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#86 – Nicholas Yu

Patrick Rauland: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Indie Board Game Designers podcast, where I sit down with a different independent game designer every single week, and we talk about their experience in game design and the lessons they've learned along the way. My name is Patrick Rauland, and today I'll be talking with Nicholas Yu, who designed Eternal Dynasty, Hero Brigade, and Adventure Tactics. I'm going to butcher this– Domianne's Tower, which should be live on Kickstarter when this episode airs. Did I pronounce it right?

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/letimangames/adventure-tactics-a-co-op-tactics-campaign-for-1-5-players/

Nicholas Yu: Yeah, you got it. Got it in one try. Thanks for having me.

Introduction

Patrick: Great. Yes, thank you so much for joining us on the show. We've chatted a little bit ahead of time. I saw your game with Dan at Origins, we've e-mailed a little bit, and I've seen your game, but the audience hasn't. I like to introduce them with a little quick lightning round, so they know who you are. Sound good?

Nicholas: Sure.

Patrick: All right. So, dogs or cats?

Nicholas: Definitely dogs. I enjoy cats, and I've had roommates who've had cats, but I'm personally a dog person.

Patrick: Love it. Great. We've lost half the audience. Favorite summer food?

Nicholas: Hot dogs and hamburgers. We just bought a grill for the family this summer, and we used it three times the very first day that I bought it. Every week we've been grilling. Weather has been nice, so we're taking advantage.

Patrick: Sounds great. This Adventure Tactics, it looks like a dungeon crawl. I don't know if it officially is a dungeon crawl, but it has those fairly typical character classes with fighter, cleric and stuff like that. Or at least, as the base classes, it has. I want to know, out of those stereotypical character classes, which one is your favorite?

Nicholas: I tend to go to the vanilla ones, fighter, and wizard, but the great thing about Adventure Tactics– It does have those elements of a dungeon crawl game, but we wanted to have a huge multi-class class system. We have over 20 classes that you qualify, so you can mix and match. You can be both a fighter and a wizard. That would lead into paths like War Mage and Dark Knight. Those are my favorite hybrids. The ones that you can get in close, you have some fighter abilities, but you also have some magic at your disposal too.

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

Patrick: I'm very excited to talk about multi-classing because I don't normally see that in games, so it's super cool. The first real question, how did you get into board games and board game design?

Nicholas: As long as I remember, I've always been into tabletop, and that's from my parents. They were both big card game players. There was Euchre, Hearts, Pinochle. I started playing card games when I was 5 years old. I've always been into board games, at least as long as I've been able to shuffle cards.

Patrick: What about board game design?

Nicholas: Lifelong passion. Design happens much later in life, it was always something on my bucket list, and I had the opportunity. My wife, when we first had our first kids, I elected to be the stay at home dad. Designing board games was something I was able to do in my spare time, while I was raising our twins. That gave me some time, while the twins were napping, that was spent on board game design.

Patrick: That's fantastic. How long has that been going on? Is this a year ago, is this longer?

Nicholas: No, I've been designing for about 5 or 6 years. I did take a couple of breaks because we had a third kid, so that's tough. I went from– Also I went back to work. We switched when we had our latest kid, so I'm the one back doing the 9 to 5, and she's staying at home. Board game design time is after the kids are in bed, such as right now until late.

Where Did Adventure Tactics Come From?

Patrick: Awesome. Very cool. I do want to talk about Adventure Tactics. Where did the idea come from to do a tactics game?

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/letimangames/adventure-tactics-a-co-op-tactics-campaign-for-1-5-players/
Adventure Tactics on Kickstarter

Nicholas: Dan Letzring and I– Dan of Letiman Games, we do a table together at the local Rochester Maker Faire every year. We've both been independent game designers, and we've known each other for years. We've both been doing this for 5+ years, but we've never collaborated on a project together. We finally said, “We're friends, we're hanging out. Why haven't we done a game together?”

Nicholas: We agreed that if we had a good idea, we would work on a project. Two years ago, Dan was like, “What's your favorite video game?” Mine is Final Fantasy Tactics, and it turns out that's Dan's favorite video game too. We decided we were going to make Final Fantasy Tactics into a board game. It's a pretty daunting task. If you're familiar with Final Fantasy Tactics, it's such a crazy in-depth game, but it's something that we've never seen.

