Pete Jank

#145 – Pete Jank

Patrick: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Indie Board Game Designers podcast, where I sit down with a different independent game designer, and we talk about their experiences in game design and the lessons they've learned along the way.

My name is Patrick Rauland, and today I'm going to be talking with Pete Jank, who designed a bunch of games on The Game Crafter, including– I've got a whole list here. Pocket Slimes, Soda Pop City, Starfall, Quest for the Last Pixel, Villages, Master of Disguise, Drunk Driver, Amethyst, and Evolution X. That's a lot. Pete, welcome to the show.

Pete: Howdy. How's it going, everybody?


Patrick: Awesome. I like to– We were introduced through a mutual friend. We were chatting on Facebook, but other people don't know you, so I want to introduce you through some lightning round questions. Ready?

Pete: Yeah, I'm ready for it. Let's do it.

Patrick: All right. If you could have a slime as a pet, what slime would you want?

Pete: Honestly, I would probably go with any slime. I've learned that basically, through history of gaming, whether it be board games or video games, it doesn't qualify as a game unless there's a slime in it. We looked at Pokemon or most other fantasy games.

If there's a slime in it, that's a good game. Same thing with golems, they work in that same realm. Even in Pokemon, there's one called “Golem” so again, and it qualifies as a game, so we're good there. So, any slime.

Patrick: Got it, love it. What is your favorite pandemic/quarantine activity? Board gaming or otherwise?

Pete: Honestly, it is quite legitimately– I've never pushed out so many games in such a short amount of time then during a pandemic, apparently. Every time I get a thought, it's like “All right. Let's sit down and just type-type-type,” and I just go to town. So, I'd probably say designing games, which is nice, I suppose.

Patrick: OK, well, I got to take a detour here. How many games is that?

Pete: I think since I've started, I've either made– Let's see. I think I've made, since January. I think I've done a total of three and then dabbled with a couple of older designs with two of them. Soda Pop City, Evolution X, and I think Villages. Oh, that's a lie. And Pocket Slimes, so I guess four. Those are the four that I've made basically since January until now.

Patrick: Very productive. I'm glad you're getting stuff done. So, when we have conventions and being able to see people in person again, what's a game you play with someone every single time at a convention?

Pete: That's a great question because I've never been to a board game convention. I was aiming to try to go this year to the Dice Tower West convention in Vegas, and it seemed that everything pandemic-style-wise, that was really when it was starting to kick off, so we decided to step back from it until possibly next year, just depending on how everything goes.

But I do want to get to a convention, I've been to a couple in the Seattle area which is where I'm from, but it's mostly video games like PAX or ECC. So, hopefully, something soon.

Patrick: That is awesome. It's interesting, sometimes I assume– Because lots of board game designers go to lots of cons, and sometimes I just assume that every board game designer goes to all the cons, and I forget that there's many people who have never been.

It's cool to hear that you could do all this, and you don't need to go to a convention to get to make cool games.

Pete: I really would like to. Mostly just so other people can experience it, and I would love to experience other people. I would love to just sit down with people who also design, I've just never really done that.

It's cool to talk, at least with you, or even to be a part of certain Facebook groups. But yeah, hopefully, one of these days I can get with some people and play test their games, and vice versa.

How did you get into board games and board game design?

Patrick: Sounds great. First real question, how did you get into board games and board game design?

Pete: I started with the Pokemon game, the TCG way back in the day. But we didn't grow up very well off, so I would make my own cards. I've heard this a few times through a couple of your other guests, and that's how it started, at least card-wise. But I don't even know that board games were like really a thing until probably 2009-2010.

Then I started getting into dice tower, and my first board game that I bought was Ascension. That'll give you an idea of how far back that was, but that's what started it. Because my very next game after Ascension was Mage Knight, so I just jumped off the deep end. It's been great, but I've been designing probably since I was in 4th-5th grade. So, that's a while.

You have a ton of different styles of games and you seem to be trying a lot of different things. Why have you been doing that?

Patrick: That's great. I love hearing that. So, that leads into the next question I have. It seems like you've done a lot over a long period of time, and one of the things I noticed just looking at your games on The Game Crafter is you have a ton of different styles of games.

You have a worker placement game, a four X game, a roguelike, a dice allocation game, social deduction, set collection. There's a lot of stuff that you're working on, and you seem to be trying a lot of different things. Is that intentional, or is that just how it happened?

