Andy Lajoie

#63 – Andy Lajoie

Patrick Rauland: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Indy Board Game Designers podcast, where I sit down with a different independent game designer every single week. We talk about their experience in game design and the lessons they've learned along the way. My name is Patrick Rauland, and today I'm talking to Andy Lajoie, who designed If Mama Ain't Happy, which is basically a game where you win by wiping out the human race as Mother Nature. It should be on Kickstarter when this episode is released. Andy, welcome to show.

Andy Lajoie: Good to be here, Patrick.


Patrick Rauland: I met you in person as well as doing a little bit of research on you before this episode. The audience doesn't know you, so I like to start with this little lightening round. Three quick questions. You ready?

Andy Lajoie: Sounds good.

Patrick Rauland: All right, so besides playing your own game … We met at Genghis Con. Besides playing your own game at Genghis Con, what was your favorite thing about that local convention?

Andy Lajoie: I was able to connect with a friend of mine who's been working on a game called The Living Starship. I had heard about the game. I had never had a chance to play it. In a little bit of downtime, I was able to little bit, little bit, more about that. It was quite a nice little game.

Patrick Rauland: So, meeting up with friends.

Andy Lajoie: Meeting up friends. And really, I do like seeing what other designers are doing, because I think it's pretty easy to, especially when you're deep into the development of your own, to really get some blinders put on.

Patrick Rauland: Ah, love that. Do you happen to have a favorite convention here in Colorado?

Andy Lajoie: I'm pretty darn new to the Colorado gaming convention thing. That is more lifestyle based than anything else. I've been raising a family for the past dozen or so years, so my spare time has been quite limited. Now that my daughter is a little older, I'm out exploring what is available. I've really only been to a couple of conventions so far.

Patrick Rauland: Well, there's a bunch of small conventions here in Denver. There's four pretty good conventions that are in or around Denver that are all pretty small game conventions. Yeah, so check them out.

Andy Lajoie: Great.

Patrick Rauland: Then, besides games, what do you like to do in your free time?

Andy Lajoie: Well, I like to ski, which is pretty typical Colorado thing to say. I love being outside. I am, in what little spare time I have, I have tried to write novels. I've written one. I put it aside while I've been working on this game project. I think, ultimately, I'd love to get back to that. Just like game design, novel writing is an extremely time consuming process.

Patrick Rauland: Yes, absolutely. Like game design, I mean, there's so many people writing novels, a lot of it is about getting eyeballs on your product.

Andy Lajoie: Absolutely.

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

Patrick Rauland: It's not like you can just write the perfect novel or make the perfect game and it just succeeds. It usually needs effort. Very cool. The first real question, how did you get into board games and board game design?

Andy Lajoie: Well, a long time ago, I was an avid DND player as a young man. I really always enjoyed the role playing. That was something that carried over into other games I like to play. Usually, the quirkier they were, the happier I was. Years ago, I came across … A friend of ours recommended Guillotine to us, which, if you haven't played, it's a pretty casual but quite fun and is rather dark game. Through the years, I was starting to collect little quirkier games as I came across them, as a pretty casual board gamer. It was really off the cuff that I just happened to run across the Exploding Kittens Kickstarter way back in the day. It got my mind churning on, “You like games so much, I wonder if you can actually come up with an idea of your own?” That's what really drove me to give board game design a chance.

Patrick Rauland: Exploding Kittens, it got a whole bunch of people into the board game hobby, and it got you into designing board games. That's pretty cool.

Andy Lajoie: Yeah, it was pretty interesting.

How Has Your Game Evolved?

Patrick Rauland: The first thing I wanted to talk about, specifically, is … We met at a convention. I think I got your business card, and I signed up for your newsletter shortly thereafter. One of the things that I loved seeing is … I think, maybe like a week after the convention, you sent out an email to your newsletter and I was, at that point, on the newsletter. You said, “Hey, I did all this testing at this convention, and we realized that our board …” I forgot, it was either too big or too small, and “We have to make some changes to it. What do you think of these changes?” Number one, I guess I want to ask you, why do you think that was necessary? I guess, number two, I love seeing that. I love seeing the progress, and the iteration, and the growth, of a game. Then, did you get a good feedback from people from that email?

