A Podcast of Interviews With Designers of Board Games, Card Games, Role Playing Games & Video Games.

Heuristics. A popular board game word. Jonny Pac and Jeff Warrender join me to talk about heuristics. What is it? How can it be applied to improving designs? This was a good education for me as a budding designer.


Credit: strategy by priyanka from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S22_E04_Heuristics_with_Jonny_Pac_and_Jeff_Warrender64.mp3
Category:Season 22 -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Andrew Tullsen, manager of Print n Play, joined me to talk about the evolution of Print n Play the studio and his own journey as a print n play'er.

Credit: Printer by Philipp Petzka from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S22_E03_Print_n_Play_with_Andrew_Tullsen64.mp3
Category:Season 22 -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

People respond to incentives. Offer up a juicy reward and one can encourage or discourage all kinds of behaviors. Game design is about leveraging those incentives to get players to act in meaningful ways. Jonny Pac and John Vallerand join me to talk about incentives.

Credit: incentive by Eucalyp from the Noun Project

John Vallerand, designer of the upcoming Cartographia and With a Smile and Gun, joined me to talk about games with variable setup. John lays out the 4 ways that this variety can take shape in a game and 3 ways variety helps players.

Credits: icon created by priyanka at noun project

Direct download: W3_S22_E01_Variable_Setup_with_John_Vallerand56.mp3
Category:Season 22 -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

Jeff Warrender and Jonny Pac joined me for a discussion about designing goals and objectives in games. We looked at the importance of mechanical and narrative goals and how those help keep the players engaged and focused. We reference Jeff's upcoming book, You Said This Would Be Fun a bunch.

Credits: soccer goal by iconpacks from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S21_E10_Game_goals_with_Jeff_Warrender_and_Jonny_Pac64.mp3
Category:Season 21 -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

If you ever found yourself wondering what the Romans have ever done for you, this episode is the right one for you. In this episode, I have Gary and Steve, 2/3rds of the Ragnar Brothers, on to talk about their latest, and potentially last game, The Romans. Their career has spanned 30 years, and it seems fitting that we would focus on a game about an empire than spanned a considerable length of time.

Credits: Colosseum icon by Befoolish at noun project

Direct download: W3_S21_E09_The_Romans_with_Ragnar_Bros_80.mp3
Category:Season 21 -- posted at: 9:00am EDT

AJ Porfirio, president of Van Ryder Games, joined me to talk about one of the most important topics in board gaming: shipping. Shipping can be difficult to predict, which causes great stress for publishers, and can feel like a "rip off" to buyers, which causes a great deal of agitation. Luckily, AJ was kind enough to share his thoughts.


Direct download: W3_S21_E08_Shipping_and_Logistics_with_AJ_Porfirio.mp3
Category:Season 21 -- posted at: 9:45am EDT

Kathleen Mercury, teacher and board game designer, joined me to discuss gaming in the classroom. We focused on how she first started weaving gaming into her classroom and more importantly how she inspires students to design. She's awesome.

Direct download: W3_S21_E07_Gaming_in_the_Classroom_with_Kathleen_Mercury_96.mp3
Category:Season 21 -- posted at: 6:51pm EDT

Mike Meyer, designer of many RPG supplements including the latest Vast Kaviya, joined me to discuss what goes into designing a supplement for an existing IP. We specifically discussed his latest endeavor, which is a sword & sorcery world filled with barbarism and dinosaurs.

If this sounds like something of interest to you, head to Game On Tabletop for more details.

Direct download: W3_S21_E06_Vast_Kaviya_with_Mike_Meyer_80.mp3
Category:Season 21 -- posted at: 9:56am EDT

Unlike lots of world maps, I did not leave New Zealand off my show. Shem Phillips, designer of the Raiders series and upcoming West Kingdom series, joined me to talk about his approach to game design and his many trilogies. It was an interesting look at someone who has a clear vision for his designs and company.

new zealand by Sharon Faria from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S21_E05_Gaming_Down_Under_And_to_the_Right_with_Shem_Phillips.mp3
Category:Season 21 -- posted at: 10:29am EDT

Dan Letzring and Nicholas Yu joined me to talk about their game Adventure Tactics Domianne's Tower. This is a deck-building board game homage to Final Fantasy Tactics, an amazing game from the PS1 era. We discussed how this game built a vibrant class system in the style of FFT among other topics.

Credits: adventure by Sukuasli from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S21_E02_Adventure_Tactics_with_Dan_Letzring_and_Nicholas_Yu_80.mp3
Category:Season 21 -- posted at: 12:00pm EDT

Alexander Argyropoulis, founder of Mage Company, joined me to talk about sleeve production and the intricacies that go into producing sleeves and distinguishing one's company among the rest. Alex also talked about the various lessons he has learned over the last few years running Kickstarter campaigns.

