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#42 – Christina Scamporrino

Patrick Rauland: Hello everyone and welcome to Indie Board Game Designers podcast, where I sit down with a different independent game designer every single week and we talk about their experience in game design and the lessons they’ve learned to get where they are today. My name is Patrick Rauland and today I’m going to be talking with Christina Scamporrino who is the designer behind Money Buns, which sounds … just has like a lovely … it just rolls off the tongue. It’s on Kickstarter right now as we’re recording. And it will probably finish when this episode comes out. Christina, welcome to the show.

Christina Scamporrino: Thank you so much Patrick, it’s nice to be here.

Introduction

Patrick Rauland: Yay. So I like to start my show with a little game just to … because I read up on you and I know a little bit about you, but the audience doesn’t. So, I would love to … so, I’m gonna ask you three quick questions. If I met you at a convention, what is a game you’d play with me every single time?

Christina Scamporrino: That is a tough one. But I would probably say Hanabi because, A, I always feel like an old time-y person playing parlor games, you know one of those ones you stick the card to your forehead. So I really like that it’s a super unique game in the mechanic sense. But also it gives you a super great idea of just people’s philosophy, how much wiggle room they’re gonna give themselves and their co-cooperators on a cooperative game.

Patrick Rauland: Yes.

Christina Scamporrino: I mean, in the purest sense of the game you shouldn’t be talking conversationally at all if you want an untarnished victory. But I think you get good strategy [inaudible 00:01:39] in there when you cheat a little bit. And then you can just argue at the end of the game how legitimate your victory was, based on whatever subtle information you might’ve given away.

Patrick Rauland: I’ve had some funny games of Hanabi where I’d say my regular gaming group were pretty strict. But we also know how to play it. And with some more casual gamers, they’re like, “You have one blue card and two blue cards.” Like they talk really loudly ’cause they want you to play that one. It’s like, “You can’t do that.”

Christina Scamporrino: Yeah.

Patrick Rauland: They’re very … not subtle at all. But I think that’s Hanabi, right?

Christina Scamporrino: Yeah.

Patrick Rauland: Cool. Quick question on Hanabi, have you played, there’s like a deluxe version where they replace the cards with these like … they’re kind of like dominoes, but thick domino tiles?

Christina Scamporrino: No. What? That sounds awesome.

Patrick Rauland: So cool. [crosstalk 00:02:28] yeah. It’s very cool. I like it because if you ever wanted to go, I don’t know, like on a picnic or something, you didn’t wanna get your cards dirty or something, they’re just tiles. You could wash them in the sink if you ever had to. So, there’s like a deluxe version that’s like twice as expensive but I kinda want it.

Christina Scamporrino: Oh yeah.

Patrick Rauland: Okay. I got lost in Hanabi. If you could only eat one pastry for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Christina Scamporrino: Oh. I mean, I never … variety is the spice of life. But I feel like this question I would’ve answered differently until the donut shop that we have down the street just opened, called Sidecar Doughnuts. And their whole thing is being the world’s freshest doughnuts. And once you’ve had an apple fritter, that’s like less than 30 seconds old, you will never go back. So, yeah. Doughnuts is my answer two.

Patrick Rauland: Amazing.

Christina Scamporrino: [inaudible 00:03:17].

Patrick Rauland: Oh I love that. And your favorite activity in summer, let’s say.

Christina Scamporrino: Hitting up the beach is for sure my favorite activity in summer. I live in Santa Monica. In fact, before I launched this Kickstarter, all of my social media profiles, the description about me was that I am a Santa Monica based artists who believes passionately that it should be summer all year long and the reason for that is because I just love all of the summery beach-y activities.

Patrick Rauland: Love it.

Christina Scamporrino: I try to make it into the beach at least once a day, in the morning for exercise …

Patrick Rauland: Oh my god.

Christina Scamporrino: … and to pay my respects.

How Did You Get Into Board Games & Board Game Design?

Patrick Rauland: Once a day? That is amazing. I live in the mountains and I see the beach several times a year, so we have very different habits I guess there. So let’s talk about board games. How did you get into board games and board game design?