Andy Lajoie: Yeah. Just to start with, score keeping in If Mama Ain't Happy has been one of the biggest challenges of the game itself, in that there's a lot of ups and downs. One of the challenges with that is, in many other games of growing complexity, there's mechanisms for that. I wanted to maintain this as close to a casual gaming experience as I could manage.

Andy Lajoie: In the early stages of play testing, we found that … The original game had no score keeping other than writing it down on a piece of paper, which was met with just absolute disgust. The biggest challenge was not, what is my score? But, the question was always, what is that guy's score? And, what is that person's score? So, where am I relative to everybody else?

Andy Lajoie: Through several iterations, ended up settling on a game board, because it was simply one of the easiest ways to manage that. Without thinking, I guess, I ended up picking a large board. I picked an 18 x 18 board, which was great from an aesthetic standpoint. There was plenty of room for graphics, plenty of room for little characters to be on it. I really liked how it looked.

Andy Lajoie: However, once I started getting out there and play testing it more and more, I was finding that the space required for the game was really quite ridiculous with that big of a board. If you were just looking at playing on a typical six-foot table or a typical four-top, there just really wasn't space enough for the cards. I decided that we need to shrink this board down. Well, actually, I originally said, “I need to get rid of this board entirely. I've been a fool. There's better ways to do this.” It went completely full circle.

Andy Lajoie: Everything I tried, and I had several different iterations that I showed up at Genghis Con, everything I tried always ended up in that same question of, well, that's great, I know my score, but what is everybody else's score? Every round with these other mechanisms, it was a real drag on the game, because every time it switched to a new player it was always the same question: Where are you? Where are you? Where are you?

Andy Lajoie: Ultimately, I came out of that with, I just need to make a smaller board, lose some of the graphics, lose some of the unnecessary things on it. I ended up going down to a 10 x 10 board, which seems to have been well received, and certainly plays way better, when we did play testing after we had made that change. It just gives people the space on the table that they need to play the game without constantly trying to stack the cards up in way that would make sense to them.

Patrick Rauland: I love it. This is something that I've … I don't think we've really talked about this on the podcast yet is … At least when I was designing for Fry Thief, I added a rule, and I'm like, “Oh no, this is terrible.” Then, I had to take it out. Then, I realized, oh, so here's the good thing to the rule, here's the bad thing, and then maybe you find a compromise. It seems like that's what you did. You were like, “Okay, we need a board for score keeping. Oh god, the board's terrible, let's cut it out. Oh wait, so there was some value. Now, we need to find the middle ground,” which I think is really, really, cool.

Andy Lajoie: Yeah, absolutely. One of the interesting things about this is that you try some things and you get the feedback. Oftentimes, good feedback seems to be less impactful than negative feedback, in a lot of ways. You tend to forget, but why did I go down this road in the first place? What was the good thing about this? You end up coming full circle to it. The reality is, is a game board is a shockingly easy way for people to say, “Where am I relative to everybody else?” That's why there's so many of them, at the end of the days, is what I've come to the conclusion of.

How Did You Balance Your Game?

Patrick Rauland: Love it. One of the things we talked about before the show is you mentioned that the game balance was tricky. I want to talk about [inaudible 00:08:47] thing. I was also saying before the show, I think I want to talk a little bit more about specific game design problems. Can you tell us what tricky about balancing your game?

Andy Lajoie: Sure.

Patrick Rauland: What [inaudible 00:08:59] hard?

Andy Lajoie: Sure. When I originally had the idea about the game, the idea was that Mother Nature would play … You would use disasters to wipe out the human race, and your opponents would counter that by playing things like recycling, and hoarding supplies, and holding congressional hearings to raise the other player's population. It occurred to me, in the process of building the cards, that disasters rarely come on their own, and reactions rarely come on their own. They usually compound each other. As an example, a blizzard doesn't just come with a blizzard. It comes with snow, and wind, and freezing conditions.

