Meeple Syrup Show

Designers Discussing Design

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Episodes 38, 39, 40, 41, 42

So, I’m going to be totally Canadian here and apologize for my tardiness with updating the blog.  It has as much to do with my forgetfulness as it does with our ISP not notifying me of WHY there was an issue.  My credit card had expired, but instead of telling me anything, our ISP decided to just hang us up with an “A-OK” on our webpage instead of just asking me to update my card without an interruption in service.   You know…like any other company…

Anyway, that aside, we have a TON of updating to do.

I’m going to start with the regular episodes and then I’ll list all the ones we’ve posted from Origins 2015.  There were some issues with uploading those (duplicate MeepleSyrup accounts got set up and some video got sent to the wrong place, for example).  Sidenote:  We’re going to limit our segments from conventions to 15 minutes portions, or at least break them up into 15 minute chunks if longer, due to how uploading seems to work.

With our apologies and explanations out of the way, I bring you

<drumroll> </drumroll>

 

Episode 38!  Ha!  There is none!  Why?  Because that was the episode where Google Hangouts decided to barf up any thing we tried to feed it.  We had Shari Spiro from Ad Magic / Breaking Games and Peter Vaughn from Squirmy Beast (designer of What the Food?) on and we were going to talk about the Mensa Award-winning Letter Tycoon that they co-published (and that I still must buy!)  But don’t worry!  We’ll have them back on the show ASAP.

 

Episode 39 had Stephanie Straw and Ian Zang drop by the show with Dylan, Daryl and I to discuss what we did at Origins – what we saw, what we played, who we met, etc. etc.

 

Episode 40 was the one where we talked with Stephen Glenn (Balloon Cup, Spike, etc.) and Cory Young (Gravwell) about abstract games with Stephanie Straw as the co-host as Dylan was in Japan.

 

Episode 41 had us bring the twins, Spencer Reeve (Cool Mini or Not) and Travis R. Chance (Action Phase Games, designer of Heroes Wanted and Infamy), to talk about their latest kickstarter projects with Brittanie Boe (GameWire) as the co-host.

 

And, finally…catching us up…Episode 42 brought in Chris Kirkman (Dice Hate Me Games) and Phil duBarry (Phantasio Games, designer of Revolution, Eminent Domain: Battlecruisers, etc.) with guest host Nicole Hoye to chat about, well, design and publication in general.  Oh yeah, and that JR Honeycutt guy joined in 😀  (Oh, and we were on air the whole time!)

Whew!  Okay, so, now that we’re caught up, I promise to stay on top of this whole blog thing…and remember to check out the stuff from Origins on our Youtube page!

Episode 37 Origin Story

This was the episode in which we learned the secret origin of Chenier LaSalle an, unbeknownst to us, Canadian (!) diplomat (!) stationed in Houston, TX who is the designer behind one of the more noteworthy releases this year – New York 1901 from Blue Orange.  Noteworthy in it’s visual appeal (care of Vincent Dutrait, a standout illustrator from France), it’s clean design, but mostly because it’s the first real “big box” game from a publisher that’s made it’s mark with games in 3″ round tins (the ridiculously popular Spot It line).  It looks amazing and sounds like the play will match the illustration in quality, so it’s high on Daryl’s and my “to play” list – here’s hoping a demo will be available at Origins!  I’m hoping it’s like Big City (one of my all time favourites), but updated with other twists!

This was also Daryl’s “big return” episode to Canada.  But just in case he was still jetlagged (is that a word, even?) we had his clone, Jonathan Gilmour, drop on in.  You know, just in case.  Daryl made it despite his circadian rhythm being all kablooey and we had both stay despite the fact that it might have caused a rift in the space time continuum if the two hosted together.   We’re risk-takers like that.  Jon’s also an Origins vet, so we wanted him to school us in the ways of this particular con.

We also had Isaac Shalev (On Board Games) join us to teach us the ways of the Origins event – we learned where to eat, where to stay, what ribbons and tickets to buy (still have to do that!) and where to go at night from Isaac and Jon.

Also, this is the episode with no Aftershow.  Why not?  Because we just kept talking about Origins with Isaac and Jon and then Dylan jumped in; a few minutes too late to meet his Canadian “Spy” counterpart, but oh well.  It was still good to see the beard while he lasted.  He had just got off a 2-hour conference call with the video game design team and was pooched.

See you at Origins 2015!

Note:  If you’re at Origins, we’d love to meet with you – especially if you’re a show sponsor!  Find us on Twitter @meeplesyrup!

Episode 36 What’s the Magic Word?