Christina Scamporrino: So as a kid I would sit out on my living room floor with a game of Sorry! all the way set up any day that I knew there was a chance that my parents were gonna have some company over, or my aunt and uncle would be here. So I was just like, “I’m prepared, I’m ready to play.” I would rope anybody into games. So, I don’t think that’s an unusual game to get into board games but definitely family was a big part of that. My grandma used to joke that I would play sick as a kid because I knew that if I was staying home sick that meant she would come over to babysit, which meant we would play games. And I don’t think that she was wrong about that so, definitely a treasured memory. I mean, every holiday in my household like … it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving if we didn’t clean up after the meal and take the whole tablecloth off, that way we had a clean table to play Spoons or another light ruckus party game.

Christina Scamporrino: My family get pretty into it, which I really enjoyed. And it’s been a way for me to really connect with people. In college I was especially socially anxious and shy and finding some groups that played board games allowed me to connect with those people. And I think it’s ultimately those connections that got me interested in saying like, “Hey, I’d love to be a bigger part of this industry and the people that are putting games out into the world.”

Patrick Rauland: Oh I love that. You know it’s funny you bring up Spoons, that for me is one of my games that I played a lot in my childhood where you can get anyone to play Spoons, you know what I mean? Like it’s so simple you can get your parents, I got … like my grandparents can play Spoons. We had some great memories and times playing that. And I think we might go into this a little bit later, but it’s so nice to have those games that, yeah, I guess you can play with the whole family, right?

Christina Scamporrino: Yeah. And that aren’t intimidating, but do really even focused on a lot of that player interaction where it’s not just you having a really great time, optimizing something, which I also love, but having everybody really having some great stories coming out of those games too.

How Did You Create Money Buns?

Patrick Rauland: So, let’s talk about your design process. I would love to know, you know, how did Money Buns get to where it is today? Like, how did you make it? How long have you been making it? How much time have you put in? That sort of thing.

Christina Scamporrino: Well, I’ve been talking about making it for much, much, much longer than I have actually been doing anything about making it. But the doing has also been quite a while. Over a year, for sure doing … Money Buns has been a little bit of a one woman show, at least as far as all of the parts of Money Buns that you can see with your eyeballs. In some ways I’m like, “That was great, I had a lot of control over doing both the graphic design and the illustration and the branding.” I had flexibility for those different elements to speak to each other. But on the other hand, oh boy, it is a lot of work and I’m not sure if I would ever do it all alone again. Not to say that my husband, Pierre, hasn’t been a huge help in the design process. He’s taken on a lot of the nitty grittier business side of things for this, which is incredibly helpful.

Christina Scamporrino: But I definitely come from the design process with a background in visual design, which has been a little bit tricky in joining the board game community and talking about design. Because if you just use that word, in the industry that I come from and the people that I’m used to talking to, people immediately think either graphic design or even user experience design, things I’m really familiar with. But when you’re talking about board games, that click means mechanic design, which is not necessarily my area of expertise though I’m passionate about games and huge fans of people who come up with incredibly creative mechanics. But what I’m bringing specifically that’s special for Money Buns is a design eye that I think is trying to speak to an audience that games out there right now don’t speak to a ton, in my opinion.

Christina Scamporrino: And then also, coming at it from a user experience eye as well. So, how is this super easy to learn? What do we know about this audience that maybe only plays Spoons and UNO. Like, what context of game rules do they already know that we can kind of use as a leg up to get them started quicker on this game? So, my goal has always been to specifically bring new people to the board game hobby with this game. Because I feel like there are a lot of people who would love a little bit more strategic of games, but that don’t necessarily feel like those are accessible to them. They may be a little bit intimidated or they’re not quite lured in by the look and feel of those games. So, I just wanna be a part of helping, you know, broadening the audience for games.

Patrick Rauland: So it’s interesting you have a background in visual design, ’cause I used to work at an advertising agency and I did a lot of … I did a little bit with design. I was always the web guy, so I came more from a web experience side. But there’s so much design even in just building a website that I learned so much about design and contrast and having similar things close together and just all these design principles that are super useful but we don’t … it doesn’t seem like we talk about them much in the board game world, which is surprising for me, right? Like we don’t … I guess it seems like-

Christina Scamporrino: Yeah I think …

Patrick Rauland: Yeah, go ahead.

