Patrick Rauland: Hello everyone, and welcome to the Indie Board Game Designers Podcast where I chat to an independent gamer designer talk about their experience in game design and the lesson they've learned along the way. My name is Patrick Rauland, and today I'll be talking with Jeremy Lounds who designed Fruit-for-All, which recently won the Social Deduction Challenge on The Game Crafter, which we are definitely going to talk about. He also a self-published DECO which is also on The Game Crafter. Jeremy, welcome to the show.
Jeremy Lounds: Thank you. I'm so excited to be here.
Patrick Rauland: I got some lightning round questions. You ready?
Jeremy Lounds: Sure, let's do it.
Patrick Rauland: Alright. Favorite fruit?
Jeremy Lounds: Oh, that's a tough one. I don't know if there's any fruit that I don't like, but I'd probably have to go with pears.
Patrick Rauland: All right, perfect. How many game design contests have you entered?
Jeremy Lounds: Let's see, probably three or four now.
Patrick Rauland: Okay. Is this the first one where you've placed in the finalist category?
Jeremy Lounds: Correct. First finalist. 🏆
Patrick Rauland: Nice, nice. Then what is a game you play with someone every single time at a convention?
Jeremy Lounds: Well, you know what? I haven't been to a convention yet, but I'm looking forward to going at some point. So if I could picture myself at a convention, I'd have to say Chess or Hive.
Patrick Rauland: Oh, fantastic. All right. So really big into abstract games?
Jeremy Lounds: I do. I like abstract games, and especially the ones where you have perfect information, so if you lose it's on you.
How Did You Get Into Board Games Design
Patrick Rauland: All right. Very cool. I dig it. First real question, how did you get into board games and board game design?
Jeremy Lounds: Well, I can't really remember never playing a board game. So just growing up, we always had the classics around Monopoly and Clue and [inaudible 00:01:51], and all those. We played card games as well, so always been a fan of party and family games. Then more recently, [inaudible 00:02:03] my kids and my family about some different linguistic phenomenon, and I don't know if you're familiar with mondegreens or other [inaudible 00:02:13]. I can't even say the word.
Patrick Rauland: No.
Jeremy Lounds: We were talking about this category of words in linguistics, and I'm like, “There has to be a game in here somewhere.” So I started off on this rabbit trail of figuring out how can I make a game out of this? And that led me down this path. I started looking online, if I do come up with a game, how could I actually produce it and publish it? Then that's when I came across The Game Crafter.
There's other websites too that are similar, but The Game Crafter, they had a newsletter, I signed up for it. Then pretty soon, I'm getting emails about this contest, and the first one that I entered was the source of the … Excuse me. The first time I entered was the Simple Elegance contest, and that's when I did the DECO tiling game, which is unsurprisingly an abstract game. It's not perfect information, so there's a little bit of luck involved. But to me, Simple Elegance just encapsulated something abstract.
It's funny because I didn't do hardly any play testing outside of my family for this. I thought it'd be really cool if I could surprise my friends and my extended family and be like, “Hey, look at this cool game I created.” After I started showing people, I realized I shot myself in the foot. I should've been showing people this all along the way. Right? And getting feedback and getting excitement for it. So it's still a great game, but it's still … it could have been better I think, if that makes sense.
Patrick Rauland: Yes. I am always at that stage. This is pretty good, I'm sure it could have been better.
Jeremy Lounds: Yeah. So we're coming up on about one year since I really started digging into this game design. I don't know where the rabbit hole ends, but it's an exciting journey so far.
Patrick Rauland: That's great. So just because you mentioned the simple elegance, listeners, I did a whole series on Simple Elegance where I made my game Bank of the Realms, and I'm just looking at the contest page right now, and Bank of the Realms got 110 votes and DECO got 190, so you did great. I mean, if that's your first contest that you entered, that's really good.
Jeremy Lounds: Well, thank you. I think my graphic design skills can definitely help.
Patrick Rauland: Yes, absolutely.