Credit: sleeve by Llisole from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S21_E03_Wearing_Our_Hearts_on_Our_Sleeves_with_Mage_Company96.mp3
Category:Season 21 -- posted at: 11:35am EDT

Rob Daviau, designer of many Legacy games, Fireball Island, and the upcoming Dark Tower, joined me to talk about the importance of components. This conversation is short but packed with lots of great insight from a guy who has had a long career designing fantastic products for gamers.

Credits: component by Gregor Cresnar from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S21_E02_Components_with_Rob_Daviau.mp3
Category:Season 21 -- posted at: 11:57am EDT

Elizabeth Hargrave, the designer of Wingspan, joined me to talk about the game, it's reception, diversity in board gaming, and bird watching. We really ran the gamut here on topics. Check it out to hear what she has to say.

Bird by Ealancheliyan s from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S21_E01_Wingspan_with_Eliz_Hargrave.mp3
Category:Season 21 -- posted at: 10:35pm EDT

JR Honeycutt, contributor to Unmatched, Seafall, Machi Koro Legacy, and more, stopped by the show to talk about Unmatched (mostly) as well as about legacy games and Machi Koro Legacy. It was a fruitful discussion focusing on how the Unmatched series builds upon Epic Duels, then JR drops some knowledge on the evolution of legacy games. He made me tear up my card, ensuring I will remain in awe of his experience.

Gray Icon: duel by Andrew Forrester from the Noun Project



Direct download: W3_S20_E10_Unmatched_with_JR_Honeycutt_80.mp3
Category:Season 20 -- posted at: 9:00pm EDT

Phil duBarry, designer of Embark and others, joined me to talk about his game coming out from TMG. We discussed the origins of the game and how it ended up in the Harbor-verse. We also delved a bit into the topic of colonization in board games.

Ship by indra anis from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S20_E09_Embark_with_Phil_duBarry.mp3
Category:Season 20 -- posted at: 9:12pm EDT

Isaac Shalev, co-designer of Seikatsu and Show 'N' Tile, joined me to discuss the worker placement mechanic. We talked about what the mechanic means to us and examples of it working. We also talked about the history of the Israelites in Canaan at one point. You're in for a roller coaster of topics with this episode.

Worker by Zhenya_K from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S20_E08_Worker_Placement_and_More_with_Isaac_Shalev80.mp3
Category:Season 20 -- posted at: 8:55pm EDT

Jamey Stegmaier, designer of Wingspan and owner of Stonemaier Games, joined me to expand on his blog post about print runs. We explored how a publisher goes about deciding on a print run size, when a publisher executes a reprint, and more.

print by Ben Davis from the Noun Project
run by Gregor Cresnar from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S20_E07_Print_Runs_with_Jamey_Stegmaier80.mp3
Category:Season 20 -- posted at: 2:07pm EDT

Mike Gnade, designer of Maximum Apocalypse, joined me to discuss his game. We spoke quite at length about Maximum Apocalypse exploring all facets of the game's creation, theme, and mechanics.

Mushroom Cloud by Martin Smith from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S20_E06_Maximum_Apocalypse_with_Mike_Gnade64.mp3
Category:Season 20 -- posted at: 1:25pm EDT

Daniel Newman, designer of Dead Man's Cabal, joined me to talk about his game up on Kickstarter now from Pandasaurus Games. We talked about the uniqueness of the theme and stages it went through to become what it is today.

If you like the game and want to back it, check out the Kickstarter page.

Credit: Skull by BomSymbols from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S20_E05_Dead_Mans_Cabal_with_Daniel_Newman80.mp3
Category:Season 20 -- posted at: 2:47pm EDT

Steven Aramini, designer of Animal Kingdoms, joined the show to talk about his game, the first one published by Galactic Raptor Games. We focused on the design of the game and his experience with Kickstarter; plus some of our thoughts on the use of Kickstarter as a platform.

If you like this one and want to back it, check it out on Kickstarter now (1/8/19)

simba by Ben Davis from the Noun Project
Crown by AFY Studio from the Noun Project


Direct download: W3_S20_E04_Animal_Kingdoms_with_Steven_Aramini80.mp3
Category:Season 20 -- posted at: 9:39pm EDT

Tanya Pobuda, author of the study "Assessing Gender and Racial Representation in the Board Game Industry," joined the show to talk about her article and the work she put into this important topic. We discussed her reasoning behind creating the study and many of its findings. This was quite an interesting conversation.

