Patrick Rauland: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Indie Board Game Designers podcast, where I sit down with a different independent game designer every single week to 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 going to be talking to the awesome and amazing Ben Moy, who designed Breakdancing Meeples and plenty of other games on The Game Crafter. And he creates awesome content reviewing components for The Game Crafter called The Board Game Blueprint. Ben, welcome to the show.
Ben Moy: Thank you very much, Patrick. It's great to be here.
Patrick: I'm super excited to chat. I know you from seeing you on Facebook and seeing you do The Board Game Blueprint and other places, but the audience doesn't, so I've got three lightning round questions. Ready?
Ben: All right. Yeah, as ready as I'll ever be.
Patrick: Great. What is your favorite all-time component on The Game Crafter?
Ben: Boy, their printed stuff is great. They just upgraded their card components to be extra thick, so light doesn't pass through them. If you wanted hidden information– But honestly, all the bits and baubles are my favorite. If I had to choose just one, I feel like the classic meeples, but that can now be custom screen printed for your own games are pretty darn excellent.
Patrick: I hear you. You don't need to make a custom wooden shape, right? That would cost a lot of money. Or you can just get a regular meeple and screen print it and add on overalls, or whatever you want. That's great. I love it.
Patrick: If you could do any breakdancing move, what would it be?
Ben: Boy, I've done quite a bit of research, as you can imagine, for my game. Probably the feat that impresses me the most is the air flair, which is pretty much where you have your entire body off the ground for fractions of a second. But you can continuously propel yourself higher, and it's amazing to watch the leg sweeping and the momentum. Constantly up there as a [inaudible] human performance of just power.
Patrick: That is fantastic. I don't normally do this, but Ben, would you be able to get a YouTube video and then send that to me, and I will include it in the show notes so people can enjoy the air flair themselves after this?
Ben: Absolutely, Patrick. Give me 10 seconds, and I'm going to do my interpretation right here on the spot.
Ben: Feel free to count it down, I'm going to try to do an air flare right now, and then I'll just go ahead and show you a link with the comments.
Patrick: OK, great. I'm going to give you a countdown. Here we go. I want to see– Hear Ben's air flare in ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, one.
Ben: I need to practice that a little bit more.
Patrick: OK. You're not injured?
Ben: No, absolutely not. I am totally fine.
Patrick: OK, great.
Ben: The show must go on.
Patrick: Great. This is why I have Patreon, and it's for health insurance in case my guests hurt themselves on the show.
Ben: I feel so welcome here.
Patrick: Then, what's a game you play with someone every single time at a convention?
Ben: As great as social deduction games are at conventions, I'm terrible at them, so I prefer maybe something that's a little bit more constructive in the way that I'll be building something and seeing my progress visually over the course of the game. Right now, a really hot one for me is Reef by Emerson Masucci. The table presence there, the visual puzzles, and just having to plan ahead is something that speaks to me personally. So yeah, Reef, I will be more than happy to sit down with anyone and have a go at it.
Patrick: I'm not exactly 100% sure when these episodes will come out, but the person who I just recorded right before this said the exact– Said something very similar.
Ben: Get out. I need to meet them.
Patrick: I will have to add Reef to my “Gotta play” list as soon as I can go back to board game cafes and just pick games off the shelf because I just got two nice plugs.
Ben: Could not review it or recommend it any higher.
How did you get into board games and board game design?
Patrick: Awesome. All right, so first real question. How did you get into board games and board game design?
Ben: Definitely great questions to start things off. I've always been a little bit of a designer, so regarding board games themselves, I wasn't introduced to the modern hobby until about my last year at University down in Champagne Urbana. There was a local board game design competition called [Kudo Plays] that myself and four classmates and friends entered. Where we did kind of well, or well, with their judging and the word giving.
With that wind beneath our wings, we tried to go for a Kickstarter campaign, which ultimately did not succeed but sparked the flames and then stoked the fire for me to continue after joining so many of those online communities that you mentioned on Facebook and whatnot. Seeing just the love and generosity of the people there, so that's pretty what's kept me since then. That was back in 2015, so I'd like to say that I have been in the board game design hobby/industry for about five years now.
Patrick: Fantastic. I love hearing that. I was just thinking, and I was just trying to Google, how many local board game design competitions are there? Because almost all the ones I participate in are all online, and I don't think I've heard of any local ones. What a cool opportunity you have.
