Pat Brennan

#14 – Pat Brennan

Patrick Rauland: Hello everyone, and welcome to the Indie Board Game Designers Podcast. Today, we're going to be talking with Pat Brennan, who is the designer behind Complicated Board Game the Card Game, which seems like a pretty silly game, which we'll be getting into during the show, as well as Status Report, which just wrapped up on Kickstarter. Pat, welcome to the show.

Pat Brennan: Hello. Thank you for having me.

How Did You Get Into Board Games?

Patrick Rauland: Cool. Let's jump in. How did you get into board games and board game design?

Pat Brennan: All right. I think I probably got into board games the same way that everybody got into board games. I've listened to some of your episodes and stuff like that, and I love that just about everyone I've listened to, everyone starts with, “Well, I started with Magic: The Gathering.” Or, “I stared with this or that.” And yeah, I was kind of the exact same way. Growing up through middle school, I played Magic: The Gathering, I also played a bunch of Munchkin and Risk, and I just have a ton of friends who were really interested in playing board games all the time. So we just played everything that we could get our hands on, and as I got older and I got into college and stuff like that, I think that started the transition to making games. At first, it was kind of just for myself, but eventually, we hit an idea, and we looked around and saw that there was this growing and thriving indie game scene with the self-publishing through Kickstarter stuff when we decided to give that a try and see if we could actually get one of these things made in a professional way, and it worked.

Patrick Rauland: That's amazing. You sort of glossed over how complicated that process is of making a board game. You're like, “I just did it.”

Pat Brennan: I've always had notebooks and loose leaf paper with various ideas written down in them, so it was just a matter of putting my nose to the grindstone where I'm actually testing it and getting it done.

Patrick Rauland: Yeah. Have you ever asked someone, “How did you run a marathon?” They're like, “Oh, I just put one put in front of the other.” Well, that's not helpful.

Pat Brennan: That's a fair point, but that's sort of where it was. It's just a trajectory that I got on and I couldn't stop. It wasn't easy, it took no shortage of work or time, I think from the first time I sat down and actually tried to seriously make a game, to building a Kickstarter, to getting one of these things printed and published was … it's got to be six or seven years, so it's not a short process to be sure.

Patrick Rauland: So I actually have a cool soundboard in the podcasting software we're using, and when you said, “I listened to some of your podcasts.”, I wanted to play the “Pow, pow, pow, pow” noise because that would be at least two listeners, you and my mom, I'm up to two listeners, so I'm very excited. You made my day.

Pat Brennan: We do streams when we're doing our games on Kickstarter and stuff like that, and I think my mother is our number one viewer, most consistent. Super fan.

What Does Your Process Look Like?

Patrick Rauland: That's fantastic. Let's talk about some of your process. I looked at your Kickstarters, and it seems like you launch a game every couple of years. Can you tell us about that process?

Pat Brennan: Yeah. God, basically we don't have slated schedules or things in the can or whatever people say that are actually doing this in a professional way, we have day jobs. We do other things for a living to pay our bills, so these games are our hobby/side project thing that we just really enjoy, and so what we're working on is what draws us in. It's something that has to hold our attention and keep us passionate about the project, and so Kickstarter wound up being a really good model for us for this. Games like Complicated Board Game the Card Game and stuff like that, I can't imagine the situation where I put that on a sell sheet or whatever, and I go to publishers and try and say with a straight face and explain my game to them. I just … I never saw that working, and even if it did, I always felt that they would want to change things about the game that would inherently make it not this goofy, strange project that we were working on, and thus, not something we wanted to work on.

Pat Brennan: So we decided to go with the avenue of Kickstarter, and up until now, we've managed to keep a pretty good pace about these things. It took us from conceiving Complicated Board Game the Card Game to putting it up on Kickstarter, that took about two years. It took us probably another eight months to do Status Report!, again from coming up with the idea and then getting it up there, and it's been another year now since that first Kickstarter, and we're getting ready to put out a larger run of Status Report! for the first time with expanded ideas behind it, so if you're thinking of that as, “This is the full fruition of the game.” Again, it's probably about a two year process.