Jeremy Lounds: Sets me apart from the crowd a little bit, and I've noticed that some of them are more … I don't want to say lacking, but they don't stand out as much. You have to really dig in and get into the rules and watch the videos if they have one to really get the essence of the game. I think in the community voting aspect or the community voting round of the contest challenge, having some graphics really can set you apart.
Patrick Rauland: Yes, absolutely. I wonder if we can get into that a little bit later. But that was one of my takeaways from the contests I've entered, is I think graphic design gets you hopefully into the top 20 with … If you have good graphic design, good layout, a good rules page, a good video, a good all these things, then you're probably going to get into the top 20 for a contest and [inaudible 00:05:20] Because you can have an amazing game, but if you don't present it well, it doesn't matter. Right?
Jeremy Lounds: Correct.
Patrick Rauland: That's a problem. Yeah. Okay, let me get into the Social Deduction Challenge. So your game, Fruit-for-All won it, which is really exciting. I didn't say this in the intro, but I actually was able to play your game at Protospiel Madison. The judge happened to bring a couple of the entries there, and she's like, “Hey Patrick, I could use some help testing some stuff. Do you want to play?” I played a game and it was great. So let me ask, where did Fruit-for-All come from? Did you have the idea for Fruit-for-All first, or did you have the idea after the contest was announced?
Jeremy Lounds: It was definitely after the contest was announced. It was funny because I told my wife, after I had got done with DECO and all the work that went into it, I was like, “Okay, I got to take a break. This took way longer than I thought.” It was a bit obsessive with all the details of it. Then I saw this Social Deduction Challenge, I'm like, “Oh no, I already have four or five ideas rolling around in my head on this, and what am I supposed to do?”
So I just started writing ideas down, and as I'm driving or taking a shower, just brainstorming and coming up with all these crazy things. I think at first I was just coming up with iterations of existing games. I think at one point I had all these cool ideas and I'm like, “Wait a minute, I just redesigned one that's already there.” Which to some degree, Fruit-for-All has that as well, and there's nothing new under the sun, truly, right?
Patrick Rauland: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Jeremy Lounds: But yeah, at first Fruit-for-All didn't have a theme at all, and one of the feedbacks that I received that was really helpful when I had DECO was that, “Hey, this could have been a lot better with a theme.” So I started thinking about a theme. How could I add that to my somewhat abstract rock paper scissors game? So I came up with this silly fruit idea. I had pictured in my head these characters with sunglasses and just trying to make it feel lightweight because it's really geared toward party or family, like a filler type game. I wanted a theme that would feel the same way.
Jeremy Lounds: Then we had a bunch of people over for the 4th of July, and we probably played it six or seven times, and I was tweaking something after every round, and the rounds are pretty short. So it worked really well to have people there who, as far as I know, nobody else has done any game design, but they were really good at needling into what was wrong or what wasn't fun about it. So it was just a perfect melding of timing that we had this large group over and everybody was willing to try something brand new and give me feedback on the spot and we just kept going.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah, that's good to hear. Going back to … People don't have to be game designers to give you really good feedback, you know what I mean?
Jeremy Lounds: Right.
Patrick Rauland: Don't get me wrong, dame designers have a more … What's the word? Jargon, for lack of a better word. But they can articulate some really fine nuanced points, I find. But also, especially for early play tests, it doesn't have to be with a game designer. You can get a lot from people. The person who run the Social Deduction Challenge, Heather Newton, she's working on a game and she comes … I feel like she almost fits better into the playtester category because she does so much of that. So there's some people who are just really good at playtesting and giving you really good feedback that way.
Jeremy Lounds: Oh yeah. I mean Heather's feedback was amazing on this contest. She's spending so much time, and I'm sure the other entrance were very grateful for as well. But I don't know if you [crosstalk 00:09:21] saw the videos that she did?
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. I think she and I were emailing because she lives in Colorado, and so we know each other both from work and from board game design community. So we were chatting about it, and I think she even showed me some of the videos ahead of time, and they looked … They're great.
She gave each person really good individual feedback, which I think is probably … I mean, you obviously won the contest, but probably some of the most valuable things you can get from a contest.