Sexism by Egorova Valentina from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S20_E03_Gender_Representation_with_Tanya_Pobuda96.mp3
Category:Season 20 -- posted at: 2:45pm EDT

Jerry Hawthorne, designer of Comanauts, joined me to talk about a few different topics. We discussed the announcement that Mice and Mystics might be coming to a big screen one day. We also discussed his latest game Comanauts and how it builds on what he achieved in the amazingly kid-friendly Stuffed Fables.

bedsores by dDara from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S20_E02_Collective_Storytelling_with_Jerry_Hawthorne80.mp3
Category:Season 20 -- posted at: 8:39pm EDT

Carla Kopp, owner of Weird Giraffe Games, came on the show to talk about her journey as a publisher. She also let us know what exactly is that animal in her logo. Finally, Carla discussed her latest Kickstarter endeavor Dreams of Tomorrow.

Okapi by Icons Producer from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S20_E01_Publishing_with_Weird_Giraffe_Games_64.mp3
Category:Season 20 -- posted at: 8:41pm EDT

Kyle Ferrin, illustrator of Root and Vast, joined me to talk about his process for creating art for board games. He details how he got into board game art and how he uses art in other areas of his life. We also discuss some of his influences.

Raccoon by Alexander Skowalsky from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S19_E10_Game_Illustration_with_Kyle_Ferrin.mp3
Category:Season 19 -- posted at: 8:18pm EDT

Adam Rebotarro, co-creator and artist for Sentinels of the Multiverse, joined me to talk about his growth as an artist. We focused on how he reacted to unwanted criticism and how he turned that into a drive to become a better artist. We also discuss some of our complaints about the modern comic industry.

Superhero by Ngadiuba Alina from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S19_E09_Art_of_the_Multiverse_with_Adam_Rebotarro_80.mp3
Category:Season 19 -- posted at: 9:07pm EDT

Nikki Valens, designer of Eldritch Horror, Mansions of Madness 2nd Ed., and Legacy of Dragonholt joined me to talk about updating old editions and infusing story into games. We even discuss some games we both enjoy that have nothing to do with what she designed.

Book Icon by Cantasia from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S19_E08_Narrative_Games_with_Nikki_Valens_80.mp3
Category:Season 19 -- posted at: 7:57pm EDT

Ken Spencer, creator of Rocket Age, joined the show to discuss his tabletop role playing game Rocket Age. This game is set in a 1938 that never was full of spaceships and aliens and exciting action. The game uses the vortex system to increase the cinematic feel of the game. We discussed the virtues of the vortex system as well as the amount of time that Ken put into building the world that Rocket Age inhabits.

Credits: Rocket by Denis Sazhin from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S19_E07_Rocket_Age_with_Ken_Spencer.mp3
Category:Season 19 -- posted at: 7:54am EDT

Erica Bouyouris, designer of Roar!, joined me to talk about her game Roar, her introduction to the hobby game world, and her experiences within that world. This conversation went all over the place, and Erica was a fount of knowledge and advice. I enjoyed having her on the show.

Credit: Canadian flag icon by Loic Poivet from NounProject.com

Direct download: W3_S19_E06_Design_and_Culture_with_Erica_Bouyouris_64.mp3
Category:Season 19 -- posted at: 5:13pm EDT

Randy Hoyt and John Shulters of Fox Trot games joined me an in depth discussion of the question "Are board games art?" We explored this topic in a myriad of ways first defining the terms art and game and then delving into how those ideas could be applied to board games. This one was a fun chat with a lot to unpack.

Credits: 1. chess piece by Ben Davis from the Noun Project 2. frame by Kari Svangstu from the Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S19_E05_Games_as_Art_with_Randy_Hoyt_and_John_Shulters_64.mp3
Category:Season 19 -- posted at: 4:50pm EDT

Nat Levan, designer of small games featured in the Button Shy line joined the show to discuss Super Tall, a game currently on Kickstarter. We focused on how the game came about and how Nat refined such a small game experience. The game is currently on Kickstarter if you are a fan of Nat's or the Button Shy line of games. This game won't disappoint you.

Go to Kickstarter to check out the campaign if this game is of interest to you: Super Tall

Credit: Building icon credited to Iconfun at Noun Project

Direct download: W3_S19_E04_SuperTall_with_Nat_Levan.mp3
Category:Season 19 -- posted at: 9:01pm EDT

In the second episode of this special series, Heather and I discuss deck building. We spend a lot of time breaking down the simplest of the deck builders, Dominion. 

