Patrick Rauland: Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Indie Board Game Designers Podcast, where I sit down with a different independent game designer each week, and we talk about their experience in game design and the lessons they’ve learned to get to where they are today.
Patrick Rauland: My name is Patrick Rauland, and today I’m going to be talking with Cecilia and Eric Hyland, who are designers behind Fleecing Olympus, which is having a pre-release at Gen Con. We’re recording this a couple of days before Gen Con, and it should have a full release after Gen Con, which is when this episode will come out. Cecilia and Eric, welcome to the show.
Cecilia Hyland: Hello
Eric Hyland: Hello.
Patrick Rauland: So, if they sound strained, it’s because we had to tweak their audio setting so there wasn’t background noise. It sounds like they’re quiet yelling, that’s just the audio magic we had to do today.
Cecilia Hyland: Quiet yelling! Woo!
Eric Hyland: Quiet yelling!
How Did You Get Into Board Games & Board Game Design?
Patrick Rauland: Okay, so first question I ask basically everyone: how did you two get into board games and board game design?
Cecilia Hyland: Well, my family’s always had the staples, Scrabble, Monopoly kind of thing for like ever. It wasn’t until I met Eric when I actually played more of Betrayal of House on the Hill and stuff that was more not as mainstream.
Eric Hyland: Yeah, and then after getting into a bunch of those games, we went to a bunch of conventions, just selling Cece’s crafts. And literally in a fever dream, I was sick behind the booth, just came up with an idea and ended up running into Chris Leder at Calliope Games, who directed me towards The Game Crafter. I realized it was possible for me to get from point A to Z and actually have a finished product that didn’t look like note cards.
Patrick Rauland: Right, right, right, right. It’s funny how often, like, lot of people, when they talk about their stories, it’s like, “Oh, I met this one person who introduced me to either the hobby or The Game Crafter,” or some thing, and that sets your whole thing in motion.
Patrick Rauland: All right, so here’s my question: If you didn’t meet him right then, you couldn’t go to the convention, you were sick that day, do you think you still would’ve gotten into it?
Eric Hyland: It probably would’ve taken a lot longer. It’s very possible maybe it wouldn’t have happened.
Cecilia Hyland: It’s possible, yeah.
Eric Hyland: I might have hit a brick wall and been like, “This is too hard. I’m not doing it anymore.”
Cecilia Hyland: I probably would’ve just kept making craft wings and calling it good.
Patrick Rauland: Right, right. All right. It’s crazy for me to think about that. If I didn’t meet this one person, I never would’ve moved out to Denver, or I never would’ve done this. Your whole life changes. Anyway, we’re not going to talk about stuff that big today, but just an interesting thing I noticed.
Why Do You Like Board Game Design Contests?
Patrick Rauland: Okay, so I was looking at your Board Game Geek Pages, and I think it was mostly yours, Eric, and you participated in a few contests, I think you put on your BGG page, and you placed pretty well. What do you like about contests? And also, how did you do so well? Because I have not done so well in my contests.
Eric Hyland: Well, as a small clarification, they’re only on my page because we’ve had some issues with Board Game Geek and Cece’s page.
Cecilia Hyland: I have like three pages that I cannot control.
Eric Hyland: I’m trying to get a hold of somebody to try to combine them, make sure they’re the same one.
Cecilia Hyland: I created one, and then there was one created when Passport published the game and put my name on there as a different name. And then it’s like, crap, I forgot the first one, the access, so I had to create another one. I don’t know anymore.
Patrick Rauland: Bummer.
Eric Hyland: Besides that point, is the contests were both of us, and they were through The Game Crafter. There was the survival contest …
Cecilia Hyland: The learning contest.
Cecilia Hyland: That was … I think part of what helped us place, was the fact that ours was pretty shiny. I was able to do all the art and stuff for it from the very beginning to end, and make sure it’s concise, whereas, I didn’t have to just use clip art or anything like that, which helped a lot, I think. But also, we had a lot of friends, we interacted with The Game Crafter a lot before entering the contest so a lot of people knew who we were. And most of the process of getting higher up into those contests is getting the votes. If you can get the votes, then that will get you further along. That’s usually only people who are on The Game Crafter, so if you have a bunch of friends who aren’t on The Game Crafter, and can’t really submit votes, so you need to be part of the community.
Patrick Rauland: Right. I struggle with that because I order all of my prototypes from The Game Crafter, but I guess I don’t like being on the chat all day. Sometimes if people are talking about something on the chat and I might pop in for one second and say a thing, but I definitely am not really building a community. I just go in a couple times a month and check out some new parts, or update my art, or something. I think that’s probably one of the small…there’s a part of me that wants to say that’s the whole reason I haven’t advanced further, there’s a part of me that wants to say that oh, that’s definitely why, but yeah, I’m sure having a lot of friends there helps. Right. Cause they’re gonna look at your game, they’re gonna vote for it. And then after … Yeah?