Patrick: Yeah. It looks cool, and from all the pictures it looks detailed, I think I'll go with, rather than complex.

Nicholas: That's good. I think there are a lot of pieces, but once you learn how to play, it's fairly straightforward. Hopefully, all those bits and bobs are not overwhelming.

Patrick: It sounds like you guys decided to work on this right from the get-go. I was under the impression from talking to you ahead of the show, didn't you talk to other publishers about this?

Nicholas: Not for Adventure Tactics specifically. This one was always going to be with Dan.

What is it Like Working with Other Publishers?

Patrick: What was that experience like working with other publishers?

Nicholas: My first couple games, Hero Brigade, and Eternal Dynasty, I don't want to throw anybody under the bus, but it was a tough road. You're familiar with Game Salute, right? Game Salute doesn't even exist as an entity anymore, and now they split off into several different games. I had a rough road because they were my distributor. I self-publish, but they were also co-publishers and distributors. I had to turn over a lot of control, and that's tough when that's been your baby for the past year, handing it over to someone else. There wasn't a lot of– The best way to say is, there wasn't a lot of transparency for some of the processes. It's tough. This game was so huge, I wanted to make sure it was with someone I 100% trusted, and that was Dan because we know each other personally too.

Patrick: Sure. It sounds like working with your first publisher, I guess I'm getting the idea, would you say it was bureaucratic and like they had their own processes and they didn't get your opinion on things?

Nicholas: Yeah. You get shut out sometimes. You have to be careful. I read over the contract line by line, so nothing was a complete surprise. It was still a very different experience– Especially when I did everything up to and including the Kickstarter campaign for my first game Hero Brigade, so I did everything. I felt like I should always have a say in everything, but as soon as you turn over to the publisher, they can basically do whatever they want with it.

What Changed in Your Process?

Patrick: Got it. How did your process change? You published two games before this. What changed?

Nicholas: Those were both through Game Salute, because of the contracts. Again remember, read your contracts, everybody. Make sure that you understand everything that's in them. I did, and I don't want to say this is a nonstop complaining tirade about Game Salute because there are some great people there. Even the process of waiting for your first royalty check, you're like, “What are the sales numbers?” Again, there wasn't a lot of transparency at that time. They had someone new take over that part, and he was amazing. That was already a couple of years into it. Where I'm like “Where's that royalty check? I'm supposed to get them every quarter. There's just a lot of things that you hear these horror stories, usually, it's not as bad as the worst one that you hear, but there's definitely a kernel of truth to those stories that you hear.

What Would You Do Differently?

Patrick: Is there anything that you would do differently? If someone else is listening to this, it sounds like you read the contract and you still, I don't want to say lost, but you still were put into a bad position.

Nicholas: It's tough. If I went back and did it, I might still make that same decision actually to sign the contract, even knowing the turmoil that I went through. I still don't want to warehouse games. I still don't want to figure out fulfillment and delivery and warehousing. I got the quotes for production, but I didn't have to go through that entire process. That's why I respect someone like Dan, who does everything soup to nuts.

Nicholas: He does everything from A to Z. That's why I still needed a publisher for this game even though the design was pretty much done and I had already contracted a lot of the art for it. I did some developer/publisher role for Adventure Tactics as well. There are so many things, I don't have any relationships with distributors like PSI, Alliance and those are really important. If you want your game stored in shelves, you need to know those people and have those relationships.

Patrick: The thing I'm taking away from this is maybe go with the publisher you know that lives in your town, if at all possible?

Nicholas: Yes. I mean, not everyone has that luxury, right? It's like “This guy lives 10 minutes away from me, and I trust him.” Definitely do your due diligence, absolutely. Make sure when you're pitching a game, that number one it fits their category, their library. I've seen some publishers, they try to branch out, but it doesn't fit their library, so the game ends up– They don't necessarily shelve it, but they don't push it as hard. It under-sells, and then it's a forgotten game. You see some great games fall by the wayside that way because there wasn't a perfect match between the publisher and design.