Direct download: W3_S19_E03_Deckbuilding_Mechanic_Discussion_64.mp3
Category:Season 19 -- posted at: 11:13pm EDT

In this series of episodes myself and my friend Heather will explore one game mechanic or topic in game design. In this episode we discussed one of my favorite mechanics: exploration. Hope you enjoy!

P.S. Don't worry; I will still be interviewing designers, but I wanted to expand my content and try something new.

Direct download: W3_S19_E02_Exploration_Mechanic_Discussion_80.mp3
Category:Season 19 -- posted at: 8:19pm EDT

Seth Jafee, designer and co-founder of TMG, joined me to discuss game development, design, end game mechanics, and TMG's 10 year anniversary celebration coming up. It was an incredibly interesting conversation that should be of interest to many listeners.

TMG is celebrating their 10 year anniversary with a re-release of Homesteaders. 

Dragon icon created by Cassie McKown at NounProject.com

Direct download: W3_S19_E01_Development_with_Seth_Jafee_56.mp3
Category:Season 19 -- posted at: 9:12pm EDT

Matt Quock, designer of The Primary, joined the show to discuss his game that tackles the US primary system in a light-hearted and apolitical fashion. The game puts players in the roles of nondescript candidates who are seeking to become the nominee for their party. The game uses programmed actions and area control in an interesting way to keep players focused on each other while trying to hone their individual strategies.

If you like what you hear from the designer and want to back the game on Kickstarter, you can go to Kickstarter and search for "The Primary."

Ballot Box image credited to Hea Poh Lin at NounProject.com

Direct download: W3_S18_E10_Primary_with_Matt_Quock_128.mp3
Category:Season 18 -- posted at: 7:49pm EDT

Bez, designer of Wibbell++ and Yogi, joined the show to talk about her arc as a designer and the story of her games. Bez has had quite a direction and plan for herself as a designer and it was interesting to have her on the show to learn more about that. This one is long, so buckle up and make sure one card touches your pinky as you listen in.

Yogi image credited to Sitara Shah at NounProject.com

Direct download: W3_S18_E9_Stuff_by_Bez_80.mp3
Category:Season 18 -- posted at: 9:08pm EDT

Rob Daviau, originator of the legacy game idea, joins me to talk about the forth-coming Betrayal at the House on the Hill Legacy edition. I wanted to talk to Rob about the process of designing a legacy game based on a much loved and much maligned board game. We discussed the structure for the game and who decided that Betrayal would make a good candidate for the legacy treatment.

If you want to hear my interview from the Ninja vs. Pirates Podcast days with Bruce Glassco, the original designer of Betrayal, check it out at this link.

Credit for cow skull goes to Jems Mayor at nounproject.com

Direct download: W3_S18_E08_Betrayal_Legacy_with_Rob_Daviau_128.mp3
Category:Season 18 -- posted at: 1:16pm EDT

Shari Spiro, owner of Ad Magic and Breaking Games, joined me to talk about the challenges and intricacies of distribution. We focused on how she learned the game market, and how she built and is still building her company's network out there. Shiloh, my son, made a special guest appearance on the recording, which takes up only about 4 minutes of airtime in this short episode. I liked how natural the entire conversation felt, so I left his thoughts in the episode.

Credit for the weird box and arrow image behind my logo goes to Vectors Market at nounproject.com



Direct download: W3_S18_E07_Distribution_with_Shari_Spiro.mp3
Category:Season 18 -- posted at: 6:33pm EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

*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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

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 EDT

Nat Levan, designer of New Bedford, joined Alex and I for a discussion about his Euro game about a controversial topic: whaling. Theme aside, this game is a nice little Euro that presents some interesting challenges for players. Scoring is tight and the paths to victory are plentiful. We discussed the origins of this game and its historical ties. We also discussed Nat's new venture in designing 1 or 3 card games like Nantucket.

If you like the game and wish to learn more then visit DiceHateMeGames.com or Oakleafgames.wordpress.com.

Whale icon credit goes to Knockout Prezo at Nounproject.com.

Direct download: 08_W3_S15_E08_New_Bedford_with_Nat_Levan.mp3
Category:Season 15 -- posted at: 11:13pm EDT

Grant Rodiek, designer of the hit game Cry Havoc, joins me for a discussion about the game. We talk about where the game came from, and I learn it was originally themed 1800s European military. We focus on the difficulty in designing asymmetric powers and making those different enough to give each player its own feel. Finally, we spend some time discussing Portal's influence on the final product and their eagerness in continuing to support it.

If you like the game, please visit your local game store (or buy online). If you'd like to learn more about Grant visit Hyperbolegames.com.