Cecilia Hyland: Plus, during the design process, you can usually … If you make your page visible to other people, you can be like, hey, does this look good to you. Then they can give you feedback, which is a big part of it. Helping. That’s the whole reason why it’s there, to help you make a better game.
Eric Hyland: And because most of the people on there are also going to be trying for the contest in some way, shape, or form, they’re going to be brutally honest with you. They’re going to tell you it looks horrible because …
Cecilia Hyland: Or if it looks great.
Eric Hyland: Or if it looks great. A lot of people on there that go for those contests, they want to be going up against people that are worthy to go against in a contest. You don’t wanna win a contest when nobody else is really worth fighting against.
Why Did You Stop Entering in Contests?
Patrick Rauland: Got it. Got it. Last I saw, these were contests from a couple years ago. Why did you stop entering contests? Do you do different contests now?
Cecilia Hyland: Because I got hired by The Game Crafter.
Patrick Rauland: Ah. So you can no longer join?
Cecilia Hyland: Yes. I can longer…I can no longer add games to a contest that I have worked on. If Eric can prove that he worked on a game all by himself, and I had absolutely no input whatsoever, then…
Eric Hyland: And that would be nearly impossible to do because that would mean I would be bashing my head against a wall, it’s like, “She’s right there. She’s two feet away from me and I can’t ask a question.” So, whatever, we’ll just do other things and I’ll use the contests to inform…oh, that’d be a fun thing to design a game around.
Patrick Rauland: Right. Right. Right.
Cecilia Hyland: Because we like the box it puts you in.
Patrick Rauland: Right. Totally. No, there have been…I have made, I’d say two games for…like I wouldn’t have made a game, but then the contest forced me to the constraint, “Oh, I tweak this little thing this way,” and then it works. It’s not the best game, but it’s game that didn’t exist before.
Why Not Do Other Contests?
Patrick Rauland: Why not do other contests? There’s a million places where there are contests going on, why not just go somewhere else and try a new venue?
Cecilia Hyland: Well, with our recent game being published, it’s been a lot of our energy into that and working on games we already had in the works. Since we know so many people now, we’ve made so many connections, a lot of them looked at, “Hey Fleecing Olympus got published, what else you got?”
Patrick Rauland: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Eric Hyland: But there is the board game night, or Big Game Night from AEG that just got put out. That contest with them, and we’re looking at our open market game, Treble with Gators, and being like, “You know, let’s see if we can just touch these up a bit. We can submit those and see what happens.”
What is it Like Designing Games as a Couple?
Patrick Rauland: Well, very cool. I haven’t seen that one yet so I’ll have to take a look at it. Okay, so you’re a couple and you design games together. I’d be curious, and maybe you don’t have the perspective or maybe you do, but what is the difference between when you’re in a couple designing games together versus you’re just a person designing games on your own?
Cecilia Hyland: It’s a never ending barrage of ideas and suggestions.
Eric Hyland: I have a problem.
Cecilia Hyland: Because we live in the same house. We’re around each other all the time. He’s like, “Cece, I have another idea.” I’m like, “Eric, what about those other ones that seemed pretty viable?.” “Well, I gotta write this one down too.” “Okay.”
Eric Hyland: There was a point in time where I didn’t have a notebook and I really, I just got this little pocket-sized Five-Star notebook that goes in my back pocket wherever I go. So that way, when I get an idea, I can write it down, get it out of my head, and if it ends up coming back again, maybe it’s more viable and I’ll get back to it.
Eric Hyland: This has then gone even further with things getting published and trying to figure out which ones are more viable so we have put together a prototype kind of project board where I can actually put on the board at different areas how complete a project is and visually see, “Okay, this one is worth my time more, right now, than this one is, because this one’s just kind of an idea.”
Patrick Rauland: Yeah!
Cecilia Hyland: Because I don’t want to start images until it’s at a point where it can actually have images start being made. (laughs)
Patrick Rauland: Right. So I’m a huge fan of Trello. I use it for work and, you guys don’t know this but I use this on the back end for scheduling guests. I have a huge list on the left and I have Contacted and then I have Confirmed, or like, Scheduled and interview questions written and I’ve got, like, 10 or 12 steps on there. Do you know what the rough columns are for your Trello board?
Eric Hyland: Yes. I have a thing for acronyms. I always have. So, it is literally Prototype is the…
Cecilia Hyland: Do you remember what all the words were?
Eric Hyland: Yes, I do. It is Ponderings, Research….
Cecilia Hyland: You said you remembered!
Eric Hyland: I said I remembered, I know!
Cecilia Hyland: It’s like, Testing and then Testing again.
Eric Hyland: No, O is effectively it’s the portion where I’m getting stuff put together.
Cecilia Hyland: Didn’t you write it down?
Eric Hyland: I did write it down. It’s in a book somewhere.
Patrick Rauland: (laughs)
Eric Hyland: It’s putting stuff together, then T is for testing and then there’s the other O where it’s back to “Okay, what do I need to reiterate from the testing?” Testing again, because testing is very important.