Christina Scamporrino: … user experience design and graphic design are some of the smallest pockets in the board game community. I’m still really new, so I’m loving learning about this community and getting to know people. But, from what I have seen, there are huge pockets of mechanics designers, there’s huge pockets of illustrators and artists, even branding I feel like there’s a strong foothold now, but that little piece of the puzzle of graphic design and user experience design is much smaller. And finding people to be able to do that and add that to whatever game an indie developer might be putting together is tough. And I think that puts their game at a little bit of a disadvantage. Because then it is harder for people to play, which I think hasn’t been solved so far because it doesn’t pose an obstacle to somebody who is really deep into the board game community, who plays a ton of games.

Christina Scamporrino: They’re gonna get it anyways, ’cause they’re really familiar with a lot of the different formats. Or they’re so passionate that they’re gonna put in the leg work to figure it out anyways, even if it’s a little visually confusing. But I think that we can really elevate a lot of people’s work by putting in that little bit of extra graphic design or user experience thought to say like, “Oh [inaudible 00:11:07] together, then you can just tell at a glance what this card means.”

What Obvious Design Elements Are Board Games Missing?

Patrick Rauland: So maybe for someone who’s listening, who doesn’t have background in either web, like myself, or design, like you, what is something that they could look into or research or read about or … yeah, just look into to make their games better? Like what is something obvious that you see is missing in a lot of games?

Christina Scamporrino: Oh, well, to answer the first part of your question as far as like what resource I would direct people to, other than of course just fiddling around yourself, I think that’s super helpful, but I highly recommend the book, The Design of Everyday Things, by Don Norman. It’s this book from quite a while ago now, but just talking about the design of physical objects and all of the humans that had to make decisions to inform like why a pitcher has a handle and why the handle is that size. And once you see all of the decisions that went into things that felt obvious to you before you started thinking about it, like, “Oh, why does a light switch look the way that it does and works the way that it does? Oh it’s because our hands are a certain size and people are a certain height and that’s how we mount it on the wall.”

Christina Scamporrino: So just giving yourself that perspective. The book is also really light, it’s fun to read, it’s pretty entertaining on its own. So it’s definitely not like you’re having to put yourself through design school, but I think, to answer the second part of your question, what’s missing in some games out there right now or that I feel like could be bolstered up in a lot of games is just that eye for, you called it out earlier, like grouping information or even making information visually similar. Just knowing how your typography and layout not only communicates your theme, which is important too, but also communicates the structure and the mechanics that you’re trying to get your players to buy into.

Patrick Rauland: I just wanna pause you for a second on The Design of Everyday things. There’s a … I forget if this is in the book or if this is just an example of someone referencing the book, but there’s these things called Norman doors, based on the guy who wrote the book, which are those doors that have … they have the pull handle, but they’re actually like a push. But because it’s so unintuitive to grab a handle and then push, whereas we grab a handle, you’re supposed to pull it, it’s just funny like how many doors … like that’ such a simple thing. Like, “If you want to push me, you put a piece of metal and we push. If you wanna pull me, you put a handle and you pull it.” And I love that example of … ’cause we experience it almost everyday. There’s some restaurant that has weird door handles and you pull instead of push or whatever, I just … that example has always stuck with me.

Christina Scamporrino: I love it. Because the solution is, oh if you don’t put a handle, if you just put a piece of metal, now you physically can’t pull it. So you’re kind of designing so that it’s not even a thought. Your audience, whoever you’re trying to get to work with you, doesn’t even have to think about it. It’s just obvious what the next step is.

Patrick Rauland: I think the other thing I just wanna point out about the doors is like, one of my favorite solutions is people are like, “Well I like the handles, so I’m just gonna say, ‘Push,’ above the handle.” It’s like, no one … even if you write word, “Push,” and on the other side you write the word, “Pull,” like there’s always some fraction of the audience that will not read and get it wrong, right? So if you don’t make it 100% intuitive, like with the panel, then even if you make it super clear in the rules, someone’s gonna get it wrong and play your game wrong. So, cool …

Christina Scamporrino: One of my favorite …

Patrick Rauland: Yeah?

