A Podcast of Interviews With Designers of Board Games, Card Games, Role Playing Games & Video Games.
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Editor's Note: this is the second part of our interview with Rob Daviau. Hope you enjoy it.

Our discussion in the second half of the interview continued to focus on Rob's approach to the Star Wars Epic Duels game. Rob is also gracious enough to whet our appetites a little more about his upcoming legacy games, Seafall and Pandemic Legacy. We debuted a new segment that I am calling "Pop Quiz" where I choose 5 questions from random trivia games. Rob was kind enough to be our guinea pig. He did well scoring 3/5. I hope this segment lasts.

Again, if you want to learn more about Star Wars Epic Duels, please visit the fine people over at Epic Duels Wiki at PB Works where you can find fan created decks for basic characters, house rules to spice up the game, and fan created expansion material to broaden your enjoyment of this excellent game. If you wish to learn more about Rob, please visit The Game Design Round Table where he discusses game design topics, or his homepage at RobDaviau.com. Finally, Rob can be found on Twitter at @robdaviaugamer.

Direct download: 06_W3_s8_06_Epic_Duels_with_Rob_Daviau_part_deux.mp3
Category:Season 8 -- posted at: 4:53 AM

Editor's Note: due to its length, this is the first part of a two-part interview with Rob Daviau. The second part will be released on the 26th of July.

Star Wars Epic Duels is a miniatures released by Milton Bradley/Hasbro back in 2002 during the disappointing Star Wars prequels. This game is originally meant for kids but brought my friends and I hours of entertainment because of its simplicity and short play time. In this game, you choose a main and minor character miniature pairing (these pairings are preset), along with a deck of cards for that pairing. Have your friends do the same, and you are ready to rock the universe. This game allows you to have any duel you can imagine within the Star Wars Universe. Do you want to watch Mace Windu fight Luke Skywalker? Go ahead. Have you ever wondered who would win between Darth Maul and Jango Fett? It would be Darth Maul because Jango is terrible. I think you get my point.

Our discussion in this half of the interview with Rob focused on how he came to work for Parker Brothers (who eventually morphed into Hasbro) and how he spent his time there. After Rob's years of experience, his insight into the mass market gaming world is a treat to hear. We also discuss what he has been playing lately while my internet decided to skip out for a spell (don't fret, I return), and we begin our talk about Rob's work on Epic Duels. Rob cites Craig Van Ness as a key creator for the game that I fondly gush over. Listen to the second half when it comes out for more about Epic Duels.

If you want to learn more about Star Wars Epic Duels, please visit the fine people over at Epic Duels Wiki at PB Works where you can find fan created decks for basic characters, house rules to spice up the game, and fan created expansion material to broaden your enjoyment of this excellent game. If you wish to learn more about Rob, please visit The Game Design Round Table where he discusses game design topics, or his homepage at RobDaviau.com. Finally, Rob can be found on Twitter at @robdaviaugamer.

Direct download: 05_W3_s8_05_Epic_Duels_with_Rob_Daviau_part_one.mp3
Category:Season 8 -- posted at: 4:28 AM

Forbidden Desert is the sequel to the cooperative game Forbidden Island (listen to our interview here), which follows the group of survivors after their harrowing escape from the sinking island. Having crash landed in a desert with a terrible storm, the group must uncover parts to a new flying machine while staving off thirst and sand. Forbidden Desert introduces a new mechanic: the eye of the storm. The storm covers the playing field with sand that players must keep in check as they attempt to excavate the ruins of a downed flying machine.

Our discussion focuses on the mechanics that make this game different from its predecesssor as well as whether there is anything in store for the future of the Forbidden games. We discuss the delight in how punishing Matt's games can be. We discuss Matt's future projects (Thunderbirds, Pandemic: the Cure, Pandemic Legacy), and while Matt doesn't give us too many details, he gives us enough to whet our appetites.

If you wish to learn more about or purchase Forbidden Desert, click this link. If you wish to learn more about Matt Leacock, then this link is your friend.

Direct download: 04_W3_s8_e04_Forbidden_Desert_with_Matt_Leacock.mp3
Category:Season 8 -- posted at: 4:08 AM

If Ticket to Ride is a game about building train routes from coast to coast, then Snowdonia is a game that focuses on building only one of those routes. In Snowdonia players clear rubble, lay track, and build pieces of stations with the goal of earning the most victory points. The most innovative aspect of Snowdonia is the use of the station and track cards that are placed around the outside edges of the board giving players that visual of building a track that climbs a mountain. Players must use their workers to collect resources, convert resources, acquire contract cards, etc.

Our discussion focused on how Snowdonia approaches worker placement from a different angle and attempts to slightly alter behaviors that may have become commonplace in the genre. Tony gives us insight into how he utilizes expansions to bring a new feel to the game rather than simply adding more options. We even get a sneak preview of an upcoming Tony Boydell design (Guilds of London). We also learn that Alex and Tony have a short history together. You have to listen to find out more about all this wonderful stuff I am typing here. 

If you enjoy listening to Tony Boydell, please consider reading his blog, Every Man Needs a Shed, on Board Game Geek. And if you like Snowdonia, check out Surprised Stare Games for information on where to grab a copy. 