Jeremy Lounds: Oh, I agree. Her giving back to the community like that is just amazing.
Taking Advantage of a Contest
Patrick Rauland: Yes. Yes. Cool. Okay. You talked a little bit about Fruit-for-All and how it came to be, and it sounds like you had this concept and then the Social Deduction Challenge made you put a bow on it, package it into a full game. Would that be a good summary?
Jeremy Lounds: I mean, I started coming up with ideas after I read the Social Deduction-
Patrick Rauland: Oh, cool.
Jeremy Lounds: … Challenge, and started looking at the different games and thinking about the games that I enjoy that have to do with social deduction, and bluffing, which we're going to get into in a minute I think.
What's the Difference Between Social Deduction & Bluffing?
Patrick Rauland: Yes. Great. That's where I wanted to go, is when Heather and I [inaudible 00:10:29] a couple of their playtesters were playing your game, we had this really interesting discussion about, is this social deduction or is it bluffing? Since the listeners haven't played your game or most of them probably haven't played your game, yeah, it is a little bit of like rock paper scissors of who play … You're trying to convince people to play certain cars. I want everyone to play bananas this turn. You're trying to maybe bluff, maybe not bluff, but trying to get as many bananas out on the table.
Patrick Rauland: But then there's one card, the mango, that beats all of their fruits, but then there's one other card called the monkey that'll automatically be mango, and it's this whole giant weird interconnected web. Yeah, it is very advanced rock paper scissors, how I'd say it. Here's the question that we were debating and I'd love to get your take on it. What is the difference between a social deduction game and a bluffing game? Because your game is definitely bluffing, but it could also be social deduction depending on how you define it.
Jeremy Lounds: Right. I think that social deduction comes by picking up the visual and audio clues as you are watching everybody play the game, right? So a lot of times it will be a role that you have, and obviously the way that you play the game is going to inform others on what your role may be. But it's also almost like poker, what's the tell? What's that nervous shift or the delay in deciding what card to lay?
So it gets really nuanced and it really depends on the people you play with too to understand and try to figure out what they're thinking and trying to get inside their head. There's probably not too many social deduction games that don't have any element of bluffing in them, but I definitely think that you can have a bluffing game that doesn't have any social deduction, if that makes sense.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. Oh no, no, totally. Part of me almost wants to define social deduction as a game where you're bluffing, you are the same role for multiple rounds, which isn't the case really with Fruit-for-All, right? In round [crosstalk 00:12:41] one you might want to have all bananas around too, you might want to have all apples or whatever the other fruits are, and that just … Literally every round, it's almost like you have a different goal, and overall you have life points or something you're trying to save. But overall, you have a new goal every round, whereas when I'm thinking social deduction, I think Battlestar Galactica where you are the same character and you have the same end goal of either save the humans or destroy the humans for two hours.
Jeremy Lounds: Right. No, I agree with that. I think that if you play Fruit-for-All with the same group over and over, then you're going to start to see the player emerge more than the role in this case. So for example, I played with my dad quite a bit when I was playtesting, and he loved to play the monkey card. So after a while, it's like, “Okay, we know that dad's going to play the monkey card,” and you could even say that, right?
Then now, your strategy has shifted a little bit. So it gets really interesting if you play with the same group over and over, where it starts to shift, where maybe now the objective that you have each round isn't maybe what you're trying to deduce. It's more what's the tactics and the strategy of each of the players overall? So it's interesting.
What Do You Do After You Win a Contest?
Patrick Rauland: Yeah, that's very cool. Okay, let me keep moving down here. What do you do now that you've won this contest? I did notice, I think, you pulled it down from The Game Crafter. Are you trying to pitch it to publishers or you're trying to make it yourself? What do you do? I've gotten placed in contest but I've never won one. Jer, what do you do when you get first place in a contest?
Jeremy Lounds: That's a great question. It's one that I wish someone would help me answer actually. So it's funny because I must've missed the announcement that I won, and it wasn't until several weeks later when I was just happening to look on The Game Crafter, I'm like … I looked at my Fruit-for-All page and it's contest winner. I'm like, “Wait, what? Is that a mistake? When did this happen?”