Cecilia Hyland: Testing is very-
Patrick Rauland: I like that.
Eric Hyland: Y is “Yes” because the game is done. I can do stuff from here now. And P is where the games are going when they are pitchable, meaning we have a sell sheet for them. Then E is more of that end portion where it is picked up, it is published.
Cecilia Hyland: It is no longer in our wheelhouse of having to worry about it.
Patrick Rauland: Right. That’s cool. I like that. I just like having a process, right.
Cecilia Hyland: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-
Eric Hyland: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Patrick Rauland: It’s cool. I think you’re the first people to bring up Trello, so it’s nice to see familiar tools that I use in my, I guess, regular day.
What’s Changed In Your Process?
Patrick Rauland: Okay, you said you have your game, Fleecing Olympus, is going be published in just a couple days and it will be out by the time this episode airs. What has changed about your process now? Did you have more steps before? Did you have fewer or more steps before? Do you do more testing? What has changed?
Cecilia Hyland: Originally, what happened with Fleecing Olympus is we made our sell sheet, we went around to conventions, we went to Origins, we did our best to use all connections that we could to talk to people. And it wasn’t until, not this past Origins, but past, past Origins,
Eric Hyland: Two Origins.
Cecilia Hyland: Two Origins ago. Where we were doing our normal thing and we ran down to FedEx/Kinko’s, we printed off our sell sheet. We like to print it on…we printed the Fleecing Olympus sell sheet specifically on…
Eric Hyland: Resume paper.
Cecilia Hyland: Resume paper, so it had like a texture and it has…
Eric Hyland: It has linen texture to it.
Cecilia Hyland: Yeah. We thought that was a really cool addition to it. We handed that out and we talking to several companies. And the thing is, what happened was, we had one company that requested a copy and then they sent it back saying, “Hey, we’re too busy” or whatnot. We’re like, “okay.”
Eric Hyland: That’s happened before, so it’s…
Cecilia Hyland: Yeah. So this is was our idea going in and we’re like, “okay.” So we had three publishers say, “Hey, send us a copy, we’ll review it and get back to you guys.” We’re like, “Okay, cool.” We didn’t really think that was a big deal at the time. Apparently, when a publisher asks for a copy of your game, it’s kind of a bigger deal. (laughs)
Cecilia Hyland: So we ended up in the very interesting situation of having going from pitching to publisher after publisher and getting 10+ “Nos, to having three yeses.
Patrick Rauland: Whoa!
Eric Hyland: Yeah, and it was actually very difficult, one of the hardest decisions of our lives, to actually be able to tell two people no.
Cecilia Hyland: Because they’re all wonderful people. We loved interacting with them. We made friends with these people. That’s what you do, you make friends with everyone in the industry you possibly can. It was the gut-wrenching thing to have to do. I never want to be in that situation ever again.
Eric Hyland: And that’s kind of how our process has changed. We’re a lot more…
Cecilia Hyland: Precise?
Eric Hyland: Precise about…I wouldn’t say precise, but it’s just a lot more like, “Okay. The game is with this publisher right now. Let’s wait until we have a more definitive answer from one publisher at a time and do one at a time.”
Let’s wait until we have a more definitive answer from one publisher at a time and do one at a time.
Cecilia Hyland: Not casting as wide of a net.
Eric Hyland: Yeah, we’re not casting as wide of a net with our pitching.
Cecilia Hyland: We also tailor the game that we send to that person, unless they just ask for a game, it’s like, “Would this fit in this publisher’s wheelhouse?”
Eric Hyland: Mm-hmm (affirmative)- There’s a lot more research that goes into the publishers before pitching now than we did prior and the process has also changed because of adding that visual board. It’s a little bit easier to [inaudible 00:13:28] things now.
Cecilia Hyland: [inaudible 00:13:31] publishing when we first came. (laughs)
How Do You Follow Up With Publishers?
Patrick Rauland: Okay, so I’m gonna ask you some questions selfishly for a second. So I have…I went to Origins and two publishers took the game home. And they’ve since gone a little bit quiet. And Origins was like a month and a half ago or something now. When is it appropriate for a designer to follow-up with an email? How do I give them a little nudge?
Eric Hyland: I would say you were in prime territory to be able to give them a polite nudge. I would say if you do it any more than once a month, that’s pushing it a lot and you’re probably likely to just get a no out of…it’s that you’re annoying them.
Eric Hyland: But, they’re really busy. They’ve got lots of stuff on their plate but…
Cecilia Hyland: Especially with Gen Con right now. I would wait until after Gen Con. Like a week after Gen Con, minimum.
Eric Hyland: Yes. Whatever went into my considerations for ever reaching out to a publisher who had a game in hand, is I consider what I know about them, if I’m friends with them on Facebook, do I know they’re doing a lot at home, or do I know a big convention’s going on that they’re at right now. If those things are yeses, then I’m going to leave them alone for a bit. But if I know it’s been a while, it’s been about a month since I’ve talked to them, I haven’t heard anything, I’ll reach out and say, “Hey, just curious how things are going. Did you have any questions?”
