Meeple Syrup Show

Designers Discussing Design

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Episode 27: Or Does Art Imitate Life?

This time around we hear from Argentinian graphic designer and game designer, Ariel Seoane, who’s game Grand Slam has recently been released in Korea, and Rob Lundy, a Canadian animator-turned-boardgame-artist .  We talk about live-streaming on Twitch, using a Cintiq vs. a Surface Pro, hidden Easter Eggs in artworkq, working with designers and publishers, and how graphic design differs from illustration.  We also get to see a fine ToyVault Cthulhu stuffy on screen.

Some really great stuff about how to get started in the industry, connecting with people in the business as an artist, and working on boardgames in both the wild west of Kickstarter and traditional publication streams.


Episode 26: Gimmicks & Hooks

& Adam P. McIver / J. Alex Kevern oh my!  We talk with two rising stars of the boardgame design world as well as developer and designer Ed Bryant, from ToyVault, about their thoughts on various gimmicks and hooks used to draw in boardgamers in this hypercompetitive market and the “Cult of the New”.  We discuss what has worked, what has failed, what the differences between the two are, and how to use them in design.

Adam posing in front of his artwork on Council of Verona (by Michael Eskue / published by Crash Games)

J. Alex Kevern smiles for the camera.

If a person that looks like this Skypes you, DON’T ANSWER!!!

Onto the episodes!


And then, there was the aftershow, in which we continued our conversation! Good times, good times.

Episode 25: It Takes Two

Being avid co-designers here at Meeple Syrup (Sen most notably with Jay Cormier and Daryl with Stephen Sauer), we thought it was high time to have an episode about how to do that.  So we brought in Matt Riddle and Ben Pinchback (co-designers of Fleet) and Aaron Weissblum and Norman Woods (co-designers of Spellcasters).  It was a great episode with a lot of good advice being shared on how to work in a team to create something bigger and better than you could create alone.  We got to ask Aaron a lot of questions based on his vast experience in the industry – he’s co-designed with some of the best, including Alan Moon, and the others even joined in picking this veteran’s brain in the aftershow.

Good times had by all!

Special Interview with Seth Jaffee

Designer of Eminent Domain andTerra Prime, Seth Jaffee’s typical role at the table is actually developing the games of OTHER designers to make them fit for publication by his employer, Tasty Minstrel Games.  Seth has worked his magic on such titles as Belfort and Kings of Air and Steam – all to varying degrees – and he shares his expertise and insight with us at Meeple Syrup Show.  In Part 1, Seth discusses development and rules writing.  Grab a pen and jot notes down, because this engineer-by-day, developer-by-night drops some game design science!

Stay tuned for Part 2 in which Seth and Sen talk more about the unsung heroes of the boardgame industry – the developers!

Until then, watch some more Meeple Syrup episodes or you can check out Seth’s blog – he posted the rules writing article he referred to in this video!

If you like what you see, please consider backing us on Kickstarter.  Every penny counts towards the Meeple Syrup Show bringing you more amazing content from behind the scenes of the boardgame design industry!


Here’s Part 2, as promised – Enjoy.

Episode 24: On Demand / In Demand

With all the designing going on, designers (both veterans and neophytes alike) are competing for the attention of publishers and crowdfunders.  What’s a designer to do?  Well, JT Smith (of The Game Crafter) and Andrew Tullson (of Print and Play Productions) hope that you use one of their highly acclaimed print-on-demand services to get your prototype to the table in a more eye-catching fashion.

Daryl, Sen and Bebo chat with the two about robots and (of course) game design.

And in the aftershow, JT sticks around, we award a prize and JT puts up another one – Thanks, broski!  Then, we’re joined by Ray Wehrs, CEO of Calliope Games, who jumped in live from the Mox Boardinghouse in Seattle, to tell us all about the upcoming Titans series – some pretty cool stuff in the works!  Check it out!


