A Podcast of Interviews With Designers of Board Games, Card Games, Role Playing Games & Video Games.
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Eric Reuss, designer of Spirit Island, joined me to talk about this impressive game. Spirit Island puts players in the roles of spirits of an island recently colonized by 16th and 17th century European-looking figures. Unlike games that focus on colonizing and settling an unexplored land, this game has players repelling those colonizers. The game presents an interesting take on what is a prolific style in the board game hobby without being didactic. The component quality adds to the impressive game play quality.

Direct download: W3_S18_E06_Spirit_Island_with_Eric_Reuss.mp3
Category:Season 18 -- posted at: 11:23am EST

Zev Shlasinger, the founder of Z-Man Games and current director of games for Wiz Kids, joined the show to talk about his new role with Wiz Kids. Zev has been around the industry for a long time, so it was a real treat to get his insights into the hobby. One important topic we discussed was the licensing deal between Wiz Kids and Games Workshop, which seems like a big deal considering how many popular products Games Workshop owns.

Credits: Game stuff icon created by Becris at Noun Project.

Direct download: W3_S18_E05_Publishing_games_with_Zev_Shlasinger.mp3
Category:Season 18 -- posted at: 8:07pm EST

Jamey Stegmaier, designer of Viticulture and so many other games, joins both me and Alex (all the way from Japanese) to talk about Viticulture. I have had Jamey on the show for all of his games so far. We discussed where Viticulture came from and how it helped to build Jamey's knowledge of game design.

Credits: wine and glass image by Ralf Schmitzer at Noun Project.

Direct download: W3_S18_E04_Viticulture_with_Jamey_Stegmaier.mp3
Category:Season 18 -- posted at: 10:05pm EST

In the 34th episode of the most talked about board game segment, Board Game Brainstorm, Chris O'Neal, co-founder of Brotherwise Games, joins me to tackle a giant, likely dying many times before finally stabbing it repeatedly in the forehead. We brainstorm an idea or two for the iconic PS2 game Shadow of the Colossus. This was a fun discussion because the source material is such a neat game that removes the boring grind and thrusts the player right into the boss fight, over and over and over again.

Direct download: W3_E34_Board_Game_Brainstorm_with_Chris_ONeal.mp3
Category:Brainstorm -- posted at: 10:30pm EST

Chris O'Neal, owner of Brotherwise Games, joins me on the show to talk about his company's latest game Unearth. Unearth is a light, dice-chucker about excavating ruins and collecting stones. The game is strong on mechanics even if it is light on theme. The theme shines through the beautiful artwork while the mechanics offer players a good filler game to enjoy with friends.

Ruins icon from Hea Poh Lin of NounProject.com

Direct download: W3_S18_E03_Brotherwise_and_Unearth_with_Chris_ONeal.mp3
Category:Season 18 -- posted at: 10:08pm EST

Dave Beever, designer of Yeah! Diamonds, joined the show to discuss his game slated to be one of the first released by Game and a Curry, a new publisher. Dave talked about the origins of Yeah! Diamonds, it's simplicity, and what it has been like working with a new publisher.

If you wish to learn more about Yeah! Diamonds, go to GameandaCurry.com.

Diamond icon credited to corpus delicti at NounProject.com

Direct download: 02_W3_S18_E02_Yeah_Diamonds_with_Dave_Beever.mp3
Category:Season 18 -- posted at: 9:35pm EST

In the 33rd episode of the most entertaining side-segment of any board game podcast, Board Game Brainstorm, Filip Neduk, designer of Adrenaline, joins me to rack our brains around the game WarCraft or Star Craft. Essentially, we tackled the real time strategy genre. Listen for our wacky ideas to a genre that needs more representation in board gaming.

Direct download: 33_W3_E33_Board_Game_Brainstorm_with_Filip_Neduk.mp3
Category:Brainstorm -- posted at: 10:46pm EST

Filip Neduk, designer of Adrenaline, joins the show to discuss his amazingly thematic and fun take on the first person shooting genre. Adrenaline makes players quake in their boots as they roam the narrow corridors and open sight lines searching for guns to seal their opponents' doom. The innovative damage system gives players short half-lives but plenty of bonuses to their abilities before another unreal shot ends them.

We focused on the origins of the game and how Filip ended up working with CGE. We also discussed some of our favorite FPS games from back in the day.