Andy Lajoie: I had this challenge of, well, if someone had this group of cards in their hand, they could make a very significant play and potentially leave everybody in the dust. The potential could be that, round one, you happen to have a mitt full of just awesome cards, and the game's over. On the absolute other side of that is everyone else has a series of reactions that can just pummel you into the ground and the game seems to end. It was this real challenge of finding the happy medium, because I wanted the game to be somewhere in the 30 to 45 minute range, and I didn't want some artificial mechanism that would end the game play. I wanted it to be more organic and fall out from the attrition of the cards as well as the fundamental strategy of the game. If you make the right moves at the right time, you actually do have an impact on whether you win or not. It's not just the cards in your hand and how that plays out.

Andy Lajoie: Through a lot of play testing, we tweaked the ratio of those. I tried the math route. The math route was interesting but not exactly compelling, because, quite frankly, with all the different combinations, it became pretty difficult to model in a way that you could say, “Oh, I get it,” as opposed to, well, let's narrow our focus, work toward this, I like to call it the magic ratio, and then tweak that back and forth, and see what seems to work the best. That's really where we ended up with the game balance.

Andy Lajoie: I know, oftentimes, we like to think, in the world of game design, that, well, we can just model it and, and do the math, and it should all fall out. What I found, the modeling implies that you have rational players. Rational players are few and far between, in my experience, especially when it's the choice of getting back at someone versus making the most logical play. I found play testing to be, probably, the most helpful method in determining the game balance, particularly with this design.

How Do You Make Sure Games End?

Patrick Rauland: There's something you mentioned about the game never ending. Just a couple months ago I was at a friend's party. I won't mention the game, but there is a game that had the first player to seven point wins, or something like that. It was one of those take that games. It wasn't Munchkin, I should just say. Everyone's just going up on points, and then someone plays a take that card, and then everyone goes down in points, or whatever. The game never ended until people just basically abandoned the game. You know what I mean? They're at a party. They just wanted to play for 20, 30, minutes, and it just never ended.

Patrick Rauland: In your case, it sounds like your game maybe has the same problem. When you have a certain number of turns, it's very easy to say, “Well, it's five turns are up, whoever's in the lead wins.” When you don't have a certain number of turns, how do you prevent the game from just going on forever?

Andy Lajoie: Well, the challenge, right … With Mama Ain't Happy, in the core game, there's a core game and two expansion sets, in the core game it's optimal for four players. You can play up to six if you want, but what will happen is you'll run out of cards. You don't shuffle them back in the deck. The way I have arranged it is, whoever drew the last card from the draw pile, they get … You basically go around, give everybody one more turn, including the person who draw the last card, to play what they have in their hand. Whoever is closest to zero population wins. Basically, the way game plays, it's pretty much impossible to reshuffle the discards, because most of the cards are actually been played in front of the players.

Patrick Rauland: No. I think it makes a lot of sense. Basically, the answer to the question was either have a term limit or have a limited resource of some kind, so that the game eventually ends, in these types of games. That just seems to be the answer there, right? Because, otherwise, the game could go … If it's the first player to … If you just keep going back and forth, I got some point, you get some points, you just need an ending mechanism.

Andy Lajoie: Yeah, absolutely. I think my worst nightmare is a game that just goes on, and on, and on. Players who say, “Well, it was great for the first 15 minutes, and then it just became a slog,” I think that's terrible. I think you have to have, as you were saying, a limited resource or some other mechanism that just brings it to conclusion in a time that people are still having fun and enjoying the game. I don't think I would be happy with a game that people described as, “Fun but, gee, it just never ends.”

Patrick Rauland: Yeah, exactly. Okay, so you want to launch this Kickstarter. We're recording it before you Kickstarter, but it's going to be launching soon, right?

Andy Lajoie: Yeah, we're going to launch at March 31st at 9:00 a.m.

How Do You Handle Last Minute Manufacturing Changes?

Patrick Rauland: My question is, you are doing last minute changes, does that impact your manufacturing costs? Does it impact your pledge levels? Does it impact your reviewers? Is it bad to make big changes this late, or is it still a good thing to do?