Patrick Rauland: It's kind of fascinating because I think a lot of people are in your shoes, where they're doing board games on the side and if they make money, it's a bonus because they're not … it's great, but they're not living on it. Do you know what I mean?

Pat Brennan: Absolutely. I joke with my family and friends, they always ask about how the business is going and stuff like that, and personally, I don't think of it as a capital B business. That is legally what it is, we pay taxes and all that fun stuff, but for me, I would be wanting to find ways to go to these conventions anyway, if that makes any sense, or just to go to these game groups and play games, so if I can find a way to subsidize that a little bit and get to be there in a more official capacity, I'm thrilled to do it.

How Do You Focus?

Patrick Rauland: I really like that. And I imagine it takes discipline to … because when you only have so many hours in the day and you're already working eight hours for someone else, do you have a rigorous process to figure out what your next game is, and have to focus on that game to actually get it done?

Pat Brennan: So figuring out what the next game is, I think, comes out of, honestly, dull moments in my own life, so whether that be an idea that I daydreamed up in a meeting, or something I just thought up while I was sitting on the subway and wrote down in a notebook, eventually one of those things latches on. A lot of these ideas, you have them, you write them down, then it just lives on that paper and it gets thrown away and I forget about it, but some of them get their hooks in me and I just keep thinking about them, and I suppose it is a form of discipline, but it presents itself more as, I think, an obsession, where I will just come home and continue to write about this thing and continue to work on it until it is some kind of a game.

Pat Brennan: I think where the discipline for my own self comes in is in doing the parts of it that are not fun because there are lots of parts of it that are not fun. I am terrible at grammar, and editing, and formatting, honestly, it drives me crazy a lot of the time. A lot of the business, actual day to day work, like logistics, planning, that part of it is a slog, and I think that's probably the job part of it in my own mind. I think the actual game design part of it is a ton of fun, but that's probably only 20% of what we do.

Patrick Rauland: Got it. Oh boy. I'm guessing that's most people's actual jobs is like maybe 20% of it is fun, and there's like 80% that's just like, “Oh God.” More meetings, or having to meet … Yeah, I think that tracks pretty well with real life.

Pat Brennan: Yeah, when it comes down to it, this is a business, this is a job. There are parts of it that are not fun that you do have to grit your teeth and just sort of get through if you want to be successful. Everyone who is doing this right now, everyone I know who is successful in the field, they love what they're doing, they're passionate about the projects that they're bringing, but I would be lying if that was what they did most of the time. A lot of it is like, “All right, we've got to figure out how to get a pallet from New York to Seattle.” “We've got to figure out how we file taxes in this state under these conditions.” There's a lot of nose to the grindstone, like I said. I spend a lot of time in Excel. I spend a lot of time in Excel. Very little time actually prototyping games in comparison.

Patrick Rauland: I literally have an Excel tab open right now as something I was working on right before this call, so that is very relatable, I'd say.

Pat Brennan: Yeah.

Patrick Rauland: So since you've done two Kickstarters and you've been doing this for a couple of years-

Pat Brennan: We've done three Kickstarters.

What Resources Do You Recommend to New Designers?

Patrick Rauland: I'm sorry, three Kickstarters. I don't want to jip you … that's not a great word. Man, I can't edit this podcast. I don't want to cheat you out of a Kickstarter that you rightfully earned. So what one resource would you recommend to another indie game designer or an aspiring game designer?

Pat Brennan: Community. Community is the biggest resource, I think, in the board game industry. And the key to success in a lot of different ways is finding the community in your area and finding out what it is and how to work with it. So for us, for example, from my own personal use, it's been the NYU Game Center. The NYU Game Center does a play test Thursday, it's open to really any kind of game, board game, digital, and it just creates this amalgamation of people. There's high school kids that will come through just to see what games are being made, there are graduates working on their thesis projects in VR, and then there's just randos off the street like my own self, who are working on whatever it is that they're working on, and they all will go into this space every Thursday, and play each other's games and see what's going on and give their opinions, whether or not it's applicable, it's useful.