Adrenaline shot by Sergey Demushkin at NounProject.com

Direct download: 01_W3_S18_E01_Adrenaline_with_Filip_Neduk.mp3
Category:Season 18 -- posted at: 10:22pm EST

*Noir voice* Another dead body on a dimly lit city street? And I was beginning to think this city was boring. Evan Derrick, creative director of Van Ryder Games, joins the show to talk about the role of a creative director as well as plug a new game on Kickstarter right now: Detective: City of Angels. This game puts players in a 1940s LA noir world where there are crimes to be solved, but trust is hard to come by. The game is narratively driven and features a chisel-player whose job it is to stall misdirect and stall the detectives. The incredibly talented Vincent Dutrait provides beautiful artwork for the game.

To learn more about the game, check out Kickstarter here.

Fedora image is provided by Adriano Emerick at nounproject.com

Direct download: 10_W3_S17_E10_Creative_Directing_with_Evan_Derrick.mp3
Category:Season 17 -- posted at: 11:24pm EST

Richard Breese, designer of the Key series, Aladdin's Dragons, Reef Encounter, and more, joined me to talk about the Key Series of games. We focused on the origin of the series (thanks Mr. Keywood) and how the series changed over time. We also discussed where the series might go in the future (Keyper!).

To learn more about the Key Series, click this link.

Key Icon credited to Vladimir Belochkin at NounProject.com

Direct download: 09_W3_S17_E09_Key_Series_with_Richard_Breese.mp3
Category:Season 17 -- posted at: 12:10am EST

Shari Spiro, the owner of Ad Magic, joins the show to talk about holograms and intellectual property security in the board game industry. Ad Magic created a 3D photopolymer hologram label to attach to each of their games in an effort to combat board game piracy overseas. Shari shares the genesis of this idea as well as some tidbits about her previous job with holograms. This was a wonderful interview, and Shari opens up about all sorts of topics from this photopolymer product to Sparkle Kitty. 

Ad Magic is on the web at AdMagic.com

Magician's hat icon credited to b farias at nounproject.com

Direct download: 08_W3_S17_E08_Intellectual_Property_with_Shari_Spiro.mp3
Category:Season 17 -- posted at: 9:56pm EST

JR Honeycutt, developer and designer extraordinaire, joins me on the show to discuss what a developer does for a designer and how one contributes so vitally to the finished product. He also talks about his own journey into the role that he has landed in with Restoration Games. We finish up with a discussion of what makes a legacy game.

I think this interview is incredibly interesting because developers are some of the silent heroes of the board game industry. Without them board games might not be as stellar as they have become.

If you'd like to learn more about JR and what he works on, please visit RestorationGames.com.

Icon Credit: Gregor Cresnar from NounProject.com

Direct download: 07_W3_S17_E07_Development_with_JR_Honeycutt.mp3
Category:Season 17 -- posted at: 8:24pm EST

Fernanda Suarez, artist for games such as Dead of Winter, Ashes, and Century Spice Road, joined me to talk about how she got into board game art and what it is like to be an artist in such an industry. We discussed how she dealt with large scale art projects that require tight deadlines. Fernanda is working on her own personal project about Disney Princesses. You can see more of her work at FernandaSuarez.carbonmade.com.

Paint Brush Icon credit to Kate Maldjian at nounproject.com

Direct download: 06_W3_S17_E06_art_with_fernanda_suarez.mp3
Category:Season 17 -- posted at: 10:39am EST

Jouni Jussila, one of the creators of Dized, joined the show all the way from Finland to talk about his company's revolutionary board game application that attempts to teach people how to play games without ever needing to read the rulebook. The app offers tutorials for teaching the games, graphics licensed from the creators of the games, and a lot more. Currently, there are only a few games available, but Jouni plans to bring more games to Dized over the next year or so. The company is launching an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds to produce the app, which they plan to release in 2018. This has the potential to be a seriously awesome companion to any board gamer's collection, and it fits on his or her smart phone or tablet. They plan to offer the app free of charge with other features unlocked through a subscription service.

To learn more about the app, please visit Dized.com.

Credits: Book and tablet icons from Valeriy at nounproject.com

Direct download: 05_W3_S17_E05_dized_with_jouni_jussila.mp3
Category:Season 17 -- posted at: 12:37am EST

Cody Miller, designer of Xia, joined the show to discuss his first game ever. We discussed the challenges of designing a sandbox game where there are endless possibilities for players. Cody also has an expansion that debuted recently that added more things for the players to do without complicating things. Cody discussed how he worked with his co-designer Ira on the expansion Xia: Embers of the Forsaken Star.

Xia is a beautifully crafted board that can be picked up from Far Off Games website.

