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#49 – Patrick Rauland

Rob Cramer: Hello, everyone! And welcome to the Indy Board Game Designers Podcast, where I sit down with a different independent game designer each week to talk about their experience in game design, and the lessons they’ve learned along the way.

Rob Cramer: I’m Rob Cramer, guest hosting for this special episode. And today, I’ll be talking to Patrick Rauland, who is kick-starting his own game, Fry Thief.

Rob Cramer: Patrick, welcome to the show.


Patrick Rauland: Thank you! You did the intro perfectly.

Rob Cramer: Thank you. Does it feel weird to be on the other side?

Patrick Rauland: Yes, it does.

Rob Cramer: Well, I’m here to help you ease into the transition, and make it a little bit smoother.

Patrick Rauland: Thank you.

Rob Cramer: And so, I wanna learn a little bit more about you. So we’re gonna play, Who are you?, the game. So I have three little questions to ask of you. What is your favorite video game console? Are you Xbox, PS4, PC Gamer, or an Nintendo?

Patrick Rauland: So I, very easily, become addicted to games. I love computer games. I can spend a million hours playing all The Elder Scrolls games, and like trying out every like, “Let’s try talking to them this way. Try this quest.” Like I can spend hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of hours playing them. So I actually try not to. So I try to only buy games on my iPad because they’re kind of like of a lesser quality. Does it makes sense?

Rob Cramer: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Patrick Rauland: So I can’t become addicted if I only get iPad games. So it’s-

Rob Cramer: They aren’t as deep as a lot of the stuff you would find on a PC and that kind of stuff. Interesting. Okay.

Rob Cramer: What has been your favorite vacation spot in the recent five years?

Patrick Rauland: Oh, recent five years. Oh, shoot!

Rob Cramer: Oh, yeah!

Patrick Rauland: You know, I’m gonna go with … Last weekend, my friends and I had a mountain getaway. We live in Colorado, so that’s pretty easy. It’s just two hours. But went up to some random cabin in the mountains. Ten of us went. It was great, because we played board games … I mean, as many board games as we wanted. People read, you know-

Rob Cramer: Wonderful.

Patrick Rauland: … on the computer. And there was a hot tub. So it was just like a super, chill weekend.

Rob Cramer: That sounds super great. Hot tub sounds like it would hit the spot right now. Last question: Do you play any instruments? Have you historically played any instruments growing up, or anything like that?

Patrick Rauland: I played a bunch growing up. So I played trombone, and then I played harmonica. And that was just like trombone in school, harmonica like in college? And then I played bass guitar in college, and a little bit after college. But I never … You know, I never found like a group of people to play with, so it was … Yeah, both, they kind of faded away, you know what I mean?

Rob Cramer: Yeah!

Patrick Rauland: Like I think if I found a group of people that like wanted to jam every night, then I think I’d still play bass guitar, or something else.

Rob Cramer: But you’re not ready to release your solo harmonica album?

Patrick Rauland: I’m not quite there yet.

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

Rob Cramer: Well, let’s move on from music, unfortunate as it is, and let’s get into board games, because that is what this is all about. So, Patrick, how did you get into board games yourself?

Patrick Rauland: Great question. I was not into them at all until college. Like I definitely liked computer games, and that type of thing, but it was in college where I had a couple friends who played some sort of games. There’s like a … I went to college at University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, and there was like a board game club. That was … Like they probably had like four games going. You know, there’s like, Apples to Apples. Then over here, there’s Pit, and over here there’s like a two-hour euro, like it was just like such a awesome variety. And then my roommates got BANG! the card game, not the dice game. And we played that hundreds or times, that game. So that like really got us into it, and someone else brought over Twilight Imperium, and I went down the rat hole from there.

Rob Cramer: That really opened things up. BANG! was one of my first ones as well. So I could see that being common to a lot of people’s journeys into board games. But, specifically, how did you get into the other side of board games, specifically, designing board games? What possessed you to think to yourself, “I can do this.”

Patrick Rauland: Audacity, I guess, is what did it. I guess I like big challenges, and after playing games for years, I’m like, “I can make one of these.” Like I just thought I could do it. And I really wanted to make a … I like making things. Like I love painting Warhammer miniatures, and stuff like that?

Rob Cramer: Okay.

Patrick Rauland: So I love making things, and I just really wanted to make a game, and started listening to game podcasts for probably like six months. And then I finally started getting in the habit of like coming up with designs. But it really helps me like listen to like … I’m really good at absorbing information slowly over a long period of time. So like, if I can listen to podcasts [inaudible 00:04:45] for six months, I will be an expert in it. But it just takes me a little bit of time to like get going.

Is Fry Thief Your First Game Design?

Rob Cramer: All right! So this game, Fry Thief, is this your first game?

Patrick Rauland: Yes. First game-

Rob Cramer: And you’re gonna go publish?