Andy Lajoie: It is sphincter tightening is the best description, I think, I can come up with.

Patrick Rauland: Okay.

Andy Lajoie: The challenge with this is, I think, the challenge that every game designer as they approach their go live. What is good enough? When do I stop tweaking this? You have to stop tweaking at some point. I'm at the point where any tweaks that we would be making now would be minor changes to rules. Our card designs are 98% done. The board is done. The box is designed. I've just received my most recent revisions to the quotes. I'm feeling pretty confident about no significant changes are going to impact those items.

Andy Lajoie: That is because, aside from the game board that we talked about earlier, I really have tried very hard to resist the urge to, “Oh, I can make just this one more tweak, and this would make the game even more fun,” because it's those last minute tweaks, I think, that … Let's say you tweak them and don't really play test them appropriately. They could be the thing that kills the game for you, because it's just that one last thing that you wanted to try, and you were in a rush, and didn't really try it out as much as you should've, and it'll bite you.

How Much Time Have You Spent Designing?

Patrick Rauland: Totally. How much time have you spent working on this game? How many hours a day or how many-

Andy Lajoie: Geeze, boy, I should have you ask my wife. I've been at this for about two and a half years. I've been doing it in my spare time. I work full time. I probably put in three to four hours a day, usually very early and very late. Some of that is grunt work, tweaking the card design and having to propagate it through hundreds of cards. Other aspects are just making sure you've got all the tools that you need to actually go live on a Kickstarter, from anything to making sure that we have adequate prototypes, so that, when I do go out and do play testing, that we're not working off such a dilapidated copy of cut cards from card stock, that people can actually get a feel for the game.

How Do You Make Prototypes?

Patrick Rauland: Nice. That makes it sound like you make your own prototypes. Do you make them? Because, I always order mine from The Game Crafter or some other place.

Andy Lajoie: At the very early stages, I was making my own prototypes. This was before I actually began to purchase later stage prototypes. I think there is an argument for spending the least amount of money you can at the very beginning, because prototypes can add up pretty quick, and if you're going to be spinning that cycle really fast.

Andy Lajoie: Literally, the first couple of times I played the game, basically cajoling family and friends into playing the first couple of rounds, the decks were almost throwaway. If you were going to drop the kind of money necessary to do that in real playing card stock, that adds up real fast. You get to a certain point where, and I'm not sure I could define that for you, but I think there is a certain point, there's a feeling you get, where you're like, “The game is real enough. I need to make it real for the people who are playing it.” I think that defining factor is when you branch out from people you know, people who are used to this kind of thing, play testers, other game designers, to, let's call it, the more general populace. I think, you need to have something that looks more like a real game.

Patrick Rauland: Totally. I totally agree with you. In the beginning I write everything on index cards, and then, later in the process, I start making more professional looking prototypes. Here's my question for you. I always want to tweak things, So then, I have a nice prototype, but one card I'm like, “Well, we should change the icon on this card. This one sentence is a little bit unclear, so let me change this one sentence here.” Do you then order a new … That's my problem right now is, if I make changes on four cards, and those four cards show up in four different places in the game, so a total of … Basically, I did four cards, but there's four copies of them, so there's 16 cards out of 50. Do you order a whole new prototype, or do you just deal with handwritten cards for a little bit until you, let's say, go to a convention?

Andy Lajoie: That's a good question. In the fully expanded game, it's something like 300-plus cards, and each card is unique. There's really no-

Patrick Rauland: Oh my gosh.

Andy Lajoie: Repeats. If I change one card, what I do is I've got a pretty good printing shop at the local FedEx, and they have a glossy card stock that works pretty well. I would to want an entire deck made out of that, but the one every so often in a prototype card deck really hasn't become a problem. The challenge, though, is that certainly the printing looks very different. If you play enough play testing, if you play enough games, with a smaller group, they begin to realize, “Oh, that's the prettier looking, glossier, card, and I should be gunning for that one,” just because, generally speaking, you've tweaked something or added a different card or card mechanic.

Any Undervalued Games Out There?