Direct download: 07_W3_S15_E07_Cry_Havoc_with_Grant_Rodiek_2.mp3
Category:Season 15 -- posted at: 9:17pm EDT

Kevin Wilson, designer of Descent 1st edition, Android, and Arkham Horror, joins me on the podcast to discuss his latest game TMNT: Out of the Shadows. We discussed what it was like working with an IP as large and nostalgic as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Kevin is no stranger to IP work, so for a veteran game designer such as himself, this was never a daunting task. We also talked about the levers and dials Kevin built into the game to allow him the freedom to build scenarios and add content with ease.

If you are interested in more about this game, check out IDW or Kevin Wilson's webpages.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle image is credited to Lisa Krymova at Nounproject.com

Direct download: 06_W3_S15_E06_TMNT_with_Kevin_Wilson_1.mp3
Category:Season 15 -- posted at: 8:22pm EDT

Nate Murray is the man charged with bringing new ideas to IDW's sizable creative enterprise. One of Nate's tasks is to bring in board games that may be a great fit for IDW. So far, I think Nate and IDW are doing an excellent job bringing new and exciting games to the market. We sat down to discuss IDW's new foray into board gaming. This was a fun interview to record.

Credit for comic image goes to Carlo Carino at NounProject.com

Direct download: 05_W3_S15_E05_IDW_Publishing_with_Nate_Murray.mp3
Category:Season 15 -- posted at: 1:37am EDT

Christopher Chung, designer of Lanterns, joins the show to talk about the game that has garnered many awards and praise. The game is an interesting mix of theme and emotion. The theme is the lantern harvest festival where paper lanterns floating across the water's surface, and the game plays with the same calming, zen-like feel that the them evokes. Check out the interview to hear more about how this game went from flowers to lanterns.

If you like the game, please visit Foxtrot Games.

Direct download: 04_W3_S15_E04_Lanterns_with_Christopher_Chung_1.mp3
Category:Season 15 -- posted at: 1:27am EDT

Cardboard Edison, the husband and wife pair who host the game design blog of the same name, also design their own games, and one of those games is currently on Kickstarter. Cobras is a trick-taking card game about feeding the market with cobras to collect on the reward for catching cobras. If the magistrate closes the bounty when you're left holding a pile of cobras, you could be in for an unpleasant time. The game rewards players for both winning and losing tricks, which adds an intriguing layer of depth not usually seen in most trick-taking games (Hearts? Spades depending on how many books you bet?). For those who are inclined toward solo gaming, Cobras offers a solo variant, which is also unheard of in many trick-taking games.

Cardboard Edison are teaming up with Eric who they have enlisted to help manage the Kickstarter, which is up and running right now. If you like trick-taking games, please check this game out on Kickstarter right now.

Credits: Cobra icon credited to emel ├želik from NounProject.com

Direct download: 03_W3_S15_E03_Cobras_with_Cardboard_Edison_1.mp3
Category:Season 15 -- posted at: 11:56pm EDT

Who, What, Why presents our twenty-ninth episode of Designing Games with Game Designers featuring Chris Chung, designer of Lanterns. In this episode we discussed the idea of a board game about Dust: An Elysian Tale. Chris provided most of the background to the game itself while I did a lot of the "designing." The reason for this is, as I state in the episode, that I have never played this game, so I know nothing about it.

Direct download: 29_W3_E29_Designing_Games_with_Chris_Chung.mp3
Category:Designing Games -- posted at: 8:25pm EDT

Metatopia is a convention that takes place in Morristown, NJ each year as part of the Dexposure suite of conventions. This one is dedicated to designers and publishers in the form a play-testing convention. Here budding and seasoned game designers can get valuable feedback on their designs that may or may not turn into games that hit the market. Avonelle Wing was kind enough to join me on the show to discuss Metatopia: where it came from and where it wants to go. She offered insight into how some gamers look to support the industry rather than directly participate (i.e. design/publish games) in it.

Metatopia will take place on the weekend of Nov. 4-6 in Morristown, NJ. Please head to dexposure.com to register or learn more about it.

Credits: icon in today's logo created by Creative Stall at Nounproject.com

Direct download: 02_W3_S15_E02_Metatopia_and_More_with_Avonelle_Wing_1.mp3
Category:Season 15 -- posted at: 10:05pm EDT

Who, What, Why presents our twenty-eighth episode of Designing Games with Game Designers featuring Chris Zinsli and Eric from Cardboard Edison. In this episode we discussed the idea of a Duck Hunt board game. I think we came up with some good stuff.