Christina Scamporrino: One of my favorite quotes from a product designer is,

“If your product requires an instruction manual, it is inherently broken.”

Patrick Rauland: Oh, yeah.

Christina Scamporrino: And I feel like that’s what speaks to writing, “Push,” above the door. Like, yes in a game you’re need to explain the rules, but if when you start playing you can’t remember what things are supposed to do because they aren’t designed in a way that feels obvious or natural for what they do, and then in that way you get a broken experience.

Who Created the Time Lapses of the Art?

Patrick Rauland: Love it. Alright. So, let’s get get down a little bit. So, I wanna talk about art. So on the Kickstarter page there’s a really cool … I love time lapses, like there’s a very cool time lapse of someone drawing the art for the game. And you sort of see these pastries being created like one layer at a time. Is that … I think, is that you that did that or is that someone else?

Christina Scamporrino: That is 100% me. When I say, “One woman show,” I mean everything you see as far as the visuals …

Patrick Rauland: Wow.

Christina Scamporrino: … so, that was going through … I worked on the iPad Pro. I’d just gotten the new Apple Pencil. And I was like, “What am I gonna do with this?” And I’m like, “Oh this’ll be good motivation to get some art for my game.” And what’s really nice is that approach, right? Just automatically takes a time lapse of …

Patrick Rauland: What?

Christina Scamporrino: … the art drawing process, so …

Patrick Rauland: What?

Christina Scamporrino: … that was already set up. So I hadn’t even planned the first one but I watched it back and I was like, “That’s really satisfying.” And a lot of my art on the side, like my Instagram is basically based around oddly satisfying hand lettering videos. So I was like, “Oh this’ll be great for that audience.” And it actually was a huge leg up in promoting and talking about the game. Because I had been posting these time lapses of the art coming together …

Patrick Rauland: Wow.

Christina Scamporrino: … in the year and month leading up to the game. And then once I was able to announce the game, everyone really felt like they had been a part of seeing it come together.

Patrick Rauland: Okay, so I was literally gonna ask you as a followup like, how did you record it? Did you have to redraw one? Like once you’ve created the art you went back and fake re did one to record it? But it just automatically does it?

Christina Scamporrino: It does. it records you while you’re going. it messes up a little bit if you delete layers. So some of them I sadly only have half of the time lapse. But yeah, it’s painless, which is really lovely. ‘Cause sometimes too, in art, you will go back and do pretend in progress shots just to be like, “Look at my process. Like I wasn’t able to capture it in the moment because I was focused on working. But here’s what it looked like when I did go through it and here’s my redone pencil sketch.”

Patrick Rauland: Cool. How long did those take you? So, obviously the time lapse is like 30 seconds or 45 seconds or something. How long did those take you in real life?

Christina Scamporrino: As far as the actual painting, I would say it was just a couple of hours. But each of them had a lot of research time into, A, picking what the baked good should be itself, but also doing a lot of research into like, “Okay, what are different versions of this look like? What’s the most prototypical version? So that we can really have it be iconic for the card.” So that was a lot more of the time investment, surprisingly. I actually come from a fine art background because my art direction and design background. And photo realistic is definitely my jam, so.

How Did You Pick Your Theme?

Patrick Rauland: Very cool. So on your Kickstarter page you also talked about … I mean I think sort of the inspiration for the game, you talked about how a lot of games are pirate or zombie games and like did you specifically … I guess maybe tell us why you picked the theme you did and was it … ? ‘Cause there are other food games, right? Is it just more accessible? Like why’d you pick that them? And what do you think about the themes out there?

Christina Scamporrino: Yes. So I agree there are other food games out there. I think a lot of them skew a little … even more on the light side, party side, than the strategic side. So, what really kicked my butt into gear on turning this from an idea that I was talking about all the time to an idea that I was actually working on was hanging out with a group of friends and … who weren’t board gamers at all. And I had some games in my game closet that I was like, “Oh my gosh, these guys would love it. It’s super easy to learn,” or like, “They’re committed enough, they’ll take the little extra time to learn it.” A little bit more strategic than what we would normally play as a super light party game. But when they were like, saw the boxes or the titles they’re like, “Oh it’s like a pirate game?” Or like, “Oh, knights in shining armor, great.”