Cecilia Hyland: Like with James Hudson moving right now. I would not contact him at all. (laughs)
Eric Hyland: (laughs) Our friend, James, actually has a game from us right now and we’ve just kinda, we’re going to wait to talk to him at Gen Con if not afterwards.
Patrick Rauland: Oh, sure, got it. I think I’ve done it pretty well. I think I emailed them right after Origins because I had to email them a video to something. Then I think I followed up two weeks ago. So, maybe I’ll wait another two weeks and then probably hit them up again.
Is it Appropriate to Text A Publisher?
Patrick Rauland: Here’s another weird follow-up question. I know at least one of the two companies, I’m guessing both, are gonna be at Gen Con. Is it weird to be like, “Hey!”, you know, text them when I’m there because I have their numbers, is that like a weird thing if you’re at the same convention and try to meet up with them or is that just annoying and…
Cecilia Hyland: I would keep it more organic. Like if you go by the booth and wave and they’re like, “Oh, hey!” and they start the conversation then you can take that somewhere.
Patrick Rauland: Right.
Eric Hyland: Because Gen Con is a meat grinder of an experience and they are not going to get to leave that booth for hours and they’re gonna be stressed and tired. So you don’t want to add to their stress.
Cecilia Hyland: If they’re looking to get together with somebody, have it be on them.
Patrick Rauland: Okay. Got it. And if you walk by and there’s a moment, maybe…
Cecilia Hyland: Yeah. Say hi, wave, you know. Buy a game from them if you planned on it anyway.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. Yeah.
Cecilia Hyland: Try and initiate it, but make it so it’s their idea. (laughs)
Patrick Rauland: Very cool. That’s very helpful because I’ve heard it’s good that a publisher takes your game home, but then I’m sitting here like a month and a half after Origins and I’m kind of like twiddling my thumbs. I did follow up two weeks ago, so I’ll wait another two weeks and then maybe follow up middle of August or something. That’s very helpful.
Eric Hyland: When in doubt, be as polite and professional as possible.
Cecilia Hyland: Yeah.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. Now I think it was like, “Hey, any update on Fry Thief?” That was all I got. Cool.
Where Do You Get Your Ideas From?
Patrick Rauland: I got totally lost in my questions because you guys had very useful information for me. “Fleecing Olympus.” This was the first game that you guys have had published, right?
Cecilia Hyland: Yup.
Eric Hyland: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Patrick Rauland: Cool. Very cool. Where did the idea for this come from? I’m curious, was there back and forth? Did one of you come up with the original idea and then someone else came up with the idea for the cards or the components? How did that whole thing work?
Cecilia Hyland: Usually Eric comes up with a core idea and then it kind of like spaghettis off from there.
Eric Hyland: And that core idea for this one came from, there was a point in time where I was writing a series of three novellas to be combined together into a novel and I only got done with he first one. But in a portion of that it was a feudal fantasy Japanese world that I was creating and I wanted these two soldiers to be playing a traditional Japanese game of that time. So it was like, “Okay, well, crap, what was there?”
Eric Hyland: I looked it up and found the game of Chō-Han with dice. It’s pretty much, it’s a game still played by the Yakuza today, where you roll two dice in a cup and you bet if it’s even or odd. It’s literally 50/50 shot of you losing your finger.
Patrick Rauland: What?
Eric Hyland: In the Yakuza they take fingers. It’s not great. But otherwise you’re going to lose your money.
Cecilia Hyland: Basically the core mechanic of that, we were like, “Okay, so, where can you take that?” would be interesting.
Eric Hyland: And then card ideas started coming out. Long story short, in December 2015, the idea of Greek gods was like, “Okay, that’d be kind of cool.”
Cecilia Hyland: Well, I came up with the Greek gods part.
Eric Hyland: Yeah, you came up with that part because you love Hercules.
Cecilia Hyland: I love Hercules. (laughs)
Eric Hyland: But it’s funny because Hercules is not Greek.
Cecilia Hyland: Actually in the version.
Eric Hyland: No, it’s Heracles. Heracles is the Greek version. We took that and then moved that forward with all the different card types. There was a card type that came out of play testing that a play tester was like, “I really wish I could just change the target.” We put it in there and then when we play tested it again, they used it in a way we had not even considered and left it that way. It was great.
Cecilia Hyland: It was already brutal, like, friend-breaking mechanics to begin with, but that just took it to a whole other level.
Eric Hyland: It’s free-form, open negotiation. So, it’s bright green extortion, freely.
Cecilia Hyland: Yeah.
Patrick Rauland: Oh, man.
Eric Hyland: And it [inaudible 00:19:06] break the game.
Are You Sure It’s Heracles?
Patrick Rauland: Now I need to go back to a very, very important point. Are you sure it’s Heracles? All right, there’s the Disney movie, “Hercules.”
