A Podcast of Interviews With Designers of Board Games, Card Games, Role Playing Games & Video Games.
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Hocus Poker designed by Josh Buergel and Grant Rodiek is a riff on the game of Texas Hold 'Em style poker. Players are mages sitting around a table of fellow mages using spells to manipulate their hands, communties, pots, and pockets. The typical French suited cards have been ditched for four new suits, one including a magical suit with its own spells to activate. Players play cards into the shared communties or pots as well as their own personal pockets. When each community has four cards, players play one more round and then use their pockets to try to win the communities through poker hands. The player who wins 25 gems first is the ultimate mage at the table. The game provides some intriguing ways to approach the game of poker, and for non-poker players like myself, offers an ability to play the game in a way that suits me better than the normal game can.

Our discussion focused on Grant and Josh's process of collaboration (Grant as the idea man and Josh as the developer). We learn about how they fine tuned their version of poker to become an enjoyable alternative to the popular game. While this game is not yet out for purchse, Hocus Poker will be on Kickstarter over the summer (July). Josh and Grant also let us in on what the future holds for Hocus Poker. This game has a lot of potential to become a sleeper hit in the future.

If you wish to learn more about Hocus Poker or the thoughts of Josh and Grant, please check out Hyperbolegames.com. Josh and Grant can also be found on Twitter at @JoshuaBuergel and @HyperboleGrant.

Editor's Note: At one point while recording, I had to step out for a few minutes to walk the dog. I tried to gracefully edit the podcast so that no one could tell that there was a lapse in the recording. That last line was a joke. I never meant for the transition to be graceful. I enjoyed yelling "natural segue."

Direct download: 02_W3_S10_E02_Hocus_Poker_with_Grant_and_Josh_1.mp3
Category:Season 10 -- posted at: 11:26pm EDT

Burgle Bros designed by Tim Fowers is a cooperative heist game where players must work together to find 3 safes, crack the codes, and escape through the roof before the guards can find them. If one player is caught, the game is over. Each player takes on a unique role that has its own power that benefits the group. Players must uncover rooms and attempt die rolls when trying to crack the safes. The guards move rather randomly around the floors of the building unless an alarm is triggered. What is truly cool about the guards' movement is that the only guard who moves on a specific player's turn is the one on the floor where that player ended his or her turn. A key component to this game is learning how to manipulate the guards to best help complete the mission.

Our discussion with Tim focused on the relative ease with which this game came to life. Unlike many other games designed in this world, elements of Burgle Bros seemed to come together relatively quickly to form a cohesive and coherent game. We also talked about variants to the game both created by the designer and those yet to be created by the players. Tim is excited to see what kind of ideas people come up with that encourage more explorative play with his game.

If you wish to purchase this game, it is currently on Kickstarter from now until April 4th. I think this might be a must-have for any collection because of how much fun the game brings to the table. The game encourages teamwork and provides the kind of tension that gamers will find in popular classics like Pandemic. And the best part of this Kickstarter campaign is that this awesome game can be nabbed for only $29 USD. It's an absolute steal for an awesome game. Tim is also the designer of Wok Star and Paperback. To learn more about Tim's games, please visit Fowers.net.  

Direct download: 01_W3_S10_E01_Burgle_Bros_with_Tim_Fowers.mp3
Category:Season 10 -- posted at: 1:22am EDT

Pixel Tactics designed by D. Brad Talton Jr. is a tactical card game based in the world of Indines. What makes this different from other games based in this world is that players take the role of a leader attempting to recruit the best heroes in order to defeat the other leader(s). Players create a 3x3 grid of heroes with the leader in the middle. The game uses an interesting mechanic where players activate each row before moving onto the next row, which provides a lot of depth and variety as each hero has different effects depending on where he or she is placed in the battle grid.

Our discussion focused on the creation of the grid mechanic as well as the evolution of the effects that each hero is equiped with. We asked Brad about how he designs new mechanics to keep adding variety to the game through its expansions. Finally, we learned about a league-play system that Brad hopes will give Pixel Tactics players more ways to enjoy their favorite game as well as bring in new gamers.

If you are interested in learning more about Pixel Tactics or Level 99 games, please click on the links provided. If you wish to buy the game, your FLGS or OLFGS should be able to help out. Finally, if you wish to follow Level 99 or Brad on twitter, please click on the links provided.

Editor's Note: this episode was fraught with technical difficulties and our opening to show is a clip from the cutting room floor that I thought was amusing to share with you, the listeners. Brad was a gracious guest who put up with so many weird issues. Thanks, Brad!

Direct download: 10_W3_S9_E10_Pixel_Tactics_with_D_Brad_Talton_Jr_1.mp3
Category:Season 9 -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT



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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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