Pete: I guess both. How it happened, my first one that I worked on the most, was again, going back to my roots, was like a TCG-style game called Dreamscape. Which is like a YouTube homemade TCG community effort project where a bunch of people would help donate art, and I would also include a lot of art that I would do, and I went that route. But then, as time went on, I started doing other different designs.

Nowadays, it's just like now the challenge is I'm trying to be as versatile as possible without falling into this niche. Like, “This is the guy who always makes card games.” So I'm trying to make every game that I do now something different, something new. It's just something that I like. The four X game that I have is Starfall. That game I probably worked on the longest. I never realized how long it would take to make a four X game, though I should have known. It's four X games.

Patrick: Let me ask you, you said something about how you want to be the guy who just does one thing. Why is that important? Why is that important to you?

Pete: I don't think it's a bad thing for anyone to fall into that niche, like [inaudible] Rosenberg has that either worker placement or [polyomino] style games, and that works well for him. But for some reason, I always like to expand. It's like, I made this thing, and I might take a mechanism from that and move it to the next game, but then sometimes I just come up with something different. I don't know how it works in my mind because once I sit down and work on a game, it'll take me maybe two or three weeks at most.

Unless I might tinker with it, like I said, with that Starfall game or a couple of other games where I'll go back to them like, “Maybe I can improve on it.” But there's something new, once you can spark that idea and plant that seed, I love just watching whatever project grow into whatever it becomes. It's just fascinating trying to come up with those different mechanisms that make that game unique to anything else that I've done.

Patrick: OK. I got to pause you. Did you say you build and or design games in two to three weeks?

Pete: Yeah, I was just talking to my girlfriend about this as well just before, because I was going– Running through–

Patrick: My jaw is through the floor.

Pete: Yeah, it's weird. Legit, once I come up with an idea, I'll sit there, and I'll think about it and let it stew for a little bit. Then once the pieces start to come together, I'll sit on the computer and look for a solid two days, and I'll work on graphic design or use different websites to find certain art, which can also spark ideas. But within that first week or two, I'm just sitting on the computer, diddling around with whatever I need to go with, and then I'll order on The Game Crafter and play test it.

I'm not going to say everything's perfect, but for the most part, everything just falls in line. Then sometimes I'll make some adjustments, but within those two weeks, that's where the most of everything happens. Because I'll play test a few things here and there with no paper, no cards, and whatnot. But everything just falls in line. Hopefully, that's the goal anyways.

Patrick: This is blowing my mind. So when you play test, do you–? I think, even myself, I've made dozens of versions of my games when I tweak this, and then I do this, and then I update this, and then I add a card, then I add a mechanism, then I remove this. Do you not go through that?

So, here's what I want to know. Do you just make a game, and it's just perfect? You're like, “Dang. I did good.” And you just check the box, put the game on your shelf and you're done? Or is there–? Or is it more like, you'd rather keep working on something that's new and interesting? Because that's totally also valid.

Pete: Right, it's kind of both. Now I'm not going to say any of my games are perfect, and I don't think any game truly is perfect. The closest you might come to is even Pandemic, which is a phenomenal game, but even that you can get stuck in a loop. When I sit down and come up with a game, I would say that my games are, for the most part, probably in that light to medium style weight.

So, when I come up with the game like I said, I'll do the whole stewing in my mind until things start to form into legit ideas. Then that's when that spark takes off. I'll sit on the computer for a solid 10-12 hours just working with graphic design and how I imagine how everything will be. Was it perfect? Probably not. Some of my games, as you mentioned, Master of Disguise. That came out exactly how I wanted, and it's still one of my favorite party games to even play still today.

Drunk Driver is another one, that was a drinking game. It was a very simple game, so I just came up with the idea and then just shot it to The Game Crafter. Now that's one of our fun little [inaudible], and it doesn't even have to be drinking, but it's super fun. Amethyst and Pocket Slimes is another one, that was another one where I just printed it out. I was like, “This is a very fun game.” But then sometimes it doesn't work, like Amethyst, I worked hard back and forth with that one. Starfall is another one where, like I said, I tinkered back and forth with that one. So sometimes I got to go back to the drawing board, but it's just fun overall.

You put a lot of effort into publishing your games on The Game Crafter. When you do that, is that the end to the game? Or do you keep working on them?

Patrick: This is awesome. I don't know what magic you have over there in the Seattle area, but just making a game after three weeks sounds magical to me. So whatever you're doing, keep doing it. Let me ask you this, and you put a lot of effort into publishing games on The Game Crafter.

