Pack the Pack is a spatial organization game currently on Kickstarter from Games by Play Date about fitting all of that beautiful loot you've collected from the dungeon into your backpack to bring home. Based somewhat on the inventory screen from Diablo (an excellent game), Pack the Pack feeds that itch to organize requiring speed and efficiency. The game utilizes domino tiles to represent the loot and a player to represent the pack to draw on the kinestetic and tactile feel of actually packing for a return trip home. The game is played quickly, so players can play more than one game in a short amount of time. The game also offers some advanced rules to bring more strategy into the game.
Our discussion with Meg focused on what she wanted to bring to gaming community with her game. Being the first female game designer interviewed on this show, Meg discussed her experiences as a woman in the gaming community. The hobby does a lot of good things to bring people together, but that is no reason to stop improving how we treat each other.
If you want to back Pack the Pack, the Kickstarter has less than 40 hours remaining as of this posting (46 on the show). The game is already funded so this last push is not to fund it but to add more. This game would appeal to young kids, casual gamers, new gamers, or anyone who needed a fun, active filler between longer games. You can follow Meg on Twitter by clicking here, and to learn more about her company, click here.
Alex sits down with Herb and Jen from Game and a Curry to breakdown Saturday at the con. They talk about games they have played, meeting people from different podcasts and game publishers, and some of the scheduling strategies they used while at the con. I do not need to sit and weep tonight as I post this because GenCon is over. We are all back here on the East Coast, but I'll never have those memories... weep, weep.
Lastly, Alex points out that Tom Vasel is tall. I can confirm this after seeing Alex's photo with him.
We have two more GenCon episodes that will be released in September when I have more space on my Libsyn account.
Postscript: I have joined Flip The Table's Team Bance for October 25th's Extra Life game-a-thon. My venue of choice will most likely be the game store right near my house. My plan is to play games for the entire 24 hours. If you wish to make a donation, please click on the link. Extra Life is a group of gamers who play games to raise money for the Children's Miracle Network, a network of children's hospitals that help children in need of life-saving medical treatments and such. I am playing for Maria Fareri's Children Hospital at Westchester Medical Center. Currently, I have raised 0 dollars, but that will change soon.
Boss Monster is a retro-style video game inspired card game where players take on the role of bosses in a dungeon building rooms to attract heroes to vanquish. The art takes its inspiration from the 16-bit games of our (25-30 year olds') childhood. If any of our listeners enjoyed playing SNES or Genesis, then this game has an art style for you. Players play dungeon rooms that have varying effects on the heroes (some deal damage, some enhance the damage dealt by other rooms, etc.). The expansion adds items and more room cards. Items are equipped to heroes and can help bosses deal with pesky heroes who demand not to die.
Our discussion focuses on the game play of Boss Monster, the game's surge in popularity, and Johnny's design approach for this game and others. We learn that Boss Monster will expand some more with a digital version, a sequel, and a board game sometime in the future.
If you wish to learn more about Boss Monster, visit Brotherwise's website at Brotherwisegames.com. As mentioned by Johnny in the podcast, they have launched a Kickstarter campaign for a digital version of Boss Monster on IOS and Android. As of this posting, there are 25 days remaining on the campaign.
Alex sits down with Herb and Jen from Game and a Curry to breakdown Friday at the con. They talk about games they have played, games they are excited for, and food they have enjoyed. I sit in NY weeping for all these amazing times I am missing. I hope you enjoy Alex's recap.
The English nerd in me is excited by Alex's reference to Godot, a play I am wildly fond of.
If you are participating in #GenCant2014, send me a comment via Twitter or Instagram. Let's GenCant together.
In this bonus episode we discussed Alex's impending trip to the mother of all conventions in America, GenCon. Alex talks about some of the games he is excited to preview. I talk about what games I hope he buys me when he is there (because I'm such a super guy), and we discuss some games we played the night of the recording. This episode was recorded on August 12th.
If you cannot attend GenCon this year, please parttake in #GenCant2014 on Twitter or Instagram. It is the convention for those who were left behind.
Editor's note: we had some audio troubles during the recording, so keep that in mind while listening.
Going, Going, Gone is an auction game by designer and game professor Scott Nicholson. Players simultaneously bid on auctions by dropping cubes into cups to win cards that display items from various countries. Collecting sets of these items (either by item type or country) allow players to score points at the end of the game. This game is an experience. One player at a time plays the role of the auctioneer, which allows him or her to control the speed of the auction while players frantically try to bid higher than each other. The game simulates the tension and insanity of a auction--one where you might be launching piles of money at garbage cans.
The Syracuse Game Designer's Guild is Scott's way of giving back to the learning community. The Guild helps teachers, librarians, etc. design their own games that they may use to enhance education. Scott wants to expand the Guild's reach and allow others to create their own guilds where games can be used both for play and education.
Our discussion ranged from Scott's game to his thoughts on game design to his Syracuse Game Designer's Guild. We discussed his role as a professor and a gamer. We learned so much that I cannot contain it all in this paragraph.
If you are interested in more about Scott's work, please visit Because Play Matters to see the wonderful work that Scott does with the Guild, with libraries, in his classroom, and in the board game world. If you wish to engage with Scott, you can find him on Twitter @snicholson.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.