Chris Anderson

#163 – Chris Anderson

I get to chat with Chris Anderson from The Board Game Workshop. He tells us about the 2021 contest (and how you can get feedback on top of feedback on top of feedback) as well as how he got into board games and why he loves Buttonshy games.

Introduction

Patrick
Hello and welcome to the Indie Board Game Designers podcast where I speak to a different independent game designer most weeks to talk about their experience of game design and the lessons they've learned along the way. My name is Patrick Rauland. And today I'm going to be talking with Chris Anderson, who runs The Board Game Workshop podcast. And he also runs a yearly design contest, which we are going to be talking about in the show. And he also designed In Vino Morte, which is a fun wild game published by Buttonshy.

Patrick
Chris, welcome to the show.

Chris
Thanks for having me.

Patrick
So I like to introduce people with a lightning round. Are you ready for some simple, easy questions?

Chris
I am a favorite character from the movie The Princess Bride.

Chris
Got to be Vasini. He does not live that long in the movie, but he has the most quotable lines. The character is perfect and while Sean is just a great actor in everything. So I got to go with Disney.

Patrick
He's fantastic. All the characters are great, but he's just fantastic. I love them. How about this favorite cheese?

Chris
So I like a lot of cheeses, I definitely enjoy them, I was almost going to go with blue cheese, but I think I got to go with a nice sharp cheddar. Simple. It's classic. It's good on almost everything. Huh. Got it to the better.

Patrick
And I'm bringing up cheese because it relates to your wine themed game. So I'm not just asking random people, what is your favorite game that you would want to play with someone at a con?

Chris
So every time I got to play cockroach poker, it was part of the inspiration for In Vino Morte. It's super simple. It's easy to teach. It plays up to six people, maybe eight people. I forget now, but it plays in a couple of minutes. There's only one loser and a bunch of winners and it takes almost no brainpower. So it's great at three a.m..

Patrick
And so I don't know it I've heard of it before, but like what what is like the simple gist?

Chris
So there's eight copies of each passed in the game. So cockroach, fly, toad bat, whatever the other ones are, you have a hand of cards, you take one, you put it face down, you slide it to another player. You say this is a bat or whatever you want to say. You could tell the truth or lie. They just have to decide if you're telling the truth or lying. If they're right, you get the card, which is bad.

Chris
If they're wrong, they get the card, which is bad. That's it. That's the whole game. You do that till someone's out of cards or until someone gets four copies of one animal and it's the whole game. How is there someone down? Got the first person to get four of a kind or first person to lose all their cards, lose everyone else wins. Got it. Got very slight targeting people like they have three bets and you'll just slide a card like it's a bat.

Chris
And they're so stressed out because if it is about if they're wrong, they are ruined. Got it.

Patrick
Right, right, right. I will check it out.

Chris
I only like twelve dollars.

Patrick
Perfect. How do you get into board games?

Chris
So I've played games all my life, I grew up with the classics, Candyland and whatever bizarre mass market things they were pumping out, I think I really got deeper into it with Hero Quest when I was younger, really like making my own maps, have been a magic player since middle school. So 20 plus years now. But it wasn't until a couple of years ago my friend who I met through magic, invited me over for a board game night and I enjoyed board games.

Chris
I never played that much. We played the clips and it was kind of it was literally life changing now where my life is with all this stuff. But I had seen games that I had never seen such a large game designed so elegantly the way it moves around the pieces to reveal the economies and stuff. And just the fact that someone could do that made me interested in the design and got me deep into the hobby all at once. So I started being interested in the hobby, listening to Board Game podcast and designing basically the same week.

Chris
And now I listen to way too many podcasts design with too many games, but I don't play a lot of games because I don't have time. But yes, that got me deep real fast.

Patrick
So you dove in like you were like designing, listening to podcasts. You went all in and buying.

Chris
I buy a lot of games. I don't play them though.

Patrick
I just got rid of a game I sold it for, obviously below what I bought it for. But it feels so good to, like, sell the game to someone else who's actually going to play it. Because I have you can see you can see my video in the wall behind me, have a whole bunch of games and there's probably at least 10 and shrinkwrap, which is embarrassing.

Chris
I'm way beyond that. I think I'm I kind of before I'm somewhere in the range of maybe two to three hundred games and probably 80 percent unplayed, 80 percent unplayed.