Patrick Rauland: Yes. So I set an ambitious goal. At the start of the year, I’m like, “I’m gonna get something published, or I’m gonna kick-start it by the end of the year.” That was just 2018. And that’s basically what I did. So I said I’d have the kick-starter ready by the end of the year. So I’m launching February 5th, when this episode comes out.

Patrick Rauland: So, basically, I took a year. And no publishers were interested. I could go to more conventions, I could do more pitching. I had several … I sent my game, or I gave my game, to two publishers, and they took it home with them. And they said good things about it, but like didn’t quite make the cuts. And I think if I didn’t set this goal of, “I’m going to do it in a year,” I would still be looking for publishers. But because I set a goal, by the time Gen Con ended, and I didn’t have like a firm yes, or even like a leaning yes, I’m like, “Cool. I’m doing it on my own.” And there’s something I like about that.

Patrick Rauland: But yeah, it’s my first game. I have no idea what I … This is the first time I’ve done any of this stuff, so like the first time I’ve used the The Game Crafter to like make prototypes, and I sort of index cards, like first time for everything.

Rob Cramer: Wow! It seems like you approach a lot of things with a lot of boldness and lack of fear, which is kind of refreshing. ‘Cause I know I am consumed with it all the time!

Patrick Rauland: I think you have to in life. I think you have to … I think no one knows what they’re doing. So you should just accept that you know you don’t know what you’re doing, and just take a step anyways. ‘Cause no one else does. So-

Rob Cramer: Okay.

Patrick Rauland: Yeah.

How Long Did You Work on Fry Thief?

Rob Cramer: That’s a good way of looking at it. So Fry Thief, how … You set your goal for a year. How much have you worked on it in this past year? How many hours would you say you’ve put in?

Patrick Rauland: Oh, my God! So, okay. Oh, my God! I’m gonna say-

Patrick Rauland: … at least 1,000 hours. Yeah. Like seriously, I think I have 100 play tests logged. That means where I was there, in person, watched, recorded who played what role, how many points they won by. So it’s probably like another 20, 30, 40, where I didn’t record that stuff, and I just played the game-

Rob Cramer: Wow.

Patrick Rauland: … alone. So I got at least 140 play tests in, I’m guessing. There was a big, big [inaudible 00:07:01] in January of last year that I worked on a lot. Protospiel – Milwaukee in … That was like April. I worked on that a lot. That was like a whole weekend, right? Of just like playing my game, playing their game, playing my game, like … And then I probably spend an hour a day on graphic design, working with a designer, be like, “Cool. Tweak this. Do this.” And it takes a long time to get all those things right, you know what I mean?

Rob Cramer: Oh, yeah. And it seems like you put the time into it. But that’s specifically, I guess, play testing. But, I guess, tell me more about Fry Thief, and like the setting that it’s in. So like what kind of research did you do? Are you a professional fry maker? Did you make your own fries? Do you know everything about potatoes?

Patrick Rauland: That would be sweet. I am not a professional fry maker. I am a professional fry … No, not professional. I am an avid fry eater. So, my friend Jordan stole my fry. I literally have this in my game design notebook. Last night, I was out to dinner with my friends, the Jordans, and one of them stole my fries. And then I wanna make a game about fries. Like I literally have that in my design notebook. So you’re starting with my friend, Jordan, stealing one of my fries.

Patrick Rauland: But that was it. I mean … And I talked about it with a couple of people, and people were like, “Oh, my God! Everyone can relate to someone stealing their fries.” It’s like a thing. So I just dove into it.

Rob Cramer: Yeah, because … I mean, I can name almost no games that have fries.

Patrick Rauland: I didn’t-

Rob Cramer: Yeah. I don’t-

Stopping Point

Rob Cramer: Yeah, yeah. I couldn’t even … I mean, does Food Chain Magnate? I know it has hamburgers, but does it have fries?

Rob Cramer: I don’t know. So I did try to partner with … There’s a game called, Burger Up, where you’re making like epically tall burgers?

Patrick Rauland: Yes. Yeah.

Patrick Rauland: I think they were like out of stock or something, so it just didn’t … The timing didn’t work right. But it would have been so much fun to have a game about fries, and so … ‘Cause there are several games about burgers. And then to partner with a game about burgers, that would have been super cool, where I could have like had a pledge level where I’m giving away one of their games or something.

Designing A Smaller Game

Rob Cramer: That would have been great. So the Fry Thief, is kind of a smaller game, wouldn’t you say?

Patrick Rauland: Yeah.

Rob Cramer: How many components are in it?

Patrick Rauland: It started off as a micro game. That’s how it started. There’s The Game Crafter contest? And it started off with the 18-card Hook Box Challenge, so 18 cards. However, everything needed to fit in this little hook box, so I had to have 16 cards, and then two cardstock tokens, or token sheets. So, basically, it was 12 fries, double-sided and one-sided regular ones like ketchup, and then 16 cards.