Credit: space ship credited to Kick and planet credited to Guiditta Valentina Gentile from nounproject.com

Direct download: 04_W3_S17_E04_Xia_with_Cody_Miller_1.mp3
Category:Season 17 -- posted at: 9:10pm EST

Nicole Kline and Anthony Amato joined the show to talk about their game Lazer Ryderz, a space race right out of an 80s Saturday morning cartoon. We discussed the origins of the game as well as the gorgeous art direction of the box. One topic of particular interest that came up was the care that designers put into the amount of times players are required to handle the pieces. I think this is the mark of skillful designers. Enjoy the episode.

If you'd like to find out more about the game, visit CardboardFortressGames.com or GreaterThanGames.com

Icon credits go to: Maxim Kulikov for the gemstone, Nora Valadez for the surfer, and Kristin Poncek for the 3-d glasses

Direct download: 03_W3_S17_E03_Lazer_Ryderz_with_Nicole_and_Anthony_1.mp3
Category:Season 17 -- posted at: 5:32pm EST

In the 32nd episode ever of Board Game Brainstorm Nicole Kline and Anthony Amato, co-designers of Lazer Ryderz, join me to tackle the ultimate challenge of bringing a great board game to Blobolonia with the game A Boy and His Blob. Technically, we created 2 games, and one I look forward to trying out late night at a con one day.

Direct download: 32_W3_E32_Board_Game_Brainstorm_with_Nicole_and_Anthony.mp3
Category:Brainstorm -- posted at: 3:28pm EST

In the 31st episode ever of the newly renamed Board Game Brainstorm Isaac Shalev co-designer of Seikatsu, joins me to tackle the challenge of designing a great card game version of the classic Nintendo game Contra. We came up with some really cool ideas that would make for a great Contra board game. Enjoy!

Direct download: 31_W3_E31_Board_Game_Brainstorm_with_Isaac_Shalev.mp3
Category:Brainstorm -- posted at: 1:05pm EST

Isaac Shalev, game designer, one of the hosts of On Board Games, and friend, joined the show to talk about his game Seikatsu that he co-designed with Matt Loomis. We discuss the Japanese theme, creation of Seikatsu, and the partnership of Shalev and Loomis. Seikatsu is a game debuting at GenCon from IDW games. It has a zen-like feel of creating a beautiful garden space filled with birds and fish. This is a game to keep an eye out for.

If you wish to learn more about Seikatsu, check out IDWgames.com or KindFortress.com.

Coy fish image credit: Aleksandr Vector

Direct download: 02_W3_S17_E02_Seikatsu_with_Isaac_Shalev.mp3
Category:Season 17 -- posted at: 12:22pm EST

Jamey Stegmaier, co-founder of Stonemaier Games, joins the show to discuss his upcoming legacy game Charterstone. This game is intriguing for a number of different reasons. This is one of the few soon-to-be published legacy games that does not feature the name Rob Daviau. Charterstone is a worker placement style game that is not built off of an existing I.P. like Pandemic or Risk. When players finish the story campaign, they will have a fully functional game that they can continue playing, which will be similar but very different from the next copy of Charterstone. Finally, Jamey, known to so many as a guru of Kickstarter, chose not to crowd fund this game (or take pre-orders on his site).

Jamey and I discussed why he chose to design a legacy game, what defines a legacy game, and what he learned through the process of creating something like this.

If you are looking forward to Charterstone, please check out Stonemaier.com for information about when this game is available at retail.

Credits: house image from ProSymbols at nounproject.com

Direct download: 01_W3_S17_E01_Charterstone_with_Jamey_Stegmaier.mp3
Category:Season 17 -- posted at: 10:29pm EST

Nate C. Murray who works with IndieGoGo's board game outreach joined the pod for a chat about crowdfunding. We delved into some of the things IndieGoGo has been doing to attract more creators, explored some games that Nate loves playing, and even discussed whether we are in a miniatures bubble. We ended the episode with a thorough description of what a designer should do to approach Nate to pitch a game. This episode runs the gamut of topics, and it's always great to have a smart guy like Nate for these kinds of episodes.

If you are interested in Nate's thoughts on board games, check out his Twitter handle @NateCMurray

Logo credit by Curve at nounproject.com

Direct download: 10_W3_S16_E10_Crowdfunding_with_Nate_Murray.mp3
Category:Season 16 -- posted at: 10:34pm EST

Henning Ludvigsen comes all the way from Norway to spend some time chatting with me about the beautiful art he creates for board games. Henning is perhaps most well-known for creating the artwork for the tiles in Descent: 2nd Edition, Imperial Assault, and Mansions of Madness first edition. His artwork is highly detailed and uses light to create a rich world for our board games to exist in. Not only do we discuss board game artwork and how he creates his, but we also discuss the burgeoning micro-brewery beer scene in Norway.