What Design Challenges Did You Run Into?

Patrick: I hear you. Tell me about some of the challenges that you encountered with this game design, and, hopefully, how you overcame those challenges.

Nicholas: This was a huge game. We've talked about because Final Fantasy Tactics is so complex, the funny thing is the mechanical part, that was done in almost the first weekend. I went home after Dan, and I had our talk, we both raved about how much we love Final Fantasy Tactics. That weekend, I came back with a 20-page design document. Dan said it was over 20 pages, I don't remember being that many more than 20, but he said it was more than 20. It wasn't gratuitously double spaced. It was a huge design document, and it had over 20 classes. It had all the movement mechanics, the range mechanics and like 90% of the character actions already designed. That was a huge brainstorm that first weekend.

Patrick: Is this before testing anything?

Nicholas: Yeah, that was even before testing.

Patrick: What?

Nicholas: I even came up with a point system to allocate for the abilities. A movement ability is five points, and damage range is X number of points. I usually often start with a spreadsheet, but then I move away from it because you don't want people to feel like they're playing an Excel spreadsheet. That's not fun.

Nicholas: Also, if all the information is known, you can perfectly calculate it while you're just going through the motions. I think that's always a good place to start in terms of game balance. The actual design itself, that was pretty solid. As we mentioned earlier, there's so many bits and bobs. Determining what needs to be in the physical copy of the game and the best way to present that, that's where I needed someone with Dan's experience. Because most of those great innovations have come from Dan, in terms of how the game is going to look, it's one thing to have that 20-page design document, and it's another thing to have an actual finalized design that makes sense for players.

Did Anything In Your Design Document Not Work?

Patrick: Was there something that didn't work? Does that make sense? Something that you put in your design document, you went through testing, and it just didn't work, and you either had to change it or throw it out?

Nicholas: Yeah. Balance changes, for the most part, I feel like they were pretty solid. Again, even if you start off with the mathematical algorithm that determines, according to your setup, it perfectly balances all the abilities, something's going to end up being broken. Because everyone can multi-class and it's free form class distribution, you can be one level of cleric, one level of rogue, one level of fighter.

Nicholas: That led to so many balance challenges because it's hard to foresee what everyone's going to do. I know there's going to be those people who love to min-max. They love to do the character optimization. That's great. I welcome those people to do that, but there were some things that were blatantly overpowered that we had to get rid of. That only came out with a lot of testing.

How Did You Playtest Your Game?

Patrick: Got it. I have to ask. To some extent, this is designed for fans of Final Fantasy Tactics. You know what I mean? The people who like that type of stuff. Did you do lots of playtesting with people who like that game? Did you intentionally seek out those people?

Nicholas: Yes. Yeah, we sought them out locally and also on the internet. There are a lot of fans of Final Fantasy Tactics, and they're not hard to find. As soon as you mention this kind of class building and Final Fantasy Tactics, the job system in that game, you see people's eyes light up, and they want to playtest.

Nicholas: We've done a lot of events now. You mentioned you saw Dan at Origins, but we've done a lot of local conventions. Our friend Cassie went to Dice Tower Con, she'll be at Gen Con, and I might go to Gen Con for a couple days.

Nicholas: Every time we hold an event, we have to turn people away because there's a real hunger for that kind of game. You have your other dungeon crawl games like the Descent and Gloomhaven, which are both amazing games, but they don't do a job system or a class system like Final Fantasy Tactics does. You don't have that free-from exploration. You can't splash into other classes. Descent, you're basically stuck with that character forever. That's your character. Gloomhaven you can unlock people, but you don't even know what the character class is necessarily when you are unlocking it, so you might be stuck playing something that you don't even like. You don't even like that playstyle.

Patrick: Sure, that's totally right. Very cool. It's fun to have– I think with a lot of my games, I don't know who it's for when I make it. I know I like it, but I don't know who it's for. But it's cool to go “We love this sort of video game. How do we make a board game version of this?” Then you know exactly who you're marketing to and someone says they don't like Final Fantasy Tactics, they don't like your game. You're like “Cool, it doesn't matter.”