Chris
A lot of them are Buttonshy games. So that because I own almost the entire Buttonshy collection and I don't have time for that. But but yeah, I gave a bunch of games away for the first year of the contest and that felt nice, just boxing up a bunch of games and shipping them off. But shipping is expensive, so even giving away games I don't want becomes expensive.

Patrick
I'm amazed at how expensive shipping is. Yeah. So let's get into it. You just mentioned Buttonshy games, so you made a cool game called In Vino Martey, which is the reason I was talking about the Princess Bride and Wine and Cheese in the beginning of this episode is it's inspired by that scene in The Princess Bride where there's I'm going to say let's see if I can summarize it correctly, Chris, two cups of wine and you have to choose this one is poison.

Patrick
Obviously, there's a little bit more in the game, but is that the gist of it?

Chris
That's actually the whole game. There's a little bit more in the movie.

Patrick
Yeah. OK, great. So I know the cool thing about Buttonshy is they're generally eighteen generally. They're always eighteen card games with no tokens and they're in a cool wallet. What is it like designing a game that's that tiny and also that restricted where it's just cards.

Chris
So I decided no more today for the first Buttonshy contest, which was many years ago, and I came out in twenty sixteen, I want to say so it must have been right before that. Maybe twenty fifteen, maybe early. Twenty sixteen. That's still pretty early in Buttonshy career they had I think probably released over a dozen games by that point, but it was still pretty new. A lot of the early Buttonshy games were lighter, but it's that contest kind of inspired a lot of people.

Chris
I think I ended up submitting ten games to that contest. What. Yeah. So that initial idea of, oh, it's only eighteen cards, there's not much you can do completely wrong. Obviously they're over sixty while at games now and they get a massive amount of submissions for their new contests. But there's, there's really so much space in the card design space that it's very surprising. But it really it forces you to think differently about components, about how you do certain things, like if you look at bigger games, there's I don't see a lot of wasted components, but they're they're used in a looser way.

Chris
So you're trying to track points. So we'll have a bunch of chips. You want to, like, move along the border, like, oh, we'll just have a giant twenty inch by twenty and sports, which I guess isn't that giant by today's standards, but about eighty cards. So you you think about how do I represent movement, how do I track things in a very different way. Yep. So I think it's, it's really a useful exercise even if you don't plan to produce anything that size just to force you to think differently because you could take those same ideas and then give yourself the space of a larger game.

Chris
But you're tracking resources are minimal. Do you have more components to use on something else?

Patrick
Yeah, so tracking is actually always been I've tried to design a few Buttonshy games and I've gotten close and I almost made Fry Thief a Buttonshy game, but I had the hardest time tracking resources and that in the case of that game, Frys. Right. It's so hard to like, like, OK, well, I can have cards and they can cover each other up and but then it's like two players have two cards that you they use for scoring and they cover up various parts of the card.

Patrick
That's four out of your 18 cards. That's like a it's like well over 20 percent of the cards. Right. That's like a huge sacrifice.

Chris
That's a lot. Some of them, the they rotate the cards. So you've got four corners and four sides on each side of a card. So they are 16 per card. But even the most elegant solution, you run into the issue of this one card, if wind blows it around a little, all of a sudden my tracking is messed up. So the real jump you have to make is do I even have to track these resources or can there be some sort of system where things are gained and lost simultaneously or some other way?

Chris
But, yeah, there's lots of problems you have to think around when you're limited, like so.

Patrick
So having designed this game and I've heard on your podcast, some of your other games are much bigger, is, you know, do you still try to design 18 card games? Is that a good launching point? And now you do different stuff or is 18 cards still something exciting that you try to you still try to design games for that when you see the right contest pop up?

Chris
So that that game got me tied into Buttonshy like I became friends with Jason and started working on other games, actually have two other games released by them. Not not well at games, but one of their yearly Roeland rights. I did a game for that and then one of their post card games, which that's even smaller. You get almost nothing to work with. But so that inspired me to work in smaller spaces in general. So I was definitely taking part in their earlier contests.

Chris
When they started, they started having monthly contests on their discord the year before last year, before the pandemic. So I was involved in a lot of those, didn't quite make it to the finals of anything. So I'm I'm always tied into these small games. But a bigger game is so much space to work in, which in some ways is frightening because you're like, oh, what should I do? Like, I can do literally anything I want.