There's a bunch of them up there, is that the end of the game or do you keep working on them? Like, every year you're like, “I just want to do a revision of Pocket Slimes.” Or do you even try to sell them to publishers, or is it like you put them on The Game Crafter and you order your copy, you play a couple of games, and you go “I'm good?”

Pete: That's a really good question. In my mind, once I get it through The Game Crafter, I try to make it available for everybody, but I'm not very good at marketing my own stuff. I don't like advertising my own stuff or tooting my own horn. I guess I'm modest in that in that realm, but I just enjoy making games to where my friends and family can sit down and play with them. I'm not looking for positive feedback, and I want all feedback.

I'm hoping that they enjoy the game, and if I do have to make some changes here and there, for the most part, at least they're minor changes. But I just like seeing everybody's faces light up like, “That's really cool.” Or this is something new, I've never seen something like this before. It's really exciting to see some of these things or hear some of these things from my family or friends. But when it comes to marketing, it's just– I don't really– That's not where my passion lies, I suppose.

When it gets on The Game Crafter, that's where it goes. But I did send one of my games to a publisher once, and he gave me some great tips, and I changed everything that he pointed out, and the game became amazing. For some reason, that's where it stopped, so maybe I'll revisit it and maybe send it back to him. But the game became amazing, just hearing some of those pointers, and I really enjoyed listening to his thoughts, but he just stopped it right there.

How many hours a day do you design games?

Patrick: That is awesome. So you work on your game for a couple of weeks, how about this? When you're in that– I don't want to say “Manic period,” but when you're in that “Getting stuff done” period of two to three weeks to complete and create all the assets and make the game on The Game Crafter, how many hours a day are you putting in? Are These one hour a day days or are these 23 hour a day days?

Pete: I think probably the best terminology you used was the manic period. When I sit on the computer for those first initial ideas, that's when it's the most amount of time. I don't want to stop working on the project almost, and I almost wait until the weekend just so I could sit there and just go to town and get what I need to done hopefully by the weekend. After that, then it's a lot of– Like I said, sometimes there's some note cards or whatnot where I'm trying to play test some stuff, making sure that everything sounds and works right the way that I want it to.

I might make some tweaks throughout the week or the next couple of weeks, but for the most part, it's lining up the graphic design and making sure that everything makes sense. Making sure that the ideas are coming to life as I start to work on the game itself, and then once it goes out, I'll have it in my hands and be able to play test it with, like I said, either my girlfriend or a few friends. Hopefully, everything pans out. There are a couple of tweaks here and there, but probably a few hours a day after that, I suppose, each day.

What’s your favorite game you designed?

Patrick: Do you have a favorite game?

Pete: Of mine, it's definitely Starfall. I absolutely love Starfall, and then probably Amethyst just right after that. But Starfall is great, it's a super great game.

Patrick: Just in the, relatively speaking, in your lineup of games when did you make Starfall? I have a follow up question, but when did you make Starfall in your lineup of games?

Pete: That one's kind of recent, that one probably was towards the end of last year and then I just worked on it here and there the last couple months. I'm at the point where I think I've perfected that game and all my friends seem to enjoy it very much, which is nice to hear. But I would say that it was towards the end of last year, probably from November-December or that time frame right there, is where I did the bulk of everything of the design and the graphic design and all that stuff. Then the last few months, I've just been messing around with it up until maybe June.

Patrick: OK, so great. Here's my follow up question. When you make an amazing game early on, what is it like to make other games after that? Do you feel maybe disappointed because they're not your new favorite?

Pete: No, not at all. I did Pocket Slimes just recently, and I love that game. It's just how I'm feeling because everything is subjective in that way because Starfall is my favorite game. Now, who knows what will happen. I've got other games that I enjoy playing, and that can change as well, but I don't try to outdo each game. I just try to make something new with each game to where I find the game extremely enjoyable, and hopefully, everybody else sees fit. But again, it's subjective. So maybe not everybody else sees it the same way, but hopefully.

How did publishing your first game change your process?

Patrick: So you made so many games, how has your process changed from that first game to some of your more recent games?

Pete: A lot. I used to do a lot of my own artwork right in the beginning. I started with a lot of hand drawings and stuff like that, as far as the design. I've always tried– Like I said, I've always tried, as far as the game design itself, I've tried to push myself a little bit further each time and then sometimes different and make it varied. But I used to do– I'm not the greatest artist, and then I got into pixel art, which is where Quest for the Lost Pixel and a couple of other games that I've made came from.

