
I keep meaning to try to get back into ARK. The start of a new game is pretty brutal.
So what's in the works right now? What's the next big project?
Yeah, it's rough at the start. I'm running a private server that a few friends are playing, some for the first time. The game is very scary at first when Dilophosaurus are a challenge and venturing into the swamps is basically certain death. Leveling up, and the tech advancements keep you looking forward to the next challenge.
Currently, I’ve been working with Mike on getting Bad Juju ready for the CT Festival of Indie Games. We are looking forward to showing it at ConnectiCon next weekend.
Wish I was going to be there this year! I'm bummed I'm going to miss out. Tell me a bit about the game.
Bad Juju is light-hearted press your luck game where you got hexed after a wild night in New Orleans, represented by a bunch of pin in your ‘doll’. Use your lucky Gris-gris, a little Majik, and the aid of the Loa Guides to venture into the Bayou to remove pins from your doll. If you venture too deep you may find new Hexes, which has you doing silly things. The first player to remove their pins wins the game.
Sounds pretty sweet. Good luck with it at CT-FIG!
As for the podcast, any nuggets for the future of that?
We aim to play games and talk about them. We enjoy playing a game that’s decades-old occasionally, it’s a glimpse into history or a trip down memory lane, so we’ll continue looking for them. I will head out to the World Boardgaming Championship in PA this month, along with Celeste and Mike. We’ll talk about our experience and anything interesting we find at the con. We also plan to have more interviews and talk about trends in gaming. We are a new podcast so we’ll try new things and see what works for us, the key is to have fun along with our audience.
Awesome. Well, thanks for taking the time to chat with me!
About the Nor'easter Series
Nor'easters is a series of articles spotlighting a different tabletop game designer, publisher, or content creator from the Northeastern United States each week. The series was inspired by all the amazing people in the industry I've met over the years in my home region of the US.
Make sure to come back every week and see who is spotlighted next! To see a complete listing of the series' articles, click here.
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.