Ben: Thank you. In fact, they pride themselves too on being one of the few ones in the nation being on a campus. They have a lot of access to resources that maybe aren't as well accessible in other places, so they have maker spaces, and they have conference spaces and just a vibrant gaming community there too, which helps to support all of those events and whatnot that they put on.
Including play testing conventions, the actual exhibition itself, and various other topics of discussion and brainstorming together. It's a super collaborative environment, and I think a lot of that has to do with why this particular competition, [Kudo Plays] is still around today. In fact, I believe they're entering their eighth season this fall.
You create inspiration posts on Facebook. What’s the purpose behind those?
Patrick: Very cool. Love hearing that. So, let me get into– I'm going to talk about your game in a minute, but I want to talk about something that you just do in the board game world that I personally find inspiring. It's these inspirational posts that you put up there, or maybe inspirational, but also maybe ideating posts where you will put up on– I forget exactly which board game group this is, but in certain Facebook groups you'll put up a question that says, “What are game ideas you have that involve–?” And there's a word, like “A feeling of happiness,” or “Involve this component,” or “Involve this game mechanic.” Then you get a ton, and you get dozens– I'm sure there have been posts where you get hundreds of responses. I love reading those. Why do you do those, and what's the purpose behind those posts?
Ben: Definitely. I don't mean to toot my own horn, but the idea for it came– It was pretty much a year ago now. Where my favorite part about board game design is the ideation and the brainstorming and the generation of the new ideas. I've always been a huge fan of spending perhaps hours with friends joking back and forth about, “It'd be cool if This,” or “What if the game had This?” I wanted a little bit more of that with the larger global community of the Board Game Design Lab, and that is the main Facebook group that I do these posts in.
There are so many creative people, and that's, again, my favorite part. I am a super socially-driven person, and I love getting energy from interacting with others. So I wanted to bring a little bit of that into the space where it hadn't yet existed, and that's where the tooting of the horn kind of comes in. I don't mean to glamorize it by any means or make it any larger than it is, but I'm touched that it has gained notice in the way that it has. Because I think, again, there's just so much that people can be inspired by and create from even just the simple word, theme or whatnot every week. The idea is not necessarily for people to post ideas and have them stolen, because that doesn't happen luckily in our industry.
But I will say that it is cool when people comment on other people's comments and have a mini conversation or discussion, brain blasts, what have you. In doing so and just strengthening and fortifying those kinds of bonds that we all have with each other, increasing the relationships that we all have is the main purpose behind them for me. Just being able to admire everyone's flex of their own creativity and how everyone approaches different problems in whatever personal and unique ways that they can.
Patrick: Have you seen any games come out of it? Either your own or maybe someone else's where six months ago you posted a cool inspiration post, and now people are actively working on those games? Maybe they're even keeping you up to date on them?
Ben: Yeah, a little bit. I know for sure, especially recently, where some will say “Ben, I hit this design block and your theme post really helped me get out of that, it's given me a new direction and a new motivation, new drive and new momentum to push me forward with it. So, thank you.” That's just cool, where again, it's not something that I don't think about. But it's not something that I expect for anything to come out of, and then when I hear stuff like that, it's just really– Again, that the community's so welcoming and adaptable and all these other positive adjectives for being able to maneuver and make their way through.
It's such a, not only iterative process but a cyclical one in that it's non-linear. We can go, like you said, six months in a go, head something and then put it on the shelf for a little bit. Then bam, all of sudden inspiration strikes, and you're picking it up again and going forward when you couldn't at the time. So, that's a long-winded way of hopefully answering that question.
Patrick: It's great. I love. I'm also such a big fan of just ideating and sharing ideas. I've seen a couple of yours, and I've been spending a lot less time on Facebook over the last six months, I'd say. But when I do pop on, I love seeing those posts and just throwing something out there, and actually, there's so many ideas that I have that I can't act on. Because I've got other projects, I've got games I want to finish. I've got games I want to pitch, I've got things I need to play test.
I also hope that someone does steal my idea and not steal, but it's like, “Here's an idea up for, let's say, adoption. You are allowed– Feel free to take this, do something with it, because I'd rather see that game exist and someone else make it then hold onto all the ideas myself and never see cool new games come out.” I want to thank you because it's a great service that you provide. It's great.
Ben: Totally right, thank you. It's just another way to get all that creativity flowing and out there, like you said, otherwise it'll just bottle up and do no good. That's excellent. Thank you, that means so much to me.