*Note: at one point my dog decides to join the podcast for a few seconds. I considered removing the audio, but felt it would be wrong to diminish her contribution. Enjoy Bailey the big black lab on this episode of Who, What, Why?


Direct download: 03_W3_s8_e03_Snowdonia.mp3
Category:Season 8 -- posted at: 3:00 PM

In this episode we feature Tory Niemann and his game, Alien Frontiers, a massively popular game that made its big splash on Kickstarter years ago. Alien Frontiers is a worker placement game that uses dice instead of pawns as workers. Players roll these workers and place them at Orbital Facilities in an attempt to land colonies on the planet below. The most interesting feature of this game, in this podcaster's opinion, is the variety it affords players in utilizing workers (building ships to gain more resournces, destroying ships to land colonies, and rebuilding those ships to do it again) and placing colonies on the planet (Colonist Hub, Terraforming Station, Colony Constructor). Alien Frontiers gives you multiple paths to victory, it depends on which strategy you decide to employ.

Our discussion focused on Tory's the process from initial design to the completed product, the hard limits the game forces the players to work around, and the plentitude of options that players have in the game. We touched on Tory's forthcoming game, Pay Dirt (Kickstarter, BGG), and how his approach to worker placement changed in that game. We only delve deep enough to keep our Casio watches from wearing out (3m or so) because we hope to have Tory back once Pay Dirt is in gamers' hands.

If you wish to purchase Alien Frontiers, check out Game Salute for more information (or your friendly local game store). Finally, Alien Frontiers is adding the Outer Belt expansion in November 2014. You can pre-order the expansion (I know I will) by June 30th to get an exclusive bonus promo pack by clicking this link. During the recording we presume that the pre-order (sans bonus promo pack) will last until shortly before the expansions release.

Direct download: 02_W3_s8_e02_Alien_Frontiers_with_Tony_Niemann.mp3
Category:Season 8 -- posted at: 4:48 AM

Dear listeners, we bring you the first episode of the season for our re-vamped show: Dungeon Dice with designer Sam Coates (also head of Potluck Games). Dungeon Dice is a cube filled romp through a dangerous dungeon in a race to earn the most fame. The dice are some of the highest quality products I have seen in any game. Nearly each die is unique with awesome little images on its faces. The game is packaged in a large draw-string bag with smaller bags inside to help facilitate the randomness that is the dungeon you will explore.

In this episode, we discuss Sam's inspiration for the game, the mechanics of rolling dice to explore a dungeon, Sam's experience with Kickstarter, and what is in store for the future of this fantastic, light-hearted game.

Dungeon Dice has a Kickstarter campaign running right now for its first expansion, Guilds. Check it out if you like what you hear and want to back this project or if you wish to add more dice to your incredibly heavy base game. If you are interested in learning more about Sam and Potluck Games, check them out on the web.

Direct download: W3_s8_e01_Dungeon_Dice_with_Sam_Coates.mp3
Category:Season 8 -- posted at: 3:00 PM

This episode is my official re-launch of the Ninja vs Pirates Podcast although now under a new name (Who, What, Why? A Game Design Podcast) with a new co-host. Please welcome Alex Erde to the podcast. In this episode we discuss some of the changes as we transition into the next incarnation of the podcast. Please check back here or on iTunes for upcoming interviews with your favorite board game designers and some designers who may be new to you. Thanks for listening! 

Direct download: W3_s8_e00_The_Introduction.mp3
Category:Season 8 -- posted at: 3:15 AM

Dear Listeners,


I realize our absence was unexpected and long, but we have retooled the show, and will be returning to the world of game design podcasts! Some changes have been made. Mitch has left the show to raise his family. My friend Alex (board game enthusiast) has joined me at the helm. We have tweaked the name from Ninja vs Pirates to Who, What, Why? A Game Design Podcast. On the new podcast we plan to incorporate more fun ending questions, more insight into the games you love, and even delve into getting to know the designers and their backgrounds.

Stay tuned here, or find our posts at BoardGameGeek.com. You can look for me (mikenvp) as we post new episodes. You can continue downloading the podcast from iTunes.



Mike (co-host)

Category:Season 8 -- posted at: 3:14 AM

In this episode we discuss a brilliant game from one of our favorite designers, Seven Dragons by Andrew Looney. Seven Dragons owes its origins in a previous Looney Labs game named Aquarius. We explore the process Andrew went through in re-tooling Aquarius for Seven Dragons as well as the kid friendly rules section. And we cannot forget the incredible artwork provided by famed fantasy artist, Larry Elmore.

To buy the game, click here.

Direct download: NvP_7x04_Seven_Dragons.mp3
Category:Season 7 -- posted at: 5:27 AM

In this episode we discuss the game Forbidden Island with designer Matt Leacock. We explore the ways that Forbidden Island creates a constant sense of urgency pushing players to consistently re-evaluate their strategy to win the game.

To learn more about Forbidden Island click here.

Direct download: NvP_7x03_Forbidden_Island.mp3
Category:Season 7 -- posted at: 4:26 AM

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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 6 April 1st - June 22nd


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