If you'd like to see some of the work that Henning has created, visit HenningLudvigsen.com

Norwegian flag icon credited to anbileru adaleru at nounproject.com

Direct download: 09_W3_S16_E09_Board_Game_Art_with_Henning_Ludvigsen.mp3
Category:Season 16 -- posted at: 11:19pm EST

Andrew Innes, designer of Anomia, joined me to discuss his neat little game that will have plenty of people yelling the wrong word aloud. Anomia is a card game where each player has a card in front of him or her that has a symbol and a category on it. During a turn, one player will draw from the deck looking at the symbol present. Anyone who has the same symbol in front of them needs to call out an item from the category in front of an opponent. For example, you and I might be playing the game and sharing a symbol. You have "Types of Ice Cream" in front of you, and I have "Dinosaur Names" in front of me. When our symbol is drawn, I need to avoid yelling "Tyrannosaurus rex" and instead yell "Rocky Road" to claim your card. What ends up happening more often than not is that you yell what's in front of you because that category shift isn't as natural as we think.

Anomia is a cool card game that works with so many players and provides so much entertainment. It's a light game but not one that seems devoid of fun. To learn more about Anomia and its iterations, visit AnomiaPress.com.

Direct download: 08_W3_S16_E08_Anomia_with_Andrew_Innes.mp3
Category:Season 16 -- posted at: 12:58am EST

Cody Miller, owner of Far Off Games and designer of Tavarua, joins the podcast to talk about his absolutely bodacious game about shredding waves. Tavarua has an unexpected theme (surfing) and pushes players to take risks in this risk management game. It has some elements of pushing your luck, but mostly focuses on managing risks to score the best runs on either a long board or short board. The genesis of this game is an interesting story and one that I'm glad Cody had a chance to share.

If you like Tavarua or want to know more about Far Off Games (who produce excellent quality games) give this episode a listen and visit FarOffGames.com.

Wave image credit to Peter van Driel at nounproject.com.

Direct download: 07_W3_S16_E07_Tavarua_with_Cody_Miller.mp3
Category:Season 16 -- posted at: 11:23pm EST

Steve Finn, a designer local to me, joins the show to discuss how he approaches game design. Steve Finn has often been described as the king of the filler game. He produces quality games that take 30-60 minutes to play and offer loads of depth and replayability. Steve has created 12 games over the years. We focused our discussion on games like Biblios, Herbaceous, and Cosmic Run among a few others.

If you like what you hear and want to learn more then visit DoctorFinns.com.

Image credited to Julia Amadeo at nounproject.com

Direct download: 06_W3_S16_E06_Game_Design_with_Steve_Finn.mp3
Category:Season 16 -- posted at: 5:32pm EST

Kevin Riley, designer of Aeon's End, came on the show to discuss the impressive new game that came out recently. It's an interesting take on the cooperative deck-building genre that incorporates a neat breach system where players can prime spells that can be used or held onto adding to the depth of strategy. Aeon's End brings in many big bad guys for the players to work together to prevent from destroying Gravehold. 

If you are interested in the game, it is up on Kickstarter right now with an pair of expansions. 

Credits: Window image from Claire Skelly at nounproject.com.

Direct download: 05_W3_S16_E05_Aeons_End_with_Kevin_Riley.mp3
Category:Season 16 -- posted at: 9:56pm EST

Isaac Childres designed Gloomhaven to capture the feel of a role-playing game and a dungeon crawler. He saw some things he wanted to fix in the dungeon crawlers around him and decided that this massive experience would suffice. Board gamers are better off for his effort. Gloomhaven incorporates a campaign, character levels, and an intricate card system that can be difficult to grok but rewarding once learned. One to four adventurers travel the land seeking out fame and glory while upgrading their characters and turning their 10 (or so) card deck into something that feels satisfying as they slash through demons, skeletons, and more.

Gloomhaven is hard to acquire, but if you can play the game, you will want to keep dungeon diving to hone your skills and create new card combos. To learn more about the game go to Cephalofair.com

If you missed out on the Kickstarter for this, another is in the works some time this year.

