Welcome to another Designer Spotlight. Today we are talking with Karen Knoblaugh. Karen’s first title, Consumption, will land on Kickstarter in 2018. Join us as we learn a bit more about her and talk about games.
What brought you into the board gaming hobby and community?
I have always loved board games and used to play them with the neighborhood kids all of the time when I was younger. When I started adulting, I lost touch with gaming, and though I dabbled a bit in video games, they didn’t do the same thing for me. About eight years ago, a childhood friend of mine, also a board gamer, told me about Settlers of Catan. In my search to find the game, I stumbled upon a hobby game store very close to my house. When I walked into that store, I had found my happy place!
What are your current favorite games (or types of games)?
There are so many games that I love! My gaming interests have been expanding lately, moving from pretty much straight Euro games into other styles. I have been enjoying This War of Mine, Aeon’s End, Gloomhaven, and Mansions of Madness, 2e, in addition to Castles of Burgundy, Anachrony, Great Western Trail, and A Feast for Odin, just to name a few.
What led you to become a designer?
It may sound weird, but I actually don’t remember ever having the “ah ha!” moment of deciding to create a board game. It just happened. Maybe it was because I hadn’t found a game that married a heavier strategy with food in the way that I wanted it to. Most of the food games that I had encountered were either very light or too silly, or both! I wanted something more strategic, something that told a different story, so I made it.
What can you tell folks about Consumption: A Strategy Game about Food and Choices?
Consumption has been in the works now for about four years – my labor of love. It’s a worker placement game, focusing on resource management, with a dash of set collection and dice rolling thrown in. I think that one of the cool things about this game is that it gets people talking about food in a different way, and that’s something I haven’t encountered before in the hobby gaming world. The game is very approachable to non-gamers, yet brings a lot for strategy gamers to sink their teeth into.
Are you currently working on any other designs?
I have something simmering at the moment, again, related to food, but I work on it only when inspiration strikes me. I don’t like to force the creative process, and I don’t like to struggle to make a design work. I wait until something comes to me, and then I implement it. So yeah, all I need is four more years!
Who are some of your favorite designers in today’s industry (and why)?
As I have pretty much been a hardcore Euro-gamer, and my favorites include Stefan Feld, Uwe Rosenberg, and Alexander Pfister. I love trying to optimize my strategies and moves, and these three designers just tick all of the boxes for me. Lately been enjoying a few titles from Vlaada Chvatil and Kevin Wilson too.
Outside of gaming, what kinds of activities do you enjoy?
Wait, there’s an “outside of gaming?”
I guess there are a few things I enjoy. I love to be on two wheels, so whether that is a mountain bike, road bike, or riding my Vespa, that’s always fun. I play drums and am also a tenor drummer in a competitive Scottish Bagpipe band. Additionally, I enjoy music and going to concerts, going to the gym, and traveling.
Give us a few fun facts about yourself.
I lived in London for a while and pretty much love all things British. I think that’s where my spirit lives.
I collect bobbleheads, international Monopoly games, and Wacky Packages stickers.
The Fall is my favorite time of year as it brings all the things I love: sweaters, Halloween, football, pears, and pumpkins. And of course, having to stay inside and play board games!
If folks want to follow you online, where can they find you?
Be sure to subscribe to the BoardGameGeek page for Consumption. And stay tuned here to our site for more Designer Spotlight features.