Patrick Rauland: That makes total sense. Are there any games out there that you think are really, really, good, but other people don't see the value in them?

Andy Lajoie: That's a great question. I have to admit, I am so out of touch with the gaming community from the standpoint of I hadn't really been as deeply involved as, I think, maybe some of your other guests have been. What I'm enjoying is that I've been attending these conventions, these gaming meetups, and I get a chance to play my game with everybody. Then, invariably, I end up playing a game I've never come across just by absence from the community more than anything else. It's difficult for me to pick out a game I think that would have any meaning to your audience that I would say is underrated. I tend to really enjoy the quirkier humor, darker humor, games.

Andy Lajoie: One of my favorites, and I realize it's a pretty casual game, is Guillotine. For me, it never ceases to be fun, just because of the ridiculous nature of the game. I realize that's pretty low on the complexity spectrum, but it has many elements that I think are key to having a good time or enjoying the game, and that is good graphics, fun humor, mechanics that are, I would say, deceptively strategic in that, if you don't think there needs to be strategy involved, you're going to lose. It does require you to put some time and though into your moves.

Patrick Rauland: I actually got into Guillotine. I think it was in my gaming group in college had Guillotine, which is when I really got into games myself. I enjoyed it. Did you know there are Guillotine upgrade packs on Etsy, where you can get a wooden Guillotine that you add to your game? It fits in the box.

Wooden Guillotine
Guillotine Upgrade Pack

Andy Lajoie: That, I think my daughter would really greatly enjoy that, because her and her friends have taken to taking the little cardboard guillotine and actually tapping the cards before people can receive them.

Patrick Rauland: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah, check it out.

Andy Lajoie: I will have to look into that.

What Resource Would You Recommend To a New Designer?

Patrick Rauland: Yeah, yeah. What resource would you recommend to another indy game designer? You're nearing the Kickstarter phase, but for someone who's maybe not quite as far as you are, what would you recommend?

Andy Lajoie: This may be a little trite to say, but I think that the greatest strides I've made in moving forward with this game have been when I've exposed it to other designers. The really interesting thing for me was, is that writing or game design can become this very isolating, very introverted, activity. Generally, speaking the people who are going to be the toughest on you, the people who are going to have some of the best suggestions, are people who play the games a lot and are also designing games of their own. Not because they will say, “Well, your game's great, but it sucks.” Instead, they will say, “Have you thought of this?”, and “What about this mechanism?”, and “What if you did this?” Your forced to really think about the choices you've made for your game. You might ultimately end up … I don't want say dismissing. You might ultimately end up not wanting to go down the road they're suggesting, but it will certainly make you think real long and hard about the choices you made and whether they were the right ones.

Patrick Rauland: Let me get more specific here. Would that be like a weekly gaming group? Would that be a board game designers meetup? Would that be a convention? Would that be online play testing? Is there a favorite one of those, or something else I didn't consider?

Andy Lajoie: I'm a big fan of meeting people face to face, so I like the … Board Game Republic has a play tester, and play tester and game designer, meetup. There's a couple of other meetups. There's a group called Prototopia that does meetups around a local area. All of those are good. I really do think the … Now, this, again, may be my generation more than anything else, but I do like sitting down with people across the table and working through things, as opposed to just doing everything online.

Patrick Rauland: Yeah, totally. I think I agree. Just for people listening, Board Game Republic is a local board game store. It's not clear from the name. That could be a website or something.

Andy Lajoie: Oh, excellent point.

What's the Best Money You've Ever Spent?

Patrick Rauland: Yeah, yeah. It's a good resource. I actually live near that part of town, so I should stop by more. What's the best money you've ever spent as a game designer?

Andy Lajoie: I would say, the best money I ever spent was on the first round of true prototypes for the game. The reason I say that is because there comes the point, and I won't belabor it too much since I mentioned it earlier, there's comes a point where, if you show up with your card stock, hand printed, index cards, or whatever, you're not real. There's a certain group of people, and I think this may more apply to the casual gamers than maybe the enthusiasts, but if it's not real, the quality of feedback and the exposure is really tainted by the fact that, “Hey, this guy showed up with everything written on index cards. How real is this thing and should I take him seriously?”

