Interview with game designer Ayden Lowther from Dranda Games

Interview with game designer Ayden Lowther from Dranda Games

Let’s start with a quick intro from you for those who might not know you.

I'm Ayden Lowther, I work for, and am the co-owner of Dranda Games. I started creating games in 2017, and my first one (Solar Storm) made it to retail in 2020.

Ayden Lowther

What was the first board game you remember playing?

I came to board games quite late. I remember playing Risk once when I was about 18. Then when I moved to Birmingham, my new group of friends played Risk on a weekly basis, so I played loads of variants of that from the age of 22-25. We also started playing Battlestar Galactica when I was about 23. However, This was all around 2010, and I didn't start broadening into other games until around 2016.

Was there a specific game that hooked you on board games or opened your eyes wider to other games?

Pandemic really opened my eyes to the fact that other games other than Risk could be enjoyed. I really liked playing as a team for a change and the feeling of winning or losing together.

Are there particular games you like to play the most, any themes or mechanics you enjoy the most?

I love Euro games the most. Worker placement is good, but dice placement is better. However, two of my favorite games are Twilight Imperium and Eclipse. So I'm not a pure Euro gamer.

How did you first get into designing/creating your own board games?

I first started designing in early 2017. I designed a dungeon crawler that had everything thrown at it. It turned out to be an awful 7 hour expiance that took me 3 months to prototype. A few months later I was playing Pandemic again, and a friend mentioned he was entering the Mint Tin competitions. For those that don't know, that's when you try and design a game to fit in a mint tin.

Solar Storm

I thought it would be fun to try and fit a Pandemic style game in a mint tin, and a few years later, that game turned into Solar Storm.

Where do you start your ideation process when working on a new game?

My ideas vary. Sometimes I'll start with a theme and see what will fit. Other times I start with a mechanism and try to find a theme before building outwards from there. Quite often I'll be playing a game and I 'll see a mechanism I like. I'll then think how that mechanism could be better, and what themes it could suit.

Are there any points in the process that you struggle with and what do you do to get past them?

Since having children and publishing full time, I really struggle to find the time to put together an initial prototype. I've had many ideas come and go because I just haven't had that time. I rarely actually overcome this now. Instead I invest my time where it is more useful for my business. Development of games we have signed if a great part of this because the prototype has already been created, but I get to make adjustments and still get a design/development kick out of it.

Where do you find your inspiration for game ideas mostly comes from?

It mainly comes from other games. Playing something I really enjoy makes me think "how could I recreate this feeling I have but in a different way?" Often I'll brainstorm on paper these ideas, and then I'll just leave them there. sometimes for months or years, until a theme pops up on TV or in a meme (as was the case with Solar Sphere). Then I pair them together and carry on working on it.

What did it feel like when you got your first game published?

I've only ever self published my games. But it's a great feeling when people start getting a game I designed or worked on and they report that they're really enjoying it. It's a strange feeling of excitement and worry. Excitement because this thing you have worked on for years is finally getting played by people all over the world. But worry because more people are going to play this on the first day of release than have over the last few years of design and development.

Are there any projects you’re working on currently, any upcoming launches or kickstarters on the horizon?

I'm currently working on Pioneer Rails as the Editor and dabbling a little in some development. There's not too much development that needs doing though as it was designed by Jeffrey D. Allers and Matthew Dunstan. And, those guys brought the game to us 99.9% finished. The game is a flip and write railroad building game, set in the old west of the US, and it will be coming to Kickstarter this April.



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