Pat Brennan: It is useful to see what other people think about your game, and more importantly, over time, it shows that you care about what you're doing, and it makes people care about what you're doing, and they want to see you succeed because they've now invested in it, they've helped you put it together and make this thing. That is the New York example that is the specific thing that is in my neighborhood, but I know that these groups exist throughout the country. Philadelphia I know has a really vibrant scene down there. There's got to be tons of teams out in Seattle just with the amount of board game stuff that happens in that area. I go on Facebook and I just see all these suggestions for like, “Hey, we're the local Atlanta group. We're the Kipsies.” Whatever it is. One of these groups probably exists in your area, and you should find it because most of the time … it should be free, there's no reason it shouldn't be free, and if you don't have one, start it, because I'm sure that there are other people in your area that are looking for it.

Patrick Rauland: Yeah, I talked to a few people from New York, and I think you're really lucky in New York with the NYU Game Center and just all the talent there. There's a lot of stuff going, so I was at Tabletop Network recently, which is a game design conference, and there was a whole session on building your community and I realized how, even though I live in Denver and we actually have a great once a month meet up, I didn't realize how lucky I was, because there were people that went to that talk, and they were like, “How do you get anyone to show up?” And, “What times and what places?” Just … I guess I didn't realize how spoiled I was by actually having a one a month meet up. And I know we can do more with it, but I'm actually pretty happy about what we have, and I think it's making me appreciate it even more.

Patrick Rauland: Actually, I was talking to someone in Seattle recently, and they said they basically found an empty group that no one was organizing events for, and they just proposed an event. You're the second person recently that's mentioned community. It seems like if there isn't a local community, there's probably one waiting that's just sitting there that you can tap into.

Pat Brennan: There are so many people looking to get into this industry right now. The negative way of looking at it is that the market is oversaturated, but that means that there are tons of resources that should be available to you. Table top gaming as a whole, in general these last few years has just exploded, and you've just got to find these people. They're everywhere.

What is Kickstarter's Make/100?

Patrick Rauland: Love it. So your most recent Kickstarter I believe used Kickstarter's Make/100 initiative. What is that and can you tell us about it?

Pat Brennan: Yeah, so Kickstarter started doing an initiative program two years ago now, I want to say. The first one was Make/100, and it was this seed to get people to put together these different campaigns for different reasons. So Make/100 in particular was all about making 100 of a thing. So we had Status Report! in the works already. We got together as a design team and questioned whether we could get this thing out the door, basically, in time for a Kickstarter launch. And we decided that we could do it and that we could make the game that we wanted to make, and this would serve in some ways as a soft launch for us, but in other ways, it was kind of a blessing for us because we were actually in the middle of fulfilling Complicated Board Game at the time.

Pat Brennan: We couldn't really commit to another full campaign, we felt, until we got our first game out the door. That just didn't feel … you don't want to do that. That seemed like a really big red flag for our backers, and so by limiting it to only 100 copies of a thing, it meant that we didn't need to hire a shipping company or a logistics team or anything like that, we could literally get it printed, sent to our apartment, package it all up in our house and send it out via USPS, which is exactly what we did. And it went great. We had a ton of fun doing it, it was a really intimate backing experience, like there's only 100 people in the campaign, they were all very involved, and we could hear all of their voices.

Pat Brennan: Anything they wrote to us in a message or whatever, we knew immediately because there was only 100 of them as opposed to some of these bigger campaigns where you can have four or five thousand backers all clamoring for where their thing is. It was really, really cool, and the feedback from it and the community that we built around it, we actually used to then launch that game again on Kickstarter, and a bigger, I don't want to say better, but a bigger, more stuff involved version of Status Report! is in the works now, and is coming out hopefully sometime in September.

Patrick Rauland: So as a designer, I'm sort of planning my game to come out Q4 or Q1 of this year, should I plan around a Kickstarter initiative like Make/100? Is it worth shifting your timetable to a Kickstarter initiative, or is it not worth the effort?