Patrick Rauland: The game is still 16 cards. In the beginning, like in January of 2018, people are like, “Oh, my God! This is great. You gotta have more cards.” And I’d say that stopped by April. Like I think there’s something about, “Hey, I have this neat game. I have this neat thought for a game. What do you think?” And then people will just tell you everything. But if I say, “Hey, I have this small micro-game.” Does that makes sense? Like I-

Rob Cramer: Oh, yeah.

Patrick Rauland: … started changing the way I pitched it, or just explained it, just like, “Hey, it’s a micro game.” Then people stopped … Literally, I don’t remember people in the last six months telling me to get more cards. Like it’s a … So, it started off with 16 cards. It’s still 16 cards. There might be some more stretch goals or something, but it’s basically a micro game. You maybe shuffle the deck once in the game, which is pretty reasonable, I think.

Rob Cramer: Okay.

Patrick Rauland: But yeah, and … Oh! Then there’s … Okay. So now there’s … So I took all the cardstock tokens, because I realized no one liked those. They met the requirements of The Game Crafter contest, but when the contest was over, like I was gonna small box, get the adorable settlers of Caton routes, like the little yellow ones?

Rob Cramer: Yeah.

Patrick Rauland: And little red discs as ketchup. And that … Like that brought it to life. It really brought it to life. And then I added plate cards, which are just jumbo-sized cards you put your tokens on. And that’s about it!

Rob Cramer: Nice. So what games inspired … I guess, what kind of games fed into Fry Thief? What are its origins or things that you can trace back to?

Patrick Rauland: Yeah. I’d say there’s two inspirations. Number one is Love Letter. I loved draw one, play one. It’s like gosh, so simple. Like what an easy way to start a game. And it’s also like the classic micro game. So Love Letter’s a huge inspiration.

Rob Cramer: There’s another game called Terrible Monster?

Rob Cramer: Okay, yeah.

Patrick Rauland: And that … What I liked about that game is there was deck manipulation. So it’s kind of similar to draw one, play one, but there’s a little bit more action. You can sometimes do two things. But I loved that they had deck manipulations. Like, “Search the deck, find this card, and you may play it.” And so I have that. I added that in Fry Thief. So I’ve like, you know, “Draw a 2, you may play one immediately,” or, “Dig through the discard pile, play one of the cards.” I think those two cards were like … I really liked a micro game that lets you search the deck. And that’s actually one of the features. So if I only … So the first stretch goal, we had my favorite card in the game. But I purposely did not include it in the game, because it’s not something you play with on the first time. My favorite card of all, I know what you’re planning. And if you can guess what card your opponent has in their hand, you can take it and immediately play it.

Rob Cramer: Wow.

Patrick Rauland: So it’s … ‘Cause then you’re like tracking … You’re counting cards. Does that make sense?

Rob Cramer: Oh, yeah.

Patrick Rauland: Like, “Okay. He’s played these. There’s three cards in his hand. It has to be one of these three.” [crosstalk 00:12:09].

Rob Cramer: You have some of those cards thrown in there.

Patrick Rauland: Oh, my God! But it’s just terrible for a first-time player. So it’s like an extra card. It’s really fun, but it just has to be extra. It has to be like promo or once you’ve played the game once or twice.

Patrick Rauland: But I love that deck manipulation.

Rob Cramer: Nice. So the game goes pretty quick.

Patrick Rauland: Yes. I’d say if someone gets really lucky, it could be over in five minutes. If someone gets unlucky, it’s gonna be 15. So it’s a pretty, pretty fast game.

What Type of Games Do You Want to Design?

Rob Cramer: Cool. So it’s a tiny little package. It plays really quick. Are these the type of games that you want to design in the future?

Patrick Rauland: You know what? Actually, I’d say my favorite type of game are games that are about an hour. Games that are about an hour, it’s like-

Rob Cramer: Okay.

Patrick Rauland: … have you played Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small?

Rob Cramer: I have!

Patrick Rauland: I dislike Agricola. I love Agricola: All Creatures Big and Small. It’s like just the right amount of … and you’re just like you’re just collecting adorable animal meeples. And you get points for that. That’s the game. That’s the entire game. Collect animal meeples, put them, you know, build fences and buildings for that. That’s the game. I love it. And that’s about … I think it’s like 45 minutes to an hour. I really like stuff like that.

Patrick Rauland: I occasionally like 20-minute games. Like have you ever played like Lanterns?

Rob Cramer: Yes.

Patrick Rauland: Lanterns. Oh, my God! I love that. You put a tile down, everyone gets resources. I like stuff like that too.

Rob Cramer: So are you working on anything that fits in either one of those categories?

