A Podcast of Interviews With Designers of Board Games, Card Games, Role Playing Games & Video Games.
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MAGE Company, managed by Alexander Argyropoulos, is a board game publisher that has brought the community games such as Raid & Trade, 12 Realms, Hoyuk, and Res Publica: 2230 A.D. MAGE Company is located in Europe and primarily uses Kickstarter to fund most of its games. The company has been at conventions such as UK Games Expo and Essen Spiel but is looking to make a splash in the US convention market.

My discussion with Alexander focused on how his company decides what games to produce and how much control they take over the final product. We discussed conventions and Kickstarter and all the other parts of game companies that should interest listeners, especially those who are not yet published.

MAGE Company currently has an expansion for Raid & Trade: War on the Streets on Kickstarter until Nov. 8th. If MAGE is a company that interests you, check out their Kickstarter. If you have interest in learning more about the company itself, please click this link.

Direct download: 10_W3_S11_E10_MAGE_Company_with_Alexander_Argyropoulos_1.mp3
Category:Season 11 -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Kill Shakespeare is a comic series created by Anthony Del Col and Conor McCreery. In 2014 IDW published a game of the same name based on the comic series. The comic story follows the adventures of some of the bard's most famous characters as they search for the bard himself. Some characters have only good intentions (Juliet, Hamlet, Othello, etc) while others have evil ones (Richard III and Lady MacBeth). The game puts the players in the world of the comic. The game is semi-cooperative. The players must work together to defeat Richard and Lady MacBeth, but they don't want each to get the most glory.

Our discussion focused on Anthony as one of the license holders of an intellectual property that became a game. We discussed where the idea for the game came from, how much involvement Anthony and Conor had, and what expectations Anthony had for the game. Since this episode focused on a Shakespearean topic, we geeked out over the bard for a little bit.

If you wish to learn more about the comic, please visit KillShakespeare.com. If you would like to learn more about the game, please visit IDW's website.

Alex was unable to join us for the podcast.

Direct download: 09_W3_S11_E09_Kill_Shakespeare_comic_with_Anthony_Del_Col_1.mp3
Category:Season 11 -- posted at: 10:35pm EDT

Brewcrafters, designed by Ben Rosset, is a worker placement game about designing a brewery, brewing beer, and selling that delicious beer to win the game. Brewcrafters can be compared to Agricola in terms of style and complexity, and that is not a knock on the game. Players use their workers to, among some of the actions available, collect ingredients, upgrade their brewery, and buy more shift workers. After the public actions are completed, players use shift workers to brew beer or research better powers. At the end of every year (broken up into seasons) players must pay upkeep on their workers and machinery. After 4 years of brewing beers, players total their money and declare a winner.

Our discussion focused on what drew Ben to the beer theme and what inspired him for the mechanics. We openly compare the game to Agricola. Ben talks to us about what we can look forward to for the future of Brewcrafters.

If you are interested in this game, a second printing is coming soon from Dice Hate Me Games. Please visit DiceHateMeGames.com. If you are interested in communicating with Ben Rosset or wish to learn more about his games, follow Ben on Twitter @benrosset

Direct download: 08_W3_S11_E08_Brewcrafters_with_Ben_Rosset_1.mp3
Category:Season 11 -- posted at: 9:16pm EDT

Mint Tin games, designed by David Miller, is a series of (currently) 3 games that fit entirely in small Altoid-sized tin. The 3 games are Pirates, Aliens, and Mini Apocalypse. These are games that you can play anywhere whether waiting for dinner at a restaurant or on line at the DMV. The charm of these games is that they are component-lite yet provide enjoyable game experiences. The added bonus is that they fit in your pocket. In Pirates, each player wants to use pairs of mini cards and dice to destroy each other's ship. The game feels like a sea-worthy battle of tug of war. In Aliens, players compete using the Ticket to Ride card acquisition mechanic to complete badges related to becoming better abductors of humans and Earth fauna. In Mini Apocalypse, players frantically roll dice to try to escape a monster by getting 4 of their people into the fallout shelter. Be careful because if the monster die reaches zero, the game ends with both players losing.

Our discussion focused on the inspiration for the Mint Tin series and what kind of places David could take the series in the future. We also explored each game and its mechanics. Finally, an important topic of conversation was the amount of work David puts into packaging his games, which he does by hand. Impressive work.

If you are interested in learning more about the Mint Tin series or ordering a copy (I'd recommend Aliens or Mini Apocalypse), please visit David's website: Subquark.com.

Direct download: 07_W3_S11_E07_Mint_Tin_with_David_Miller.mp3
Category:Season 11 -- posted at: 11:52pm EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

Pay Dirt, designed by Tory Niemann, is an auction and engine building game about mining for gold in Alaska. Players must bid on new equipment, workers, and land claims to turn those claims into profitable gold. Every round starts with an auction and ends with a worker assignment phase. At the end of the round, players draft hardship cards hoping to draw the least punishing one. The head miner's card also forces players to drop the temperature by a preset number of degrees. When the temperature reaches 0 celcius, the game is over. The player with the most gold wins.

Our discussion focused on Tory's inspiration for the game, which was the television show Gold Rush. We talked about how the hardship cards throw a wrench into a player's plan and learned about the elements Tory added to give the game a very thematic feel. During the Kickstarter, he received a comment from a thematically relevant backer who praised the game for its strong theme.

If you wish to learn more about the game or pick up a copy, please visit CrashGamesAZ.com for more information.

Direct download: 03_W3_S11_E03_Pay_Dirt_with_Tory_Niemann_1.mp3
Category:Season 11 -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Smoke & Mirrors, designed by Chip Beauvais, is a bluffing style micro-game on Kickstarter now. The game is being published by Jason Tagmire (Pretense, Pixel Lincoln) as part of his wallet game series. Each player is a magician who must create better and better tricks than his or her opponent. The game play is similar to games like Liar's Dice or B.S. The first player must use his or her limited hand to play cards that add up to '1' facedown. The next player places cards that add to '2'. Players keep this going unless they skip (once per round) or are called out as the lying magicians they truly are.

Our discussion with Jason focused on his role as the publisher. We explored the types of games he looks for and what kind of input he will have on Chip's game. While talking with Chip, we learned how this game came into being and how the various elements create an unique experience in the micro-game market.

To back this game and other awesome games in the Wallet Game Series, visit Kickstarter and look for Smoke & Mirrors now.

Direct download: 02_W3_S11_E02_Smoke_and_Mirrors_with_Chip_Beauvais_and_Jason_Tagmire.mp3
Category:Season 11 -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Channel A, designed by Ewen Cluney, is a party game about pitching anime television shows to a single producer. Each player is given 10 cards with words that can be used to make up the title. The producer chooses 2 of 5 premise cards and reads them aloud. These cards may say "robotic" and "hamsters" or "chinese fantasy" and "cooking". Players use up to 4 (according to the base game) title cards to pitch a show idea. The producer chooses which one he or she likes and awards that player with a point.

This genre is well-worn territory, but Channel A brings a new theme and an extra dose of creativity. Our discussion focused on what Channel A does different than many other games of its type. We talked about how the premise cards allow the players to play to a standard as opposed to the whim of the individual judge. Finally, we explored Ewen's love of anime and the ways this game can both celebrate or rib the popular Japanese style.

If you wish to learn more about this game or purchase a copy, visit Yaruki Zero Games or Asmadi Games

Direct download: 01_W3_S11_E01_Channel_A_with_Ewen_Cluney.mp3
Category:Season 11 -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT



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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 10 releases between March 16 and July 26

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