Pat Brennan: I would say no because these things are so specialized. If your campaign that you are working on, or this idea that you have, or this thing that you're putting together, these games took … We had already been play testing and making this game for six months at that point. We already knew what we were putting together, we had some of the art work already drawn up and picked out. We knew what it was going to be, so when they announced this initiative a month in advance, it was a rush, but we knew that we could get it done. I don't think, though, that it is work upending all of your plans in order to fit whatever the initiative asks for.

Patrick Rauland: They only give you a month?

Pat Brennan: Yeah, they give you a month basically of notice. But if you have something, if you have a small idea, like this Make/100 was only make 100 copies of something. So if you want to make one thing, if you want to make a dance piece or a digital music album or something like that. Something that is small in terms of its production scope, but big in terms of its personal idea and lofty goal for you, I think that's what a lot of these initiatives are aimed at. So they did a space themed one, I think, recently, and I want to say that there was a poetry month or something like that. The projects are all cataloged on there. I think there's probably an initiatives tab or a way to find it on their website, or you can probably just search, Google “Kickstarter initiatives”.

Pat Brennan: The projects that have come out of this stuff are all very, very cool, but they all share that commonality where they're kind of limited in scope and they're focused on an idea.

Patrick Rauland: That's really interesting. I'm just trying to take a look, I don't see a whole page of commissions, but I'm sure there's a way you can find them on their site.

Pat Brennan: Oh, there was another one. There was the Kickstarter Commissions. That was another one. Kickstarter Commissions was one of the initiatives. So they called on artists to do special commissioned things, so in board game terms, I'm not 100% sure what that would be. I guess a special card for our game, and we draw every single one of our backers and we send that card out to you. Small in terms of scope, like everybody gets this one thing, but a cool, big idea.

Patrick Rauland: Whoa, that sounds really cool. I'll have to look into that. Yeah, I'm looking at the page right now, but I cannot look at a page and ask you questions at the same time, so I will put that away.

Pat Brennan: Yeah, definitely want to check it out. We've used Kickstarter for all of our stuff. I love the team over there, they're very supportive, they're really, really great to their community, so definitely check out what they're doing. They're always pumping out cool new stuff.

What Mechanisms or Themes Are You Looking Into?

Patrick Rauland: So what are some fun ideas, either mechanisms, or theme, or something that gets you excited, and something you might put in a future game?

Pat Brennan: Right now, I am bouncing between deck building and engine building. I know it's stuff that's been done before. So what I like to do is I love it when genres are subverted. So Status Report! is a social deduction game, but it is not the social deduction game in the way that you think. This is an idea that we often have trouble combating when we're demoing it to people because you say it's a social deduction game, they want a little bit of help, so you say, “Oh, like Werewolves, or Secret Hitler, or one of those kinds of games.” It's like, “Oh, I know what that is.” But ours doesn't play like that at all, because in our game, one person is the good guy, so one person is the captain of the ship. Everybody else playing the game is an AI.

Pat Brennan: When we came up with this game, the idea was that it's Werewolves, but everyone gets to be the werewolf. So everybody is on the murderous rampage, everybody's trying to kill all the crew members and stuff like that, and there is one person who is the real true human. They have one good AI somewhere on the ship, and they just have to figure out who the one good guy is before the game is over. So it's kind of like a flipping of the formula essentially. Looking around and … Getting you back to the question at hand, which is mechanisms that interest me, recently, I have fallen into deck builders and engine builders and things like that, so I've been playing a lot of One Deck Dungeon, which isn't really a deck builder, but it has deck building aspects. I've been playing a lot of Sith, which is very much an engine builder, but it's an engine builder that's weirdly mixed with troop movement stuff.

Pat Brennan: Weird games that I really like that really subvert these preexisting genres that you have seen a thousand times before, and I really want to figure out what that means for us, what we can do to that mechanism.

What Is Your White Whale of Game Design?

Patrick Rauland: When I talk about mechanisms or themes, I always like to ask, is there a thing that you've tried to put in a game and you just can't figure out? And I like to call it the White Whale of game design. Is there something that you really, really, really want to get in there and you've tried it, and you just can't get it to work?

