The Road to SXSW: Gamer’s Voice Alumnus Random Encounters

Random Encounters

SXSW Gaming receives hundreds upon hundreds of applications to participate in the Gamer’s Voice Award from a variety of game development teams each year. Of these, only the best indie titles and projects make the cut to be featured at the SXSW Gaming Awards. As such, we wanted to share the stories behind some of these great games, and those of their developers.

This week, we sat down with Regular People Gaming to ask them about their game Random Encounters, which was showcased at SXSW Gaming 2016!

Who are you? Can you tell us a little bit more about Random Encounters?

We are Regular People Gaming: just two people from Victoria, TX. I’m Joshua Garrett (design and colors) and with me is Jordan Basaldua (illustrations).

Our game, Random Encounters, is a co-operative role-playing card game! It’s a game that mixes elements of tabletop and digital RPGs into a simplistic, easy to pick up and play package that’s very friendly to those not familiar with the genre. It’s a very light-hearted adventure filled with goofy things like exploding mushrooms and evil jelly monsters.

How did you learn about the Gamer’s Voice Award, and what about SXSW drew you to be a part of it?

We had several people at various conventions like the Board Game Bash and Classic Game Fest ask if we were going to be at SXSW. We didn’t think SXSW would want a tabletop game at the event because we didn’t think we were on the same level as video games, ya know? Like, “Who goes to an arcade looking for a chess set” kinda deal. But hey we got in, so what the heck do we know!

Before you came to SXSW, how long had your game been in development?

Before SXSW, Random Encounters had been in development for over three years. The Kickstarter campaign was successful, but we were still finalizing some of the artwork and tweaking things like the rulebook – so it wasn’t at one hundred percent. But we’ve now had the game manufactured and shipped to the Kickstarter backers, and have just launched an online store for the remaining copies. They are currently in boxes taking up my entire dining room, but I don’t think I’ve ever eaten there anyway so I guess that’s okay.

Original Random Encounters Kickstarter Video

How did your experience at SXSW impact you as a developer?

More than anything, it was refreshing to meet other developers; people who knew what it felt like to dedicate years of your time and resources to try to make something. It’s easy to fall into this trap of pouring yourself into something and not thinking it’s good enough. Being at SXSW was a pretty cool like “okay, I guess we did make a good game” validation. =)

What were your favorite moments or memories from SXSW?

My hands down favorite part was seeing our game on the big screen and knowing that everyone in the crowd was seeing it too. It really helped validate that we had created something special, and got us hyped to create something new and hopefully get the opportunity to come back in the future. Also at one point a guy came to our table and picked up our game and asked “is this a cereal box!?” which cracks me up to this day. Our game is quite colorful so I could see the connections. Now we want to make a Random Encounters cereal, haha – it could have marshmallow bits shaped like Evil Jellies.

Random Encounters - Josh and Jordan Regular People Gaming – Josh and Jordan

How is Random Encounters doing today? What’s next?

Random Encounters has been printed and the Kickstarter backers have received their copies so the game is officially out now, but there are a few things left to wrap up before we can begin on another project. Right now we’re creating an art book and a “Story Mode” that contain sort of “Choose Your Own Adventure” scenarios that will work with the game. We have tons of ideas that we’d like to try, including other games. We’d like to try something a little smaller this time. We’ve spent nearly 4 years on this one project!

Where can we find your game today, and how can we keep up-to-date with Regular People Gaming?

You can find Random Encounters on our website, RegularPeopleGaming.com – we’re also pretty active on the social media triforce of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Side note: Is it lame to call it that? I hope it isn’t lame…

What would you recommend for aspiring developers to do if they’d like to participate in SXSW Gaming and the Gamer’s Voice Award?

Just submit your game! We weren’t expecting to be nominated or anything, but it was super worth it! Going to lots of conventions and testing out your game is a great way to get feedback and people interested in your project. But if you aren’t quite at the showing off stage, then go to the event and ask questions to the game devs that are there! We literally can’t talk about anything other than games.

Any additional advice or comments you’d like to make about Gamer’s Voice or SXSW?

As game developers, we often have to tackle a million things at once, and often alone. This should not be one of them! The crowds are so large that you are going to need a friend to help out. Sometimes you just need a bathroom break or need to stretch your legs a bit and it makes all the difference in the world to have someone take over the table while you’re up.

And finally, email the SXSW staff if you have any questions – they are some of the most responsive and awesome people I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with and they want to help you succeed!

Media content provided by Regular People Gaming


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Estevan Aviles

Gaming Festival Programming Specialist

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