Well, apparently, none of us said “please” to Google, because all night long, the feed failed us utterly and we, sadly, had to cut this one short.  But don’t worry!  We’ll bring Shari Spiro (Ad Magic/Breaking Games owner) and Peter Vaughan (Squirmy Beast) back in no time flat to discuss their products as publishers and designers.  Peter also kindly gave away a copy of his game What the Food?  (Ad Magic manufactured / Squirmy Beast published) to a lucky viewer via a Twitter competition we ran.

Congrats to Peter and Shari and especially designer Brad Brooks for winning the Mensa Select Award for Letter Tycoon, a game that looks amazing and I am sooooo looking forward to getting my word on with that one!

HUGE apologies for the choppy vid – thanks, Google!  We’ll have these guests back soon!

Episode 35 Taking it to the Next Level

Discussing asymmetry in design, balance, and their latest Kickstarter campaign for (the now well-overfunded) Millennium Blades, Brad Talton (Level 99 Games, a show sponsor!) joined us along with his social media / community manager (and game designer) JR Honeycutt.  Jessey Wright also joined is as a co-host who has designed fan expansions for Brad’s previous juggernaut, BattleCON.  A lot of interesting discussion ensued re: why community is a thing in boardgaming and why the community should be engaged, especially for games like the ones that Brad designs where massive amounts of playtesting and balancing are required to ensure that a good game remains unbroken by the introduction of new characters and abilities.  A lot of juicy material here, Meeps!

Episode 34 Together, We’re Better

As a therapist, I talk about this notion of interdependence and how together, we can accomplish far greater things than we could do alone.  And so, with the two guests we had on this week (I’m all caught up now!) we really tried to explore the dynamic between designer and publisher.

I’ve known Chris Chung for almost 3 years now, since he first showed me a battle card game at HammerCon many years ago.  It was funny, because I asked him if he had anything else and he almost begrudgingly showed me what was then called Flowers – a cool game about gardening or flower arranging or something where the coolest mechanic was that how you placed the tiles dictated what other people received.   We talked a lot about how to push into that mechanic.

Flash forward (see what I did there, Chris?) to 2015 and the game Lanterns:  The Harvest Festival has just won the Mensa Select Award.  Why is this important to this story?  Because Lanterns used to be Flowers!   Amazing how things like this happen.

But it couldn’t have happened with just Chris at the helm.  It took the belief and dedication from the initial publisher (and show sponsor), Foxtrot Games to get Lanterns to it’s final, evolved form.  Randy Hoyt (designer of Relic Expedition) saw the potential in the oddly-themed Flowers (then called Blossoms) and worked with Chris to make it into the award-winning game it is today.  Find out how right here:

And stick around for the aftershow where we perform some therapy on Randy’s stalled Relic Expeditions expansion and discuss all sorts of stuff!

Congrats to Chris and Randy (and you, too, Scott Gaeta of (another show sponsor) Renegade Game Studios – co-publisher of Lanterns and the guy who said, “Hey, let’s enter this in that Mensa thing!”) on the big win!  Sweet, sweet victory!

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Mensa Select Award Seal

Check out some of the other Mensa Select winners for 2015!

Episode 33 Bridging the Digital Divide

Okay, this is kind of one of my favourite episodes ever.

EVAR.

Dylan came home from GDC and would NOT STOP talking about a few of the keynote speakers for days.    For days, we had to listen to him blather on and on about this designer and that designer.  In particular, he talked about Erin Hoffman.  Erin is a noted author (the Chaos Knight series) and columnist (The Escapist) when she’s not designing video games on dedicate platforms and mobile platforms.  Now at GlassLabs, a non-profit educational software development company, Erin is focused on using video games in school.

Thus, we bravely crossed over into the digital realm from the comfort of our cardboard world and asked Erin onto the show.  Initially, it was just to stop Dylan from pouting.  Now, am I ever glad we did.  We also brought our cogent cakester, Suzanne Sheldon (Board Game Apps in 2 Mins), on to round out the panel to discuss games from the digital dimension as well.  Her ability to ask the most insightful questions never ceases to amaze us.

Erin basically drops knowledge bombs on us from the get go.  So, if you like to learn about why games are designed the way they are, just sit back and enjoy.  The dialog between Erin and Suz is serious popcorn material.

Erin and Suz also stuck around for the aftershow, where we find out that Erin loves our colleague’s game (Yves Tourigny‘s Blueprints from Z-man)!

Note to self:  Get Erin and Scott Nicholson on the show together in the future.  That will be AMAZING!