Christina Scamporrino: And it just wasn’t able to sell through with the enthusiasm. ‘Cause even if you bring those games out, at a game night, if you didn’t have people’s buy in at the beginning, they’re kind of off board even through the whole play through, which is unfortunate. And it kind of broke my heart, because I was like, “Man, this highlights to me that there are probably a lot of people out there that would really love a little bit deeper of a game but don’t have one that speaks to their heart,” and like it’d be on the shelf and they’re like, “Yes, I wanna do that.” So that was my goal. I didn’t have specific theme in mind when I had that idea for what I wanted the game to be and to function and do. It came down to, Patrick, just … that’s what I can draw. I was like, “I could have this game with this theme that’s the most strategic for my vision and help out there,” then I was like, “Man, but then I’ve gotta either enlist some friends who are illustrators or hire another artist.”

Christina Scamporrino: I’m like, “You know what? If I do that, the game is not gonna get made.” So there were a lot of decisions in this process that were super strategic and really thought out and really planned. And then there were several decisions in this process that were like, “You know what? If it’s a decision between the perfect choice and the choice that’s gonna ultimately get this across the finish line, you know what? I’d rather have an imperfect game that I’m able to get out there for the first time, than something that’s perfect but forever unfinished.”

Patrick Rauland: Yeah. There’s … one of my favorite quotes is like, “Perfect is the enemy of good.” And it seems like you’re doing a good job of like, “I will just get this out there, as opposed to trying to find the perfect theme or the perfect illustrator for this crazy theme.” So that’s a job well done. What I wanna say … I guess I was thinking about, we were actually talking about Spoons earlier, right? And I’m thinking of like games that I can get my whole family to play. There’s Spoons, there’s Canasta, which is a card game, you play with regular, I think, two decks of cards.

Christina Scamporrino: Yes, my grandma loves Canasta.

Patrick Rauland: Yeah, my grandparents love it. Skip-Bo even, and I was just thinking that these are the …

Christina Scamporrino: Oh, my other grandma loves Skip-Bo.

Some of the Most Popular Games are Theme-less – Do You Think That’s Important?

Patrick Rauland: Oh great. Well do we have the … ? I was gonna say, “Do we have the same grandparents?” That’s a weird statement to make. Oh god, I lost my trian of thought. I guess, here’s my question for you, it seems like we were both kind of … at the beginning of this conversation like, “Oh, Spoons is a great … How do we get other games like Spoons out there?” And I was just thinking that they’re all very theme-less. Like, why do you … I guess, maybe, why do you think that is? Do you think maybe themes turn people off more than they turn people on, so you can’t have a game that appeals to everyone if it has a theme? Or what … ? Yeah, I guess, do you have any thoughts on that?

Christina Scamporrino: Oh, that is really interesting. I was thinking about that earlier today actually, that a lot of … sort of the popular, more open games are like very abstract. Like it’ll be based … I think it was called Set, it was a game I played a while back that was just like matching different patterns and shapes. And that felt like it had a really wide appeal. I think word games are … like they’re word themed but they feel very theme-less ’cause you’re not getting into any sort of imagination or fantasy world. So I think you have a good point there that, to some extent, not having a theme helps keep it broad and helps not turn off people that maybe have a stereotypical view of board games that it’s like, “Oh it’s for those fantasy geeks,” which, A, it’s becoming way more mainstream. But I think, yeah, that’s …

Patrick Rauland: Cool.

Christina Scamporrino: … that’s an interesting one.

How Did You Research Your Game?

Patrick Rauland: So I’d love to … what kind of research did you do before you got started? How many hours … yeah, how many hours of research did you do before you got started? And also during the design process. Like, did you … this is gonna sound ridiculous, did you go to a bunch of bakeries and try their different pastries or anything like that?