Chris
There are no limits on this, but you have to have limits to inspire your creativity and keep things restrained to a publishable product. Yeah, I'll definitely always try 18 card games. I was developing one of the games I did for one of their contests to release myself because I just started my own publishing company and eCards cards is still really hard to get right. So I think I've tabled that for now, but I've spent like a good year trying to refine that and get it to work.

Chris
Meeting cards is a wonderful space. It's so exciting when it works. It's so difficult.

Patrick
Yeah. So I think I have three or four Buttonshy games and I really like them. And one of them I just have to recommend to everyone is like Sprawlopolis, like it's it's incredible what you can do with cards when like they divided each card into like four sections with roads and all this other stuff and all the layering possibilities. It's it's pretty incredible that you can build a mini city and have these cool scoring cards. It's just eighteen. So it's a great place to start.

Chris
And so the biggest thing about sprawl up less well, it took it from Circle The Wagons is the scoring system. It's hard being a different scoring and you pick three of them randomly and then the rest of it is what you have to build with and the way that the pieces you have to build with can work off the scoring because those cards aren't involved in that like the system they set up for. That is amazing. And which is why they've come out with I think they're on the third version because they've got Agropolis now.

Chris
Yeah, there's a fantasy one coming out. So they'll have four different versions with this system because it's just such a good system.

Patrick
Yeah, yeah. It's it's very good. It's very impressive. So so we're gonna go with this now that you. So this is and is this your only published game In Vino Morte.

Chris
So then I have the other two with Buttonshy there, the Roeland right in the postcard.

Patrick
You got it. So how is that change your process moving forward. Like first of all, you said you wanted to you you started a publishing company are like, do you want to be a publisher or is that just a way to get your games out sort of as fast as possible?

Chris
So I, I really enjoyed the board game community and I enjoy every aspect of it. So I've I've been a designer. I've been a player. I started the podcast. I started the design contest. I had a game day which hopefully is coming back once people can meet in person. So it kind of seemed inevitable that I would become a publisher at some point. I'll probably hold off from being a manufacturer just because that's a massive capital investment. But I did joke on one of my earlier episodes that I would just get a ship and then have the manufacturing on the ship.

Chris
So I'm. Delivery and manufacturing together, but that's that's the money and I should not be driving a ship around, so I really feel for that. But but yeah, becoming a publisher was just the next logical step to get some of my games out more. I want to do my games more to fail with my own stuff. I don't want to fail with someone else's game for sure. So that's more for the practice. And then I hope to expand and publish other people's games.

Chris
I am friends with a lot of designers now. I'm in several design groups. I have the contest podcast, so I see a lot of unfinished games that are looking for homes and I would love to help some of those get out to the public. But I got to test the process first and make sure I can do that.

Patrick
Yeah, I love it. So what are you going to start with? You know, you're going to start with a small box game. Are you going to start with, you know, Twilight Imperium 17 now?

Chris
I'm definitely starting small. Like I said, I was trying to develop one of my eighteen card games for the contest to get that going. It just kept running into these little issues that made it like it was a really great game 90 percent of the time. But that other 10 percent, it was really bad. So I, I tabled that for now, working on another one called Tin Engine, which is it's inspired by X Games. So it's a railroad stock market manipulation game in a minute.

Chris
And that originally started as an 18 card game for or actually I was just building an 18 card game. It was it was cool, but it was very, very restrictive. It was only two players then The Game Crafter had their Mint Tin Challenge. I was like, oh, I can throw some cubes into this and that would expand the game. So that's the weird thing. I meant ten became expanding my game. That's how small I've been designing.

Patrick
Yeah, I am.

Chris
So now it's thirty six cards which includes rules and seventy three cubes. You can fit seventy three cubes in half a minute and that's, it's, it's still a struggle because it's tiny and tiny is tough. But I've been working on that for probably two years now. The pandemic obviously slowed things down because meetings slowed down. But I have it on table top simulator. I've been working through that. So I think that'll be my first release, assuming I can get it to work because I don't want to put out anything half baked.

Chris
I want it to be perfect, which I'm sure nothing's ever really perfect. Perfect enough.

Patrick
I like that I I'm going to go down the mountain tangent, which I was thinking about earlier now now that you brought it up, I have to I so I tried so long to make Buttonshy games. And I there's just something about the resource tracking. I just it's not working with my brain. I just haven't thought of a good idea yet. Whereas Mintern just which is just a tiny bit, it's just cards and some tokens, it's just like infinitely bigger.

