Welcome to another Designer Spotlight. Today we are talking with AJ Lambeth, a first-time designer, and our in-house developer. AJ’s first title, Kami-sama, will land on Kickstarter in early 2018. We are excited to get to sit down with AJ. Join us as we learn a bit more about him.
So tell us, AJ. What brought you into the board gaming hobby and community?
Playing Magic: the Gathering in school – and eventually tournaments – is where I got my start. After a tournament, one day at my local game store the owner put Arkham Horror in front of my group. I walked out with a purchased copy that night, and haven’t touched MtG since.
What are your current favorite games (or types of games)?
Cooperative games have always been my favorite. I played a lot of split screen co-op video games as a kid, and now that those are gone board games have filled that void in my life.
What led you to become a designer?
In the midst of filling out a mountain of grad school applications, I asked myself if I still wanted to be a psychologist. After a long talk with my wife, I decided to try a different path while I was still young. Board games were my only other passion at the time, and I jumped headfirst into designing.
What can you tell folks about Kami-sama?
Kami-sama is based on my experiences living in Japan. I fell in love with the history, and culture and wanted to make a game celebrating that. I’ve never enjoyed the social dynamic in area control games where you have to look someone in the eye while you’re destroying their units. Kami-sama breaks this up by having each player work within their own village, so you can focus on executing the perfect combo.
Besides Kami-sama, are you currently working on any other designs?
I always have my own pet projects on the side, but right now most of my time is focused on developing other Kolossal titles.
Who are some of your favorite designers in today’s industry (and why)?
I’ll always follow Richard Launius and Kevin Wilson’s designs since it was their game, Arkham Horror, that got me into board gaming. Eric Lang’s games, especially Arcadia Quest, hit my table more than anything else.
Outside of gaming, what kinds of activities do you enjoy?
I’m an avid PC gamer. I especially love indie games that like to explore new mechanics or aesthetics. Other than that, craft beers and hiking. I believe I was meant to live in the Northwest.
Give us three fun facts about yourself.
- I lived in Japan for a year, teaching English.
- I’ve been literally bounced off-stage by three sumo wrestlers – the heaviest Japanese sumo wrestler in history and two American sumo wrestlers (all Olympians).
- Rattlesnake is one of the most delicious meats I’ve ever eaten.
If folks want to follow you online, where can they find you?
Unfortunately, I’m not a huge social media person, so Facebook is my primary connection to the world. Other than that I use Hensharo for BGG and any online games.
Be sure to subscribe to the BoardGameGeek page for Kami-sama. And stay tuned here to our site for more Designer Spotlight features.