Christina Scamporrino: I mean, surprisingly enough that was a little bit of my strategy. So, when I was making this game and figuring out the visual design and the branding for it, I was like, “I specifically don’t want a board game that looks like a board game. I want a board game that looks like a bakery or like a box of doughnuts.” So I did look at some of my favorite bakeries and sweet shops in LA, so like Bottega Loui, Lolli and Pops, that all have this beautiful interiors for their shops. So I took lots of pictures in there. They have wonderful packaging for their little macaroons or their chocolate bars. What I took as pretty direct inspiration there is they both have this awesome spectrum of chalky colors that I just, I was like, “It’s so nice, it feels cheerful without feeling overly young,” which I feel like having a lot of different colors can make a game feel … and the chalkiness also made it feel a little premium.

Christina Scamporrino: And I think too, looking at those specifically bakery brands, helped me reemphasize to myself that I wanted everything to have a pretty minimal look and feel to it. Both to be super approachable to people, so they didn’t feel overwhelmed, like the game would be complicated, but in addition to have that premium feel. That’s one of those counter intuitive things in design where the things you don’t include are almost more important than the things you do include.

Any Tips for Creating a Food Based Game?

Patrick Rauland: Love it. So I skipped a question, I realized. I’m designing a food game. Are there any tips on marketing or preparing or making a food related game? I’m selfishly asking for me and maybe five percent of the audience.

Christina Scamporrino: Yes, by all means. Well I think this one will apply to a broader group. I don’t know if I have particular insight, but the best piece of advice that I received was that you can find an entire audience just around your theme. So I think that’s a little bit of an argument for having a theme. The example I was given was a guy who had a cat themed board game who just crushed it selling his game at cat conventions. Because …

Patrick Rauland: Oh, that’s great.

Christina Scamporrino: … you have a bunch of people who are really enthusiastic about the thematic element and you’re gonna stand out from the crowd because everyone there is selling cat collars, cat toys, things that are really directly related to the cats. But if you come in with a board game you’re standing out and being really different from what everyone else there is hawking as their wares.

Patrick Rauland: I love it. I love it. So it gives you another angle or audience that you can … instead of focusing on board gamers, you can focus on whatever your food is about. Cool, I like that.

Christina Scamporrino: Yeah, and I like that for my game as well just because it really is big for me to reach, not just the people who already have 100 games in their closet, not that those guys aren’t awesome, but I do want to be able to hopefully introduce some people who maybe haven’t considered board games in the past.

Patrick Rauland: I was gonna ask if you had taken a look in my closet, ’cause I’m getting close to that number.

Christina Scamporrino: Yeah, my shelves are buckling from the number of board games we have on them.

Patrick Rauland: So I would love to … one of my favorite questions is, what … so you kind of mentioned the book recommendation earlier, Design of Everyday things, by Norman something, what other one resource would you recommend to an indie game designer, an aspiring game designer? Book, blog, podcast … let’s say not a podcast.

Christina Scamporrino: This podcast exclusively. And then I would say to go out and look for some visual inspiration on places like behance.net, where you’ll find not just illustrators, which are great assets to your game, but you can find some people with really great expertise in graphic design. And even if you’re not hiring them specifically, just being able to see the projects they put out there I think is incredibly inspirational and helpful in thinking about how you structure the designing your own game.

Patrick Rauland: So, can you just tell me a little … ? so I just pulled it up, just now, Behance. Is this almost like a portfolio website? What am I looking at?

Christina Scamporrino: Yes. It’s a portfolio website that has, I think more and more, a social media aspect to it where people will connect on the site, appreciate, give likes to each other’s projects. And you can see things catching fire. I definitely rely on it for a lot of inspiration in my projects. And also just keeping up to date with what cool things people are doing in graphic design and seeing what the latest trends are. So you get a good pulse on the graphic design industry.

Patrick Rauland: Is this something that … ? So in addition to looking at it and maybe commenting or whatever, is this something where you could also … ? ‘Cause I’m actually really … I love the graphic design of my own game. Is that something where I can post like updates? Is it like a work in progress thing? Or is it more like, “this is a finished … ?” I mean, you said portfolio so it’s more like, “This is a finished product and I’m really happy with how it turned out?”

