Interview with Jacob Way of Deep Water Games

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Bringing together a group that loves comics & games and that grew up loving them is a great way to build a gaming company. But when you do so with the purpose of bringing people together and the good feelings they can all share in you have Deep Water Games of Ox Eye Media. We met Deep Water Games at GenCon 2022 and tried out one of their games with our own kiddos and it quickly became a part of our weekly game rotation as a family. We got a chance to ask Jacob Way, the President of Deep Water Games to learn some more about the company and the wonderful products they bring to tables around the world.

GeekPost: What is the name of the first game OEM ever developed?

Jacob: First game we ever released was Herbalism. When we first started as a company, we were localizers, so we brought games from other countries and languages to the English speaking market. Our first “original” design was Sovereign Skies, a really awesome roundel space game!

GeekPost: Where does the inspiration come from, for the company’s games?

Jacob: The world around us and the way people interact naturally. A game shouldn’t hinder the interaction of players but multiply it! You will usually catch me just watching people play our games, other people’s games, and prototypes.

GeekPost: If time permits, what games do you enjoy playing?

Jacob: When I first started in the industry it was big, heavy, taxing euros. If it had a complex economy, you would find me playing it! In all fairness I started in games by playing chess competitively, so game theory was something I felt comfortable with. Then I realized when I described the games I love to newcomers their eyes would glaze over. While I think every game has its own place, I personally love publishing games that bring people into the hobby. So now I mostly play party games like Wavelength, Just One, and Invisible Ink. I love how those games encourage people to develop their own language during the game!

GeekPost: What is your favorite part about developing games?

Jacob: Simple is extremely hard to design. People like rules and clear systems but they also hate learning rules and systems, so when we are able to simplify a game while keeping everything we love about the game that is an amazing feeling. What makes it amazing is that you are making a better product for the consumer, and often the consumer won’t even know how much work goes into things like turn structure or order of operation streamlining!

GeekPost: We had a chance to try out MonsDRAWsity at GenCon. It was a lot of fun! Are there plans to expand the game, past MonsDRAWsity: Robots?

Jacob: Yes! We have a couple expansions announced, but we are just starting! MonsDRAWsity is infinitely expandable 🙂

GeekPost: How was your GenCon experience?

Jacob: It was great! I have been going to GenCon for almost 2 decades, it was an important part of my childhood, so it was sad to see 2021 not be as busy. This year though was massive so I can’t wait to see what 2023 holds!

GeekPost: Geek Post believes that inclusivity is very important in the geek community. What does inclusivity mean to you?

Jacob: Inclusivity to me is about making games for everyone and not just for me or through the lens for which I see the world. Inclusivity shouldn’t stop in the way we represent characters, but in the price we charge, how the rules are written, and every part of the game and experience. I want to make games that I can play with my group of friends but also with a bunch of strangers on a bus or at Essen in a hall full of strangers. Inclusivity shouldn’t stop at offering more colors of meeples, and I am excited to see the industry continue to make progress with inclusivity. Imagine if more people were able to and encouraged to play games, where would we as an industry be in 10 years?

GeekPost: Do you consider yourselves geeks over at Ox Eye Media?

Jacob: Absolutely! You don’t enter this industry without some passion for the geek arts. That being said, we like to hire people who don’t have direct experience in the industry as it adds an outsider’s perspective!

GeekPost: Is there anything else that you would like our readers to know?

Jacob: Share your passion with your friends and family. You would be surprised who might love the things you love, and they may have never had a chance to check them out before you showed them. Play is part of human nature, so I believe everyone has a board game they love, maybe they just haven’t found it yet 😉