A Podcast of Interviews With Designers of Board Games, Card Games, Role Playing Games & Video Games.
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Pay Dirt, designed by Tory Niemann, is an auction and engine building game about mining for gold in Alaska. Players must bid on new equipment, workers, and land claims to turn those claims into profitable gold. Every round starts with an auction and ends with a worker assignment phase. At the end of the round, players draft hardship cards hoping to draw the least punishing one. The head miner's card also forces players to drop the temperature by a preset number of degrees. When the temperature reaches 0 celcius, the game is over. The player with the most gold wins.

Our discussion focused on Tory's inspiration for the game, which was the television show Gold Rush. We talked about how the hardship cards throw a wrench into a player's plan and learned about the elements Tory added to give the game a very thematic feel. During the Kickstarter, he received a comment from a thematically relevant backer who praised the game for its strong theme.

If you wish to learn more about the game or pick up a copy, please visit CrashGamesAZ.com for more information.

Direct download: 03_W3_S11_E03_Pay_Dirt_with_Tory_Niemann_1.mp3
Category:Season 11 -- posted at: 4:00 PM

Our second episode features John Ariosa, well-known board game artist. Some of his games include Mice and Mystics, Floating Market, and Bullfrogs. His four premises were cute school girlsdollsblood sport, and heartwarming.

In an effort to bring more content to our listeners, we have subtracted the game design segment from the end of our episodes and are releasing these segments on their own. We record a lot of interviews, so we will have a lot of these game design exercises. The purpose of the segment is to brainstorm about a game design with a published or soon-to-be published designer.

The rules of this segment are as follows

  • We give the designer 4 premises taken from the game Channel A.
  • He or she has to design a game idea answering these 3 questions
    • What is the theme?
    • What is the main mechanic?
    • What is the victory condition

Alex and I participate in the discussion, so it is a collaborative venture. I hope you enjoy this segment and future segments of this kind.

Direct download: 02_W3_E02_Designing_Games_with_John_Ariosa.mp3
Category:Designing Games -- posted at: 4:00 PM

Smoke & Mirrors, designed by Chip Beauvais, is a bluffing style micro-game on Kickstarter now. The game is being published by Jason Tagmire (Pretense, Pixel Lincoln) as part of his wallet game series. Each player is a magician who must create better and better tricks than his or her opponent. The game play is similar to games like Liar's Dice or B.S. The first player must use his or her limited hand to play cards that add up to '1' facedown. The next player places cards that add to '2'. Players keep this going unless they skip (once per round) or are called out as the lying magicians they truly are.

Our discussion with Jason focused on his role as the publisher. We explored the types of games he looks for and what kind of input he will have on Chip's game. While talking with Chip, we learned how this game came into being and how the various elements create an unique experience in the micro-game market.

To back this game and other awesome games in the Wallet Game Series, visit Kickstarter and look for Smoke & Mirrors now.


Our first episode featured Jamey Stegmaier of Stonemaier Games. His four premises were time travel, psychic powers, cafe, and street culture.

In an effort to bring more content to our listeners, we have subtracted the game design segment from the end of our episodes and are releasing these segments on their own. We record a lot of interviews, so we will have a lot of these game design exercises. The purpose of the segment is to brainstorm about a game design with a published or soon-to-be published designer.

The rules of this segment are as follows

  • We give the designer 4 premises taken from the game Channel A.
  • He or she has to design a game idea answering these 3 questions
    • What is the theme?
    • What is the main mechanic?
    • What is the victory condition

Alex and I participate in the discussion, so it is a collaborative venture. I hope you enjoy this segment and future segments of this kind.

Direct download: 01_W3_E01_Designing_Games_with_Jamey_Stegmaier.mp3
Category:Designing Games -- posted at: 4:00 PM

Channel A, designed by Ewen Cluney, is a party game about pitching anime television shows to a single producer. Each player is given 10 cards with words that can be used to make up the title. The producer chooses 2 of 5 premise cards and reads them aloud. These cards may say "robotic" and "hamsters" or "chinese fantasy" and "cooking". Players use up to 4 (according to the base game) title cards to pitch a show idea. The producer chooses which one he or she likes and awards that player with a point.

This genre is well-worn territory, but Channel A brings a new theme and an extra dose of creativity. Our discussion focused on what Channel A does different than many other games of its type. We talked about how the premise cards allow the players to play to a standard as opposed to the whim of the individual judge. Finally, we explored Ewen's love of anime and the ways this game can both celebrate or rib the popular Japanese style.

If you wish to learn more about this game or purchase a copy, visit Yaruki Zero Games or Asmadi Games

Direct download: 01_W3_S11_E01_Channel_A_with_Ewen_Cluney.mp3
Category:Season 11 -- posted at: 4:00 PM

Reknowned board game artist John Ariosa joins us to discuss how he creates the art many of us look at as we play our board games. You will know his art from Mice and Mystics, Bullfrogs, Hocus, and Floating Market among the many games he has put his creative stamp on. This interview is different from our standard episodes because we get to learn more about the behind-the-scenes of making board games but from a new kind of voice. We learn how John broke into the world of board game art and about his own artistic process. 

If you wish to learn more about John Ariosa or just want to look at his awesome artwork, visit his site or follow him on Twitter @ariosa.