Patrick
Like it's amazing when you realize the card game going to a mountain is like all the world of design space does it. OK, so my question for you, though, is can you get the feel of an 18 x X game into a mountain like that? Seems pretty challenging.

Chris
So it's definitely challenging. That's why it's interesting. If I took more time and put it into a mountain, that's a waste of a mountain. It doesn't need all that extra stuff. But I'm actually I'm working on another one, too, called Ten Stars. That's a four X Space Empire game in a mountain, and that's working really well. So I'm excited about that. But ten engine short answer. Yes, it can be done. I have not done it yet, but I'm close and some people have really enjoyed certain aspects of it.

Chris
The trouble I'm running into more often than not is player count. I originally wanted it to play two to five five players was just too much with thirty six guards or stretching to at the end of the game would be over too quick. I've gotten some versions that work all right. Two to four at two players. It seems to be really, really good. There's plenty of cards for two players, so I might have to restrict it to a two player only game.

Chris
But it has the stock manipulation it has. You can sell out your stock to really tank the price of your opponent. It slightly has the building. I'm trying to work that in a little more. But you can be the president of a company. You get some benefits. You're buying, you're selling, you're delivering as all that wrapped into it. So it's been working really well. But it's it's not one hundred percent there yet. It's it's most of the player can issue.

Chris
So I'm thinking I have a new twist where I'm going to use I was using the cards as stock and engines and cargo and station. So they're for peace multi Malthus's cards. I think I might take the stock off the cards, use some of the cubes because seventy three cubes was just money before. Sure. That's that was too much money. It was unnecessary. So I cut that down, make the cube stock. Maybe that expands it a little bit more.

Chris
It gives me like an extra that's thirty more cards but kind of fifteen more cards. Sure. But you know it's stuff. You designed small games now so you know exactly what I'm talking about.

Patrick
Yeah. So you know, if you want to get feedback on that, a game design contest would be helpful. Speaking of which, are you running the same design contest? So why don't you tell us about it? Because I've heard about it before, but I don't I don't know how many listeners have. So tell us about your. And it's every year. Right. You've done it for like a couple of years now.

Chris
This will be the fourth year in a row now. So as as we mentioned, I have a podcast and I used to release episodes regularly every two weeks. And I would have guessed, son, we would talk about a thing, I would post it. And that was that was a job. I now don't do it regularly, which is nice. But at the time I needed an episode, I did not have a guest. I did not have a topic.

Chris
I was being a judge for a couple of different contests. I was judging for a Buttonshy contest. I was stretching for Cardboard Edison and I'd been in a ton of The Game Crafter contests and stuff. So I was very into contests at the time and I thought, why don't I just do a contest? I understand how they work now. I've been on the inside and the outside. That should be easy enough. So I made that decision. I posted it publicly.

Chris
I guess I had a week to create the rules. And then I recorded a solo episode announcing my contest. And that was the was what year is now? Twenty one twenty nineteen, so that was twenty eighteen I think it was August. I announced it submission's were in September. I also went in for a gallbladder surgery in September. So actually during the final days of submission's, I was in the hospital. So that was just a nice little twist to that.

Chris
But yeah. So I threw together a contest just to have an episode because the thing I love to do is like, oh, I don't have a small amount of work to do. I should give myself a massive amount of work to do. And that's just how I keep going with. I mean, I started a podcast just so I could talk to people. Turns out you could talk to people without a podcast, but whatever. So I started the contest.

Chris
I thought it would be tiny that first year I put up cash prizes for the winners and was giving out games and trying to build up as much as I could because I didn't have a lot of listeners. I still don't think I have a lot of listeners, but I didn't know how many people would do it. Ended up getting eighty seven submissions that first year and that floored me. I was thinking maybe 40 if it went well. So 87 submissions was amazing.

Chris
And then I needed judges. I guess I needed judges before. So I was asking everyone I knew to be judges. I think I ended up getting I think I wrote this down somewhere. Yes, that first year. Ended up with seventy one judges. And we. So the focus for the contest has always been on giving feedback, lots of other contests, some give feedback to the higher levels, some give feedback to all levels. But it was.

Chris
For the most part, you don't always get feedback from most of the contests, especially the bigger ones, and first round you won't get stuff. So I was like, I want to give feedback to everyone. I want to get a lot of a lot of judges to give a lot of feedback. And I wanted to be easy for judges because also in these contests, being a judge, there's kind of a big commitment. It's like, can you watch like ten, ten minute videos, read these rules.