Andy Lajoie: I believe that, when you get to that point and you can show up with a box that has at least your first pass at the graphics you expect to be on there, the cards or the other components of your game that are real-ish, you get a much better impression. Hence, I think you get a better interaction and better feedback, because they're experiencing most of what that game is meant to be. As opposed to showing up with, “Oh, I've got these index cards in my back pocket. Hey, why don't I tell you about this game I've been working on?”

Patrick Rauland: Yep. Yeah, yeah. No, I totally see what you're seeing. Even putting in clip art or just images you find on Google that'll … This is the sword, and you can just identify it's the sword card, because there's a sword graphic on it. Even little things like that, I think, make your game much easier to play and process. I think the way I've experienced that is I think you get different feedback, right? Early on, handwritten cards are great, because you're just seeing if the game works. Then, once you figure that out, then it's good having some simple art made just so that you can figure to some of the other stuff. I really like that.

Andy Lajoie: Yep. Oh, actually Patrick, I should add to that. I have a second one. One of the most interesting things I get for feedback about the game is that, one, people like the theme, and they like the theme almost scarily too much, from the standpoint of it's a theme about wiping out the human race. I have universally had everyone say to me, “That's great,” as opposed to, “You sick twisted man. Why are we doing this?”

Andy Lajoie: The reason why that is, I think, is because they see the cards, they see the box, and the artist that I was able to get for this project, Ron Leishman, does a fantastic job with the art. If you're going to spend money on a game, the artwork is absolutely critical. Getting a good artist, getting someone who matches the style that you're trying to have for the game, it weighs much more, certainly, on the initial impression and so many other things. I would recommend, if you're looking at artists, the one that really draws your eye, the one that fits to your theme better than any other, is the one to go with, even if there's a greater expense, because I think it will pay great dividends.

How Do You Find The Right Artist?

Patrick Rauland: I like that. Do you have any tips for finding the right artist? Because, I think that in of itself is tricky.

Andy Lajoie: Wow, yeah. I have to admit dumb luck was my success factor here. I just happened to come across Ron's work and was able to locate him very early in the whole process. That changed, and I think, in many ways, it might've even changed the direction of the game slightly to a more comedic aspect, as opposed to maybe where I was first headed. Pure dumb luck on my part. I happened to be looking for clip art images of this type, and saw his style, and went, “I've got it.” I really don't have a lot of tips to offer as far as that, except bring a rabbit's foot, and whatever other lucky symbol you want to keep with you.

What Does Success Look Like?

Patrick Rauland: Well, I think the nugget I'd take out of that is, when you're looking for a certain style of image, just write down all the people's names who make that stuff and reach out to them. That's the most obvious direct thing to do. Maybe they're open to commissions. Very cool. Last serious question. What does success look like to you in the board game world?

Andy Lajoie: Well, I have three other ideas that are half baked, in the works. Success in the gaming world, for me, would be, first and foremost, I'd love to see if Mama Ain't Happy hit its funding target. I'd love to see it go passed that, so we can really add some of the things into the game that we want to, enhance some of the components, etc. I have a couple of other ideas for expansion packs to that. Success in the game world, for me, is really this being the start of a long line of games, or at least a short line of games, that will allow me to chase some of these ideas, and hopefully deliver them in a way that people enjoy.

Overrated Underrated Game

Patrick Rauland: Love it. I hear that so often on this show, and that makes me really happy that, for the most part, people just want to make games, which his great. Okay, so I like to end with a silly game called Overrated, Underrated. Have you heard about it?

Andy Lajoie: I have not. How does this go?

Patrick Rauland: Basically, I'm going to give you a word or phrase, and you just need to tell me if it is overrated or underrated. If I said, Colorado, you'd be like, “Obviously, the most underrated state in the Union, coolest place on the planet,” something like that. Make sense?

Andy Lajoie: Okay.

Patrick Rauland: Cool. Okay, so expensive games, and I'm going to qualify this being $100 or more. Are they overrated or underrated?