Direct download: 10_W3_S10_E10_Game_Art_with_John_Ariosa_1.mp3
Category:Season 10 -- posted at: 1:38 AM

Mice and Mystics, designed by Jerry Hawthorne, is a campaign game that puts players in the roles of a prince and his friends after they are turned into mice. These mice must battle rats, spiders, and cockroaches to undo the plans of the evil sorceress Vanestra before she takes over the kingdom. To win the day, players will have work together using their strategy and cunning to outwit the evil sorceress. This game provides great depth for seasoned gamers, but is also so easily accessible by young gamers. Jerry thinks of this game as a father-son game, one that parents could enjoy playing with their kids. Mice and Mystics already has 2 expansions (a big one and a small one) that will allow players to dive into this fun story.

Our discussion focused on how Jerry designed simple mechanics and infused them with tons of theme to create a gaming experience. We discussed the ways the game forces players to have to work together to continue the story. We also learn about the term father-son gamer.

If you wish to learn more or purchase this game, please visit PlaidHatGames.com. Jerry also talks about his upcoming Tail Feathers game that exists within the Mice and Mystics world but brings a different kind of game play to the table.

Direct download: 09_W3_S10_E09_Mice_Mystics_with_Jerry_Hawthorne.mp3
Category:Season 10 -- posted at: 10:04 PM

Euphoria, designed by Jamey Stegmaier, is a dice-powered worker placement game set in a dystopian future. The goal of the game for each player is to place 10 of his or her stars before anyone else. Euphoria is unique because the dice represent a player's workers' collective intelligence, and the greater the cumulative value of the dice, the more likely a worker is to defect (lose 1 worker). Players need to balance between grabbing lots of workers and keeping their workers blissful and ignorant. The game offers some fun nods to all sorts of dystopian works like Farenheit 451 and the Handmaid's Tale.

Our discussion focused on Jamey's approach to designing the game, and the unique and thematic dice mechanic that drives some of the game's strategy. We talk about what makes the game enjoyable and what could be improved upon in the game (the board's UI, the incredible number of resources). Lastly, we learn a lot about the next title being released by Stonemaier: Scythe. This game looks stellar and sounds like another fantastic one from a great publisher.

If you wish to learn more about or purchase Euphoria or some of the resource upgrade boxes, please visit Stonemaier.com. Not only does Jamey offer great games, but he also shares all of the lessons he has learned on Kickstarter. Any gamer or game designer needs to make Stonemaier.com one of his or her regular sites to visit. 

Direct download: 08_W3_S10_E08_Euphoria_with_Jamey_Stegmaier_1.mp3
Category:Season 10 -- posted at: 2:15 AM

Lewis and Clark, designed by Cédrick Chaboussit, is resource and hand management game with an historical racing twist. The characters are real figures from history such as Meriweather Lewis, William Clark, and Seaman the dog. Each player is leading an expedition to map the Lousiana Purchase starting in St. Louis and ending in Fort Clatsop in what is now Oregon State. Players will have to carefully manage how they utilize their cards and resources because reckless overloading of either may result in losing ground in this race to be history's first explorers across the expanding American territory. 

Our discussion focused on the process Cédrick took in trying to get this game to a publisher. We also discussed the main strategy that I called loss management. In this game players want to be as efficient as possible and finding that efficiency is not easy as the game offers so many different ways to spend and acquire resources. We also talked about the camping mechanic, which may force a player to lose ground. It's an interesting and thematic mechanic in a race game that can be both rewarding and frustrating. Finally, we learned a bit about what drew Cédrick to the theme.

If you wish to purchase a copy of this game or learn more about it, please follow this link to Ludonaute's website. While there take a peek at Cédrick's next game: Discoveries, which is a dice game in the same world as Lewis and Clark. It sounds very interesting. I want to thank Cédrick for taking the time to speak with us. I was excited to have our second French designer on the show. I'm looking forward to the next.

Direct download: 07_W3_S10_E07_Lewis_and_Clark_with_Cedrick_Chaboussit.mp3
Category:Season 10 -- posted at: 2:08 PM

King's Forge, designed by Nick Sibicky, is a dice management game about becoming the best craftsman in the king's court. Play happens over the course of 3 phases: gather, craft, and clean-up. In the first phase, players use their dice on gather cards that will allow them to acquire more dice. During the crafting phase, players roll those dice they have collected in hopes of crafting beautiful items that they king has requested. These cards represent the items needed to win the game. In the final phase, dice are cleared from the cards or returned to players' stashes, and the game continues. The game ends when on player crafts 4 cards. While this game sounds simple, the strategy in the game revolves around the fact that players cannot use the dice they acquire during gathering on the same crafting phase. Players must weigh the acquisition of new dice with the potential acquisition of game end points.

Our discussion focused on the driving strategy of the game, which is, as I wrote above, the balance between instant gratification and patience for a better future. We also learned much about how Nick designs his games as well as the kinds of games that draw Nick as a player.

If you wish to learn more about King's Forge or wish to purchase a copy, please check out Game Salute's website. Also, Nick hosts a youtube video podcast about Go, which outlines so much about a game from centuries ago.

Direct download: 06_W3_S10_E06_Kings_Forge_with_Nick_Sibicky_1.mp3
Category:Season 10 -- posted at: 3:39 AM



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Description
On Who, What, Why? we discuss game design with game designers and try to learn more about the game design process from the people who design games. Each episode we interview a designer of card games, board games, role playing games, or video games. We have both mainstream and independent developers as guests.

Season 10 releases between March 16 and July 26

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