Nicholas: You're right. I usually design games that I would like to play. It just so happens, in this case, a lot of people also love Final Fantasy Tactics, and this kind of approach has appealed to them. I've never had a game with this kind of, and I don't know what you want to call it, advanced buzz where people are reaching out to me and saying, “Let me interview you. Let me talk about this game. Can I get a copy? I want to review this.” I just haven't seen that before.

What Research Did You Do?

Patrick: Yeah. Fantastic. What sort of research did you do before you started this process? Did you replay all of Final Fantasy Tactics just for “Research” purposes?

Nicholas: I didn't have to because I've played that game, I want to say, North of 20 times to completion. I've finished it. Every time it comes out for a new platform, I rebuy it. I had it for PlayStation, and I had it for Vita, the handheld. Then I bought it again for my tablet and my phone. I think I've bought the game 3 or 4 times.

Nicholas: I didn't have to go back, but I'm actually going back and playing through it now. It's funny that you ask that. I'm on my umpteenth playthrough. That information was all there. As I said, the actual design came out so quickly. It was like I was designing this game, in the back of my mind, for the last 10 years. Final Fantasy Tactics I think is almost 20 years old. What, '96 or '97? Yeah, it's an old game, so I've been designing this game in the back of my head for a while now. Then it all came out in a burst over a weekend.

What Mechanisms Are You Trying to Get Into A Game?

Patrick: Very cool. I'm excited to give it a play. When I walked by, Dan was right in the middle of a demo, so I walked away and came back, and he was done. Hopefully, I'll get to play it sometime. I want to move on to game design in general. I'd like to know, is there a thing that you want to get into a game? A mechanic or maybe a theme that you can't get in. Is there a white whale where you're like “Yes, this is my thing, I've got to do it.” You haven't been able to figure it out yet?

Nicholas: Yeah. I would like to see a madness mechanic, like Lovecraft, like elder horror that's not just a marker or a track that you advance. I've struggled with this because this is an abstract concept. How do you represent that? That's not just a number or a figure. A lot of games have that, you have sanity, but that's just another number. It's another hit point bar, HP bar. I want your character, when you're confronting that elder horror, you're reading some forbidden tome of arcane knowledge, how do you have a character or have a player go mad? How can you have that represented mechanically and thematically?

Patrick: Yes. There is a game on the Game Cube. Wow, dating myself. On the Game Cube a long time ago, I want to say it was one of the first major console games that had an insanity meter. I remember if you went insane, they wouldn't tell you, but you entered a cut scene and all of a sudden your body would start falling apart. You're like “What?”

Nicholas: Are you talking about Eternal Darkness?

Patrick: Yes, I think it was Eternal Darkness.

Nicholas: Yes, it was Eternal Darkness. That's a classic game. The actual game changes depending on your sanity, you encounter different things in the game. A character might appear differently. You might see a vision of a ghost that you wouldn't if your character is more sane. You have these weird freaky dreams if your sanity is too low. That's such a tough thing to represent in a board game.

Patrick: This is a good discussion. I think the tricky thing here is, in board games we see how everything is made. Does that make sense? We know the rules behind it. Whereas in Eternal Darkness, we don't know that we started watching a cut scene or started seeing the effects of insanity until we get killed by a monster or our body falls apart right, and it starts you in the last room. You're like “Just me going crazy. Got it.”

Nicholas: I think it would have to be a game with a lot of hidden information, right?

Patrick: Yeah. I wonder if there's something where it's like– This is going to sound silly, but it's like if you're insane, maybe you can't see your own hand or something?

Nicholas: I could see that. I was also thinking you start drawing from different cards, but again, that starts feeling very mechanical. You don't capture that essence of madness, like “OK, now I have a madness deck.” I mean that's cool, but that's not quite what I'm looking for.

Patrick: I think what I would want– This is me brainstorming on the fly. I'd want something where you would cover up part of the card. If you draw a card, let's say the cost is on the right-hand side, or the life points or the benefit is on the right-hand side. You have to play cards, but somehow it's covered up by this accessory that you put on when you're mad.

