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RPG Industry Professional Interview: Stuart Boon
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Stuart Boon is the designer of Cthulhu Britannica: Shadows Over Scotland, a supplement for Call of Cthulhu (2nd - 6th Edition). He is also a member of our community
Stuart Boon
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Glasgow
Lanarkshire
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When asked to introduce himself, he said:

"Stuart Boon is the author of Cthulhu Britannica: Shadows Over Scotland, a sourcebook for Scotland and Scottish adventures for the Call of Cthulhu role-playing game, published by Cubicle 7.

Stuart was born in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He moved to Great Britain in 2002 and now lives in Scotland with his wife Michele. He gained UK Citizenship in 2010, the same year he started writing 'Shadows Over Scotland'. An avid film and music fan, and active role-player, Stuart spends entirely too much time indoors. He is currently working on a number of projects involving the Cthulhu Mythos whilst trying to retain his sanity.:
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1. RPG Designer: Stuart Boon
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Any other gamers in your family? How did you get into the hobby?

Both my older sisters were gamers in the sense of enjoying classic board games such as Scrabble, Life, Careers. My eldest sister Susan was the first of us to go beyond board games in my family and it was through her that I was first introduced to role-playing games. She was in high school at the time playing Basic D&D with a group of friends in our basement and I was the embarrassing little brother who nagged in on the fun. Eventually I got control of a character and was allowed to draw some of the maps. I was fascinated by it all.

For me, Dungeons & Dragons and, more specifically, the module B3: The Palace of the Silver Princess signaled my introduction into the gaming hobby. I started out as a player but it wasn’t long before I found myself sitting comfortably in the Dungeon/Game Master seat. The first game I can remember running was a friend’s copy of B1: In Search Of The Unknown. So like many others at that time, I owe a lot to Gary Gygax and
Dave Arneson.
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2. Board Game: Terakh: A Creative Strategy Game [Average Rating:5.91 Overall Rank:8316]
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Did any of your previous jobs or education help you become a game designer?

Only insofar as they helped me build up the confidence needed and to develop some experience as a writer. University in general was a great environment for exploring ideas, being creative and meeting new people. All of that was directly or indirectly conducive to helping me become a writer and game designer. I also worked for a short time in publishing, which gave me a decent impression of how that industry worked.

I think the thing that likely helped me the most, as a student first and then a working academic, was gaining an appreciation for the benefits of creativity.
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3. RPG Item: Cthulhu Britannica: Shadows Over Scotland [Average Rating:8.17 Overall Rank:596]
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What was the first project you worked on? What was that like?

Professionally the first project I worked on was Cthulhu Britannica: Shadows Over Scotland. From the get-go working on the book has been exciting and rewarding. I originally sent a letter to Cubicle 7 introducing myself and suggesting what I thought would be a great idea for a sourcebook for Scotland. I didn’t hear back from them for months and thought that was that. Later, I heard that the company had hired on Sarah Newton as line developer for Call of Cthulhu and it wasn’t too long after that I received an e-mail.

Working on the book itself was a true labor of love. I did the bulk of the writing in six months. It was the following six months that were really interesting. Working with proofers and editors, watching the book begin to take shape with layout and art. It was a really exciting time. Then to see the final product was extraordinary. I felt like I’d finally been able to give something back to the gaming community that had given me so much over the decades.
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4. Board Game Publisher: Cubicle 7 Entertainment
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What’s the most recent project you’ve worked on and what’s great about it?

I’m working on two secret projects at the moment for Miskatonic River Press and doing some additional work for Cubicle 7 on their new World War Cthulhu project. What’s great about that is that the success of Shadows Over Scotland has allowed me opportunities to continue writing and to continue working with the great people in the field. I’m really enjoying myself so, I guess you could say, all of it is great.
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I could be wrong, but probably not. I AM a Steve.
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What games influenced you?

Too many to mention really, but certainly early Dungeons & Dragons, then Advanced Dungeons & Dragons, James Bond 007, Call of Cthulhu, and Middle-Earth Roleplaying To narrow it down, the ones that have likely influenced me the most are Dungeons & Dragons—where I started and where I learned the mechanics and structures behind games—and Call of Cthulhu—where I learned more about audience and true role-playing. There have been loads of other games that I’ve enjoyed, used and borrowed from, but D&D and CoC have had the greatest impact.
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6. RPG: Call of Cthulhu (2nd - 6th Edition) [Average Rating:8.21 Overall Rank:1]
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What are you playing right now or most recently?

Right now, on the role-playing side, I’m playing a little Pathfinder, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay, and The Laundry along with Call of Cthulhu. I’ve been playing a lot of board games and giving a lot of my money to Fantasy Flight Games. I’ve been playing Elder Sign, Mansions of Madness and, most recently, Arkham Horror, which I got from my gaming friends—a kingly present that! I’m having a blast playing in the big Mythos sandbox that FFG have created.
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7. Board Game Designer: Sandy Petersen
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Who is one of your favorite RPG Designers?

Do I have to pick just one? If so, it would have to be Sandy Petersen, the designer of Chaosium’s Call of Cthulhu. Unsurprisingly if I could choose three I would include Gary and Dave for starting the whole ball rolling. I think what Sandy did with Call of Cthulhu was both simple and revolutionary, in the right measure. Sanity as a mechanic is a stroke of genius. As it stands, the game works so well and largely hasn’t changed for 30 years. That’s a sign of impressive game design.
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8. RPG: James Bond 007 [Average Rating:6.88 Overall Rank:168]
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What RPG do you wish you had designed?

I’m such a massive Bond fan that I would loved to have been involved in designing of Victory Games’ James Bond Role-Playing Game. They did so much right—it’s a great system—but I think it could have been even better. It would be great to try and improve on what they developed and to make the game more sustainable. Then again, I might just spend the whole time geeking out! Other games I would like to have been involved in would include Call of Cthulhu (you guessed, didn’t you?) and Vampire: The Masquerade..
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9. Board Game: Munchkin [Average Rating:5.96 Overall Rank:3031] [Average Rating:5.96 Unranked]
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What non-RPG (either card, board, or video) games do you play?

I play a little Munchkin and, of course, I’ve been playing a lot of Fantasy Flight games recently. I’m ravenous for Arkham Horror at the moment. I just bought the Black Goat of the Woods expansion at lunch today. Apart from that, I play most of the big-name RPGs that hit the Xbox 360 and loads of first-person shooters as well. I’m a big fan of Bioware’s
Mass Effect and Dragon Age games, and would count the Bioshock and Dead Space games amongst my other favourites.
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10. RPG: Cyberspace [Average Rating:5.60 Overall Rank:643]
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If you had to point someone to an overlooked RPG product, what would that be?

Not a product per se, but I would point anyone interested in getting into gaming to look online for gaming communities like RPG Geek or Yog-Sothoth.com. I was a latecomer to the online gaming community, but I’ve found them to be massively beneficial, whether you are just a player, GM or a game designer. RPGGeek, for example, is positively Homeric in scope and detail. Bouncing from one game to another, you can find several lifetimes of content available. Go to something more narrowly focused like Yog-Sothoth.com and you’ve got a ready-made community of agile- and like-minded geeks. It’s a veritable gaming nirvana.

That said, if you are reading this, you probably already know that!
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11. RPG Item: Water Rights [Average Rating:7.00 Unranked]
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*Bonus Question*
What are you drinking right *now*?

Water. How boring is that? But, yes, water. It’s good for you, I’m told.
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