Jason (GameGobble): There is luck involved with the type of spirits (workers) drawn from the respective bags, but each player gets to make decisions that manipulate which spirits go into that drawing pool. Please share your thoughts on how you wanted this mechanism to affect gameplay.
Dan (game designer): We wanted it to feel like a deckbuilder. We wanted players to really have to focus on refining and culling. We then decided to really embrace this feel and added the summoning bonuses to the game (originally these bonuses were more focused on how you built your Groves). We also loved the concept of sending spirits to other players realms to put them into their bags. There is a really neat dynamic built around how the bags are formed and we felt like we approached bag building in a really interesting way that had never been done before.
Jason (GameGobble): Some people describe your game as a light to mid-weight Euro. Do you think that description is accurate? What kind of gamer would you say Dinosaur Island is ideal for?
Jonathan (game designer): I do think it’s accurate, because it’s what we were aiming for! They are some of my favorite types of games to play as well! Dinosaur Island is great for groups who want a game that is easily approachable and learnable, but with a decent amount of depth. Also, people who love dinosaurs and puns.
Jason (GameGobble): Could you elaborate on the overall gaming experience you wanted players to have?
Curt (game designer): At its core, Cutthroat Caverns is a game about kill-stealing, a concept all too familiar for D&D fans. Everyone fights the monsters of the dungeons, but only the player who actually lands the killing blow claims any reward. So it forces players to jockey for position, trying to have their attack be the one to slay the creature, even if they have to trip another player or otherwise spoil someone else’s attack, so they themselves can claim all the glory. Cutthroat was one of the first true semi-coop games, admittedly one that leaned harder on non-cooperation and backstabbing, but tempered by the knowledge that if you didn’t work together, you had a very real chance of all dying and losing the game in a total player kill. Balancing the need to say alive, with the desire to win is the heart of the game.
Jason (GameGobble): Talk about the overall gaming experience you were trying to create when developing Hafid’s Grand Bazaar.
Mike (game designer): We wanted the loud bustle of an open air market where you are talking over everybody else, in an anything goes effort to make good deals. Like all of the games we design, I wanted the social component to factor heavily and I think we did well with that. Hafid’s Grand Bazaar is not a quiet game by any means. Even the choice of going with an icon based system on the cards created an artificial language barrier with players, which led to a hilarious in-game culture as players are trading and negotiating as fast as they can.
Jason (GameGobble): Raptor is a 2 player card-driven board game that has been praised for the gameplay, theme, and art. Can you share some background of how the initial ideas for the game led to the final product?
Bruno (game designer): I had this idea in mind for a long time without really knowing what to do with it. When Bruno Faidutti asked me to build a pure 2 player game with him, we discussed the idea further. We wanted special abilities strongly connected to a theme, and less emphasis on the mathematical aspect. We worked with Vincent Dutrait and asked for artwork to tell the story in the cards, as if we were watching a movie.
Jason (GameGobble): Talk about the overall gaming experience you were trying to create when designing Steam Works.
Alex (game designer): As soon as the game acquired the steampunk inventor theme, I wanted the players to really feel like inventors.
The creativity element comes in here: you get to imagine what kind of device would attract lots of visitors (or just be useful to yourself) in the current board state. Some players like to plan out an awesome combination of effects, carefully accumulating the pieces over several turns. Others like to just throw together whatever random tiles they get, and bolt another tile on there just to see what happens. A player once someone built a device whose effect was “draw 3 random tiles from the deck, build a device out of them, and immediately use it!”
The delight of putting together a zany combo, the feeling of having created something really cool – that’s the kind of experience I want players to have in this game.
Jason (GameGobble): I know when designing a game you like to start with theme, and The Witches board game is based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. Can you share some of the research you did to come up with your design ideas?
Martin (game designer): After making the decision to design what became Discworld Ankh-Morpork I read all of the Discworld books related to the city. Once that design was out of the way I made a start on all of the witch related books, including the Tiffany Aching series. It was the Tiffany series that gave me the best insight into the world of the witches, as the stories are all about becoming a witch, which is the most interesting part of the process.
Jason (GameGobble): While fans of The Expanse series will enjoy how well the theme is integrated into the game, participants don’t have to know the story to have a fantastic playing experience. What were some of the game development decisions that made this possible?
Geoff (game designer): Part of it was a consequence of direction set by the authors, who I spoke to early on about what they wanted in the game. They’re both gamers, so they had definite ideas for the board game, and one of them was that they didn’t want it scripted to match the story of the show. One of the original concepts was to have gating events, or chapters, that moved through the story, but they wanted a game where the initial situation was set up, but it was up to the players to create the narrative.
Jason (GameGobble): War of the Ring revolves around The Lord of the Rings story by J. R. R. Tolkien. What was your approach in developing a game whose theme has such a huge and loyal fan base?
Roberto (game designer): I must admit that I actually came to the design of this specific game as a fan before I was a game designer. As a fan, I was unhappy about The Lord of the Rings game available at the time. As a game designer, I jumped on the opportunity to create one myself (together with Francesco and Marco). All the designers had a very good knowledge of the source material, and we wanted to create something which was strongly thematic, first and foremost. I don’t think we could have achieved what we did if we were not big fans ourselves. We simply created the game we wanted to play.