Nicholas: Actually, I like that. That goes along with the hidden information. You have to play without knowing the full ramifications of what you're doing. I like that.

Patrick: You can read the title, maybe you can read the flavor text, but you don't know what the card does. Maybe there's levels of information?

Nicholas: You could do different levels of madness. When you're super mad, the only thing you can see is the cost, and you don't even see the title. You're like “OK, well this card is 5 red mana, but I guess I'll play it because I'm insane. I don't know what I'm doing.” You could also have benefits too like your magic is more powerful when you're mad. You didn't know it, but when you did it, it ended up being more powerful.

Patrick: All right, we'll work on this the next time you and I meet up at a Con.

Nicholas: All right. Sounds good. I think that's promising.

What Games Inspire You?

Patrick: Yeah. There's got to be a way to do it. I really enjoy it. I don't like scary movies, I don't generally like scary things, but in Eternal Darkness the way they built that insanity system was so good that I'd love to see that in a board game. All right, great answer. What other games out there inspire you?

Nicholas: I love a lot of different types of games, from video games to tabletop. As I said, my parents got me– I wouldn't necessarily describe myself as a gamer when I was 5 years old playing card games, my parents gave birth to me as a gamer, so I play a little bit of everything. I know that's a cop-out answer because probably a lot of people say that.

Nicholas: If you look at my Steam library in terms of PC games, I probably have 300 games that I haven't beaten. That's because I have 3 kids now and that's too many kids for one couple to have. I used to be such a completionist. If I picked up a game, I would play it through, and I would have to 100% achievement it.

Nicholas: Now that I have kids, it's different, your tastes change. I'll pick up a game, and I'll play for about 20 hours. I get my feel for the game, and then I'll move on to a different one. Unless it's one of the ones that I've been waiting on for years like when Cyberpunk comes out, I'll play that straight through. Pathfinder Kingmaker, I played straight through because I love computer RPGs, as you can tell from our discussion.

Nicholas: Other games like Fortnite, OK, I get that. OK cool, building mechanics, battle royale. OK. I'll play for 20 hours and move on. I'm the same way for board games too. I'll play each board game until I feel like– I don't want to say “Designers are so amazing, they can see how a game is going to go.” Usually, after I play a game for the first time or two, I can tell how future plays are going to be as well. Obviously, I can improve, I'll get better. But I can see how that meta game is going to shape out. How different strategies– That's a good sign of a well-designed game too, where those options become very apparent to you.

Patrick: Almost like you can see the archetypes. You can say, “OK, this is this type of game.”

Nicholas: Right. “OK. This an engine building type game.” These are my five paths to victory.

What is your Favorite Under Appreciated Game?

Patrick: I dig it. What's great is, I don't normally get to ask this question, but this is one my favorites. I don't always have the time to ask it. What is your favorite under-appreciated game? What is a game out there that needs more recognition and doesn't get what it deserves?

Nicholas: Video games, it's The World Ends With You. I know a lot of people are fans of that game, but no one has been able to play in the actual way that was meant to be played. It came out for Nintendo DS, and you had to utilize both screens. You controlled both your player and your partner on the two different screens.

Nicholas: Now all the modern versions of the game have combined it into an automated partner. That's a game that it's hard to appreciate. It's great, the new adaptations are fine. They're in 4K with updated soundtracks, but the actual control scheme is pretty much gone. You can't replicate the original one. I know a lot of people know about that game, but that's my underrated gem for the modern audience.

Patrick: Got any computer games?

Nicholas: PC games?

Patrick: Sorry, board games.

Nicholas: Oh, Tabletop. I was going to say PC games, and I can name a ton. I'm trying to think what was the last good board game I played that didn't get a lot of play. Most of the time I let Dan and our buddy Jeff and another friend Travis, they'll bring the games, and I'll play them.