Special Interview with Ignacy Trzewiczek

Daryl sits down for an hour-long interview with Portal Game‘s head honcho, Ignacy Trzewiczek (Imperial Settlers, Robinson Crusoe).  Ignacy discusses his Kickstarted book, “Boardgames That Tell Stories”, the national treasure of Poland (a.k.a. “Witcher), and why all game designers need to marry a gamer.

Check out the video and let us know who you’d like us to do a one-on-one interview with next!

Episode 23: Around the Table (Plus Our Kickstarter Campaign!)

Aldie to the left of me, Eric to the right, here I am…Stuck in the middle with Suz.


That’s right, folks.  I just made a Steve Miller Band joke!  We had a great time on the main show and during the aftershow talking not only about the 1 millionth registrant on Scott Alden’s brainchild, BGG (they need to get added to this wiki), but also W. Eric Martin’s award-winning game, Body PartyBGG@Sea, BGG Fam, Nuremburg, and the New York Toy Fair.  We talk design as well, getting some great insight from two of the most active people in the community.

Body Party

And Suz, as usual, was cogent.

Like, totally cogent.

Oh yeah, and we launched our Kickstarter campaign to fund even MOAR stuffs for the Meeple Syrup Show!




Links to the vids (until I can figure out how to get these properly embedded again…seems to work only every other week…)

Meeple Syrup Episode 23: Around the Table

Meeple Syrup Episode 23 Aftershow

Episode 22: There’s an App for That!

This week, the Meeple Syrup crew invited one of our most vocal supporters, Suzanne Sheldon – the app reviewer for Board Game Breakfast, and the man behind Level 99 Games, Brad Talton Jr. (BattleCON, Pixel Tactics) to talk apps, specifically boardgame apps.  Whether they are direct ports of apps, apps that are companions to boardgames, or ports of apps to the tabletop format, we talk about them all!  Brad also gives us the run down on his next project that will hit Kickstarter in a few months – Millenium Blades!

Check out the shows below and definitely subscribe to our channel !

A wee pic of Suz.


And a really big (in comparison) pic of Brad!


Episode 21: Another Kick at the Can

Originally intended to have Steve Tassie (B-Movie Game Games/Z-man), he was not available due to technical difficulties, but we were able to have Darrell Louder (Compounded/Dice Hate Me Games) and T.C. Petty III (VivaJava/Dice Hate Me Games) on the show in the final days prior to one of the biggest prototype playtesting game events  of the year – UnPub 5!  Darrell is the current head honcho behind the UnPub organization and T.C. is his right hand man.  We talked about how to organize an UnPub event, how to deal with playtesting and feedback, and future projects from both of these designers.  For all the technical difficulties, it was a super show!  Best wishes at UnPub this weekend!

Darrell Louder, looking pensive.

T.C. and Darrell playing Fleet at Prezcon!



Episode 20: Tipping the Scales

Some of the heavyweights of game design, hailing from parts unknown, stepped into the ring to face off about scaling games for different player counts.  In the red corner, we had artist and designer Evan Derrick, who’s signature move is his PnP sensation, Dark Moon (the game formerly known as “BSG Express”) forthcoming from Stronghold games.  And in the blue corner, we had designer and publisher Ted Alspach (Bézier Games), who’s dreaded arsenal of finishing moves has been expanded to included the dangerous 5-player expansion for Suburbia, Suburbia 5-Star!

Don’t let the smile fool ya, once he gets his mitts on ya, you’re getting suplexed!

This is as close to a picture of Evan as we could find. Just wait til April, Evan…


We had a really fun and informative time, chatting with these guys and wrestling with all the issues that arise when trying to create a game that scales well from solo play up to a large number of players.  We talked Werewolf.  We talked dice.  We even talked Evan into making a game that ONLY plays with 5 players.

Meeple Syrup Episode 20:  Tipping the Scales

Meeple Syrup Episode 20:  Aftershow


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