Direct download: 28_W3_E28_Designing_Games_with_Cardboard_Edison.mp3
Category:Designing Games -- posted at: 12:47am EDT

I apologize for my stupid joke, but I couldn't help myself. Rule & Make is a publishing company owned by a pair of Australian game designers. They are responsible for games like Burger Up, Skyward (now on Kickstarter), and more. I invited them on the show to learn more about what they do and broaden my own knowledge of the board game scene in Australia. We discussed why they produce so many card games (hint, hint, cost and shipping) and how important it is to get their games into the American and European markets (hint, hint, Australia is geographically isolated).

Currently, Rule and Make have a Kickstarter campaign running for their new game Skyward. Pop over to Kickstarter if the game sounds appealing to you.

Note from the editing desk: last month (September) I ran short of my usual 3 interviews, but this month I am back to a normal release schedule.

Direct download: 01_W3_S15_E01_Publishing_Down_Under_with_Rule_and_Make_1.mp3
Category:Season 15 -- posted at: 5:48pm EDT

Who, What, Why presents our twenty-seventh episode of Designing Games with Game Designers featuring Anne-Marie and Justin DeWitt, co-founders of Fireside Games and designers of the Panic series of games. In this episode we discussed the what a Castle Panic Legacy game might look like.

Direct download: 27_W3_E27_Designing_Games_with_Fireside_Games.mp3
Category:Designing Games -- posted at: 11:33pm EDT

Castle Panic, Dead Panic, Munchkin Panic, Star Trek Panic! Everybody panic! This episode features designer Justin DeWitt and Anne-Marie DeWitt, co-owners of Fireside Games and publishers of the ever-growing Panic line of games. We invited them on the show to learn more about where the Panic games came from and how they morphed into so many other fun and interesting games over the years. We talk about licensing, publishing, and designing with this impressive married couple who are doing it all together.

If you are interested in learning more about the Panic games, please head over to Fireside Games.

Credits: Enterprise NC1701-A created by Chris from Noun Project 

Direct download: 10_W3_S14_E10_Panic_series_with_Fireside_Games_1.mp3
Category:Season 14 -- posted at: 1:35pm EDT

Who, What, Why presents our twenty-sixth episode of Designing Games with Game Designers featuring Jamey Stegmaier, co-founder of Stonemaier, and designer of games like Euphoria and Scythe. In this episode we discussed the prospect of designing an MMO tabletop game and what that might look like.

Direct download: 26_W3_E26_Designing_Games_with_Jamey_Stegmaier.mp3
Category:Designing Games -- posted at: 10:12pm EDT

Jamey Stegmaier, co-founder of Stonemaier Games and designer of Scythe, joins us to talk about his mega-hit game that both earned Stonemaier a huge sum via Kickstarter and debuted to a sellout at 2016's GenCon. We discuss the game as a 4x game the controversy that surrounds that categorization. We also talk about how Jamey has grown his previous games (Viticulture and Euphoria) into Scythe. Lastly, we explore Kickstarter with the man who has written many pages of digital ink over the platform.

If you would like to learn more about Scythe or Stonemaier Games, please visit them on the web at Stonemaier Games.

Credits: Mech figure in artwork credited EliRatus from Noun Project

Direct download: 09_W3_S14_E09_Scythe_with_Jamey_Stegmaier.mp3
Category:Season 14 -- posted at: 10:46pm EDT

Rob Daviau, designer of many games like Seafall, Risk Legacy, and Pandemic Legacy, joins the show to talk about a new venture announced at the Dice Tower live show: Restoration Games. Rob is the Chief Restoration Officer of this new company whose goal is to bring new life to games from our childhoods (70s, 80s, 90s). I talk to Rob about where the idea of restoring games came from and what criteria a game must meet to be fit for restoration. I also learn a fun fact about Richard Borg and a game from my childhood.

If you would like to learn more about this company, then please visit Restoration Games. There you can vote on games that you would like to see given new life.

Direct download: 08_W3_S14_E08_Restoring_Games_with_Rob_Daviau_1.mp3
Category:Season 14 -- posted at: 11:13pm EDT

Who, What, Why presents our twenty-fifth episode of Designing Games with Game Designers featuring Chris Kirkman, founder of Dice Hate Me Games. Chris is currently the director of game development for Greater Than Games now that his company has merged with GTG. In this episode we asked Chris to design a game based on Wrecking Crew, an old NES game from 1985.

This episode features an advertisement from my friends at Game and a Curry and their Hangover on August 20th in Allentown, PA. Click for more info: Hangover

There is an issue with the audio on my end because of a fan in the background (our #1 fan!). I did my best to reduce its impact.