What have you learned about components after reviewing them for The Game Crafter?
Patrick: So, what have you learned about components by reviewing them for The Game Crafter? Maybe I think I want to ask you because I think you started doing that a little over a year ago, and maybe I'm wrong there, but have you changed your mind on anything regarding components? Like, maybe you never would have used something, and now you do?
Ben: That's cool. For me personally, I've always been a component-driven person in board games where my imagination from the design standpoint comes into play when I'm interacting with the pieces and thinking of different uses for maybe standard components and whatnot. We'll get into this in a little bit, but as you mentioned, I have a Break Dancing Meeples board game. The idea of using them in a way that isn't just standing them around was what called me to that design, and I hope that when people see components that will inspire them in a similar way.
What I've learned about them, though, through reviewing on The Game Crafter, there's practically no shortage of components. Which is amazing. There's so many different variations of dice in terms of their finish and whatnot, but there's also just a whole bunch of uses that maybe still haven't even been discovered yet in a sense. Mechanics are not patentable and whatnot, which is great for our public space and public sphere of design. I think that a lot of people were just waiting to see what other people can come up with and such. You and me as well, Patrick. I like the ingenuity that comes with using a standard component. As I mentioned, a die and being constrained in a way to maybe find a new use or purpose to implement them into your game design.
Whereas as amazing as custom punch outs, so those chipboard tokens and stuff that you can match together and create something cool out of by puzzle piecing different ones together are also super great. I think there is something to be said about what is already a standard or simple component and utilizing them for your games, which is again, not to say that using stickers or custom dice are not amazing. I love those, absolutely. I'm continuously amazed by what people can come up with, is I think what I'm trying to say.
Patrick: I didn't think about this until we're just chatting right now, but sometimes I think you have to play with the components, literally hold it in your hands to understand what it can be used for. I had this happen with, and I try not to talk about myself when I'm interviewing other people. But very quickly, just to build on this. With Fry Thief, the very first version of that game, I just had little tokens, a little deeper chits. On one side was a fry, and one side was a ketchup covered fry, whatever. Then at some point, I was looking at the little yellow Catan roads, I'm like, “Oh, my god, those are fries.” I probably made 10 to 20, probably 10 to 15 versions of the game without ever considering that component.
Then I think I was browsing through The Game Crafter site and noticed it and tried it and then realized it worked. I wish there is a way that we could, and I don't know, you know those boardgame cafes? There's got to be component cafes, so I can try components of my games without having to buy every item in The Game Crafter catalog. Because there's a lot of good stuff there.
Ben: Oh, totally, right. That's awesome. I was nodding my head vigorously the entire time you were talking like, “That's totally right.” That's the beautiful part, I think, of board game design. Exactly.
Tell us about Breakdancing Meeples. Where did it come from, how long did it take, were there any hurdles?
Patrick: I want you to tell us about Breakdancing Meeples in just one second. But before you do, I just wanted to share before I knew you or knew of you. I did see your game on The Game Crafter, and I don't remember if I stumbled on it accidentally, or if I stumbled on it as part of a contest. But I do remember seeing your game. Your game stuck out to me.
Then I think when maybe you posted this on Facebook or on Twitter, but you have a publisher for the game, and I'm like, “Oh my God, that's the game that I saw like two years ago on The Game Crafter.” It's cool to see things coming together. I've been in the board game world for long enough that I'll see a game two years ago on The Game Crafter, and then I see it being published years later or months later.
It's cool to see that. It was cool for me to even remember going, “Wow, that is an innovative game. I love it.” So anyways, go ahead and tell us about Breakdancing Meeples, and where did it come from, and how long did it take? And also who's publishing it and where people can find it.
Ben: Yeah. Oh, absolutely. Well, thank you very much. Yes, that is correct. I had Breakdancing Meeples up on The Game Crafter for a little bit before it was picked up by a publisher, which is super awesome. Where it came from, to answer that first, is the inspiration for the game. I was play testing a friend of mine's prototype, which was a little bit more, I think, analytical than the games that I traditionally play. On a whim, I was picking up their Meeples, which he had painted specific eyeballs onto the table.
I noticed that it was kind of fun to try to land them standing up, essentially and sideways and on their heads instead of just lying flat on the table. From there, I tried to make a game about it, tried to think of a theme that would fit doing cartwheels or gymnastics in a way. I, at the time, was interested in real-time as a mechanic. Playing not just in turns, but actually with the real world clock running and with games like Fuse and of that nature. Putting the two together and then coming to the theme breakdancing, which wasn't super popular, I don't think in any board games yet, as well as being a passion of mine in the sense that I am a voyeur of breakdancing.