Chris
And while I appreciate all the judges that work on all the contests to do an amazing amount of work, that's a lot to ask because I was like, I'm going to have two minute videos. So it's really easy for judges to watch and they can watch Buttonshy give lots of feedback that got some pushback from the designers because making a two minute video is incredibly difficult. But it worked really well for the judges because watching a two minute video is not incredibly difficult.

Chris
So we ended up producing almost fifteen hundred feedback forms for that first contest for the eighty seven games. So we got we got a lot of feedback to a lot of people. And for the most part, people are very happy with the feedback. I've always worried that it would be like very short surface level stuff. But the judges, these are these are all people that love games, their other designers, players, publishers, they see your game.

Chris
They want to talk about it, too. They want to tell you things they like, things they don't like. So let's see.

Patrick
I have kind of gotten. So I just did some basic math here. So fifteen hundred divided by eighty seven. It looks like that's the average game. Got about 17 pieces of feedback.

Chris
Yes, so it's that's what the whole contest, I think it was an average of 13 for the first round. OK, if you made to the second round, then you would get more and more. But yeah, so overall, that would be the average Aussie. So the average word count for feedback per game is one thousand three hundred eighty, so people are getting a like a small papers worth of feedback for their game. And that has gone up.

Chris
The average for last year's contest was almost five thousand words per game.

Patrick
Five thousand, so sorry. All the words together or is that like one feedback form?

Chris
That's all the words for all of you. Well, that's the average color.

Patrick
So judges are writing a little bit longer, but it's not like each judge writes five thousand words per game. It's a whole game will accumulate 5000 words of feedback. Yes.

Chris
OK, so now we're over six hundred thousand words for the last three years. So if this year goes as well as last year, we'll pass a million words of feedback, which I'm really excited about. It's it's a weird thing to be excited about because like I said, the quality matters more than the quantity. Yep. But it's really hard to measure the quality of feedback, but most people think it's good. So we should hit a million words of good feedback and it's fantastic.

Chris
So so I mean, I think it's obvious to me that if you are like if your game is good but not great or it's 80 percent, they're 90 percent there. No one you should submit to the contest because maybe it'll it'll do very well. Number two, you should submit it to the contest because you will get maybe five thousand words of feedback on it. And that might take you from that 80 percent or 90 percent to like a a fully completed game once you've taken out all the weird little edge cases.

Chris
Yeah, and it's it's interesting, too, because one of the other concerns and this is a concern that I had and people have brought up is what kind of feedback are people going to give on a two minute video? It turns out quite a lot like designers and players. They know games. And when they see your two minute video about your game, they can really dig in. And sometimes it's stuff that they really like. Sometimes it's just thoughts like, oh, wouldn't it be cool if this happened?

Chris
Yeah, and it's a lot of it's kind of like a brainstorm session. So it's really just a lot of ideas, a lot of feedback. And it's very it's similar to what your game would get. Based on an elevator pitch to a consumer, right? So if you can do well with a two minute video to the general board gaming community, that is a good thing. And if you can't do well with that, they're going to tell you why you didn't do well.

Chris
And that will help you improve. And then so first round, everyone gets feedback off the two minute video. Then the top used to be the top 20 games. This year. It's going to be the top 10 games in each category because we're separating by weight, light, medium and heavy. So we've had issues with heavy games in the past because they have a two minute video. It's really tough for them and they're competing against the light game that you can show an entire play through in two minutes.

Chris
Sure. So that was a little little off balance and now it's into three categories. But in round two, every game gets paired up with a coach who is a judge who has volunteered their time to do two one hour meetings. And it's kind of like a mini mentorship that's focused on your game. So it'll help you work on your video. You get a longer video for how to work on submitting your rules. Just work on fixing your game if you want or any sort of advice.

Chris
That's that's started the second year, and that's kind of more of a community building thing, because I've got all these designers and publishers and players and all of these other designers who are also publishers and players. And it was a great way to bring them together and just pair up two people and the coaches get to pick which games they go with. So it's something they're interested in and just give them some feedback, help them through. And then, yeah, that's that alone has generated a lot of help and built some relationships in the community, which I think is great.

Chris
And then I started the discord, too, which has people getting together and just talking about their games, submitting their videos ahead of time, getting feedback on masse so you can get all this feedback before you submit it, to get more feedback, to move on to another level, to get more detailed feedback, to get into the finals, which gets you some feedback.

Patrick
So if you want feedback, this is the place to be that that has been historically true. Yes.