Direct download: 25_W3_E25_Designing_Games_with_Chris_Kirkman.mp3
Category:Designing Games -- posted at: 8:57pm EDT

Chris Kirkman, the founder of Dice Hate Me Games and director of game development with Greater Than Games, joins us to talk about mergers and publishing games. We focus our conversation on how the merger took place and how Chris' role changed with the new company. Chris lays out how this merger distinguishes between its different sub-brands. We also get an inside look into what one publisher does to scout for potential games.

If you'd like to learn more about Greater Than Games or Dice Hate Me, please visit their respective websites.

I didn't realize that the fan in the background would be so strong in the recording (it's been really hot in NY), so I did my best to minimize its impact on the episode.

Direct download: 07_W3_S14_E07_Publishing_Games_with_Chris_Kirkman.mp3
Category:Season 14 -- posted at: 8:42pm EDT

Isaac Vega, designer of hit games such as Ashes and Dead of Winter, joins the show to discuss his games and how his games involve and tell an incredible number of stories. Dead of Winter's crossroads cards and Ashes deep world-building immerse the players in another realm through both the mechanics and theme of each game. Isaac talks about the challenges and rewards of telling stories through games.

If you would like to learn more about either game, please visit PlaidHatGames.com for more information. And if you'd like to learn more "facts" about Isaac, feel free to email or Tweet or FB post to this show.

Direct download: 06_W3_S14_E06_Narrative_in_Games_with_Isaac_Vega_1_1.mp3
Category:Season 14 -- posted at: 9:49pm EDT

Who, What, Why presents our twenty-fourth episode of Designing Games with Game Designers featuring hit designer Isaac Vega. He is the designer of Dead of Winter, Ashes, City of Remnants, and Bio Shock Infinites. In this episode Isaac offered up a unique way to make a Jumanji board game that offers the same experience as the movie.

This episode features an advertisement from my friends at Game and a Curry and their Hangover on August 20th in Allentown, PA. Click for more info: Hangover

Direct download: 24_W3_E24_Designing_Games_with_Isaac_Vega.mp3
Category:Designing Games -- posted at: 12:17am EDT

World renowned designer and president of Lone Shark Games, Mike Selinker, joined me for a discussion of semi-coop games. We explored what players can expect in the new expansion to Betrayal at the House on the Hill and learned about the wide array of creative people who contributed haunts to the new game, Widow's Walk. We also discussed how Pathfinder the Adventure Card Game informed Lone Shark's upcoming Apocrypha.

If you would like to learn more about Lone Shark Games and the cool games they publish, check out Lone Shark Games on the web.

Direct download: 05_W3_S14_E05_Semi_Coop_Games_with_Mike_Selinker_1.mp3
Category:Season 14 -- posted at: 12:43pm EDT

Who, What, Why presents our twenty-third episode of Designing Games with Game Designers featuring renowned designer Mike Selinker. He is the designer of Pathfinder the Adventure Card Game, Apocrypha, and developer of Widow's Walk, the Betrayal at the House on the Hill game. In this episode I asked Mike how we could make a viable game based on the arcade classic Donkey Kong.

This episode features an advertisement from my friends at Game and a Curry and their Hangover on August 20th in Allentown, PA. Click for more info: Hangover

Direct download: 23_W3_E23_Designing_Games_with_Mike_Selinker.mp3
Category:Designing Games -- posted at: 9:39am EDT

Daryl Andrews, designer of the Walled City, Fantasy Fantasy Baseball, and others, might sound like a new name but he's one to keep an eye on as he has lots of designs signed out there with numerous publishers. We invited Daryl on the show to talk about what inspires him as a designer. We learned about his penchant for co-designing, which has hooked him up with many other designers. Finally, we talked about the state of design and gaming in the Great White North, Canada.

If you'd like to learn more about Daryl, check him out on Twitter or offer to co-design something with him: @DarylMAndrews

Direct download: 04_W3_S14_E04_Game_Design_with_Daryl_Andrews.mp3
Category:Season 14 -- posted at: 4:58pm EDT

Champions of Midgard, designed by Ole Steiness, is a Viking-themed game designed by a Danish game designer. There is no one better suited to bring the world of the Vikings to life than one who lives in Scandinavia. Champions is a worker placement game where players collect warriors (dice) in order to slay monsters, draugrs, and trolls. Players will board long ships and must bring enough men and supplies in order to survive the whale road and bring home glory.

Our discussion with Ole focused on the origins of this awesome worker placement game. We learned about what parts of the game had to be cut to make it the game published today. We also learned how Ole hooked up with Grey Fox Games, who did a good job of bringing this one to our tables.

If you wish to learn more about Ole (designer of Police Precinct as well), find him on Twitter or BoardGameGeek.

