An interview with Jerry Hawthorne, designer of Stuffed Fables
Thanks for agreeing to be interviewed, Jerry!
Oh the pleasure’s all mine. Thanks for reaching out to me like this.
How did you get into game design? What were some games or designers that influenced you?
Well, I would say I’ve always been into game design. Heck, as a kid I would making games using crayons and cardboard boxes. You could say I’ve been a lifelong fan of the hobby in general, but in 2004 I discovered Heroscape. This game was designed by Craig VanNess and Rob Daviau, and featured some clever ingenuity from Stephen Baker, known for his work on Heroquest. I became a big part of this game’s fanbase and soon found myself on the playtesting team, and then eventually I was hired as a freelancer to create content. These opportunities were each building blocks the lead to more and more opportunity.
Stuffed Fables is a very different kind of Tabletop experience - what inspired the game?
I designed stuffed Fables around this idea that when parents are not there physically with their child, they can only rely on the impact of their own parenting and the support of those whom we entrust with their care. Stuffies are the very first things we trust to comfort and protect our children from fear while we get some sleep. I created a mythology around that, and crafted adventures around these Stuffies, protectors of innocence. I was inspired mostly by Pixar movies, especially Inside Out.
The range of designs in the game, from nightmarish to delightful, is tremendous. How did the look of the game come about?
The look came about from something I call creepy cute. The game revolves around the fear and anxiety that might interrupt a kid’s sleep so there naturally had to be some spooky things, but as you play the game, you discover they aren’t really spooky at all. Our artist Kristen Pauline really captured the bedtime story feel I was going for.
Mice and Mystics is a now-classic game that shares some design sensibilities with Stuffed Fables. How important is storytelling in a Tabletop Game to you?
Story is literally the most important thing to me. I love a lot of story. I think you see a lot in RPG’s and I think that level of story experience is totally doable in a boardgame.
Do you have any more designs on the way that you can tell us about?
I am working on a new AdventureBook game. It’s a completely different setting. I can’t say much about it.
If people want to find out more about your games, where can they find you on the web?
Stuffed Fables is also Game of the Month on 7LandHand, the Good Games-sponsored Podcast! Listen to the show and get the password for a 10% discount on your copy!