Cecilia Hyland: Disney movie broke it completely.
Patrick Rauland: Oh!
Cecilia Hyland: They went with the thing that sounded better. Which I agree, it sounds better.
Eric Hyland: Also, consider at the time, Hercules had another TV show that had happened, so people knew Hercules. But the Greek gods are what is popular because Greek gods are what are taught more often in schools. Roman gods are just like, “Oh yeah, and the Roman gods, they did this” and besides, think of if they used the Roman gods, all the kids would be like, “Why are they all named after planets, Daddy?”
Patrick Rauland: Right. Okay.
Cecilia Hyland: Yeah, ’cause in the Hercules version all the gods are planets. In the Heracles version they’re all Zeus, Poseidon, Hades.
Patrick Rauland: Okay, I’m glad for the correction. I’m like, “I remember the Hercules Disney movie, so they must have their information wrong.”
Eric Hyland: It was actually something that came up in the development process is the publisher wanted to double-check that we were correct on that one, too.
What’s The Best Money You’ve Spent?
Patrick Rauland: Oh, okay. Cool. The reason I ask this is when I’m making my games, I’m frugal. I don’t want to waste money on stuff I don’t need, but there is always something useful that you can buy. Is there some money that you spent while making this game or other games that was just the best money you’ve ever spent?
Cecilia Hyland: It wasn’t necessarily on the games, per se. What I did was I got on Craigslist, I found a topper to our truck and we Con Camped in order to make it to more conventions and get more testing at [inaudible 00:20:45] in order to go more Origins and Gen Cons and stuff like that because the biggest hurdle is usually hotel rooms.
Patrick Rauland: Right!
Cecilia Hyland: Literally, last Gen Con, we were in the parking structure, which cost us, like $100 for the whole weekend.
Eric Hyland: But now, just to be clear, we do go to the camping section and get dry shampoos and camp wipes.
Cecilia Hyland: Things like that.
Eric Hyland: We don’t go and be completely unhygienic for three days. No. We were very conscious of this.
Patrick Rauland: (laughs)
Cecilia Hyland: That was the best money, I think, we ever spent in order to help us succeed in our game design. But you?
Eric Hyland: On my side of things is actually the two Origins ago, the Origins that Fleecing Olympus got picked up at, that was more of a, CeCe came to me and was like, “Hey, Eric, we should go to Origins.” I was like, “Mmm, but, I don’t really want to.” And she was like, “Do you have any excuse for us not to go?” It was just like, “Well, now you go the top on the camper, we kind of gotta test it now, don’t we.”
Eric Hyland: And we had the money for the tickets, we spent the money on the tickets and we went and it was a good expenditure, I’d say.
Patrick Rauland: It’s funny, I run a local tech conference here in Denver and the tickets are super cheap, I think it’s like $20 a day, super cheap. It’s not the ticket price that gets people. It’s always the hotel and the airfare or travel to get there is always the two biggest costs. So if you can knock out one of those with a top, what was it called, a truck topper?
Cecilia Hyland: Yeah, it’s a camper topper type thing. It’s the hard top so you can put it on the back of a….yeah.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. That’s really cool.
Cecilia Hyland: But it took a bunch of jury rigging on the inside. Like, we had to make the mattress. I had to make things that covered the windows.
Eric Hyland: And we went through legally and found out that California’s really the only state that…
Cecilia Hyland: Cares.
Eric Hyland: …yells at people for sleeping in their vehicles.
Patrick Rauland: Huh. With that camp topper, how many conventions do you go to now? A year?
Eric Hyland: I want to say, like, six, if we’re including Protospiels?
Cecilia Hyland: Yeah, something like that. [inaudible 00:22:44] and anime conventions and stuff we sell stuff at.
Eric Hyland: Yeah, somewhere around six.
Patrick Rauland: Very cool. That’s pretty good. There’s two local ones that I like to go to and I really liked Origins. Gen Con’s a little crazy, but I’m going this year, so it’s at least three or four. Boy, six is pretty good, right?
Eric Hyland: If you’re going to Gen Con, you’re gonna have to stop by our booth then.
Patrick Rauland: I will stop by your booth. I will give you guys high-fives.
Cecilia Hyland: Get a signed copy.
Patrick Rauland: And maybe some more dry shampoo or something.
Cecilia Hyland: (laughs) This time we have a hotel room.
Eric Hyland: Yeah, this time we have a hotel room because August 4th is actually our anniversary and with the game being released at Gen Con, it’s like, you know what…
Cecilia Hyland: We’re going to splurge.
Eric Hyland: We’re going to splurge a little bit and actually really be nice to ourselves this time around.
Patrick Rauland: Nice. No, that’s great. I’m sharing a hotel room with two friends and-
Cecilia Hyland: Only two? Wow. You’re not renting out the floor space and [inaudible 00:23:32] bodies?
