Going Analog

Where video game industry veterans introduce great board games to video gamers

Jon Gilmour: What's on your table?

The man behind games like Kids on Bikes, Dead of Winter, and Dinosaur Island tells all.

Jon Gilmour, the head of development at Pandasaurus Games, made a great board game inspired by a TV show he HATES. He’s created others based on some of his favorite books and movies: Jurassic Park. World War Z. Goonies

What makes the guy behind Dinosaur Island, Dead of Winter, and Kids on Bikes tick? Let’s take a look beyond the mess on his gaming table, just on the other side of his deskside robotic arm that we can neither confirm nor deny if he uses for making dice rolls.

Jon was nice enough to let us know what’s on his table and help settle a debate about dinosaur deathmatches in the process. 

Three sources you’ve pulled from

  1. Max Brooks. The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z (the book, not the garbage fmovie) were both huge inspirations for Dead of Winter.
  2. Jurassic Park was one of my favorite movies and books as a kid and was definitely a big influence for Dinosaur Island. I always thought it would be incredible to run my own dinosaur based theme park! 
  3. Goonies was a big inspiration for Kids on Bikes

...I could list a ton more media for each of them, as a lot of my games come from my love of various awesome stories! 

Most unusual source you’ve used
Storage Wars is a show that I hate! But whenever I would travel for my previous job, there would always be marathons of it on the hotel TVs, so I would just leave it on as background noise. While watching it, I thought to myself: "This show is really doo-doo, but the game behind this is incredible and I want to play that." Vault Wars was born!

Always on your table
A huge mess. It works for me!

Three board games regularly brought to the table (that you didn’t work on)

Cosmic Encounter. Nations. The Mind. They are three games that are perfect 10s for me. 

Nerdiest thing you own
The list of non-nerdy things that I own would be much shorter. I guess some highlights are a huge comic book collection. Maybe if you want something more esoteric, I would go with an original Armatron! Check it out here.  

Always near your gaming table
I usually try to keep the gaming table free of drinks (especially after I recently got my Kickstarter copy of Hellboy destroyed on the second play). So I think it would have to be side tables or drink tables. 

Most underrated zombie media
I wrote up a "Suggested Zombie Media Guide" after DOW came out, which you can find here. But a few highlights for me...and updates that aren't on that list: Pontypool, Kingdom, and Train to Busan. 

Best dinosaur-related movie
Reptillicus. Not because it's actually good, but because it's a fantastic MST3K episode! 

Velociraptor pack vs. tyrannosaurus rex?
Let's get real here. If we are talking about the actual, not Jurassic Park v-raps, than the T-rex would T-wreck them! 

If you want to know what Jon is up to, check out his Twitter feed... and don’t forget to swing by Pandasaurus Games to see what they’re working on now. Also, make sure to check out Teens in Space (Co-designed with Doug Levandowski), follow up to Kids on Bikes, and Mental Blocks (Co-designed with Micah Sawyer).

If there are other board game designers whose brains you’d like us to drill into, tell us in the comments below or on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.