Industry Interviews – Matt Quock, Mountaintop Games.

Greetings All,

Today I’m bringing you an interview from Matt Quock. Mountaintop Games is small company that is hoping to put their game The Primary on Kickstarter next year. The Primary is actually on their site and available for PNP Playtesting for those of you that are interested. If you’d like a good in-depth look at their game, you can check out The Board Game Workshops interview with Mountaintop! Enjoy!

Mountaintop Games Logo

1)      How did you get into gaming – what made you want to have a gaming company?

a.      I’ve been playing games of all kinds my whole life, but only got into hobby board games two years ago when I moved back to Madison, WI. Some old friends from college re-introduced me to board gaming and we formed a regular game group. I had such a good time that I figured I would try designing one myself. The idea for a company came after stumbling across a fun game design and falling in love with the idea of running my own Kickstarter.

2)      Your company is out of Madison, WI – is that the reason for the name Mountaintop Games?

a.      There aren’t really true mountains close to Madison, though there are a few small ski hills I like to frequent during the winters. The name Mountaintop Games came from my first game design, which had a backpacking theme. I’ve always loved the outdoors and I felt like reaching a mountaintop was a good metaphor for the quality of games I want to create.

3)      Is this your primary job or do have employment elsewhere?

a.      I wish board games could be a sustainable full-time endeavor for me, but that’s currently not the case. I work as a product development manager at Spectrum Brands, where I help design small kitchen appliances, like blenders and food processors. There are definitely parallels between game design and product design, and I like to think each can make me better at the other.

4)      I understand that you are wanting to self-publish your game The Primary on Kickstarter next year, will this be the first game published under your company?

a.      Yes, The Primary would be the first game published by Mountaintop Games and my first published game as a designer. During this process, the amount of work that it takes to publish a single game has definitely been eye-opening and I have a ton of respect for all the other part-time designers and publishers out there. Despite the challenge, I have enjoyed it a lot and would love to continue doing it.

5)      What contributed to your decision in going forward with a political themed game?

a.      The political theme of The Primary is the biggest hurdle that I worry about, as I move towards Kickstarter. I feel like it could be something that limits the overall market for the game, but I hope that potential backers can look beyond the theme if it initially turns them off. The mechanics and gameplay came from the idea of a primary election, and at this point, I feel like they are too closely intertwined to re-theme the game and maintain the same overall experience.

6)      Do you believe a voting game will spark an interest in gamers to get involved in real life elections and get out there and vote?

a.      I’ll be optimistic and say yes. The game is much more strategic / tactical than it is political in nature, but I think there are some concepts mentioned in the game (like Super PACs, gerrymandering, and plutocracy) that may spur players to do some research and get more involved in the political process.

7)      Are there other games in development at Mountaintop Games right now?

a.      I have a few other games in the works, but only on the back burner. It has been my main focus to perfect The Primary as much as I can, and get it out into the world. After the Kickstarter, I’ll try to re-evaluate my design and publishing approach, and maybe work on more games in parallel.

8)      What is your favorite Mountaintop and non-Mountaintop tabletop game?

a.      I go through phases, but right now I’m into deckbuilding and worker placement games. If I have a few spare minutes, I enjoy a quick game of Star Realms on my phone. With my girlfriend, I really like the 2-player Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small. Of the few game concepts I’m working on, my favorite at the moment is probably a necromancer-themed game that is a little too ambitious at the moment.

9)      Does your family also enjoy tabletop gaming?

a.      We played traditional board games like Monopoly growing up and I have recently tried to introduce them to some lighter games. Lately, we’ve had fun playing Hanabi, Love Letter, and Patchwork. I’m excited to continue trying out new games with them and hopefully getting them as hooked as me!

10)   I see that on your Design page on your site, you have lists of resources used for learning how to design board games. It is seriously one of the neatest things I’ve come across doing these interviews. What is your one bit of advice for people hoping to get involved in the board gaming industry?

a.      Thank you, I hope others have found it useful too! The board game industry is incredibly welcoming and friendly – ask anyone and they will agree. My advice would be to get connected and soak up as much information as you can. Everyone I have come across is not only willing, but genuinely interested to help out however they can. Don’t feel afraid to ask anyone for advice or input.

I’d like to thank Mountaintop Games and Matt Quock for the chance to interview them and wish them luck on their Kickstarter next year. 🙂 Thank you everyone for reading. Until next time… Live by the Board.


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