Christina Scamporrino: Yeah, so they started off as a portfolio site. But they added recently, they’re pushing, like every social media platform is pushing right now, like a Stories feature, which they are calling their Work in Progress. So you get a lot of visibility there, in being able to post your work in progress to this part of the platform that they really want to help succeed. But as far as places that are great for in progress feedback on things like design, Dribbble, with I think three Bs, is the way to go. Which is also a bit of a portfolio site, but much more angled towards works in progress and getting feedback from the community. And you’ll have a higher percentage too of user experience designers, which I think is a plus in designing games where you’re trying to communicate things visually.

What Does Success Look Like?

Patrick Rauland: Gosh, I haven’t been on Dribbble in like five years, this is … I’m happy it’s still around and people still use it. That is awesome. Very cool. I’ll have to check out both of these. And I will, I don’t know where, but I’ll have to start … ‘Cause I love sharing my work in progress with the board game community but I think there are some like, “These components fit very nicely on this card and they were designed that way on purpose.” Like I’d like to share some of that with the non game design community as well. So, I’ll definitely have to look into these. So, thank you fro reminding me. Some of the questions that I just like to ask everyone is, I mean, what does success look like to you? Is it getting the Kickstarter funded? Is it doing this full-time? Is it getting your family to play the game one time? Like, what does it look like to you?

Christina Scamporrino: Man, I think I have a pretty different definition of success compared to a lot of other people I see in the industry. I just want to reach some new people with the theme. So the reason we’re Kickstarting is because the core idea of the game is that it has to have this beautiful, premium feel in order to achieve what I want for the game and reaching out to an audience that prefers a more premium aesthetic. And to do that we’d have to run a minimum run, which is gonna cost a minimum amount. And so that’s why we’re going the route of Kickstarter. But my husband asked me, he’s like, “Well what are your plans after? Do you want a second printing? Do you wanna get it?” I was like, “I don’t … I can’t think that far into the future.” I just wanna get it out there and hopefully brighten some people’s days and hopefully introduce some new people to the hobby.

I just wanna get it out there and hopefully brighten some people’s days and hopefully introduce some new people to the hobby.

Patrick Rauland: Love it. So, I think one of the questions that’s going through my brain right now is, what would would inspire … what metric would you have to hit? Or what event would have to happen that you would want to either, A, make a second printing or, B, make another game? Does that make sense? Like what would inspire you so much to do it again?

Christina Scamporrino: I mean, it’s so much work but it’s also been the most fulfilling in motivational work. I’ve not once felt like I didn’t want to spend my whole weekend on it, even though by the end of it I’m like, “Wow, I just, I worked the whole weekend.” And maybe that’s a little less fair to the friends and family that are around me. So, I think, to do another game I would need like a breath in between to maintain those relationships. That’s a really important part of …

Patrick Rauland: To play the games with.

Christina Scamporrino: … yeah, exactly. But I think if, as long as I feel like I have a mission behind it, I feel like I’ll always keep chipping at it in some way or another.

Overrated Underrated

Patrick Rauland: Okay. Love that answer. Love it. Alright, so I wanna start wrapping things up. So, I love … I have a game that I love at the end of the show called Overrated Underrated, have you heard about it by any chance?

Christina Scamporrino: Yes.

Patrick Rauland: Oh. Can I ask … ? Did you either, A, listen to this podcast before, or did you listen to a different podcast that had it?

Christina Scamporrino: I listened to this podcast that had it.

Patrick Rauland: I’ve waited … so I have installed that stupid sound effect for months. And I’ve been waiting for someone to say, “I listen to this podcast,” and you were the first person where I got to press the stupid air horn button and I’m so excited. Although I think I need to turn the effects of that up. Don’t you think? It was like a little quiet for an air horn.

Christina Scamporrino: Yeah, right? I need to be floored.

Patrick Rauland: That was like a mini air horn, yeah. Cool. So basically, if you’re a listener and you haven’t heard this before, I’m gonna force you to take a position on a certain topic, like a word or phrase. So first phrase, food theme games, do you think they are overrated or underrated?

Christina Scamporrino: I think inside the gaming community they are underrated. I don’t think they get the respect they might deserve. But outside the gaming community maybe overrated. People love themselves some sweets. But I feel like that’s my strategy, right? If you’re gonna get into a category, get one that people overrate.