Patrick Rauland: Yes. So I have made prototypes for probably like 10 games. I’d say one other one is pretty good. Right now, the working title … Oh, I’m gonna mispronounce this. It’s [Samhain 00:13:44]. It’s the old word for Halloween?

Rob Cramer: Okay.

Patrick Rauland: Like the Celtic word for Halloween. And it’s like a game about witches, and you’re trying to get the witches out in the right order. That was inspired by my friend who draws these amazing witches on Instagram. And I’m like, “Can I use your art in a prototype? And I’ll make a game about witches?” And she said, “Yes.” And it’s fun. But that was probably only like 15 minutes. So I’m slowly each game well, I’ll add five minutes, and eventually-

Rob Cramer: You’re adding more and more time with each game you tackle.

Patrick Rauland: I have had a hard time making larger scale … My brain doesn’t work that way? So I need to work on it, but I do wanna make like an hour-long game. But I just haven’t … The stuff I’ve put together hasn’t worked.

Do You Have a White Whale of Game Design?

Rob Cramer: I guess, is that one of the white whales that you have for game design, just like a big game? Is that something that you’d want to do? You say about an hour, but would you ever design something that’s like two hours, or one of those like giant-

Patrick Rauland: I could.

Rob Cramer: … epic games? ‘Cause you like Elder Scrolls.

Patrick Rauland: Yes.

Rob Cramer: So, could you see yourself designing something with that kind of big of a world?

Patrick Rauland: Yes. I think my … I like those games. And I occasionally will play games like Battlestar Galactica that do take like … You know, if you haven’t played before, it’s like three hours, easy.

Patrick Rauland: Oh, yeah.

Patrick Rauland: I love those games. However, I guess I love those games in the right context? And I guess I’m not usually in the right context. So I have friends who are like … They like Telestrations. They like Codenames. They like simpler games. And while I can bring out a two- to three-hour game, it just goes over a lot of our heads, and they’re just not interested in it. So I guess I … Honestly, if I did have a white whale, it would probably be making like … I would love to make the next Telestrations. That game, I have gotten hundreds of hours of enjoyment out of, from my own copy and from friends’ copies. But like a game that anyone can play regardless of how into gaming they are. I love stuff like that.

Rob Cramer: That’s amazing. Good luck with that!

Patrick Rauland: Yeah. I know, I know.

Rob Cramer: I just wanna make one of the next most popular games ever.

Patrick Rauland: I think it, but … Yeah, yeah.

Rob Cramer: But what do you think is a game that should be more popular? What do you think is one that, I don’t know, it didn’t get enough attention, one that should take another look?

Patrick Rauland: That’s hard for me. I mean, there’s … You know, I’m not sure that something comes to mind. There’s a lot of good games. I just have a hard time recommending a game to every single person. Does that make sense? Like it’s … I don’t think there’s a game for everyone. So I-

Rob Cramer: Okay.

Patrick Rauland: There’s a lot of games I like. You know, I’m just gonna go back to Terrible Monster right now, because-

Rob Cramer: That’s kind of nice.

Patrick Rauland: It’s like a micro game that has a little bit more to it than Love Letter.

What Recourses Do You Recommend to New Game Designers?

Rob Cramer: There you go. That’s awesome. So you don’t feel comfortable recommending games. Or I guess it depends on the person that you’re recommending it to. But what kind of design resources would you recommend to other game designers? ‘Cause obviously you have a little bit more experience than someone who’s just starting out. Where would you recommend they start?

Patrick Rauland: I am a sucker for podcasts. There’s something … like even if the occasional podcast isn’t good. Like if you just listen. Like you just absorb so much information in such an easy format. Like I’ve tried reading blogs, and there’s some really good ones out there, but I guess I’m just not … I’m never excited to read blogs. It’s more like if I see someone tweet something interesting, I will then click on it. But I’m never looking at that stuff on my own. Whereas podcasts, I found probably like three or four that I like. I love Ludology. I like following Building the Game because they talk about the things that went well, and the things that didn’t go well, which is really useful.

Patrick Rauland: There’s a bunch of games and podcasts, but you just absorb so much information over … And yeah, over like six months, right? Like I’ve been … So it’s 2019 now. I’ve been doing this for a year an a half. Like I need to go back through my stats, but I’m guessing I’ve listened to hundreds of hours of content throughout podcasts. So that’s super useful.

Patrick Rauland: One other thing I just wanna mention though is I love deadlines. I don’t love them because it forces me to do a thing, but the good news is it forces me to do a thing.

Rob Cramer: Of course.

Patrick Rauland: So like The Game Crafter contest? I don’t think I would have made Fry Thief if that contest didn’t exist. Or if I … I really don’t. It helped focus and narrow what I wanted to do. Does that make sense? Like-

Rob Cramer: Oh, yeah.