Nicholas: I had a chance to play Welcome To… I wouldn't say that's underrated, because that's getting a lot of recognition, which is great. Between Two Cities, people know that game, because it's a Stegmaier game, but it feels under-produced. I don't want to bash Jamey, because I think he's amazing. His Kickstarter blog I read from front to finish before I launched my first one. Between Jamey and James Mathe, those roosters that they provide for all designers and wannabe publishers, that's such an invaluable resource. Between Two Cities felt under-produced. If you look at some of the icons, they look pretty basic, like they just got them off the internet. It was just a free source icon and the back of the tiles, and it's some weird abstract design that you would find in Azul. It just feels under-produced. I would like to see a 2.0, a second edition of Between Two Cities because the gameplay is amazing. I love the game, but the presentation itself, especially, it was a real surprise to me because usually, Stegmaier games are amazing and beautiful. That one, I was underwhelmed. That's going to be my other pick for board games.

What Resource Would You Recommend to an Indie Game Designer?

Patrick: Moving on to the end here, I always like to ask people. This is your third published game. What resource would you recommend to an indie game designer who's working on his first published game, or hopefully published game?

Nicholas: Yeah. I touched on that on that last question. The blogs of Jamey Stegmaier and James Mathe. Although a lot of times– Rest in peace, James Mathe also. He passed recently. They've provided so much information for free, which is amazing. Although some of that is little more on design standpoint. Don't be afraid to also look out for things like game-icons.net, thenounproject. There are a lot of free icons there that you can use for prototyping. Some people have this weird hang-up, where it needs to look nice before they show it to other people. I guess that depends on how well your friends are to playtest. For me, I always have note cards. I bought a stack of blank playing cards off Amazon. It was like 400 cards for like $7, so I use those and sharpies.

Patrick: In my experience, if I play with game designers, it can be the worst. It can be a piece of paper you found on the street, and you can write on it. If I play with non-game designers, they're like “Patrick, these dice are really big.” and like “They're just the dice [inaudible].” I am amazed at the feedback I get from my friends who are not real board gamers.

Nicholas: You are absolutely right. When you sell it to a non-designer audience, it does need to look pretty. That's why game-icons.net, nounproject those are a nice fit for those kind of things. Also, I love The Game Crafter, their community is great. Anytime I wanted to have a nice prototype to show at a Con, and I've used Game Crafter for that. I'm not a huge social media fan, that's why I need Dan because I'm also terrible at that. So thanks for putting up with me during this interview. Facebook is surprisingly useful for the board game community. There's so many groups of like-minded individuals, and there's a lot of great advice that's being kicked around in those Facebook groups. That's one reason to keep your Facebook account.

What's the Best Money You've Spent?

Patrick: I hear you there. I'm a frugal person, so what is something that is 100% worth the money in the game design world?

Nicholas: From a first-time publisher perspective, I would say get a big bag of components. I know they used to sell those bags of coins, I think Game Crafter does too. They have a grab bag of components. You'll be surprised at the kind of game it is that will flow through your head when you're physically manipulating them.

Nicholas: You have a couple tiles in your hand, or some weird [meatball] and you're like– Just ideas that run through your head when you're trying to put those pieces together. I laugh at my buddy Travis because he designs hexes. He'll draw– He has a drafting table that he'll do hexes. I laugh at him, because I'm like “No man, generate those online. They have hex generators now,” but that's the way he does it. Everyone's going to do it a little differently, but I understand what he's talking about. When you have those components in your hand, and you're prototyping it, it's a big difference. Everyone learns differently and designs differently, but I think buy a big bag of components. Also, that'll help when you need to rapidly prototype, and you have everything that you need. Don't go to bed with a great idea, because there's no guarantee you're going to remember that when you wake up.

Patrick: Totally love it. I will 100% completely agree that just playing with parts in your hand will help you come up with new ideas or new options that you didn't consider before. There is definitely something powerful about having standard components, but also having a couple cool components. Don't go out and buy a million things. I found these, what were they–? I found a whole bunch of different food tokens, and I made a fun survival game with food tokens that I wouldn't have made if I didn't have all these food tokens.

Nicholas: It can lead to some really interesting designs. It will also help some of those design contests too. Habit does the one where they send you a bunch of components, and you make a game out of those components. Those contests are a great way to get noticed for first time designers. Having your design say, “This is the winner of X design contest.” That will help get publishers attention.