 

Episode 32 Industry Insiders 2

Sorry for the delay in updates on this page.  I got very sick for quite a long time and was able to do the shows, but apparently not keep up with this.  My apologies!

Here’s what happened:  Episode 32 had our fellow Canadians Sean Jacquemain and Adam Marostica join in the chat to talk about how you can use skills and passions you already have to find work within the boardgame industry.

Sean is the photojournalist who runs The Daily Worker Placement blog.  His sublime photography skills are also in demand in the biz as are his excellent teaching skills that were honed at Snakes and Lattes.  Sean has been asked to teach games at conventions for many a company, especially the European ones who can’t make the trip over to the major North American cons like GenCon.  And if Sean is a great teacher, Adam is amazing.  Adam also cut his teeth at Snakes in Toronto and is hailed by many (especially Daryl) as one of the best game teachers in the world.  That’s pretty high praise coming from Daryl!  Adam definitely has a flair for explaining and a way with words.  So much so, in fact, that he’s been recruited to do translation work for Z-Man / Filosophia.    Both Sean and Adam have basically parlayed their pre-existing skills plus their extreme love for games and winning personalities into part-time work.

How did this happen?  Well, you can hear more about their stories about how they found their own niches on the business side of the gaming table on this episode!

And they (for some strange reason) stick around for the aftershow with Dylan, Daryl and myself!

Episodes 30-31 and Special Interviews from the Gathering of Friends 2015

Howdy Meeps!

Lots to talk about, but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.  If that’s true, then a whole whack of videos from Alan R. Moon’s Gathering of Friends 2015 is surely worth a million words, at the very least!

Here’s our playlist of the precap, our live session at the conference, and special interview that took place there.  We’re still editing and uploading a few more and have some other special things scheduled that we lined up while at the Gathering, so stay tuned for more information on that!

Please note that our internet connection was intermittent at the hotel (they didn’t activate Daryl’s WiFi, for example) so we ended up getting more recorded content vs. live shows.  As we get better at this, we’ll stick closer to our Kickstarter Campaign promises.  We now know to book a room and ensure WiFi is enabled ASAP at Origins and GenCon.  And knowing, as they say, is half the battle!

So, without further ado, here’s our Gathering 2015 playing, including interviews with:

Chris Cieslik / Asmadi
Britta Stockman & Benjamin Pfob / Huch! & Friends
Vlaada Chvatil / CGE
Matt Leacock
Andreas Preiss / Zoch
Jani & Tero Moliis
Pitching to Mercury Games
Ted Alspach / Bezier Games

Plus our live show from the Gathering featuring:

Gil Hova / Formal Ferret Games
Dominic Crapuchettes, Satish Pillalamarri, Luke Warren / Northstar Games
Stephen Glenn
Evan Derrick
Al Leduc
Ed Bryan / Toy Vault, Inc.
Sean Brown / Mr. B Games
and Gil Hova again!
(+ a pop in from JR Honeycutt)

And soon to come:

Friedemann Friess / 2F

I’ll update this post as the other vids get added to this playlist.

Episode 29: Escape from New York

Scott Nicholson (Games With Scott, Going Going Gone!) drops the social science on our heads and turns our notion of games and play on it’s ear.    Here are some of the links Scott shared for those of you keeping score at home:

Go Analogue:  Matthew DuPlessie at TEDxBoston

A User-Centred Theoretical Framework for Meaningful Gamification

MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research

And then, later on…JR Honeycutt (Twirk) joins us in the Aftershow to teach us how to play his latest game, Unpub, that he co-designed with Doug Levandowski.

Episode 28: To The Death!

One of the Titans of Gaming, Mike Selinker (Pathfinder Adventure Card Game, Betrayal at House on the Hill), sat down with us along with Marcus Ross (Discount Salmon), the co-winner of the 2014 Table Top Death Match competition that Cards Against Humanity runs (that Mike, coincidently, helps judge annually).

Mike joined us  from the Mox Boarding House in the Pacific northwest to regale us with war stories from back in the day when he worked at Avalon Hill, Wizards of the Coast and other venerable companies while promising to horrify us with Apocrypha (the original incarnation of Pathfinder ACG) in the near future.  On the flipside, Marcus told us about how a neophyte designer (and librarian at Spielbound in Omaha, Nebraska) is finding his footing in the industry, working the convention floors in a home-made salmon suit to promote his games.  It was great to hear the passion that both of these designers, one a veteran of the biz and the other the new kid on the block, have for their products and the industry as a whole.

A special thanks goes out to our ex-patriated Aussie friend, Nicole Hoye for graciously agreeing to co-host in Dylan’s stead this week!  Great job!

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