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): 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): Apotheca is an abstract game, with most of the information available to all players. The exceptions are facedown potions, which are only known to the player that drew them from the restock action. Talk about how deduction factors into game strategy.
Andrew (game designer): In Apotheca, players use the restock action to place facedown potions in key positions on the board. These potions are later used to make 3-in-a-row matches once turned face-up, leading you to win the game. As such, deducing this information is crucial! Players must pay attention to their opponents’ apothecary powers to figure out what may be set up for the future, or what they may be bluffing about. This allows the player to counter effectively, enabling double-think mind games in the style of “do they know that I know they know?” If a player doesn’t actively try to deduce what her opponent has placed, she is doomed!
Jason (GameGobble): Manifest’s gameplay involves the ability to plan but also deal with unforeseen events. How would you describe the balance you wanted between strategy and luck?
Amanda (game designer): We wanted to give people enough flexibility and tools to deal with situations that arise in the game, whilst also allowing players that enjoy having grand plans to be able to focus on them and have a shot at completing them. Hence the variety of different Action Cards in Manifest, many of which you can combo with others to increase the effectiveness of your turns.
Jason (GameGobble): What kind of experience are you hoping players have after a game of Element?
Mike (game designer): Hopefully a good one! Honestly, we want people to find in Element a game they will be playing twenty years from now, a new classic if you will. More often than not people will play several games in a row since they are relatively short and games play very differently each time. Some games have players dodging large moving rivers because of the amount of water on the board, others have the players dealing with ever spreading fires more than anything else. Earth can create a frantic, claustrophobic game, and capricious winds require a lot of thinking ahead to guarantee capture. Each experience is unique, and the toolkit style allows for ever evolving tactics.
Jason (GameGobble): The game 7 Wonders came out in 2010. 7 Wonders Duel followed 5 years later, and while related, is considered a stand alone game. What are the best elements of 7 Wonders that are present in 7 Wonders Duel?
Bruno (game designer): First, i have to remind readers that 7 Wonders is a game designed by Antoine Bauza, alone. This game was a huge, huge success, winning the prestigious Spiel des Jahres Connoisseur-gamer Game of the Year. It’s playable from 3 to 7 players, including a variant for 2 players. But Antoine was never happy with this variant. It works but didn’t give the game experience he wanted. So he decided to develop a pure 2 player game, and he invited me to work with him on that project.
Our target was to capture the flavor of the basic 7 Wonders but in a 2 player game. All the basic elements of the initial game are included in 7 Wonders Duel, but specifically adapted to a 2 player fight.