I am not been a practitioner by any stretch of the imagination, though I did try yet to join the local university group at my stint there. Fusing all those things together and entering it into the [kudo place] competition, taking it to their play testing events, and having people looking it over helped push it across the finish line. How long it took? I would say that idea pretty much happened in the course of a single afternoon when I first came upon the hook. Then I think adding the extra mechanics and the scoring, no more than a month, and then just iterating and fine tuning everything until then for a couple months after. This design came together really quickly, faster than anything else that I'd worked on. I think maybe that was a sign, too, that it had a little bit of potential worth pursuing.
Patrick: Let me dig into that while we're here because I've talked to many people on this show who have been working on a game for like three years. There's nothing wrong with that if that is what you want to spend your time on. If you enjoy spending your time doing a thing, do the thing. But I think there is also something about trying a lot of ideas and then waiting until one of them catches fire.
It sounds like maybe that's what happened to this case where it was this idea. You played with it. It worked. And in a month, 80% of the game is done. Do you have any intuition? Do you have any thoughts on this? Any intuition around catching lightning in a bottle? How do you know when you have that good idea, and you should spend a month on it and maybe even put your three year game on the shelf for a month or two while you work on this new idea that maybe has potential?
Ben: Yeah, that's definitely right. I wouldn't say that I have any particular insights on it myself, but I would say that when it's something that everyone's eyes get wide and excited when you mentioned it to them and then you do bring it to the table and play it out, and they're still feeling giddy about it, that's a pretty good sign. I also think that maybe that's part of what drove me to those online posts as well. The tie back to what we talked about previously is that it is a bit of a numbers game, isn't it, Patrick?
Where not every idea is going to be great, necessarily. But if you churn out as much as you can, potentially, you'll arrive at that inspired design faster. Again, sometimes you just have to get your idea out there, and then it will bring you closer. You grow after every design that you make. I think the more that you can get under your belt personally, you pick up on the pitfalls that might befall from a game three times ago so that you don't have to worry about necessarily wasting that time with this new design when you already can work around it.
Particularly for this one, I think it was just a matter of finding something that was light and exciting, actionable, engaging because the games plays in honestly less than 10 minutes, which is kind of nuts for a board game, but it's also kind of cool where you have that high energy excitement that propels you through. Then you can always set up for a second round or a third round after you after you've played. I think for me, any insights about how to catch lightning in a bottle is just gauging. Always be passionate, hopefully, about whatever you're working on.
There's something that's dragging you down after three years or so. Then I myself wouldn't have the patience to continue trying to force it. Although I have before in the past, games for a year or two and it just doesn't seem to be going anywhere. Maybe you give yourself a little break, put your mind to something else, whether it's another hobby or just another design. Something about the Cult of the New. I admittedly am part of. I think sometimes things do just fall into place, as long as you've prepared yourself, whether it is other things behind you or just lucky series of events, as it were. A fortunate series of events.
Patrick: Yeah. I did want to ask you also getting a publisher to take interest and sign the game and make it. Did you reach out to dozens of publishers and send them emails and meet them at conventions and play the game, or do they just find it on The Game Crafter? How did the publishing part of this come into effect? I'm also very curious because you published the game of The Game Crafter. How long after it was published on The Game Crafter did you get in touch with a publisher and get the game signed?
Ben: Absolutely. From what I remember, I had put the game up on TGC sometime maybe in December of 2018, and I want to say. It was up there for sale, and a lot of friends who had played it were excited and picked up a couple copies for themselves. But I was hoping to pitch to a publisher, but I did not expect to meet any who were interested at a local play testing event that you were familiar with.
ProtoSpiel, this particular one was ProtoSpiel Minnesota, I think, is the official name in Minneapolis. When I had the game up there, I think I had eight play tests over the course of the entire weekend again, because it was so fast. One particular friend of mine, Kurt, was super excited when he was playing, and that attracted a lot of attention, I think. So much so that a couple publishers who were there opted to give the game a go for themselves. One of them Atlas Games, it was [Jeff] from Atlas who approached me. I think this could work for us. Feel free to contact me after this weekend, at some point, and he gave me his business card. I did, and we started conversations.
