The interview was designed and conducted by XofMdS:
Could you present yourself in a few words?
My name is Jeff Blakemore and I am a husband and father of two sons. Both sons are in their twenties and I especially enjoy that they will play games with me. I collect board games and love to play them and several miniature games. I play Cygnar, Chaos Space Marines, and too many factions to list in any Spartan game. I visit my local games store to play X-Wing and Attack Wing. I also enjoy painting. With the nerve damage, my painting will never be more than a table top standard, but now I paint for just me and find that is most satisfying.
How and when did you found out about Zombicide?
One of my friends had a relationship with Cool Mini or Not and had shared the Season 1 Kickstarter on its first day. For the next week, I’d visit Kickstarter several times a day. I’d vacillate on whether to pledge or not. I took the plunge telling myself that if the game part did not pan out, I would have plenty of models on which to practice painting. By the end, I was committed to two of everything. The game showed up a week before Gen Con and I took it with me. We played in a lounge and started with the first mission and held on by the skin of our teeth! We could not keep quiet and had quite a crown around us by the end, cheering us on. The thrill was visceral when the zombies spawned and we were close to running out of walkers. I still love the ability to get immersed so much that I feel a bit of the fear as the horde shambled towards the survivors.
Do you know why you were picked up for such great homage?
I am told it was because of the things I did to help people pledging during Season 2. I had a lot of free time and spent all of it keeping up with the comments. I tried to answer questions, kept a pledge calculator updated and also kept a forum page filled with « Useful links ». I did it because it was fun and I wanted as many people to have the fun that I do when I get to play the game. I also managed to make friends with people all over the world, It is so very cool to share an interest globally!
From that point, how did Guillotine Games and you processed into the design of your Survivor? Is there any Easter egg around its art? Did you get to choose your weapon(s)?
For reasons I cannot yet share, I wanted to use my wedding pictures as the starting point. I can say it involves my wife at the same time. When the email came, I was taking Ambien and had answered it in my sleep. I did ask about using a picture of myself from 1981 and included two rather dark pictures my dad took at the wedding and included a little bit about myself. I’m not sure how often we sent messages back and forth. I found out my sleep self had done this a couple of months later when I received the survivor image back. I was disappointed at first, but the picture was far better than I expected. There were things like my hairstyle that seemed off to me, then I remembered that my hair rarely stayed neat and the drawing was much closer to the truth. I have not worn a leg brace but have had health problems for much of my life. One health issue is that many of the nerves in my extremities that make me use a cane or walker. The leg brace is a nod to the extra effort it takes to get myself around. If anything were an Easter egg, that would be it. Because my sleep self answered and did not specify a weapon, Guillotine Games stepped up and chose for me. I also gave them few clues for my bio and my wife and sons said they nailed it.
Is the project with your wife an official Zombicide one? Is it still going on?
It is the result of a Kickstarter, but not involved with GG or CMON. The person in charge caught a bit of wishful thinking and decided to make it happen. So telling the world about it belongs to them.
How did Guillotine Games and you processed into the profile of your Survivor? Did you get some access to new Skills/Rules to eventually pick one of them? Does it reflect some kind of your personality, or did you choose a more fictional path?
As my sleep self did this part, I really do not know.
Assuming you now know your profile, or at least have some hints; any second guess about this matter?
« We all brought our own solutions to the zombie issue. Tell me about yours! »
A logical mind and skilled marksman, Jeff is used to bringing his unique point of view to any situation arising in the zombie world. More often than not, he’s advocating the use of teamwork and precise strikes to reach the intended goals. But then come the times when he goes silent and single-handedly kills scores of zombies one headshot at a time.
I am a software engineer, so logic is very much a part of who I am. Much of my leadership training was in Boy Scouts and it emphasized teamwork. But I have not picked up a gun in a long time. With the damage to my nerves in my hands, I don’t think I could keep a rifle steady. (But it is a cool thing in my alternate self!)
What about your Zombivor? Doesn’t it feel weird to have this reflection of yourself?
It feels a bit weird having a survivor! The Zombivor image was intriguing. I had not thought of myself as being in the early stages of the infection but always as a « finished product. » Seeing the transformation through someone else’s eyes was very cool!
We can’t imagine the « pride » (maybe a better word would fit) you can feel. Are there anyone in your entourage with whom you can share that?
Both of my sons have a good idea what it would mean to them to have a game piece in their favorite game. And they tell me that they are both proud and happy for me. I posted up a link on Facebook as soon as I secured an Early Bird slot in the Kickstarter. I now wish I had not. One friend did not see the post and I told him in person. His response made me feel fantastic.
What are your next moves regarding Zombicide?
Trying to keep up with the comments on the Kickstarter project is first on the list. I have made friends all over the world through the Kickstarter projects and I hope to keep that up. Also, I hope to tap into the current enthusiasm to get the wiki up and running on ZombiesDash.com. And maybe, hopefully, finding two or three people that will keep a blog too. I’ll get to play entirely for fun this next week. I hope to also go as my Zombivor self to the Zombie Shamble at Gen Con.
Why won’t you support the « Free Jason » initiative? 😉
I feel that I am an ambassador for Zombicide, and as such, I cannot show favoritism. (Free Jason!)