Archive for the ‘HR’ Category
We moved offices last night to fancy new digs down Wilshire (literally just down the street from where we were before — the cross-street is where our old office was!)
The new space is much fancier and larger. And we get to share it with two cool companies, including an incubator. Soon, our space will be filled with tons of smart people. We should have lots of interesting folks to converse and go for lunch with.
Here’s some pics (the first one’s scaled smaller so it doesn’t overrun our sidebar).
A view on the main seating area.
Our awesome view.
Our conference room.
Howard and me.
But first, some news…
We’re in the home stretch on mystery game #1. It’s looking very nice. Stay tuned for more news.
Last week’s Game Night marked the debut of BANG!, a Spaghetti Western-themed card game that we’ve had in our office for around five months. We finally got around to playing it. BANG! is kind of a cross between Mafia/Werewolf and maybe a really dumbed-down Magic: The Gathering or Dominion, sans deck-building.
Players take on a secret role, except for the sheriff, and try to kill or help each other out secretly. The hidden role dynamic, variety of cards (we played with a super-set with several expansions), different characters, and other bits make for a fun, quick game. Plus, all the cards are in Italian and English, so you can practice your fancy accent.
This week, we brought out Small World again, for a four-handed game. It was the first time playing for Michael and Tom (Web Designer). But the great thing about Small World is that it’s pretty simple to pick up, a quick play, and fun. Despite some inadvertent cheating on my part, I managed to win the game, just barely. This was the first time I’d played any games with Emily where she didn’t win (although she did come in second).
It was Emiley’s first Game Night with Gamzee and she came out swinging. We tried Small World, a game I recently picked up and played a couple of 2-player rounds of with my fiancee. It is a game that I highly recommend. As board game fans know, good board games are expensive. Small World’s no exception, costing $49.99.
But Small World’s worth it. Aside from the gameplay (which I’ll get to in a moment), it features beautiful art, four different boards (for 2-, 3-, 4- and 5- player variations), nice thick cardstock race tokens, and nicely-designed and robust money, turn marker, custom pieces like mountains, heroes, a dragon, and fortifications, and a custom die (turning a 6-sided die into one that shows 0-3).
Gameplay is great. Unlike a lot of Eurogames, your time investment is limited due to the turn marker (8-10 turns, depending on the number of players). And the designer took time to craft four different boards for the varying amounts of players. It’s a very fun, well-balanced game with a clear strategy and a good amount of variation. The goal is to get the most victory coins, mostly through conquest, utilizing one or more races with different abilities and randomly-selected special powers.
Emiley cleaned up, winning handily.
We are pleased to announce Emiley Flowers joining the team, at least for a while, as a contract artist. Emiley is super-talented, and is going to be helping our art director, John Flynn out with cranking out all the assets making an isometric game requires.
You can check out some of her work here:
On an unrelated topic, as game dorks, we have a weekly game night every Thursday evening. Most of the games we play are Eurogames and/or Fantasy-themed. Frequent favorites are Munchkin, Munchkin Booty (the pirate set), Talisman (2nd edition), and Settlers of Cataan. We actually have a bunch more games, but we usually wind up playing those.
Last week, we tried out Dominion, which John bought. For those who’ve never played, Dominion is a “Living Card Game,” which combines a lot of the appeal of Collectible Card Games, except there aren’t sealed, randomized packs, and you can get all the cards in a set for a low price (saving you hundreds to thousands of dollars versus something like Magic: The Gathering).
In Dominion, you have a varied set of communal cards that you can “buy” to add to your deck each turn. Each player tries to amass the most Victory Points, and play continues until three stacks of purchasable cards are exhausted or the stack of 6-point Victory Point cards (Provinces). What makes it cool is that the base set comes with a wide variety of cards, so you can swap out the purchasable cards with dozens of variants, making each game different with totally new strategies.
We played a couple games, the stock setup, which Sean won outright, and the “Large Size” deck variant, which has a bunch of cards that add cards to your deck (and one that gives you points for each 10 cards in your deck rounded down). That game was much closer, with a 2-point difference between last and first. I won that round
Next week, who knows? Michael’s been clamoring for some Trivial Pursuit. We have Bang!, and haven’t yet played (and I’m definitely interested). And I just bought Small World, but have only played with my long-suffering fiancee.
We sponsored “Tea Time,” a gathering of CS students at UCLA yesterday. It was a great chance to meet all levels of Computer Science folks at UCLA, including some of the professors.
And we brought ice cream, courtesy of Dandy Don’s, which was delicious.
We’re still looking for another engineer for our team. Finding good engineers is tough, and it’s even tougher when you’re trying to find people to be part of a small group at the start of a company.
We’ve had a ton of interviews, put up a bunch of ads, talked to numerous recruiters, spread the word on our social networks, and gotten in a slew of resumes.
The lack of good candidates — let alone people you’d want to hire — is astounding.
Here are some tips for people who might be interviewing anywhere soon:
- Find out what you can about the company you’re interviewing at and their industry.
- Tailor your cover letter to the job you’re applying for. It takes a little longer than just sending out a generic letter, but it looks like you may actually be interested in my company and my job.
- When you’re emailing to set up an interview, don’t start asking all sorts of questions and making requests. If you want to know about the salary, your vacation days, and whether or not you can work from home, you’re going to come off as a pain in the ass. Wait until we make you a job offer before you try to get some concessions.
- Also, try to have some sort of interest in what we’re doing. For us, you don’t have to love social games, but you should at least have given Farmville or Cityville or Ravenwood Fair a try. If you have no interest in social games, then you’d better be fascinated by scaling large systems or by coding in HTML5.
- Show up on time. Shockingly, many people arrive late. Very late. Conversely, don’t show up 30 minutes early and expect us to drop what we’re doing. Get to an interview early, then walk in the door 5 minutes before the scheduled time.
- After your interview, follow up with a thank you note. An email works, but a hand-written note mailed is better.
Our blog is officially up and running. Hopefully we’ll have a few more readers than just those of us in the office and our long-suffering better halves.
Running a company is thrilling and maddening. All the decisions are yours, so is all the work. Whether that’s finding service providers, installing Ikea furniture, or trying to hunt down more employees. And as we’re finding out from others in the Web/software/games business — it doesn’t matter where you are what you’re building software for, or what languages and technologies you’re using, finding good engineers is tough.
Fortunately, we’ve got a few. But we’re looking for at least one more. So if anybody stumbles across this blog post and knows of a really sharp engineer (preferably one who loves mobile and social games), please tell them to get in touch through email@example.com.