I sent them over a copy for them to continue looking at in-house to see if there's something that was a good fit. Then in March and April, we exchanged contract information for licensing and stuff. Ever since then, it had kind of been off with them. It was on The Game Crafter for, I want to say a couple months, but I could be wrong, it may not have gone up until February or March. It was there for a few weeks before they politely asked me to take it down.
I said “Of course” and now it will be coming out next month. In fact, one of those friends who had picked up a copy, off of The Game Crafter, just sent me a picture of that. His copy from Atlas is now shipping. That is just surreal, really cool. I can't wait for him to open it up and see and hopefully play with his family.
Patrick: Well, that is such a great story. I love it. I've talked to many people on the show, and sometimes people go to publisher pitch, and it just works. Then some people they're just play testing, and it's perfect circumstances. You meet the publisher, they play your game, and they like it. I love that happened with you. That's great to hear.
Ben: That is exactly what happened, yeah. Just in the right place at the right time. I didn't expect anything, and I almost wasn't even going to go. I decided to pull the trigger and go ahead and make the drive. That was just awesome for things to fall or lay the way that they did.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a new game design?
Patrick: What type of research do you do before starting a new game design?
Ben: When it comes to research, I'd say that I usually start with a quick Google search about the themes. Because again, mechanics are going to overlap regardless. It's almost validating when you're play testing, and somebody says, “Oh. So it works like this game.” In that, they're familiar with it. As long as you're able to add something new, whether it's a hook, or a new process, or way of thinking that is still elegant and doesn't create a learning curve or terrible hurdle for somebody to enter into the fun of the game.
I think you're good to go. I don't want to overgeneralize and say that every theme has been done before. Because there are a ton of subtle, underrepresented ones, too. But they're beginning now to make a real presence. I honestly think a quick Google search is enough to see BoardGameGeek is, of course, an extensive library, almost encyclopedic expanse of a ton of different board games. That's also a really good place to look to, in terms of, especially game names, where I've heard that people will start a project and then you have this pet name or script name, like how Blue Harvest was for Star Wars.
A working title, essentially, and then find out a little bit later that it's already been taken and to respect that and not step on any toes that they need to rename a bit. Doing a little bit of that at the beginning of the process will help. I want to say, also, being so active in these boardgame communities, and everyone is posting about their favorite games. As ones pop up and crop up, you also become aware of what's out there, too. I want to say that, yeah, I rely a decent amount on my friends as well, community members and such, to keep me informed about what is up and coming so that hopefully I don't again invade in that space too much and try to find something a little bit even more new and wowey.
Does game design energize or exhaust you?
Patrick: I love it. There's something good about passively absorbing information. If you have a game idea about breakdancing, you can do all the research into breakdancing and figure all that stuff out. One of the things I think is good about your Facebook groups in general, just any sort of group, is people can say a certain thing and that fires off your game design idea engine and– I don't say it does the work for you, but you don't have to research things intentionally. You can just jump onto a group. See interesting conversations and get inspired. I like hearing that. I was going to ask, and I don't know the answer to this. Does game design energize or exhaust you?
Ben: Yeah. Oh, man. With all this stay at home during the quarantine, at the time of this recording, I will say “a little bit of both.” Honestly, and we were talking a little bit before the show about how excited I get to be interacting with people. I mean, I think you can hear in my voice, and I'm trying to slow down a little bit to choose my words carefully, but honestly, the energy that you're given off is charging me, supercharging me too. Game design is very much the same way. When people are talking about what they're passionate about. Oh man, hours can go by.
In fact, I think it's been already 30-some minutes, and it still feels like a flash. In terms of the game design itself, I get super energized when it comes to the idea generation, trying to come up with compelling and interesting innovative mechanics and how they're all going to fit together. The draining part, the exhausting part, is after the play test and vibing with everyone and discussing the next possibilities. Trying to implement all of those new suggestions and go back to the drawing board in some sense and redo the card art files, or whatnot, changing the values and stuff. All the fine-tuning that last 10% is really what gets to me a bit. It is a balancing act. Trying to– I know I was talking about not forcing yourself to do things, but pushing through a little bit of that less fun stuff to get to the really good stuff is just part of the game, as it were.