Pat Brennan: There isn't a specific mechanism, but I will say that there is a project, there is a game thing, which White Whale I think would be an appropriate term for it. We've had this setting worlds … Gosh, I don't even know what to call it. When I first sat down to make a board game, it was the thing I started working on, and it's been a million different genres. It's been a weird deck building game, it's been [inaudible 00:20:36], it's been a tower defense thingamajig, all of them were terrible, none of them worked, but I would say that between every single one of my projects, I keep coming back to this thing and being like, “Maybe this time I'll get that thing working.” And I play with it until it falls apart, so honestly maybe that's what it needs to be, maybe it doesn't ever actually get finished, and it just lives as this weird White Whale that I get to keep chasing.

Patrick Rauland: I'm always sort of tempted by new game designs, and some of them I've played … recently, I've played some prototypes about ten times, and then I finally gave up on them, but ten times was at least a month or two months of my time to get ten play tests in, and I guess I'm just wondering, how do you know when it's the right time to give up on a mechanism or theme?

When Do You Give Up On An Idea?

Pat Brennan: That's an interesting one. Boy. I don't know if there's a specific moment to point to, I think you can kind of feel it. For me, a big thing with doing this stuff because we're doing it on a hobby level, because we're on our own schedule, I'm not trying to meet deadlines with this stuff, the games that I end up working on are the ones that are holding my attention, that I am personally invested in and care a bunch about. So I talked about Complicated Board Game the Card Game. That is literally a card game about playing board games with your friends. It is a totally ridiculous concept, it doesn't make any sense, but it was funny to me. I enjoyed what I was doing, and I liked the jokes and I liked all the references that I got to make and stuff like that, so I kept coming back to that project and writing more for it because I was having fun.

Pat Brennan: Two years, three years of demoing later and testing, I have played this game more than any other game on the face of the planet, and if you are not passionate and in love with what you're working on, you're going to get sick of that thing. And I think that's probably where a lot of my stuff falls off is that eventually I'll get tired of the project, and if it's not fun to me, I don't think I can make it fun for somebody else, and I think that's normally when my projects get abandoned.

Patrick Rauland: That kind of lines up with what you said in the beginning about having the passion for a thing. Basically, for you, it sounds like you work on a passion project until it's either A, no longer fun, or B, until it's complete.

Pat Brennan: Yeah, that sounds about right. That's how we're doing things.

What Does Success Look Like?

Patrick Rauland: Sounds simple. So you've already launched a couple Kickstarters, you have a couple games out there, what does success in the board game world look like to you?

Pat Brennan: I think that this is different for every single person, and I think that you need to decide what that is for yourself, and it helps as early in the project as you can to decide what it is for you. So if you just want to see your game printed, that is an easily attainable goal. If you want to put your game into other people's hands, that is something that also has a definitive goal that … finding something that is attainable, and I think a bad definition of success is, “I want to make $100,000 and I want to use this to launch the next Fantasy Flight games.” Essentially [inaudible 00:24:01]. These unattainable, over the moon goals are really hard to find success in, but for us, at first, it was just, “We want to make this goofy card game about playing board games with our friends.” We were able to do that. We wrote it down, we played it with our friends, great. No problem. Goal accomplished.

Pat Brennan: Then the goal became, “Hey, we really like this. We want to invest a little bit into it, play test it with strangers, and maybe think about getting a Kickstarter.” Again, totally reasonable goal, something that we were able to accomplish, so it became this sliding scale where every couple of months or every couple of weeks, we look around and we say, “What are we trying to do with this thing now?” So a big milestone for our own selves actually was PAX East this year, where a convention that I have been literally attending since I was in high school, we were able to have a booth on the floor, and to professionally present our games there was a really cool personal moment and I think a great definition of success for ourselves.

Pat Brennan: So I think it's personal, and I think you've got to set that, but it helps if you can set it in realistic ways. Boy, that was a rambling answer.