What Does Success Look Like?

Patrick: Love it. Cool. This is your third game coming out, what does success look like to you?

Nicholas: I've seen moderate success. Eternal Dynasty, people are really surprised when I tell them it's sold about 10,000 copies. Of course, that was over 5+ years, and after a couple of years they got slashed to 50% off, but that's a lot of copies in the board game world. I think I've seen moderate success and I'm pretty happy with it.

Nicholas: As I said, originally designing board games was crossing off an item on my bucket list, but it turns out I enjoy doing it. I would love to have what Dan calls “Evergreen.” That one product that stays in print for a while, just so people know it. It does have to be [inaudible] level of success, but one that stays in print will have 2 or 3 editions, and people know that game like that. I don't care if they know me or not, but I would like them to know that game.

Overrated Underrated Game

Patrick: Sure. I get that. That's cool. Awesome. I like to end with a game called Overrated/Underrated. Have you heard about it?

Nicholas: I have not. I think you skipped it the last podcast I listened to, with a guest.

Patrick: I skipped it? Oh man. That's not good. How did– Who did– I skipped it?

Nicholas: I'm trying to remember who the guest I was. It might have been an early one because I listened from the beginning. Maybe you weren't doing it for everybody?

Patrick: That's so funny. Overrated/Underrated, basically I'll give you a word or phrase, and you need to tell me if you think it is overrated by everyone else, or underrated by everyone else. Cool?

Nicholas: All right, I'm ready.

Patrick: Great. All right. So I'm going to say mobile games, and by mobile games, I specifically mean games for your iPad or your iPhone. Are they overrated or underrated?

Nicholas: I'm going to go underrated, which I think is going to surprise a lot of people.

Patrick: Any good examples, a one-sentence reason for your answer?

Nicholas: I think if you're on iOS, there's a really good indie design scene. Android Star is the wild west, but iOS they cultivate their products. There's some amazing publishers out there. When we say “mobile game” people think pay to play, gotcha games, in-app purchases. There's an amazing indie scene for mobile out there. So, underrated.

Patrick: Very cool. What about ice cream, Overrated/Underrated?

Nicholas: Can I say properly rated? Because I think everybody loves ice cream and that's the proper reaction to ice cream.

Patrick: Properly highly rated.

Nicholas: Appropriately highly rated.

Patrick: Because you're the guest, I'm going to let you make an exception here.

Nicholas: All right. Thank you. I appreciate it.

Patrick: We're going to go with Final Fantasy, not Tactics. Overrated or underrated, let's go the whole series.

Nicholas: All right, this is going to make people mad, and I'm a huge fan. I'm going to say overrated because you have your super fanboys and fan girls who will defend even the terrible parts of the Final Fantasy series. The last game was pretty solid, but the end game fell apart. They ended up patching it several months later. That was not a complete game upon launch, but you have people defending that. Even games I love, like Final Fantasy 7, there's some pretty dopey parts about FF7, so I love the games, but overrated.

Patrick: Got it. The last one, tubing as in floating down a river on a tube. Overrated or underrated?

Nicholas: Underrated. It's awesome. Especially whitewater rafting and tubing.

Patrick: I dig it. Very cool. Nicholas, thank you so much for being on the show.

Nicholas: Thank you for having me. This was a great convo, and I hope it helps somebody.

Wrap Up

Patrick: I hope someone can do something cool with the insanity mechanic.

Nicholas: Yes. Oh my gosh, yes. If you do, please tell me about it. Please let me know.

Patrick: Yes. Where can people find you online to tell you about the insanity mechanic?

Nicholas: Twitter. It's @yutingxiang, as I said, I'm really bad at social media. I definitely should have made an easier handle remember. For Adventure Tactics, that's through Dan's website Letiman Games, and you can find the page for Adventure Tactics there. If you find Dan, you can find me. We comment in each other's Twitter posts all the time. I'm also on Facebook too.

Patrick: This episode should come out when the game airs. Recording it a couple of weeks early, so this should come out when the game– Not airs. This episode airs when the game is on Kickstarter. There we go.

Nicholas: Yep. July 29th. Adventure Tactics.

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