Patrick Rauland: … You’re stuck to 18 cards in this tiny box. You can’t make the next four-hour game. It limited my options. It pushed me. There is a deadline. I may have put the wrong deadline in my to do list, so I tried to join the contest a week later. So that was dumb. But still, even though I couldn’t actually join the contest because of a technical error, or really user error on my part, at least like I still finished it on time. I just had the wrong date as the on time.

Patrick Rauland: Huh! I think we all need a kick in the butt sometimes for deadlines. So I know I have followed that a little bit in my game design career. I’ve entered a lot of contests, and it definitely helps to have that ticking clock-

Patrick Rauland: Yes.

Rob Cramer: … ahead of you to do-

Patrick Rauland: Do you-

Rob Cramer: … all like that kind of stuff.

Patrick Rauland: Okay. So I have a question about contests actually, for you. I’m sorry. This is me going back into host mode. I’m like [crosstalk 00:19:15].

Rob Cramer: That’s fine. No worries.

Patrick Rauland: So with contests … So I entered one with a friend back last year, I think, and one thing we noticed is we both had different judges. And I got like super high scores, and he got like pretty like mediocre, like 66% or something was like … And I got like a 92 or something. And I just … I guess, have you had any contest where you have different judges? ‘Cause that, to me, feels almost like very unfair. Does that make sense?

Rob Cramer: Yeah. So a lot of the contests that I enter they pull from a large pool of judges, because if they do have a large number of submissions to the contest, they need to be able to even give games a fair look. And not necessarily that five people will see every game, but five people will see your game. It doesn’t matter if they’re the same ones. So I could see how some luck of the draw could be unfortunate, but I think, for the most part, you’re looking for feedback when you enter a contest. And so whether that feedback is kind or unkind, is a little bit more reflective on the game you design, rather than which judges you get. Because the contests that I’ve entered in have had high-caliber judges from all walks of life. And so it is nice to kind of not have the same people judging every single one.

Patrick Rauland: Totally.

Rob Cramer: Or even say, even the same contests from contest to contest. So if you have a large pool, you can get a lot of different feedback.

Patrick Rauland: Totally.

What’s the Best Money You’ve Spent?

Rob Cramer: So, with some contests, you have to pay for entries, and that’s a way that they can kind of curate those who are serious and those who are kind of doing this for marketing reasons, or something like that. But what was the best money that you have ever spent as a game designer?

Patrick Rauland: Good question. Boy, you know what? Contests are ridiculously … Like I think for some of them it’s like … It’s a Starbucks coffee. You can … You know, that’s good money. But, honestly, I love ordering prototypes from The Game Crafter. I think it’s a skill to optimize your game for The Game Crafter, meaning-

Rob Cramer: Okay.

Patrick Rauland: … you have to do a little bit of research to figure out like, you know. Okay, so here’s a good example: I wanted to add variable player powers to my game Fry Thief, just for like more re-playability. Hey, cool. You have power now. You have this extra-special ability. But I didn’t wanna like add more stuff, ’cause then it adds costs to everything. There is more complexity. There’s more chances of the manufacturer breaking something, messing something up. And it literally cost me more to make each prototype. And I just realized that I had these awesome plate cards that hold your little tokens?

Rob Cramer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Patrick Rauland: And I wasn’t doing anything with the back of the cards. So the front side is just a plates. The backside is a plates with like the variable player power in like the right-hand column. It just says, “You’re the second person. Here’s your ability.”

Rob Cramer: Nice.

Patrick Rauland: And it’s just like a slightly smaller plates to the left. And I was like … Like this literally costs me nothing. It costs me nothing added to the game. It was unused real estate. It was the back of a card, and you’d never look … It’s not like you drew the cards. Like it was totally unused.

Patrick Rauland: Same thing with the cards though, right? So you could … I think, out in The Game Crafters, you get a slug of 18, meaning if you buy one card or you buy 18 cards, it’s gonna cost you the same. Or if you buy … Or if you buy 18 cards versus buying 19 cards, 19 cards are gonna cost you double, ’cause they just print out a whole new sheet, or whatever it’s called.

Patrick Rauland: So like that sets very realistic limits, right? Like I’m not … No matter what, if I ever print this game to The Game Crafter, I’m not gonna be adding the 19th card. ‘Cause that’ll double the cost of the cards. Whereas, theoretically, maybe in the future, I’ll put in The Game Crafter something, and I’ll have 18 cards. But I think you just have to know how to optimize for The Game Crafter.

Patrick Rauland: I think my prototypes are like … My prototypes with the … I always get the fancy box, ’cause I love the way it feels. But I get the fancy [inaudible 00:23:15] box. I get all the tokens, I get all the cards, I get all the jumbo cards as well. And the rules card, which is some of the jumbo cards. And I think it’s like $13. And it’s just like to literally see your game in front of you for $13 is nothing. It is nothing.

Patrick Rauland: So I just … I went to Protospiel – Madison a couple of months ago, and I heard some people complaining about the prices?