Andy Lajoie: I tend to think that they overrated.

Patrick Rauland: Any reason why?

Andy Lajoie: There's a certain point where I think that … Of course, it all depends on the components, but if you're driving the cost of your game up, and now this is obviously somewhat weighed by the type of game I'm making, I think that certainly you can drive the cost of your game up and drive that price point high. I constantly ask the question, do you really need to? Is the base game really need to be that expensive to be an enjoyable game, or is it just, we're spending tons of money on really cool components, but is it necessary?

Patrick Rauland: Okay. Got it. This one sounds political, but it's because of your game theme. Earth Climate Agreement, overrated or underrated?

Andy Lajoie: Oh boy. That's an interesting one. I'm a big fan of any effort we make as the human race to actually try and do something about climate change. With that said, I think the real challenge of the Climate Agreement is it's real easy to say these things, it's real easy to get all these countries together to say, “Yes, we will do this,” and it's very difficult to actually truly do those things. I think it's somewhat overrated in its true ability to achieve meaningful change. But, if we don't start somewhere, we will get absolutely nowhere.

Patrick Rauland: Love it. Wow. This is a board game podcast. I thought that was a great nuanced answer to a very tough political topic. Wow. All right. How about dice drafting games, overrated, underrated? I stumped you.

Andy Lajoie: Yeah. I don't know if I have a strong opinion either way on that.

Patrick Rauland: Okay. How about this? Take a guess. Have you ever played one? How about that?

Andy Lajoie: I don't know if I have to be quite honest.

Patrick Rauland: Let me change this. What about just regular deck building games, then, overrated or underrated?

Andy Lajoie: There are so many deck building games at this point. I have played both some of the standard games and also some games that people are developing. This is probably just me, I guess, for me, it's just not the type of game that I truly enjoy. They can be fun, depending on, I think, for me, the group I'm playing with. Overall, it's just not my kind of deal.

Patrick Rauland: Got it.

Andy Lajoie: So, I guess overrated.

Patrick Rauland: Overrated. Yeah. This last one, I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this one. Robocalls, overrated, underrated?

Andy Lajoie: Oh, you know, I've gotten such a kick out of robocalls lately. I would have to say they're a bit underrated, but you have to take them with the right grain of salt. For instance, in the past week, the IRS has called me to tell me I'm about to be audited. Yes. It was a robocall with interesting use of the English language. I've also had, let's see, who else? Oh yes, my social security number has been stolen. I need to call them to confirm. Then, finally, apparently, I'm interviewing for jobs and they're calling me back.

Patrick Rauland: Wow.

Andy Lajoie: With the right attitude, they can be quite entertaining.

Wrap Up

Patrick Rauland: That's awesome. Andy, thank you for being on the show. Where can people find you and your game online?

Andy Lajoie: Well, you can find us … First of all, thanks for having me, Patrick. You can find more about If Mama Ain't Happy at There's a little video there that intros the game as well as a little bit about how to play. Then, since this will probably air when we are live on Kickstarter, there'll also be a link to the Kickstarter site from that one.

Patrick Rauland: Well, thank you again. Listener, if you like this podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes. If you leave a review, Andy said he would be vegan for one hour to help move the planet towards equilibrium. So, that's cool.

Andy Lajoie: Just don't speak to me during that hour.

Patrick Rauland: Then, I just wanted to, I guess, give you, the listeners, a little status update on some of the things I've been working one. There was this holiday design contest for The Game Crafter. Just about a week ago, when we were recording this, I submitted my game, Samhaim, which is spelled S-A-M-H-A-I-M, into the holiday design contest. It's kind of cool. As you're listening to this, you will know how I did in that holiday design contest just by looking into it, because the results should be posted by the time this airs. Yeah, that's something I've been working on, and it's been fun to do that for the last, basically, month or two I've been making a lot of design assets and making a really pretty product page. But, that's something I've been working on. You can visit the site at You can follow me on Twitter. I am @BFTrick. That is B as in board game, F as in fun, and trick as in trick taking games. That is all for me. Until next time everyone, happy designing.

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