Credits: torch image from Fabian Sanabria from NounProject.com

Direct download: 04_W3_S16_E04_Gloomhaven_with_Isaac_Childres.mp3
Category:Season 16 -- posted at: 10:53pm EST

In 1993, Steven Spielberg released one of the most influential movies of my childhood. Jurassic Park is one of the few films I've seen multiple times in the theater. Despite its scientific inaccuracies, I was drawn to the move for its excellent story, characters, and dinosaurs. Since then, I've hoped for a good board game based on Dinosaurs. Few have tried but even fewer have succeeded. Jon Gilmore stopped by the show to talk about Dinosaur Island, a game about owning a dinosaur theme park, building dinosaurs, and potentially, eating visitors. The game combines worker placement with tile laying and some engine building. Each round takes place across 5 phases where players will acquire DNA samples, buy new things like upgrades and rides, create dinosaurs, and attract visitors. This game has a cool 90s flare with some ridiculous colors for the art.

Check this game out on Kickstarter now if it sounds like something up your alley.

Tyrannosaur image from aitor at NounProject.com

Direct download: 03_W3_S16_E03_Dinosaur_Island_with_Jon_Gilmore.mp3
Category:Season 16 -- posted at: 6:51pm EST

Justin Jacobson convinced Rob Daviau to join his crazy venture of restoring old games from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s. The venture should pay off this GenCon when Restoration Games brings Stop Thief, Indulgence, and Down Force. This venture is right up Rob's alley considering his experience with licensed games back at Hasbro. Justin and Rob came on the show to talk more in-depth about their process for restoring games, the restoration of the upcoming titles, and the future of the young company.

If you wish to learn more about Restoration Games, please visit RestorationGames.com.

Direct download: 02_W3_S16_E02_Restoration_Games_with_Rob_and_Justin.mp3
Category:Season 16 -- posted at: 12:22pm EST

Trey Chambers, designer of Argent: The Consortium, joined the show to talk about his awesome worker placement game about becoming the head of a magical university. This game takes the worker placement genre and turns some of it upside-down. The game seems like it is inspired by Harry Potter, but actually came to Trey in a dream (listen to learn more). Trey talks about how he connected with Level 99 and what parts of the game were dreamlike and what parts were developed. Trey also talks about ideas he's floated for expansions, Harvest, and Empyreal.

If you like this game and want to learn more, please visit Level 99 for more information.

Background image (wand) from Lilit Kalachyan from nounproject.com

Direct download: 01_W3_S16_E01_Argent_with_Trey_Chambers_1.mp3
Category:Season 16 -- posted at: 5:52pm EST

In this episode with Diane Sauer I renamed the segment Designing Games with Game Designers to Board Game Brainstorm. Diane Sauer, co-owner of Shoot Again Games and designer of Pinball Showdown, joins me to tackle the challenge of designing a good card game version of the classic arcade game Joust. You know, the one starring knights with lances riding ostriches trying to kill pterodactyls. That one.

Direct download: 30_W3_E30_Board_Game_Brainstorm_with_Diane_Sauer_1.mp3
Category:Brainstorm -- posted at: 9:58pm EST

Luke Laurie appears on the show to discuss his co-designed (with Tom Jolly) game Manhattan Project: Energy Empire. This one is a fantastic worker placement game about creating an efficient engine that offers the players a lot of payoff. One reason that Luke started designing this game was because too many other engine building games don't give the players enough time to play with the engines they spend so much time building. This game was a response to that. Luke and I also discussed how he got hooked up with veteran game designer Tom Jolly and Minion Games.

If you would like to learn more about Luke's design thoughts, head over to League of Game Makers website.

Credits: jagged arrow image provided by Edward Boatman at Noun Project.

Direct download: 10_W3_S15_E10_Energy_Empire_with_Luke_Laurie_1.mp3
Category:Season 15 -- posted at: 9:02pm EST

Diane Sauer of Shoot Again Games is bringing Pinball Showdown to Kickstarter. Imagine that you are one of the balls during multi-ball trying to pick up speed and slam as many targets as possible. That's an awesome theme. Diane and I discussed the origins of this game and the interesting way speed and control are intertwined in the game. The faster you travel, the less control you have. We also discussed Diane's professional life, which is as a pinball machine restoration specialist.

This game is on Kickstarter right now until 2/9/17.

Credits: Arcade machine credited to Adam Mullen from Noun Project

Direct download: 09_W3_S15_E09_Pinball_Showdown_with_Diane_Sauer.mp3
Category:Season 15 -- posted at: 11:03am 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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