Patrick Rauland: No, it was great. I especially like setting your own goals and your own definition of success, and for you, recently, it was like, “Wow. I've been going to this conference for ten years and now I get to be on the floor?” I totally get that and I can see that, and I actually have that in my professional life where I used to use this online learning, it's called, they do-

Pat Brennan: I'm familiar. Yes.

Patrick Rauland: So I learned web from, I learned HTML and Java script, and eight years later, I'm teaching on that platform, and it was this incredible moment of pride, seriously, it was really cool, so I can transplant that onto your experience.

Pat Brennan: That's fantastic.

Overrated Underrated Game

Patrick Rauland: So I like to end my show with a game called Overrated/Underrated, so if you listen … you've listened to an episode, so you know the game.

Pat Brennan: And partially, specifically to figure out what this Overrated/Underrated situation was because I had to know.

Patrick Rauland: Okay, cool. As you know, I'm going to force you to take a position on a thing, if you think it's overrated or underrated. Are you ready?

Pat Brennan: I am ready.

Patrick Rauland: Hold on. I'm going to have to pause for just a second here. Now that you know what this is, not literally the recording, we're still going, but now that people theoretically can listen to these episodes before I record them, I kind of think I should keep the Overrated/Underrated game secret.

Pat Brennan: Yeah, you should almost hide the topics. I got so excited by what these topics are and I have strong opinions already.

Patrick Rauland: First one. Hidden roll games, are they overrated or underrated?

Pat Brennan: They are underrated in my opinion. Now, I think that is different than being oversaturated, which I think they're starting to get right now. Werewolves came out and it was very popular, and I think every single person made a version of Werewolves. I think there are five or six different versions of Werewolves that you can get. They're all basically the same game, but there has been a lot of very interesting variation on the genre if you look at things like Avalon or Secret Hitler or whatever else, so if you find these interesting versions of the game, I think there's a lot of space to still explore there that hasn't … Gosh, the Battlestar Galactica board game, which is one of my favorite board games is a hidden roll mechanic buried in this survival sim, which is awesome.

Patrick Rauland: Battlestar I think is my top ten games. It is such a good game.

Pat Brennan: It is where Complicated Board Game the Card Game actually came from.

Patrick Rauland: Really?

Pat Brennan: Yeah, we were trying to teach a new player how to play Battlestar, and we just kept handing her decks and saying, “Here, shuffle this one off. Here, shuffle this one off.” And she was like, “This is complicated board game the card game.” And I was like, “I think I can make that.”

Patrick Rauland: That's awesome. All right. 2001: A Space Odyssey, overrated or underrated?

Pat Brennan: Underrated. I know, I'm breaking real ground with this one, but ignoring all the fantastic film work from Stanley Kubrick and the acting and all of that great stuff, the practical effects in that movie are insane. The fact that it was made in 1968 before CGI and computer generated imagery existed, and the fact that … I get lost down rabbit holes watching YouTube videos of how they made this stuff. The floating pan on a piece of glass that they just rotated. The whole spinning set, now, people go back and steal those ideas when they're making films like Inception, those big spinning sets for that as well. Kubrick's work still reverberates through to the film stuff of today, and I think all of that is easily underrated because people think it's CGI when they see it now.

Patrick Rauland: I completely agree, and it's funny because this is way older than Star Wars, and I feel like Star Wars had pretty good effects at the time, but then you think … I don't remember when Star Wars 1 came out, probably ten years earlier, am I getting that timeline right?

Pat Brennan: I think that's about right. I think Star Wars was like '78 was the first Star Wars?

Patrick Rauland: We don't know. Dear listeners, we're just guessing, but at the time, Space Odyssey was insanely, insanely cool, and I think that's something we forget. When I watch the original Blade Runner, I'm like, “What is this garbage?” But I think we forget the historical context. For Space Odyssey, this is all they could do, and this was legendary at the time.

Pat Brennan: Yeah, because it's like model some practical effects and stuff like that, the film still holds up. Because it's film, they can upscale it, and you can see an HD version of that, and the models and everything still look incredible, whereas a movie from five or ten years ago starts to age really quickly.

Patrick Rauland: So third one. Miniature games. Overrated or underrated?