Patrick: You know, this reminds me some of my first ProtoSpiels I went to, I remember playing a game, asking for feedback and they'd be like, “The game has to be more tactical. You got to add more instant decision making things on your turn” and like “OK alright cool.” I understand them, and I go, and I adjust some cards, and maybe the next day, I come back, and I try another play test, and the people are like, “It's too tactical, make it more strategic,” and like ugh. That, for me, is the part where I definitely feel that game design is exhausting. That is that last 10%, that's in the fine-tuning stages, generally. That I find exhausting, but the rest I totally hear you on.
Ben: That's right, yeah. Just exhilarating, again, when you're creating something new that didn't exist before. That in it and of itself is just cool to me.
What one resource would you recommend to another indie game designer or an aspiring game designer?
Patrick: I love it. You've done a lot. You create a lot of content. You create a lot of inspiration. You've had games signed. What's a resource that you'd recommend to another indie game designer?
Ben: There are tons of podcasts to listen to. One of them that I have been slacking on I need to pick up on is, again, that Board Game Design Lab podcast that started, I want to say, two or maybe even three years ago by Gabe Barrett. There's also Ludology with Jeff Finkelstein, and is it Gil Hova now, and Emma Larkins, I want to say?
Patrick: Correct. It's Gil Hova now and Emma Larkins now.
Ben: There we go. All kinds of resources available. My personal favorites, again, are the ones where you can get things out of what you put in. Those Facebook groups and whatnot. There's the Card and Board Game Designers Guild, and I want to say. Other various types that have different focuses as well. There are a few that are specifically revolving around self-publishing and stuff like that. Any community where you can not only learn passively, like you mentioned Patrick but also actively asking questions and receiving direct feedback and then also where you should hopefully be contributing back in as well are some of my favorite places to learn and breathe and grow, game design.
What was the best money you ever spent as a game designer?
Patrick: Awesome. One surprise question, which I apologize, I did not highlight ahead of time. What's the best money that you've spent in game design? What something that's worth every single cent.
Ben: Oh, geez. A lot of people will say Component Studio is a cool resource, as well, for rapid prototyping and things where you can edit a number of cards in a number of seconds. I myself still have– It's an untapped market for me. I still have to learn all of that, how to use it, and things. For me personally, and this is kind of silly, my favorite thing that I've gotten for board game design is a corner rounder.
I'll have to send you the direct link. I forget the name of it. Oh, but it's so satisfying to get that click. Then it's the nice little 1/8 inch radius on prototype cards, which again is totally aesthetic, doesn't contribute to anything, but it just feels nice for me personally. Selfishly I asked for that for Christmas and got it in my stocking, thanks to my brother. That one, I didn't spend the money, but I spent the time recommending it.
Patrick: That is great, Ben, and you are not the first person to recommend a corner rounder. So yes, please, when you get the link, go ahead and send it over to me. I'll include it in the show notes, so people can find the exact corner rounder. It's great, I think a previous guest said this, but it's great that in the board game world you can increase the value of something by cutting corners.
Ben: Oh, totally. You know how metal coins are deluxe components in board games. We have metal coins in real life, but we just don't pay them any heed. That just really is super funny to me. I think part of it is when you get the custom shapes that we talked about, too. For easy prototyping, Joe Slack recommended that you can add some weight and heft to your games if you do have currency circular tokens by just taping some artwork onto pennies and nickels and stuff, so totally there.
What does success in the board game world look like to you?
Patrick: Yep. Awesome. Then I just want to end– Oh, I'm sorry, I missed one question that I always ask. What does success in the board game world look like to you?
Ben: Oh, man. Honestly, for me is being surrounded by friends and making all these connections with people all over the world. Again, I love making friends and being able to spend time, during this time, with others who are international. So New Zealand, Australia, Romania, I believe, was also recently somebody I met, Maya. Then we also have Ireland and the UK. It's super cool that we can all become connected and make the world a little bit smaller of a place.
For me, I feel like I'm always working, striving for greatness, and notoriety. More games in the world would be cool, too. As far as I'm concerned, I am successful currently in that I've made some really interesting and amazing friends through it all, including yourself. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for us having connected also, Patrick. So thank you. I think, yeah that that makes me pretty successful to know you.
Patrick: Well, thank you. I appreciate that. There's something very nice about getting to know people, making new friends and making connections. I hear that. I love it. Let me end with a game called Overrated/Underrated. For new listeners and for you, Ben, in case you haven't listened to the show recently, I'm going to give you a word or phrase, and then you have to tell me if it's overrated or underrated. So if I said, let's say fancy coffee, five-dollar coffee from Starbucks, overrated/underrated, you would say “Underrated, because I love my mocha frappe latte whatevers.” Cool?