Patrick Rauland: What? I can't believe that. That's so funny.
Jeremy Lounds: Yeah, it was hilarious. I'm talking to my wife and I'm like, “Hey, I won that contest.” She's like, “No way.” Because I had really discounted myself. I mean, feather … excuse me. Heather provided some really great feedback like we said before, and one of the comments she had made was that Fruit-for-All just barely snuck into the finalists because it was very heavy on the bluffing side and she didn't feel maybe it was that much of a social deduction.
So based on that feedback, I was like, “Oh well, at least I got some great feedback and I can use the little contest finalist badge as a way to promote it.” But yeah, I had just discounted it, and then I was preparing to come up with a sell sheet to start pitching it to publishers and that's when I was on The Game Crafter again.
It's just been a busy holiday season for us. I hadn't been on there in a few weeks and then I saw it. So now I got to figure out, yeah, what am I going to do? I am trying to pitch it to some publishers. I need to rerecord my video. But I don't have some of the equipment for that. If you watch the video that's up there right now, I think you can see my son drop my phone at one point. Well, plus it's way too long. It's 12 minutes long.
Did You Participate in Other Contests?
Patrick Rauland: Got it. Got it. One of the things that's actually nice to hear is … Did you do the Mint Tin Challenge recently?
Jeremy Lounds: I did actually. Yeah. I put in a variation of DECO that I was calling TRI-DECO, and the tiles aren't square. There's some triangles and hexagons and some other shapes, some diamonds in there. Then I also did a co-design with Todd Hicks. I think if you're on The Game Crafter chat at all, he's on there a bit and we did this conflicting orders, Minton one, which we're probably going to redo that at some point into a bigger format. It just doesn't fit quite right in the Minton.
Patrick Rauland: Yap. Well, I was going to say I don't know if you had the … I think I went through literally every single entry, which there's 183. It took forever. But there were some amazing videos. People who I assume their day job is comedy or TV writing or something because the quality of the editing and the scripting was so high. It was so good.
I'm so happy to hear that you don't have … you won the Social Deduction Challenge with not a perfect video. Does that make sense? Right? It's 12 minutes long, it's a little long, someone dropped the phone while recording, but hey, [inaudible 00:17:30] good. I think the hardest thing is you have to get through that first round. That might be one of the hardest parts, and then if you have the good game, then you can get by with a not perfect video.
Jeremy Lounds: Right. Well, I think the … I mean the Mint Tin Challenge, having 180 some entries versus 40 I think for social deduction, I mean that makes huge difference right there.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. Yes, absolutely.
Jeremy Lounds: So I don't think Fruit-for-All would have won if there was 180 entries that were solid. Like I said before, I think Fruit-for-All probably does land a lot more on the bluffing side than the social deduction, and I think Heather even put a disclaimer on her blog when she announced the winner. I'm still really glad that it did win, but I don't think that [crosstalk 00:18:17] when this gets published it's going to be advertised as a social deduction game.
How Do You Balance Working on New Game Designs and Pitching Old Game Designs?
Patrick Rauland: Got it. Let me shift here a little bit because there's something I've been wrestling with, is that in the last year, I've done a lot of contests for game designs or … They're really energizing. I usually have a rough idea, and then a contest comes out and I go, “Oh, I can put this game in this format,” and that magic happens and turns from this rough idea that maybe I playtested one round with one person three months ago into an actual game.
But I'm torn because now I have, I'd say, two games that are very publisher-ready, and maybe one game that's pretty close to that, but I'm not excited about pitching to publishers. Does that make sense? The contest is very exciting and there's a built-in deadline and all this stuff. So let me ask you this, how much time are you going to spend working on new game designs? Maybe give me a ratio here, how much time are you going to spend preparing your game for trying to pitch to publishers?