Patrick Rauland: Yeah, I know. And for how expensive it is, it still feels expensive even splitting it three ways. But I’m worried or maybe anxious about because I tend to get up early, I’m an early riser and I like to go to early events and they are definitely stay up all night and do crazy things. So we will see how our schedules…they might be coming back by the time I’m leaving in the morning.
Cecilia Hyland: That could be.
Patrick Rauland: We will see how it goes, but hopefully there’s not too much conflict with that, right? Because if you don’t have the same schedule, and they’re making a lot of noise, there can be feel badsies.
Cecilia Hyland: That’s what earplugs and eye covers are for.
Patrick Rauland: Ooh! Wow, I am packing for Gen Con tonight. I have one of those eye masks and I never bring it with me. Wow. You’ve just saved me a lot of trouble. Thank you. Bring eye masks to Gen Con. Check. Cool. Thank you.
What Resources Do You Recommend?
Patrick Rauland: Besides eye masks, are there any other resources that you’d recommend to any other game designers or aspiring game designers?
Cecilia Hyland: For as much as I…I work for The Game Crafter, but I’m also gonna say that I love that site for doing prototype stuff. For getting quick cards that are nice to be able to play with and even with the new custom cut stuff, that is amazing.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. I use them for all of my prototypes for a reason. Cool. So The Game Crafter for you. Got it.
Eric Hyland: I will go ahead and recommend two quick things Which is one, a more physical thing, which is if you don’t have one of those paper slicers with the big arm with the blade on it? That is something that helps with designing stuff before you Game Crafter it so much. And the other thing is go to Protospiels.
Cecilia Hyland: Yeah.
Eric Hyland: Because the input that you get from Protospiels is so good.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. I’ve only been to one and I really, really enjoyed it. And actually just a quick question on Protospiels. Cecilia, I assume you are near The Game Crafter if you work for them. Does that mean that you’re going to Protospiel Madison?
Cecilia Hyland: We’ll probably be able to make that one.
Eric Hyland: That’s on our schedule.
Cecilia Hyland: That’s on our list? Okay, good.
Patrick Rauland: Cool. Isn’t there Crafter Con right before?
Eric Hyland: Yeah, the Crafter Con is, I believe, on the 29th and then it’s immediately followed by the Protospiel.
Cecilia Hyland: Yeah, because it’s like a one day thing for Crafter Con.
Eric Hyland: Yeah, it’s a one day thing. I don’t know if we’ll be at Crafter Con, but I know that we’re going to Protospiel.
Patrick Rauland: Very cool. Well, I will give you high fives at Gen Con and at Protospiel Madison.
Cecilia Hyland: Heck, yeah.
How Many Games Are You Working On?
Patrick Rauland: Okay, so I always have to ask, how giant is your backlog of games? Of unpublished, unfinished or half-finished, let’s say, games.
Cecilia Hyland: At what point do you call it a game? Is it just when you have an idea or is it when there’s actually mechanics and a name behind it?
Patrick Rauland: Both.
Eric Hyland: So, I’ll just go through from the booklet to where the board says right now. In the booklet I have one booklet that is completely full of stuff and one that’s about a third full in my pocket right now. Some of those ideas, I’ve got…rather we’ve got, looks like 14 ideas that are in the Ponderings and Research section. So there’s seven of those ideas that are just ideas and then the other seven ideas are ideas that I’ve put a little bit of research into, seeing if they’re viable.
Eric Hyland: There are four games that are being constructed in some form, three games that are in testing, one game that is a little bit further in the construction process.
Cecilia Hyland: That one needs art.
Eric Hyland: Yup. And then one game that is in a more finalized testing state, which is more of an expansion for a different game, which is why we haven’t pushed it too much further. Three games that are done, but have got notes on them, they might need some re-tweaking, we might want to revisit them because they’re older games. And then two games that are pitching right now and two games that are at the end phase.
Patrick Rauland: Okay, so for those of us…
Cecilia Hyland: However that math [inaudible 00:27:38] out.
Patrick Rauland: I was just gonna say, for those of us who are bad at math, what is the ball park there?
Eric Hyland: That is 14…18…21…23…26 games…
Cecilia Hyland: That are actually viable, not counting the booklet.
Eric Hyland: Not counting the booklet there are 26 games and then there are four that are in their final stages.
Patrick Rauland: Wow. Okay, I mean that’s way more than I actually thought. I think that’s really impressive. I’m guessing my number is more like five, like five games that you could bring to a Protospiel, that’s what I’ll say. I have five that I could bring to a Protospiel. And a bunch that are just crazy ideas that I’ve never written one card for them.
Eric Hyland: I would say there’s probably eight that I could bring to a Protospiel if I put a little bit more work into the prototype.
Patrick Rauland: Wow. I think that’s really impressive.
Eric Hyland: I said I have a problem. I really have a problem. It doesn’t stop.
Cecilia Hyland: I told it was a constant barrage.
Eric Hyland: She helps stop it.
Cecilia Hyland: I’m like a filter.
What Does Success Look Like?