Patrick
OK, so I love that. So if you have a game and even if you know so hold on. Just a game need like final art. Is that or can it be like can it be like hand drawn cards or how how close to completion does your game have to be.

Chris
So this has been a tricky thing as far as the requirements for the contest, it doesn't have to be anything. You could submit a two minute video just talking about your idea. OK, but it will not do well. The judges want to see your game. They usually want to see what happens on a turn. That's one of the biggest pieces of feedback I've seen. The people that don't have it, they say, I want to see what I do.

Chris
I want to know this thing. So I've gotten better over the years of telling the contestants that ahead of time you should include this. You should include that. Yeah, but as far as requirements, it can be whatever. And in this this year are changing around three it used to be around three was submit a prototype and we do a live play test last year. That was really tricky. We split it into live and virtual for a table top simulator and it was really hard to organize that.

Chris
So this year I've changed it. And round three is now a speed pitching event. So the three finalists for each category will get to speed pitch to a bunch of publishers. Right now we have we're draft games, town straight games and breaking game signed up for that and we're going to get more. So it'll be a really great opportunity for the finalists. And again, you'll get a bunch of feedback from publishers, which are the people you want feedback from on your call.

Patrick
So I have a game. I'm excited about it. I have to make a two minute pitch video. Got it. When do I need to submit submit this so you'll need the two minute pitch video, a single page sell sheet, a short description and some other details on the form. And that is all due along with the ten dollars admission fee, which can be waived. If that's an issue, just contact me. By June 13th, you can go to The Board Game Workshop dot com click on design contest at the top or menu, then design contest, however it looks on whatever device you're on and tons and tons of details are there, which I keep adding more every day.

Patrick
And when does the submissions open? So I know the deadline is June. Sorry, sixteen 13 June 13th is the deadline of May 16th that opens. So depending on how fast you get this set up, that might be now. There's eleven days from recording. So soon. I got a I got to get some stuff ready for that.

Patrick
Yeah.

Chris
You, you like my deadline. No, no one submits that early. I get eighty percent of the games come in the last twenty four hours.

Patrick
I believe it. I believe it. So if you submit your game early because I forgot where I've made it was yours or someone else's contest. But I was judging some games and like I, I think I went through like a week or two early and I literally went through every single game. Like if you submit it early, is there a better chance of getting feedback?

Chris
Not anymore. OK, that's how I did it the first year because I was worried about people submitting late and I was a bit early. You'll get more feedback. Most people still didn't. Like I said, I was in the hospital for that one. But the people that did submit early did end up getting like 10 more pieces of feedback and some people that did not submit early thought that was unfair and were a little more on back. So now I wait till the deadline, then I go through, make sure every aisle actually the one benefit of submitting early, I will check submissions as they come in.

Chris
So if I see that your videos actually two minutes and 10 seconds, you'll have more time to fix that. Nice. If I find that out on the end, you have a little time to fix that, but not nearly as much. So earlier is helpful in some ways, but you're not going to really get any any more advantage than anyone else.

Patrick
Got it. All right. So, Chris, feedback. Anderson, now I'm going to move into Sensi since this whole contest is about feedback, I want to know get your feedback on what is a resource you'd recommend to another indie game designer besides your contest. So resource could be like it could be something usually free or cheap or easily accessible, like a website, a book, a podcast or something like that.

Chris
So I wrote down answer all the stuff that I wrote down, way more answers than you ask questions. So local game design groups is what I got to go with for this. It's yeah, I was actually I was just listening to when you're upset today and they were talking about game design books and I have so many game design books that I have not read because I'm I used to I used to read all the time, like literally I would go through a book a week until I started game design.

Chris
Now I've got no time for reading, no time for pretty much anything except game design. But I've joined. So I'm I'm in Massachusetts. So I'm part of the Boston Game Makers Guild, which is a great group. They actually have one in Philly and New Haven, Connecticut. But there's there's tons of groups around, I know games that North Carolina is big one. They have a podcast. There's the New York playtest group and the Seattle playtest group.

Chris
But I also have a smaller, more local group that's kind of a spinoff with some different people that's further out of Boston. But it's. It's usually free if you don't have one around and cardboard isn't actually has a listing of all online and in-person game design groups, so you can check that out. But it's it's like minded people willing to play your game and give you feedback all the time, sometimes weekly, monthly, depending on the setup. But I've met some of my best friends through these things.