Jeremy Lounds: That's a great question, and I think that it's something that I've wrestled with recently actually, because I am onto the next thing. There's the Roll and Write Challenge that's … I don't know, just a few weeks away from closing. I had two or three ideas that I was going to work on and then life happened. But I had to take a step back and be like, “Okay, I need to get better at finishing something and seeing something all the way through to completion.” So what I'd like to do is try to do 50-50 now that I have Fruit-for-All, which has some potential.
Patrick Rauland: Sure.
Jeremy Lounds: And if I can't find a publisher, then I'll probably self-publish it. But I want to see this project through instead of just getting onto the next thing. It's almost like a promise to myself that-
Patrick Rauland: Sure.
Jeremy Lounds: … I'm going to wrap something up. It's like a bathroom remodel project. I can't start another big project on the house until I wrapped this one up. Now, with game design it's a little different, right? Because you can't have three or four going at once. But I think there is some satisfaction to be had when you actually get it wrapped up as much as it's going to be. I mean, what game is ever 100% done either, right?
Patrick Rauland: Yeah, I definitely agree with that, that games are never 100% done, but I also … I think for some people, it's totally fine to make a game, you make it for a contest or you just make it for yourself or whatever, and then it wins, it doesn't win, you played a couple times with friends, you had fun. That is a totally fine stopping point, and then there's … it's almost a bonus lap, right?
A bonus lap is then actually getting it published, because I do think if you win a contest or even if you just get a game done with a box and car and printed cards, that could be done enough for many people. But yeah, I think people also want it to, “Hey, someone else, please publish this and put it in game stores for me,” which is a really cool thing.
Jeremy Lounds: It is cool, but I don't think that the marketplace is there right now for that. You have to approach a publisher and tell them why it's going to be a great product on the shelf.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. Yeah. You definitely have to put a lot of work into pitching publishers as opposed to them coming to you, which is just [inaudible 00:21:44] just different industries are different that way, right?
Jeremy Lounds: Exactly. I mean, I thought that once Fruit-for-All won that I would have been hearing from publishers by now, but it's just not the case.
Patrick Rauland: Have you even heard from one or two or just [crosstalk 00:21:57]
Jeremy Lounds: I have not. No.
Patrick Rauland: Okay. Interesting.
Jeremy Lounds: I think that that might be because I don't have a track record out there. Nobody knows who Jeremy Lounds is as a game designer.
Patrick Rauland: Yet.
Jeremy Lounds: Yet, exactly.
Patrick Rauland: Cool. Okay, this is great. Let me move on. Something else you said you want us to chat about is … All right, you've said you're going to put 50% of your time towards publishing existing games, but for your new games, what type of games do you like to design?
Jeremy Lounds: I love to design abstract games, and the other probably large category would be party/family games. Some overlap, but not a lot.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. Boy, abstract and party game don't really go together in my brain, but I'm sure they do somehow.
Jeremy Lounds: Oh, I was thinking family, family game.
Patrick Rauland: Great. Yeah, yeah. This is a personal pet peeve I have with abstract, is that you mentioned perfect information and that's really good for high end players, but my problem is I found perfect information is really detrimental to brand new players, right? One of things that's nice about luck is it gives brand new players a chance to win. So I designed to Bank of the Realms for the Simple Elegance contest which I think I'd qualify as abstract. It's pretty close to abstract, but there is some hidden information which isn't really abstract or isn't the perfect archetype of abstract. I'm curious what you think about that.
Jeremy Lounds: I don't remember that one, so I'll have to go look it up here in a minute. But-
Patrick Rauland: Well, just generally … sorry, I meant to just generally a game, an abstract game with some hit pin information.
Jeremy Lounds: Ah, yes. I think the problem with abstract games is that people can't really get into the story of it, right? So it's almost like it's too easy to create an abstract game, and there's no theme to match the mechanics. So the rules and the requirements … I'm looking for the word here.
The way that the game plays out isn't necessarily going to feel like, “Oh yeah, that makes sense. I understand why that restrictions in place,” right? It's abstract and you almost come up with your own house rules really quickly because if you don't like exactly the way the designer put together the game, then you can just create your own, which I guess maybe could be a good thing depending on how you like to play your games.