Rob Cramer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Patrick Rauland: And yes, if you’re doing a 4X game, and there’s the map, and there’s tiles you put down on the blank map. And then there’s 1,000 resource tokens, it will cost you an arm and a leg. But if you’re … But also, let’s say you can keep the map, you can keep the resources, then you just get a whole new set of cards. That’s not gonna cost you very much.

Patrick Rauland: I wish people spent more time optimizing their game for The Game Crafter, ’cause it can be very cheap.

Do You Get Distracted?

Rob Cramer: So when you’re working with Game Crafter, you’re seeing a lot of other people’s work. Does looking at other games, I guess, inspire you to make your own? So you’re working on Fry Thief. Do you ever get distracted into working on something else while you’re looking at all these other components, and everything that you could put in Fry Thief, and say, “Well, maybe that doesn’t fit. I need to put this in somewhere else.”

Patrick Rauland: Oh, yes! I have … I mean, I just have a design Evernote folder of just all my game design ideas?

Rob Cramer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Partrick Rauland: And sometimes if there’s something exploding in my head, I will take like a half hour or an hour, and just write down every single thought, and get it out into the … And, you know, get it into Evernotes and log it. And I can always come back to it in a couple of months or a couple of weeks, whenever I actually have time for it.

Patrick Rauland: But actually, just recently, I’ve been thinking about like a Light Cycle game, where you’re like trying to cut people off?

Rob Cramer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Patrick Rauland: And just today I’m like, “What if I made that a roll and write?” Like that would be so much fun, ’cause you would just draw like a marker. You know what I mean? Like you just add four markers to the box, and now it’s a Tron roll and write, and you can give them some special abilities or something, but like … Anyways, I found that amusing.

Patrick Rauland: But yeah, it’s totally occupying my brain, and I had to write it down so that I could go back to, you know, work.

Rob Cramer: That’s awesome. Well, if you wanted to take a look at something that kind of fits that, take a look at a game called Breakneck Blitz.

Patrick Rauland: Ooh!

Rob Cramer: That is something where you’re kind of going around a board, and it’s a-

Patrick Rauland: Great.

Rob Cramer: I guess, it’s not Roll and Write, but you’re specifically changing your speed as you go along. It’s really neat.

Patrick Rauland: So, quick question for you. So here’s the thing with this Lights Cycle game is I used to be very excited for like … So I actually like the idea of making like having a beautiful mat, and you put down the little Catan roads, like the little sticks behind you. And what’s cool about that is then you can like run out of sticks, and then they disappear from the map. Does that make sense? You would have to like replace-

Rob Cramer: Yeah.

Patrick Rauland: … the one? But then there’s like more component. Anyways, but I’m torn right now. So sometimes I write different variants down? So right now I have two variants. It’s like light cycle game, here’s variant 1 with like a board and little Catan pieces. Variant 2 is the Roll and Write.

Patrick Rauland: Anyway, sorry.

Rob Cramer: Yeah. It can go in completely different directions.

Patrick Rauland: Oh, yes. There’s a lot of opportunity there right now.

What Does Success Look Like?

Rob Cramer: Well, we’re running low on time. So I wanna ask you a couple of last questions. So, this is your first game. I know you’re looking forward to launching it on Kickstarter. And I hope it is successful. But what does success in the board game world look like to you? This project was something that you kind of put to yourself. What would you see in this to make you think this is successful?

Patrick Rauland: Hunh. You’ve just … You know, it’s funny, is I just remembered years ago, maybe like six years ago? I thought I could run a marathon?

Rob Cramer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Patrick Rauland: ‘Cause here’s the thing. I walk to work, and it’s like three miles? It’s like 60 minutes of walking there and back. I’m like that’s six miles a day. I don’t need to train for a marathon. I was wrong. You do have to actually train for a marathon at running speeds.

Patrick Rauland: But what was still great about that … I think I got to mile 18, so I’m really … And then I gave up. But that was … While that wasn’t successful, I learned, “Next year, oh, I have to train. I have to read these books. I have to do this diet.” And the next year, I tried the exact same marathon and crushed it. Well, finished. Finished. Not crushed it.

Patrick Rauland: I really hope that doesn’t … Like it’s just there’s some disappointment if it fails. Like if the campaign fails, but I think as long as I am just committed to like turning this into a real thing in some way or another, I will be happy with that. I don’t know, sort of … I think I want to make this a bit less energy-intensive. A Kickstarter’s so much work! Like coming up with all … I like laid out the page, the picture page, and I’m like, “Okay, this needs to be a graphics, and this a designer. It needs to look like this. Use these colors. Do this. Use this font.” It’s like … It just took like … I thought the Kickstarter campaign … I bet the Kickstarter page took me at least 20 hours. You know what I mean? Just over the-

Rob Cramer: Yeah.