Chris
We hang out, we talk mostly about game design, but we've actually spun off into just talking about life and having fun yet. But I'd say it's it's definitely worth the effort to find one. If you can't find one, make one. All you need is one other person and you've got a game design group and then you'll find a third person. Then that third person will get tired of it. You'll be back too. But then you find a third again and I'm sure it'll grow.

Patrick
I cannot recommend this enough. Thank you, Chris. This is I love when people bring this up. I don't think I could have made a game without a game design group because they other people teach you so many thing. Like you would have I would have had to learn so many mistakes on my own without a game design group that they be mistakes and they educated me. Yeah. Yeah. So how about this? What's the best money you've spent?

Patrick
What's worth every single cent.

Chris
My podcast, it's. I mean, it's actually it's gotten more expensive over time, as I've wanted a better website with more features, but that in software it's actually very minimal to start a blog, especially now if you do Anchor FM, you can do it all, like actually free like literally you could do a podcast for free hosted and everything. But that gave me I'm a very shy person, which might seem weird to people that see me talking about game design all the time and pitching stuff at conventions.

Chris
I, I have trouble talking to people if I don't have something to talk about. So having a podcast gave me this excuse to talk to new game designers. I would say I have a podcast. Would you like to be on it? And we talk about a game or something. So that has helped me branch out and network more than anything else, and then that started the contest that that got me talking to you on here. So just that alone has been such a big part of my trajectory in this industry.

Chris
So. I recommend it and it's it's relatively easy and there's really no requirements, like there's no minimum quality you need to hit. Some people like to put in more effort in some stuff than others. But it's a very accepting community. And I listen to nine hours of podcasts the day. Yeah, it's a great everyone should make one. And I might listen sometimes, but I am three months behind listening now because I stopped commuting for a while during the pandemic.

Chris
I'm catching up.

Patrick
Hey everyone. Patrick here. So I just lost one side of the audio. Luckily, Chris's audio worked fine and my audio cut out for some reason. So I'm going to have to edit the podcast from here. And unfortunately, even though Chris is a funny guy, you're going to miss a few fun, funny interactions. So my apologies to Chris and my apologies to you, the listener, since the rest of this interview is just going to be a little bit less rich.

Patrick
I'm going to ask the questions I did in the original interview. It's just going to feel more stilted. I have to cut out some of the banter and small talk. So hopefully it's still worth sharing. And let's go on. OK, so what does success look like to you?

Chris
So success is helping other people? I, I really enjoy helping people. So being part of the design community is lets me help other people with their games throwing out ideas. The podcast is let me help people spread the word about their projects, give feedback. The contest is help me give feedback. I just I really enjoy helping people. So if I have been able to inspire someone or solve a problem for them, I feel like I have succeeded and that time was well spent.

Patrick
That answer is actually pretty inspiring. So it's really good to hear that. And I agree. It's really incredible to help people. And I, I think one my favorite things in the game design world, especially when you're like at a local game design group, you can help people and learn more about game design yourself. Right. Like I can help someone with their game and also, like, get better at understanding the nuances in different games. So I and I love your answer.

Patrick
Where can people find you and your games online?

Chris
Lots of places. So on Twitter, I am Blue Cubes. The podcast on Twitter is at the BG Workshop. Also, my publishing company, which doesn't have much right now is Benteke Gaines v Antec. The event games Gamescom or Advent games on Twitter. And if you go to The Board Game Workshop Dotcom, that'll be the podcast, the design contest and the design day. If that starts up again, hopefully maybe next year and all sorts of other stuff.

Chris
And my games are mostly available from Buttonshy or PNB Arcade where Buttonshy with their print play versions, you can get in being you for I think three dollars with the expansion maybe, or I think it's twelve dollars physical. So but they always reprint it because that was one of the fun things about being a Martey. It's only two different cards so they can slip it into the extra space in other games printing's. So it's kind of never out of print, whereas other games they have to wait for a big enough backlog in March.

Chris
They will always be around because they just sneak it in every little extra space.

Patrick
Thanks again, Chris. You are fantastic and audience, thank you again for dealing with the audio technical difficulties here. As I try to stitch together the last few minutes, I think I'll wrap it up now. You know where you can find me. Indie Board Game Designers Dotcom for the main website. You can follow me on Twitter. I'm at BFTrick. That's Besant BoardGame FSN fun and trick as trick taking games. And that's all everyone. Bye bye bye.

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