Direct download: 03_W3_S14_E03_Champions_of_Midgard_with_Ole_Steiness_1.mp3
Category:Season 14 -- posted at: 12:19am EDT

Who, What, Why presents our twenty-second episode of Designing Games with Game Designers featuring designer Ole Steiness. He is the designers of Police Precinct and Champions of Midgard. In this episode we use the themes, components, and mechanics found on the cards in Unpub, the card game from Doug Levandowski and J.R. Honeycutt. The three themes and mechanics were wild west, trains, superheroes, legacy, charades, and drafting.

Alex and I participate in the discussion, so it is a collaborative venture. Enjoy.

Direct download: 22_W3_E22_Designing_Games_with_Ole_Steiness.mp3
Category:Designing Games -- posted at: 11:42am EDT

Between Two Cities, designed by Ben Rosset and Matthew O'Malley, is a competitive drafting game that asks players sitting next to each other to cooperate. While this definition might seem internally incongruous, the game requires that players cooperate with neighbors to build their cities but with the overall goal of winning the game individually. Players draft tiles that will be placed in a 4x4 grid. Six different buildings means each will score in its own way, and that is the negotiation that players must navigate to be success in this game. The real catch to the scoring mechanic is that a player's lowest scoring city between the two will be his or her's final score at the end. This gives players some interesting choices when trying to build their cities.

Ben and I discussed the genesis of this game and how he started collaborating with Matthew. We talked about how he got hooked up with Stonemaier games (the publisher of this title) since this game is fairly light for the company known for Euphoria, Viticulture, and Scythe. Ben also talked about WashingCon: a convention he runs in Washington D.C.

If you wish to learn more about either this game or the con, please visit these links: WashingCon and Stonemaier Games.

Direct download: 02_W3_S14_E02_Between_2_Cities_with_Ben_Rosset.mp3
Category:Season 14 -- posted at: 5:47pm EDT

Who, What, Why is launching a new type of episode that will be released once a month: panel discussions featuring multiple designers, artists, and publishers ... and Alex and I. The first topic is women in board gaming, and we are joined by three published designers Nicole Kline, Suzanne Kabert-Zinsli, and Bonnie Neubauer.

Hope you enjoy the show.

Direct download: 01_W3_Panel_E01_Women_in_Board_Games_1.mp3
Category:Panels -- posted at: 3:51pm EDT

Who, What, Why presents our twenty-first episode of Designing Games with Game Designers featuring designer Emerson Matsuuchi. He is the designers of Spector Ops, Volt, and the upcoming Caravan. In this episode we changed it up a bit since we've had Emerson record a segment like this in the past. We asked Emerson about a video game he would turn into a board and how he would do it. All video game fans will love his choice and how he would implement that game.

Alex and I participate in the discussion, so it is a collaborative venture. Enjoy.

Direct download: 21_W3_E21_Designing_Games_with_Emerson_Matsuuchi.mp3
Category:Designing Games -- posted at: 12:32pm EDT

Common Man Games, founded by Karl Fenner, is a publisher most noticeable for the co-op hit Police Precinct. What is remarkable about this publisher is that Karl has chosen to only publish games about police. It's interesting to meet a publisher who has chosen to specialize in such a niche theme (in the board gaming world). While Common Man has published K2 and Broad Peak, those games were part of distribution deals rather than created from the ground up from Common Man.

My discussion with Karl focused on CMG's decision to focus on the police genre. I learned something cool about the intersection of board games and real life. And we discussed the new Police Precinct app that will allow gamers to play this excellent co-op any time and any where.

If you wish to be part of the app Kickstarter campaign, it is running right now, so head over to Kickstarter or click this link.

Direct download: 01_W3_S14_E01_App_Publishing_with_Karl_Fenner.mp3
Category:Season 14 -- posted at: 10:34pm EDT

Eduardo Baraf of Pencil First Games and Jon Gilmour have collaborated on a trick taking card game that uses an interesting box design as a major component in the game. In most trick taking games players know all of the information played out on the table, but in this one the box obscures the previously played cards adding in a deduction element that gives this one a unique twist.

Our discussion focused on the box and the intricacies to designing and prototyping this component. I learned that Jon Gilmour came into this project because he always wanted to design a trick taking game. And finally, Edo and I found ourselves on a tangent about understanding how to decide the number of copies one should print.

Heroes and Tricks is currently on Kickstarter, so if this game sounds right for you or you like unique trick taking games, check this one out. It's only 20 bucks.

Direct download: 10_W3_S13_E10_Heroes_and_Tricks_with_Edo_Baraf_1.mp3
Category:Season 13 -- posted at: 9:40am EDT

© 2007 [policy]

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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