Patrick Rauland: … last weeks. And I kind of wanna get rid of that part. I would be happy to, but if I could get rid of that part, and have a publisher do it? I am happy to help, but like I just don’t wanna … It doesn’t feel very gamey. So I think I wanna spend more time making games. That would be level 10 success, would be spending more time making games. But, honestly, success would just be getting the game out there.

Patrick Rauland: I’ve had a couple people … I have a pretty adverse relationship to advertising. Like I just don’t like … I don’t like companies that do a lot of advertising. Like I hate when ads appear in front of me in Google and Facebook. And I’ve been running Facebook ads, so hello, hypocrite. I’m waving. I’ve been running Facebook ads, and I have seen so many people tag a friend. Like, “Oh, my God, Joe. Here’s a game for you.” Like when I see that? I actually realize I’m making someone happier. That is the coolest feeling when I throw an image in front of someone, and they think of a friend, and they’re like, “Oh, my God! This is the game for Sarah. This is a game for Joe. This is a game for Bob.” That is so cool. So, I hope those people get the game. Even if the campaign doesn’t [inaudible 00:29:14], I’ll figure out something where I can at least get those people the game. I don’t know. I just wanna get people the game who are excited about it.

Rob Cramer: That is super cool.

Patrick Rauland: Yeah.

Rob Cramer: Well, congrats on getting this far at least.

Patrick Rauland: Thank you!

Overrated Underrated Game

Rob Cramer: Well, we’re about to wrap things up. I have one last game to play with you, and it’s Overrated versus Underrated.

Patrick Rauland: Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh.

Rob Cramer: So, I have two game-related things to ask you about, and two non-game-related things to ask you about. So the first thing: Are dice trays/towers specific things to help you kind of keep your dice rolling in check?

Patrick Rauland: Well … Oh, I’m gonna go overrated.

Rob Cramer: Okay.

Patrick Rauland: I’m gonna go overrated because I love games with lots of dice, and those tools don’t usually work for lots of dice. So … Example: I play Orks in Warhammer 40,000. And when 30 of my … They’re called Ork boys … charged like a squad of whatevers, I get to roll 120 dice.

Rob Cramer: Holy moly!

Rob Cramer: So how do you even manage that?

Patrick Rauland: Well … I mean, I will roll them in batches of 30, and then you just … There’s also simulators you can use of like track … Yeah. But I will say … You know what I will say is underrated are like squishy mats. So I think everyone in the Warhammer world plays on squishy table tops now?

Rob Cramer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Patrick Rauland: It’s just like a, you know, like a two-millimeter, neoprene mat, because it makes the dice-rolling less crazy. It doesn’t like [crosstalk 00:30:37].

Rob Cramer: Oh! Okay. They’re just making the whole table a dice tray.

Patrick Rauland: Yes. Yes, exactly.

Rob Cramer: That makes sense. Well, Super Bowl Sunday is coming up. How do you feel about the Super Bowl? Overrated, underrated?

Patrick Rauland: Oh, my God. So … Okay. Oh, no! I’m actually going to go with… If you know me as a person, you’re going to assume I’m gonna say overrated. And that’s because I was a Super Bowl until last Sunday. And then people started asking me what my plans were, and I’m like [crosstalk 00:31:03].

Rob Cramer: Exactly. It’s just been a quiet year.

Patrick Rauland: So … Yeah. So I’m generally … I’m totally … I, personally, am totally uninterested in sports. At least watching them on TV. I like them in person. However, I think sports are a very interesting thing for men, because it is the only place where men are like socially allowed to show emotion. Like a man can cry while watching sports. He can laugh. He can be angry. He can be happy. He can jump. He can dance. That, I literally cannot think of another place where you can do all of those things and it’s socially acceptable.

Patrick Rauland: So, there’s something-

Rob Cramer: Wow!

Patrick Rauland: Yeah. And I really didn’t think about this until a couple of months ago. And so, there’s … While I, personally, don’t love watching sports, there’s something that’s special about that for a lot of guys.

Rob Cramer: That’s very cool. One of my most … One of my favorite TV shows right now is a show called, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Patrick Rauland: Oh, my God.

Rob Cramer: And they sing songs on that. And a recent song was called, Sport Analogies, where two men were able to bond together after just saying general stuff like, “Ah, keep your eye on the puck!” Or, “We’re in-

Patrick Rauland: Yeah!

Rob Cramer: … the home stretch now!” So I highly recommend checking out that song.

Rob Cramer: All right. We have one more game thing to talk about. Pretty abstract games. So games like Azul, Reef, and Santorini, have taken the gaming world by storm. How are your feelings about them?

Patrick Rauland: I generally will say … Hmm. I generally say I like them. So a good example of the one that I like is Hive. I really like the game Hive, which is a abstract game. So I like Azul, but I haven’t played Reef. I know I’d love Santorini. I haven’t had a chance to play yet.