Patrick Rauland: Cool. I get that. Is there anything else that you'd like to design? Sorry, I interrupted your design question because I had a question about abstract. Was there anything else you'd like to design? Just abstract and family/party games?
Jeremy Lounds: I think the reason I like to do the party games would be there's, I don't know, five or six times a year where we'd like to have a bunch of people over or we go to someone else's house, and to break out a large game where everybody enjoys it is really fun and you can … A lot of, I don't know, conversation, a lot of experience, a lot of bonding happens I think over the right game.
For example, we played the Telestrations at our last group and it was just a blast and everybody's rolling on the floor laughing practically. I think some people were gaming it, they were not necessarily being completely forthright with their interpretations of some of the pictures, but that's part of the fun too. So coming up with games that really create lasting memories for people and build relationships, I think would be an amazing goal for me.
What One Resource Would You Recommend?
Patrick Rauland: Let me move into some of these ending questions here. I mean, I feel like you got started in game design relatively recently and you've done pretty well. So what one resource, free or cheap, would you recommend to another indie game designer or aspiring game designer?
Jeremy Lounds: Sure. The Game Crafter chat area has been really helpful for me. I haven't been on there recently, but at the beginning, I was getting a lot of feedback and people pointing me to different resources and that was my gateway into all the different online resources that are available out there, and people are really friendly on there and helpful. So definitely check out The Game Crafter chat section.
Patrick Rauland: By any chance, I'm curious because I sometimes go on The Game Crafter chat, but then now that they have a Facebook group, I think I've been a little bit more active there. Do you have a preference between the two, if you happen to use the Facebook one?
Jeremy Lounds: I don't use the Facebook one. It's funny. My wife and I used to have a Facebook account that was a joint account and they don't really want people doing that, right? They want one account per person. So I'm like, “Okay, I need to do that. I need to set up my own account,” but for some reason, they have blocked my account and I can't get in, and there's really no way to contact anybody to ask them why. I can submit my ID and I've tried that several times and waited a week or two and it's just silence. So I don't know if I'll ever be on Facebook.
Patrick Rauland: Oh, weird. All right. But how about this, you'd be open to trying the Facebook, just as the Facebook TGC designer discussion group?
Jeremy Lounds: For sure.
What's The Best Money You've Spent?
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. Cool. Okay. Then what about, what's something that's worth every single cent that you spent on it?
Jeremy Lounds: I didn't spend money on it, but my wife bought it for me for my birthday gifts, The White Box, and it has The White Box essays by Jeremy Holcomb, It's published by Atlas Games and it comes with a book about game design, and then it has a whole bunch of components that you can use as you're working on your prototypes. Then [crosstalk 00:28:08] I was going to say that there's … Also, you can buy from pretty much any office supply store. There's these FriXion pens that are erasable and they come in different colors. Especially if it's a UV coated one, it's really easy to draw on the component, on a blank tile, and then if you need to make a change, you can just erase it real quick. So those are really nice too.
Patrick Rauland: Very cool. I want to ask you a question, a follow up question, about The White Box. But before I do, I did have Jeremy Holcomb come in episode 39.
Jeremy Lounds: Yes.
Patrick Rauland: He shared some pretty good stuff about The White Box and stuff like that. But my question, what did you get out of The White Box? Was it one essay or was it just like every single essay provided value, and did the components provide value? Because I know it also comes with components.
Jeremy Lounds: Yeah, the components are very nice and I think all of them, except for the little desks, I've actually used. But I can't say that there's one takeaway from The White Box essays itself, but each chapter is short and sweet and to the point, and as a rookie game designer, I think I learned probably two or three things from every single chapter of that book.
Does Game Design Energizing or Exhaustion?
Patrick Rauland: Fantastic. Yeah, I'm just grabbing the link, so I'll try to include these in the show notes. Then let me just ask you … I mean, we have a little bit of extra time here. When you're thinking about game design, does it energize or does it exhaust you?