Pat Brennan: Overrated. Overrated. I know. So I love minis, and I love miniatures like everybody does, but in my own personal opinion, in the crowd funding market, I think that miniatures get tacked on to a lot of games to make a lot of money really quickly and hide the deficits in the game design. That is not always the case, there are a thousand examples that prove me wrong, but I think that a lot of times, that is what happens. And I'm not saying that making miniatures is not easy. As somebody who only makes games with cards in it at the moment, exclusively, there's a reason for that. Sculpting that stuff and getting it cast and molded properly is very, very difficult, a lot of really incredible artistry and work goes into that stuff, but as an element of a game, a little over it.

Patrick Rauland: I don't know what episodes you listened to, but did you know Warhammer 40,000 player?

Pat Brennan: I did not know that actually.

Patrick Rauland: I'm all into mini games, but I think for the difference between Warhammer and a game you might be describing is there's a lot of games where miniatures are added on as a component upgrade. Instead of a pawn, everyone's going to get their own unique mini, and that, to me, is very different than a miniatures game. I think one is a marketing tactic. Yeah, they are both mini games period, but I think when you approach it as upgrading pawns to minis, it's just [inaudible 00:31:40] components versus a game that's centered around the minis, and there's a whole skill and a painting thing.

Patrick Rauland: There's some things about the minis world, I would love to see a board game that focuses on them, but only twelve. Because all the minis game starters right now are 80 minis plus 40 unlockable stretch goals, and I'm like, “I don't need 120. That's a lot. I just want like ten really cool ones.”

Pat Brennan: I have a friend who loves minis who bemoans this constantly, who has shelves and shelves and shelves of trolls at the moment that he just doesn't know what to do with because he'll never paint them all.

Patrick Rauland: Yeah, it's challenging. All right. Last one. Self-driving cars. Overrated, underrated?

Pat Brennan: Underrated. I am very excited for self-driving cars. The concept of self-driving cars is fantastic, the technology is incredible, and also, I hate driving cars. I despise driving, which is why I moved to New York City, but if the car's going to drive me places, I'll go on whatever car ride you want.

Patrick Rauland: Totally, totally agree. I'm glad we're on the same page here. If you and I ever need to drive somewhere, we'll both get into a self-driving car, and we can hang out in the back while the car does all the hard work.

Pat Brennan: Plus, self-driving cars have given me one of my favorite weird glimpses of the future cyber punk life to come images on the internet I think I've ever seen. There's a great image out there somewhere of a car that somebody has drawn the center line of a road around the car, and they've trapped the self-driving car and it can't get out because it thinks there are road lines all around it, which I think is the funniest thing in the world. It's incredible. It's like an archaic gliph for a self driving car that it can't escape from.

Patrick Rauland: That's amazing. I'm going to put you on the spot here, Pat, so I'm hoping that you can find that and send it to me so I can try to include it in the show notes. Sound good?

Pat Brennan: Yes, I will locate that item.

Patrick Rauland: All right, cool. Thank you for being on the show, Pat. Where can people find you online?

Pat Brennan: Absolutely. We are at You can find all of the information about all of our games. Complicated Board Game the Card Game, Status Report! stuff still to come, and if anyone is interested in pre-ordering Status Report!, that is available on our website as well. That comes out in September.

Patrick Rauland: Awesome. Thank you again. For the listeners, if you are out there and you like this podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to this. If you leave a review, Pat said that he would be willing to upload an AI program into your computer that will try to kill you, so if that sounds like fun, please leave a review on iTunes. Because I wasn't 100% clear, that's sort of the premise of Status Report! Am I right there, Pat?

Pat Brennan: Oh yeah, 100%, yeah.

Patrick Rauland: Okay. All right, perfect. So you can visit the site at, and you can follow me on Twitter @BFTrick. And I'm curious dear listeners, if you have a question that you want to ask designers, a question that I have missed that I'm not asking them, please go to, there is a contact form there, you can send me your question and I'll see if I can add it into the mix. I think that's all, so until next time, happy designing.

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