Patrick Rauland: Nice. So, okay. So, I am … let’s see, I’m fuzzy on the distinct areas of California. You’re in Santa Monica, just south of LA, right? That’s southern California, correct?

Christina Scamporrino: Yeah.

Patrick Rauland: Perfect, alright. So, northern California, which is like San Francisco and places up there, what do you think, overrated or underrated?

Christina Scamporrino: I think underrated. I’m actually from northern California, San Jose area. Love it up there. The only reason I came down to southern California was to go to school. And then I met my husband. And then really I fell in love with the beach over here in Santa Monica. Northern California doesn’t quite have the same level of accessible beaches, but they do have beautiful cliff … you just gotta climb down a cliff to get to the beaches there. So, gorgeous but I couldn’t do it every day like I do it here.

Patrick Rauland: There is some rivalry there, between northern California and southern California?

Christina Scamporrino: There is. But I only every hear about it in southern California. So, the northern Californians are like, “Yeah, whatever. It’s all chill.” So I feel like that puts LA and SoCal in a bad position, that they’re only ones up in arms over the rivalry. Other than maybe sports. Definitely some good north-south sports rivalries.

Patrick Rauland: Alright. What about games that have like app assisted games, they have some sort of app making the game better?

Christina Scamporrino: I’m not sure that I know too many examples of this. But the one that pops into my mind I absolutely hate, which is the Monopoly that came out. I think one of the first digitally integrated game, that had this all-seeing tower that would credit and discredit your account. And you have like a credit card instead of paper money. And I’m like, “Man, Monopoly, you took the one super joyful element of Monopoly, which was being a child who doesn’t have any money and getting these stacks and stacks of paper cash. And other than the little metal Scottie dog, what joy have you left in Monopoly? Now it’s just only the jail and the quick slog to the end.”

Patrick Rauland: I actually like that analysis, that’s pretty good. There is, hold on, what’s the game … ? There’s like a horror Cthulhu themed game, is it Mansions of Madness? That’s the one I’m thinking of, yeah. So give that one a try and come back on the show at some point, sound good?

Christina Scamporrino: Yeah. Sounds good. Although one of the things I love about table top games is that it gets me off of my phone.

Patrick Rauland: Yes.

Christina Scamporrino: And gets me and my friends to look away from technology for a while.

Patrick Rauland: Totally agree.

Christina Scamporrino: So, not saying that it’s not a good thing but I do appreciate a little bit the nostalgic analog part of it.

Patrick Rauland: Last one is, so I go to California for work every quarter or so, and there’s a seal sanctuary nearby and I just love it so, yeah, I think seals are great, ’cause I live in Denver. We do not have seals here. Seals, are they overrated or underrated?

Christina Scamporrino: Oh man, before I heard your opinion I was already on board, underrated. They bark, they’re the dogs of the sea, they sunbathe all day. Clearly they’re living their best lives. We should all look up to seals.

Wrap Up

Patrick Rauland: Love it. Thank you for being on the show, Christina.

Christina Scamporrino: Yeah, no problem.

Patrick Rauland: Where can … ?

Christina Scamporrino: Loved to join.

Patrick Rauland: Where can people find you and your game online?

Christina Scamporrino: You can find Money Buns on Kickstarter, and you can find me online on Instagram @christinascamporrino. You’re gonna have to check the show notes for how to spell that. It’s a long one.

Patrick Rauland: Yes. Listeners, if you are enjoying this podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes. If you leave a review, Christina will bake a sheet of cookies in your honor. So that seems pretty great. And if enough of you leave reviews, she will get very big. So that’s like a side goal.

Patrick Rauland: As I mentioned in previous episodes, I just put up a landing page for Fry Thief, so if you wanna follow along with what I’m doing in the art, you can follow along there. You can visit the site indieboardgamedesigners.com, that’s where those show notes are. You can follow me on Twitter, I’m @BFTrick. B as in board game, F as in fun, and trick as in trick taking games. I think that’s all I got. So, until next time. Happy designing everyone, bye-bye.

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