Jeremy Lounds: I would say that it energizes me, except when I get stuck, right? If I come across something where I feel like, okay, in my head this works perfectly, but then when I get it to the table or I'm trying to explain it to somebody else and it just isn't working, I'm like, “What's wrong?” It almost feels like there's something broken between two different halves of my brain or something. I don't know how to explain it, but you've probably been there.
Patrick Rauland: Well, I think it's hard to articulate. I mean, really it's hard to understand, and then even once you understand it on a conceptual level than articulate why something is broken. I think that is the job of a game designer, which is a really hard job.
Jeremy Lounds: Yeah. I work in IT all day, and it's like sometimes my brain is just exhausted from solving problems. But then when I go into my game design mode, I'm doing something similar. I'm solving problems, but it's a different set of problems. So I almost get some energy from it. But then if I go too long, then it ends up going the opposite way. So you definitely need to strike a balance.
Do You Have a White Whale of Game Design?
Patrick Rauland: Yeah, absolutely. Is there a white whale of game design, something that you're trying to figure out we just haven't been able to get it into a game yet?
Jeremy Lounds: There is. [crosstalk 00:31:01] The very first game that I had in my head when I talked about at the beginning there with this … I'm being a little coy because I still think there's a really cool idea in there somewhere. But it's a word game, and I feel like there's a really cool party game in there somewhere, and I just have to figure out what are the best mechanics to extract as much fun from this phenomenon.
Patrick Rauland: All right, fantastic. I hope The Game Crafter has a party game challenge at some points. That would be really fun.
Jeremy Lounds: There you go.
Patrick Rauland: That'd be really fun, and then you'd have your perfect excuse to work on it.
Jeremy Lounds: Oh, I don't need excuses to work in any games, but I … Like you said, having a game contest or challenge forces you to actually work on it, and you have that excitement of talking about it with other people in the community and sharing.
What Does Success Look Like?
Patrick Rauland: Definitely. So let me ask my final question here. What does success in the board game world look like to you?
Jeremy Lounds: You've asked that to other guests, and I think my answer has changed because of the answers that others on your podcast have given actually. Initially in my mind, success meant having an evergreen title. But I would say now success just means hearing that people are playing and enjoying my game. One of the things that Heather had included in her feedback was that Fruit-for-All was the only game that you guys played there that everyone wanted to try again just for fun, not because you had to get it done. So when I read that, I was floored.
Jeremy Lounds: I was just like, “Wow, that's so cool.” So I think that's what success looks like to me. Then also, not surprisingly, I sold DECO to several family members, and my cousin told me that they play DECO probably every week. Again, I was just like, “Wow, that's really cool. You guys are playing more than I am.” But to hear that somebody else is enjoying it and having fun and making memories with it is … I would say that to some degree I already feel successful.
Patrick Rauland: That's really cool. I'm curious because sometimes we hear information and then it takes us a while to process it and then make a decision. When did that shift happen for you? When did the shift happen where you went from I want to have an evergreen title to I want to hear people having fun with my games?
Jeremy Lounds: I think it's when I started getting the feedback and I felt that emotion of, “Wow, that's amazing,” and I don't know if any amount of money can replace that feeling. Maybe it can because I don't have very much money, so I don't know if I can replicate that feeling yet. But I think you know what I mean.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah, it's really cool and I'm glad to hear people's opinions on these things change. I was just thinking as someone … There are people who want to write a novel and have it … they want to be as popular as Harry Potter, and then there's people … Then maybe when you actually write some of your first books and people talk about how much it means to them, maybe that's when your goals change. I just imagined that maybe similar to what you have going on where when you're brand new to the industry, it's like, “I'm going to make it big, and it's going to be the evergreen title that everyone buys,” and now you're just like, “No, it's cool. I'm having an impact and that's good.”
Jeremy Lounds: Right, exactly.
Overrated Underrated Game
Patrick Rauland: Very cool. Let me end with overrated, underrated, which I know you've heard about. So basically, I'm going to give you a word or a phrase, and you're just going to tell me if it's overrated or underrated. So example for the listeners who don't know, if I said coffee, you're going to be like, “Obviously that's underrated because it gets you up and moving in the morning,” cool?