Patrick Rauland: Here’s my issue with those games. Is when there isn’t enough luck, then new people don’t wanna play. So my issue is more with … So I used to play Splendor with an ex, former romantic partner. And it just happens like … And there is luck in that game. But it just happens that I tended to beat her. For like the first 10 games, I beat her by one turn every single game. Like every single game, she’s like, “I’m about to win!” I’m like, “Surprise! I won.” And she’s like, “Oh!” And we never played it again after that. So after 10 games of me winning every time, she never played the game again.

Patrick Rauland: And I had that happen with Hive, where like I had a friend who’s … He is better at Hive than I am. I have never won against him, and now I just don’t play him. So, I love abstract games. However, I think there has to be some element of luck, or at least if it was something like Azul. “Other players can mess up the best player.” Quote, unquote. Right?

Rob Cramer: Right.

Patrick Rauland: But I think there needs to be something to … I love luck for that reason. Where a new player or a bad player can still win. Does that make sense? Yeah, that’s-

Rob Cramer: Oh, yeah.

Rob Cramer: Oh, yeah. That makes a lot of sense. Well, another large TV event is coming up, and it’s called The Oscars. How do you feel about those?

Patrick Rauland: I … Hmm. I’m gonna go with overrated. I think Oscars are overrated. So okay, number one: Wasn’t there just drama with like Kevin Hart? Right?

Rob Cramer: Yes. Yeah.

Patrick Rauland: Okay.

Rob Cramer: He was offered the job, but then recent comments of his made him turn down the offer.

Patrick Rauland: But wasn’t it like a Tweet from five years ago or something? Like I …

Rob Cramer: It was that combo-ed with an apology that he made that many found insincere.

Patrick Rauland: Oh, okay. Okay! All right. So I don’t know the whole story, but I … So number one: I dislike that we can’t make mistakes. We are human beings. I wish it was cool to like … You don’t have to like delete the Tweet. Like it was something … I said so much dumb stuff five years ago! Like if I … And if that was posted over Twitter, people would think I’m a total jerk. But I like to think I get better.

Patrick Rauland: Also, then there’s like … I know there’s … What is it called where there’s a great Adam who ruins everything episode about movies that are like for your consideration campaigns. Like we shouldn’t basically run ad campaigns so you can get nominated for Oscars or whatever. That doesn’t make any sense to me.

Rob Cramer: Oh, yeah. I’m with you there.

Patrick Rauland: But hold on. So there’s one cool thing. Hold on. And I’m thinking, didn’t they just come up with a new category for Black Panther? No.

Rob Cramer: No. They originally announced a Popular Movie-

Patrick Rauland: Yes.

Rob Cramer: … category, but they quickly discarded that.

Patrick Rauland: Aw.

Rob Cramer: And Black Panther was nominated for Best Picture.

Patrick Rauland: Oh! Okay. And this is … So here’s what’s cool: I love that that movie was nominated for Best Picture. Like it’s cool that like the Zeitgeist … Does that make sense?

Rob Cramer: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Patrick Rauland: Like it’s not just the purely artsy stuff. It was also-

Rob Cramer: Oh, yeah.

Patrick Rauland: You know, this was a blockbuster, right?

Rob Cramer: Yeah. This was-

Patrick Rauland: It’s cool the-

Rob Cramer: This was the first quote, unquote, “Super hero movie to be nominated for Best Picture.”

Patrick Rauland: Exactly.

Rob Cramer: So. All right! Well, that’s a cool thing to look forward to.

Patrick Rauland: [inaudible 00:35:55]? Cramer: Well, Patrick, this has been so much fun. Thank you for being on your own show. Where can people find you online?

Patrick Rauland: You can find me on Twitter @BFTrick B as in board game, F as in fun, trick as in trick-taking games. which is this podcast.

Patrick Rauland: You know what? I’m gonna give people all the links. so my day job, I’m an e-commerce entrepreneur and educator. That means I tell people how to sell things online. So if you wanna read about nerdy e-commerce stuff, you can read all about that on That’s B-Y-T-E-S dot com And I will tell you all about e-commerce, all about Shopify, all that stuff.

Patrick Rauland: Oh, and Fry Thief will be on Kickstarter. So you can just Google … Or, you know, search Kickstarter for Fry Thief, and it’ll be there.

Rob Cramer: Fantastic! It’ll be on Kickstarter right now.

Rob Cramer: By the way, if you liked the podcast, leave a review on iTunes. If you leave a review, Patrick will eat some fries in your own honor. One fry per review. No.

Patrick Rauland: I like that.

Rob Cramer: Be sure to … as many people review as possible. And you can follow me, Rob. I’m on Twitter at robthecramer So go ahead and Tweet at me, and we can talk board games all day long.

Rob Cramer: So until next time, happy designing.

Patrick Rauland: Thanks, everyone! Bye-bye. Thanks, Rob.

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