Today we are featuring Victoria Cana designer of Gladius. Victoria is a game producer at Wizards of the Coast, as well as a member of Playtest Northwest, and will be joining us from Seattle. Make sure to stop by and play her game in Designer Alley.
THREE RANDOM FACTS ABOUT VICTORIA:
Victoria loves stuffed animals. She grew up with a stuffed Pikachu as a “sister” and currently has a jumbo Pusheen plush that takes up her own sofa at her house.
Doing random activities gives her energy! Some random activities she’s done include urban foraging in Brooklyn, starting a company curling team, and winning a free trip to Morocco.
Victoria was once a semi-professional public speaker and has spoken in front of crowds ranging from 15 to 15,000.
Questions by Kimberly Revia (KR), answers by Victoria Cana (VC).
THREE BOARD GAME RELATED QUESTIONS:
KR: Where do you draw the most design inspiration from?
VC: As a person who likes to do random activities, I think it makes sense that there is no central place that I draw design inspiration from. It’s more so that from doing many activities, I discover topics or other media that I’m excited about. From that excitement stems inspiration.
KR: How do you handle play-testing?
VC: From my experience facilitating over 500 play-tests, I’ve learned that it’s all about observing and listening. Once players come to the table, I give them a quick overview of how to play and help them resolve one round of the game. Then, I let them have at it and ask me questions when needed. During the feedback session, I focus on listening and try to create an environment where players can give raw, honest comments. If a play-tester seems particularly interested in brainstorming solutions, I work with them to run through how recommended changes might affect the game. In terms of how I find play-testers, I believe conventions where there are dedicated prototype areas yield the highest traffic and most engaged play-testers.
KR:What part of the design process have you found to be the most challenging so far?
VC: Funnily enough, executing on the initial idea for a game is the most challenging part for me. I enjoy coming up with ideas and iterating on prototypes, but staring at a “blank page” with a pen is the hardest part of anything creative I do. That’s why I prefer collaborating with others. I co-design board games with my life partner Alex Uboldi. Our strengths complement each other and we’re skilled at very different things. We have this joke that we wish we could fuse into one person like the Crystal Gems in Steven Universe because then we’d be the ultimate game designer.
THREE QUESTIONS JUST FOR FUN:
KR: What are some of your favorite board games?
VC: Kolejka (a game made by the Polish government about line-jumping to get resources in communist Poland), Hanamikoji, Dominion, Ethnos, Rising Sun, Rococo, The Mind, 7 Wonders.
KR: Are there any fantasy worlds you would really like to design a game around?
VC: There are tons of worlds and themes, fantasy or otherwise, that I’d like to make games about – any Studio Ghibli world, Final Fantasy-esque worlds, fashion, Asian pop idols, neo-Tokyo, non-Euro historical worlds.
KR: What is your favorite part of attending conventions?
VC: Meeting cool people. Before I started designing board games, I lived in New York where it’s hard to make friends because everyone is tired and doesn’t want to take the subway to visit you. Once I started going to board game cons and meetups, I suddenly had tons of friends and connections that have supported me being a part of the board game community.
If you want to find out more about Victoria and what she is up to, you can follow the links below!