Ben: Awesome. There's a little bit of explanation, and I'm OK with that.
Patrick: Yeah. One sentence of explanation is pretty good. First one here, jigsaw puzzles, overrated or underrated?
Ben: I honestly think underrated. I did one with my dad at the beginning of the quarantine. It captured him, which surprised me. I wasn't expecting him to enjoy them so much, and then here we were. I think that is cool, bringing people together and fitting things together satisfyingly and having a finished product at the end, that says it all right there.
Patrick: Love it. I also actually recently did one and I also really enjoyed it. It was one of those things I wasn't planning on doing, and we just did it, and it was super fun.
Ben: Yeah, not something you'd expect to have fun with.
Patrick: All right. How about a daily calendar, you know what I mean, where it's like “Today is Monday, July 4th or whatever.” Overrated or underrated?
Ben: I believe, underrated. I used to keep a Google calendar every day for everything. Since then, I've slowed down quite a bit. But they are super useful for keeping things on the calendar, so you know what's coming. Everything so far for me lately has just been mental, and it's worked out OK. But when your days get more and more packed, you, I think, definitely have to have something to organize all of those blocks of time out for you, to keep you sane, at the very least, and not leave anyone hanging, per se.
Patrick: I dig it. Here we go, here's the fire explode-y question. Snacks at the board game table, overrated or underrated?
Ben: This is super controversial. I can't believe you'd do this to be Patrick, because I love snacks. I do. At a local playtest night that my friend, Ben, hosted way back when I guess now. We would have snacks all the time. It was just so fun. It made me feel like I was at home and hanging out with my buds instead of only strictly play testing for mechanics and clinically analyzing games and stuff. I'm OK with snacks. I would like people to clean their hands, of course, hand sanitizer and all that good stuff just to make sure that there isn't Cheeto grease on my cards and everything. But I am all for it, as long as you're respectful. Hopefully, won't get up during the game to refill per se. Oh yeah, it keeps my tastebuds occupied, I suppose, at the table.
Patrick: I dig it. Then I thought of this one because in a pandemic, all the things that we value change. So I want to go with living in a city, overrated or underrated?
Ben: So I don't currently live in the city, and I want to. That makes me vote for underrated vs. a couple of people who I do know, who live in the city, will tell me that it's overrated because they'd be doing the same thing that they would normally, someplace else. The grass is always greener, and I want to say, which is funny. For me, right now, living in a city sounds like an underrated phenomenon.
Patrick: Awesome. Ben, thank you so much for being on the show.
Ben: Patrick, thank you for having me. Thank you for inviting me on. Truly.
Patrick: Where can people find you and your games online?
Ben: Yes, I am most active on Facebook, you can find me there just by typing in my name, Ben Moy, where I have a little Facebook page that I publish updates on my latest game projects and things too, as well. That page is called Your Friend Ben Moy Designs Board Games. I think those are my two most popular or most active outlets for me to interact with you and your listeners, so if anyone wants to find me there, they absolutely can.
Patrick: Correct me if I'm wrong, The Board Game Blueprint is a channel under The Game Crafter's YouTube channel, right?
Ben: That's correct, exactly. 89 episodes currently, we had to stop a little bit in observance of everything that is going on with the world, but. 89 episodes to go through. We've had twelve guests as well and various topics spanning mechanics, components, as you mentioned, and then even a couple of different board game conventions too. To see if that's something that you'd be interested in for attending in the future.
Patrick: Then lastly, if I remember correctly, Break Dancing Meeples is sold by Atlas Games, so this episode will come out after it's released. You can probably get the game there.
Ben: Totally. On their website, I believe you can just order it right there. Then it should be actually in retail following by the end of July, so if you're friendly local game store has open hours and things, you might see it on that shelf.
Patrick: Very cool. Listeners, if you liked this podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes or wherever you heard us. If you leave a review, Ben will name a break dancing move after you for when Ben goes back to his college break dancing group and invents a new move. Then for those of you who want to help, I do have a Patreon available.
It helps me keep the lights on, it pays for hosting, it pays for health insurance when Ben hurts himself doing break dancing moves at the start of the episode. It is all around very useful to have. You can visit the site at IndieBoardGameDesigners.com, or you can follow me on Twitter and BoardGameGeek. I am @BFTrick on both platforms. Until next time everyone, happy designing. Bye-bye.