Jeremy Lounds: Got it.
Patrick Rauland: All right. Recently, I've seen a lot of Kickstarters with the first 24 hour backer exclusive rewards. Are those overrated or underrated?
Jeremy Lounds: I'm going to say overrated because I don't like those kind of advertising tactics. I'd rather think about a decision and then make it not based on someone pressuring me into it.
Patrick Rauland: Perfect. Makes sense. What about a having a monkey as a pet? Overrated or underrated?
Jeremy Lounds: Well, if it's a well-behaved monkey, I'm going to say underrated because I think that that would be a lot of fun. But I am picturing more a Curious George type scenario, so I don't know, it makes me a little nervous.
Patrick Rauland: Great. We'll just assume all monkeys are as polite as Curious George. Love it. We'll keep going. How about art tests? For those of you don't know, they're a thing on The Game Crafter where they'll pull images from your game and then people can rate them, review them, leave comments, and you can figure out … you get a score and you also get comments. So art tests, overrated or underrated?
Jeremy Lounds: I'm going to say overrated because there's really no good way of giving any context. So when I did DECO, there was a lot of tiles that were just abstract, right? People would just leave comments like, “I don't know what this is for, and this doesn't really work together,” and it just felt so subjective.
Patrick Rauland: Yeah. I've had a similar experience where someone said, “I want to see more information,” but the card that was selected from The Game Crafter was just like, “There's all the information you need on this card and all the icons and everything are explained in the rule book.” But yeah, it's not a perfect system, but I hear you. Last one. Just general thinking here is why I put this on here. Just tattoos, overrated, underrated?
Jeremy Lounds: Oh boy, that's a hard one. I'm going to say overrated if … See, the permanence of it is what makes me nervous. Right? I don't have any tattoos because I'm afraid that in a year or two from now I'm going to regret it, I'm going to say, “Oh, I wish I would've done it this way or that way.” Right? If there was a neutral, I'd pick a neutral. I would say if you like tattoos, go for it. I think art in general is awesome.
Patrick Rauland: Great, great. You know what, since you won the Social Deduction Challenge, you can have access to the very reserved appropriately rated, which I do not advertise at all.
Jeremy Lounds: Well, thank you for that. I appreciate it.
Patrick Rauland: Jeremy, thank you so much for being on the show.
Jeremy Lounds: Oh, thank you, Patrick. This was a great time.
Patrick Rauland: Where can people find you and your games online?
Jeremy Lounds: I'm on Twitter as Arqteq_LLC, and that spelled A-R-Q-T-E-Q_LLC. You can also go to arqteq.com, and find me there. Yeah. Or on The Game Crafter chat section. I'll try to pop in there more often.
Patrick Rauland: Is there any place where someone can get more information about Fruit-for-All? Just because I've had a little bit of hard time finding it on The Game Crafter right now.
Jeremy Lounds: You should be able to get to it if you go to the contest page and click on it. I don't think it's … It should be available for people to view.
Patrick Rauland: Perfect. It's probably user error, meaning me. I probably clicked on something stupid. So you and I can talk about this after the show, but we'll work together to … I'll get a link and share with people.
Jeremy Lounds: Okay, great.
Patrick Rauland: Listeners, if you liked this podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes. If you leave a review, Jeremy will be able to give you fruit at your next convention. So that's exciting. I don't know exactly when this episode is airing, but I finally found out that Kintsugi won third place in the Mint Tin Challenge.
I should have a whole episode. I've decided I'm just going to have a whole episode, a bonus episode where I'm just chatting about what I learned, what I'm taking away, what I'm going to do moving forward. So if that episode hasn't come out yet, just wait another week or two, or if it has come out, it's probably one episode back in the show feed and you can find it that way. You can visit the site to indieboardgamedesigners.com, you can follow me on Twitter and BoardGameGeek. I am @B-F-T-R-I-C-K on both platforms. [inaudible 00:39:43] and board game geek. Until next time everyone. Good designing. Bye bye.
Jeremy Lounds: Bye.