Patrick Rauland: That’s awesome. So you have a published game, you’re going to Gen Con, you’re going to a million cons a year because you’ve got a sweet truck with no shower, I’m going to keep teasing you about that. What does success in the board game worlds look like to you guys?
Cecilia Hyland: Really, truly, it’s just people playing our games. At the end of the day, if people are playing our games, that’s what makes us happy.
Eric Hyland: Yeah, I really don’t care if it’s my prototype, if you’re ripping it apart, if it’s something that’s finished and you enjoy it, if it’s a game that we have put time into and you are taking your time and you are enjoying the experience that you’re getting from our game, that’s it.
Cecilia Hyland: That works for us.
Eric Hyland: I’m happy.
Patrick Rauland: Very cool. I like that. Simple, right. I’m thinking of, like, an author who just, “I just want someone to read my book.” Right? You know what I mean? And I want them to enjoy it, but you’re not worried about the money, you’re not worried about job or career or anything like that. I want someone to enjoy my game.
Cecilia Hyland: Yup.
Overrated / Underrated Game
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. All right. So, I like to end every session here with a little game called “Overrated/Underrated.” Now have you guys listened to any the previous episodes or no?
Cecilia Hyland: I listened to one of the previous episodes.
Patrick Rauland: Okay, so you have an idea of what this is, right?
Cecilia Hyland: Yeah.
Patrick Rauland: All right. So I’m basically going to force you into a position, “Is pizza overrated or underrated?” And you guys have to pick. And since you’re a couple, let’s do it separately and I’ll ask you each what you think. Just because that way there’s more drama. That’s what you want to inject into a marriage is drama.
Eric Hyland: Exactly. (laughs)
Patrick Rauland: This is why I’m currently not married, probably. Okay. Collectible card games, and we’ll start with you, Eric. Are they overrated or underrated?
Eric Hyland: I would say most of them are overrated.
Patrick Rauland: Okay, you said most of them. Is there one or two that are not?
Eric Hyland: Yes, just real quick, I used to be super into “Magic: The Gathering.” I have since sold all my stuff and it actually took until the emergence of “Star Wars: Destiny” that I gave it another shot purely because it is not as much of a pay-to-win game. Because the dice are there, the dice can just mess up everything and you could have put hundreds of dollars into a deck and lose to a $20 deck. I like that it levels the playing field. Which makes it less overrated.
Patrick Rauland: And, you, Cecilia?
Cecilia Hyland: I say they’re slightly overrated. Granted, I come at it from a slightly different point of view because I like the pretty pictures. (laughs) I played “Yu-Gi-Oh,” I’ve played “Pokemon,” I’ve played “Magic: The Gathering,” I’ve also played “Star Wars: Destiny” with Eric. I like “Star Wars: Destiny” a lot. I like the fact that it has the dice. I think it’s like a mash-up between a collectible card game and a board game, frankly. And that’s the reason why there’s so much controversy over it because the collectible people are like, “But we like our absolutes!” And the board game people are like, “We like the random.” (laughs)
Patrick Rauland: Yeah, there definitely is a little bit of tension there.
Cecilia Hyland: Yeah.
Patrick Rauland: Okay, so next one. Titans. And by Titans I mean people who ruled the earth before the Greek gods. Cecilia, are they overrated or underrated?
Cecilia Hyland: I think they’re underrated. I think they could have totally wiped the floor with stuff if Zeus hadn’t gotten some help. I believe, right? That’s how it went?
Patrick Rauland: That sounds right. I think he had help and that’s where the lightning bolts came from and then he puts them in a dungeon or something.
Eric Hyland: I’m with Cece on this one. Definitely underrated. It’s just the Titans are less studied in school and they’re more of just a footnote. But the fact of the matter is, when the Titans were ruling, that was the golden age of Greece. When Zeus took over, everything went to crap.
Patrick Rauland: That’s when it went to, like, reality TV.
Cecilia Hyland: Yeah, that’s when it turned into reality TV.
Eric Hyland: The Titans were way more powerful than they’re given credit for. The gods just kind of got lucky taking out their parents.
Patrick Rauland: So, for those of us who have not taken Greek mythology in a long time, the Titans were their parents? I don’t remember this.
Eric Hyland: Yes, the Titans were their parents in some way, shape, or form. A lot of them came from Gaia and Cronus.
Cecilia Hyland: Yeah, big from Cronus.
Patrick Rauland: Didn’t Cronus eat all of his babies?
Cecilia Hyland: Yes, he ate all of them, yes.
Eric Hyland: Well, he ate them, but he didn’t, like, chew them up or anything and they were all cut out of him at the end.
Cecilia Hyland: Yeah, like, he absorbed them? In Greek mythology…
Patrick Rauland: This is getting creepy.
Eric Hyland: There’s lot of different translations.
Patrick Rauland: Let’s go on. Let’s go on. “Dungeons and Dragons.” Is it overrated or underrated. Eric.
