Interview with Matt Quock Designer of The Primary – Now on Kickstarter!

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Category: Age: 14+ 30 - 60 Min 1 - 5 Players 2018

The Primary just launched on Kickstarter and we had the chance to interview the creator and publisher of the game, Matt Quock who gave us insights about the game and the campaign.

1. “The Primary” is your first game, launching on Kickstarter on March 15th. Let us know about Mountaintop Games and its vision.
I started Mountaintop Games about a year ago, when I began designing The Primary (along with a couple other game ideas that did not turn out as well.) Ever since learning about the board game industry on Kickstarter, I kind of fell in love with the idea and wanted to try it for myself. My goal with Mountaintop Games is to create fun, high-quality games. Hopefully, The Primary is a good start.

2. What inspired you to make a game with this type of theme?
During the last election cycle, I got more involved in politics and paid much closer attention to the news. During the primary elections, the idea struck me that votes occurring over time could make for an interesting game mechanic. While researching other similar games, I noticed nothing else focused on the primary election process and figured I could fill that void.

3. What was the greatest challenge that you faced during the designing and development of the game?
This was my first “true” board game design and almost every facet of it proved to be difficult, or at least much more so than I originally anticipated. I am by no means an expert, but the sheer volume of playtests and small tweaks have definitely been grueling and has tested my patience. Balancing has been a big challenge, as well – especially with the Candidate cards and their special abilities.

4. The game includes a solo version. What drove you to this choice and was it a challenging designing choice?
I can definitely relate to board game players who seek out solo versions, as I have trouble getting a regular game group together. After listening to several podcasts about the design of solo versions for board games, I was convinced to try one for The Primary. In some ways, it has been easier to develop than the “regular” multiplayer version. Playtesting is definitely more convenient to arrange and I can grind out a number of solo playtests in a week.

5. What kind of gaming experience do you want to create to players and for what kind of gamers is it suitable for?
I wanted The Primary to be accessible to all types of gamers – light enough for a new gamer to learn and enjoy, but also heavy enough for hobby gamers to appreciate the strategy and tactics within it. I also wanted the overall experience to match the theme, but without any of the nastiness of politics. This drove the design to not focus on debating or negotiating and there are no references to real politicians, issues, or current events. I understand politics can be a polarizing topic, so I wanted to keep The Primary as neutral as possible, while still maintaining the campaign feel.

6. What is your favorite element or mechanic of the game?
I really enjoy the tension of the Action cards, especially the Fundraiser vs Super PAC dilemma. When attempting to gain Influence cubes to later spend, you can take two approaches: the more conservative Fundraiser card (1 guaranteed Influence cube per card) or the riskier Super PAC card (the player who plays the most Super PAC cards in a round wins 4 Influence cubes) It’s fun for me to try and guess what my opponents are doing and try to out-smart them with my Action cards.

7. What scares you the most about the KS campaign?
Does “everything” count? Like I mentioned before, I know politics can be a love / hate theme. I worry that too many people will instantly dismiss the game due to the theme, before learning about the gameplay or reading reviews.

8. What else can we expect from Mountaintop Games in the future?
Hopefully you can expect a funded Kickstarter campaign and published game very soon! I also have some other game designs on the backburner that can hopefully get some more attention after the Kickstarter for The Primary.

Thank you and good luck with the Kickstarter campaign!

The Primary is Now on Kickstarter! Check out the campaign!