A Podcast of Interviews With Designers of Board Games, Card Games, Role Playing Games & Video Games.
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The Networks, designed by Gil Hova, is a game about running a t.v. station, developing shows, and scoring the most viewers after 5 full seasons. The game has a unique setup that helps to simplify all of the action. Players take one action on their turns either developing a new show, adding a star or ad to another show, drawing a network card (action card), or ending their season. Shows degrade from season to season, so those initial shows one develops will have to be replaced. The game offers a lot of strategy and humorous show names for players. The game is on Kickstarter until September 30th.

Our discussion covered a lot of interesting topics from how Gil finally created The Networks to design theory. We covered such topics as agential vs. experiential, input vs. output randomness, and interesting decisions vs. optimal decisions. While I had a list of questions that focused more closely on the game, Gil is always a fountain of game design knowledge, so we let the discussion flow organically.

If you are interested in The Networks, please go to the Kickstarter page and consider backing the game. You won't be disappointed when this one comes out. It boasts a player count of 1-5 where the solo and 2-player game plays very differently from the 3-5 player one. You have until September 30th to back.

Addendum: Gil Hova, Ian Zang, and Tony Miller are launching a brand new podcast about the board games industry called Breaking Into Boardgames. For any young designers out there, check out this podcast for some fantastic insight into what it is like to be new in boardgaming.

Direct download: 06_W3_S11_E06_The_Networks_with_GIl_Hova_1.mp3
Category:Season 11 -- posted at: 6:35pm EST

Who, What, Why presents our fourth episode of Designing Games with Game Designers featuring Eduardo Baraf, designer of GemPacked Cards, Lift Off, and Murder of Crows. In this episode we forego the Channel A premise cards for our inspiration and instead use the themes and mechanics found on the cards in Unpub the card game from Doug Levandowski and J.R. Honeycut. Ed's three themes and mechanics were Victorian, Kaiju, food, press your luck, pvp, and traitors.

GemPacked Cards is still on Kickstarter for another 90 minutes if you catch this right as it posts.

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 have changed considering the switch to the Unpub card game. At this time, we provide some themes and mechanics and have to come up with a semi-plausible game.

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: 04_W3_E04_Designing_Games_with_Eduardo_Baraf_1.mp3
Category:Designing Games -- posted at: 10:30pm EST

Colt Express, designed by Christophe Raimbault, is a programmed movement game where the coolest feature is not the fun artwork or awesome cowboy meeples. The game comes with a 3-dimensional train where cowboys get to punch, shoot, and steal from each while avoiding the marshall. In the game, players will play action cards either face-up or face-down depending on the round card. Players gather the cards together and resolve the action one card at a time. Players can try to plan carefully, but those face-down cards provide enough chaos to waylay the best of plans.

Our discussion focused on Christophe's inspiration for the a game about the American West and his feelings about winning the Spiel des Jahres this year. We also had to ask all about the amazing 3-dimensional train. Christophe enlightened us as to what players can expect in future expansions of the game (stagecoaches, whiskey, the marshall, etc).

If you are interested in this game, check out Ludonaute.fr for more. This game is immensely fun.

Direct download: 05_W3_S11_E05_Colt_Express_with_Christophe_Raimbault_1.mp3
Category:Season 11 -- posted at: 7:20pm EST

Who, What, Why presents our third episode featuring Ewen Cluney, designer of Channel A and blogger at Yaruki Zero Games. His four premises were pirates, England, grotesque aliens, and alien babes.

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: 03_W3_E03_Designing_Games_with_Ewen_Cluney.mp3
Category:Designing Games -- posted at: 12:00pm EST

GemPacked Cards, designed by Eduardo Baraf, is a game that brings swipe-three-style app games to the tabletop. In this game players use the primary and secondary color spectrum to try to change geminos into gems and gems into diamonds in an effort to walk away with the most points once the gemino supply is exhausted. Players have a variety of ways that they can spend their tokens and cards on their turn. Each player has complete control over the board. Geminos can be exchanged in pairs either with matching colors (2 red for a red gem) or primary colors that mix together to form a secondary gem (1 red and 1 yellow for 1 orange gem). What is interesting about this game is that this exchange is not only one way. Players can deconstruct gems diamonds into the geminos that make it up and use those geminos to then collect other cards worth more points. The game will satisfy seasoned gamers and new gamers. The game works well with new and old gamers because other players cannot mess with the active player on his or her turn.

Our discussion focused on the origin of this simple game and how it connects with an iPhone app that plays similarly but is not an app version of the game. We discuss the game play, which encourages players to use color to create new types of cards and break up those cards. The game offers a player a lot of freedom to consider the puzzle as he or she wishes without interruption from other players. Finally, we learned that Ed approached this Kickstarter differently from how he approached his last one (Lift Off!).

This game is on Kickstarter right now if you wish to support Ed and back his game. The Kickstarter ends on September 23rd. Check it out!

Direct download: 04_W3_S11_E04_GemPacked_Cards_with_Eduardo_Baraf_1.mp3
Category:Season 11 -- posted at: 8:10pm EST



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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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