Eric Hyland: I would say that it’s…
Cecilia Hyland: I know my stance.
Eric Hyland: I would say it’s kind of a bit of both and I’m not trying to cop out on this one. I would say it’s overrated in the fact that it is popular for just going and doing, but it’s underrated for its use of social mechanics and actually interacting with characters. Like, hack-and-slash D&D, that’s overrated. But social, story-driven D&D is underrated.
Patrick Rauland: Love it. Love the nuance there. What do you got, Cecilia?
Cecilia Hyland: I’d say it’s becoming overrated because it’s being plugged into so much stuff. Every other day you see the next D&D hack-and-slash board game…
Eric Hyland: So is this the next zombies? Is it the next zombie thing, D&D?
Cecilia Hyland: Is it the next zombies? It might be. Eric runs games for us that I’ve been in a game that’s gone through several different groups, because you know how that goes when a games ends because a group doesn’t want to get together anymore or something. So a character, he’s bouncing through these groups. And I love the more social games that Eric runs.
Patrick Rauland: Cool. The type of game you play totally depends. I was at one point in a weird mixed group where half the people, I don’t want to say were power gamers, but they were very much into the stats and doing the most damage possible. And the other people were into more social stuff and figuring out the problems and it was a very weird group, right? No one was happy. Either it was social adventure and some people were happy or it was a more hack-and-slash adventure and the other people were happy. That game more than others requires really a focused group, I’d say.
Cecilia Hyland: I’d say so, for sure. We have a group that’s kind of like that sometimes.
Patrick Rauland: All right, so last one. For you, Cecilia. “Hercules,” the Disney movie, or I’m gonna call it “Heracles,” the Disney movie. Overrated or underrated?
Cecilia Hyland: It’s a very underrated movie. I love that movie so much. I can watch that start to finish like 20 times like a two year old and know the songs. (laughs)
Eric Hyland: I love that movie, it is so underrated.
Cecilia Hyland: It didn’t come out at a good time.
Eric Hyland: I really think Disney was ahead of their time with that one. I love Hades. Hades is one of my favorite Disney villains.
Patrick Rauland: And his little imps.
Cecilia Hyland: I don’t know why it never got a Hercules 2. Why didn’t we get that? We got Mulan 2, Little Mermaid 2. I would have loved a Hercules 2.
Patrick Rauland: I would have been totally fine with that. I also really, really enjoyed it. And there’s enough source material to work from, right?
Cecilia Hyland: Oh, yeah, way more than enough. Maybe it was like the TV series spinoff.
Patrick Rauland: Yes. So, first of all, thank you for being on the show, both of you. Where can people find you online?
Cecilia Hyland: The best place to find us is at Tank & DPS on Facebook.
Eric Hyland: Yup. It’s Facebook.com/TankAndDPS/ or just type “Tank and DPS.” Otherwise our Twitter handle is @tank_dps.
Cecilia Hyland: I’m glad you remember those.
Patrick Rauland: Is there a story there that I don’t know? What do these stand for?
Cecilia Hyland: Okay, so, what we did before board game stuff is I went around to conventions [inaudible 00:36:23] and stuff like that and anime conventions and I sold the crafts that I made. First it was called Fur Gear and then we were like, “We should come up with something different” considering Eric was making some stuff and I was making stuff. Fur Gear just made people really confused.
Eric Hyland: And we played World of Warcraft together. When she started playing that with me, DPS characters were typically a lot easier to understand and he hadn’t done many MMOs before so we figured that would be a good place for her to jump in. She really enjoyed the Hunter class.
Cecilia Hyland: I like pets.
Eric Hyland: And I took up the harder job of Tanking. So, when we went into making the con scene a little bit more…
Cecilia Hyland: Rounded?
Eric Hyland: Inclusive and rounded for what we were bringing
Cecilia Hyland: So we get rid of other conventions, really.
Eric Hyland: We just decided to call it “Tank And DPS” and she drew this really cute little mimic for it and I just love the mimic, it’s on the back of my phone.
Cecilia Hyland: So that’s how it’s Tank and DPS.
Patrick Rauland: Very cool. I always like asking people about it because I have a weird Twitter handle, so someday I’ll explain it on the podcast. It’s fun to go into the backstory there.
Eric Hyland: In real life, she’s the one that goes on adventures and if I don’t go along she might get herself hurt.
Cecilia Hyland: Yeah.
Patrick Rauland: Hey thank both of you again for being on the show. You guys have been fantastic.
Eric Hyland: Thank you for having us.
Cecilia Hyland: Very much thank you.
Patrick Rauland: So, listeners if you enjoy this podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes. If you leave a review, Cecilia and Eric said that they would try to reach out to Hades and hopefully he’d be able to play their new game…hold on. I just borked this.
Patrick Rauland: Hopefully you can play their new game with Hades. There we go. All right. So you can visit the site at indieboardgamedesigners.com/. You can follow me on Twitter. I am @BFTrick. Until next time, happy designing. Bye-bye.