I did a combination of some of my own pixel art and then another illustrator, that game seems to be doing well. Not well– That's one of the games that I put on The Game Crafter, and it seems to be like this weird hidden gem amongst my games where people just fall in love with that one, which is nice to hear of the random people who have purchased it. But I just keep trying to grow and try to get better and better with each design, at least that's the goal anyways.

Do you have a white whale of game design?

Patrick: That's great. It sounds like you're a machine. You're just constantly iterating and updating and trying to do better and trying new things, and it sounds great. Now on the flip side of that, is there something you've tried to put into your games, but you haven't been able to get it yet? There's a mechanism or a theme or something where you've tried to get into a game, and you just can't make it work?

Pete: Yes, it's a horror game. I have tried probably two or three times making a horror game, and it is becoming the death of me. No pun included, but I'm trying to do a style of game where– I don't know if you've ever played the video game Dead by Daylight, but it's on the PC, and I think almost everywhere else.

You've got one person who's a killer or a slasher guy or whatnot, and everybody else are survivors. It's that one versus all, and that's what I'm going for. But every time I try to come up with something, it either falls through, or I feel like it's too close to some other game that had just come out or has been out, and I didn't realize it until I did some further research on it. One of these days I'm going to get it, I'm going to get that horror game.

Patrick: One of the things that's hard about horror is I think with a lot of horror movies, there's a lot of tension and I think in order to have tension you need to have a longer game, and there's definitely– People seem to be, there seems to be a movement towards simpler fast games that you can play quickly, whereas I wonder for a horror game if you want to play it for one to two hours. That's not what the average game is anymore.

Pete: I know, and I completely agree. That's why I think my first game fell through, I tried to make it fast, and then it became too long, and then people lost interest. But I tried to add tension by having a set of like eight cards out in front of you.

They're all face down, and everybody shuts their eyes except for the killer, and then they put a trap card in one of those face down cards, so when the survivors start flipping cards over, it's like “I got caught.” But it took forever. Everybody would just pick cards that weren't the traps, so it was just like this– It wasn't the best design that I've worked on. One of these days I'll get it. I'm going to get it, Patrick. Trust me, I'm going to get it.

Patrick: Awesome. Depending on how long this pandemic goes on, you might easily get another four games done.

Pete: That's very true.

What games inspire you?

Patrick: So are there any games out there that inspire you to make better cool games?

Pete: There's definitely plenty of games out there that inspire me or at least give me sometimes a direction. Obviously, worker replacements, I didn't make that up. There's a lot of different mechanisms that are out there where I learn a game, maybe I buy a game or whatnot, and it's like, “This is a really cool idea. I'd love to expand upon it.” And then that's what I try to do, so a game like Splendor, I thought that was a fun game.

I don't have a problem with Splendor, and a lot of people seem to love that game, but that's where I made Amethyst. I thought that Amethyst would be a better bet instead of Splendor, so I added a little bit more meat to the bones. It's definitely not a Splendor killer by any means, I think it's a little bit dinkier and more of an engine builder, I believe, than Splendor. But Splendor has more decision making, I suppose. But it's expanding on ideas that other people have had, but still streamlining them to the point to where it's not overcomplicating the game or the design themselves.

Patrick: I love that. Boy, I've thought of– Every time I play a game, I critique it subconsciously now. Once you've played enough games and especially when you start designing games, there's just that “I didn't like this little thing, and this little thing bugged me.” It's so easy to take a game and go, “If they just did this one thing different.” It's cool, you did that, though. You made Amethyst, which is based off of Splendor. I love that.

Pete: Do you ever find yourself in a moment where you're playing a game, whether it was off the shelf or somebody else, obviously you're going to critique the game but do you ever find yourself homebrewing stuff? Like, “I think this might be better.” And then you do find that it was better, so you just keep it in the game anyways. Do you ever do that with other games?

Patrick: Sometimes, it depends on what game group I'm with. I have lots of theatre and improv friends, and literally, anything is fun. We can make up any game, and it's fun, and then I also have very intense board game friends where it's lots of fun to do a 1-2 hour game and get really into it. I don't think I would do house rules with those types of games.

Pete: Gotcha.

Patrick: But as an example, I had a friend who remade– Are you familiar with the Legendary game?

Pete: Yeah.

Patrick: He made his own version of Legendary, he got all the art off of Google or whatever, made his version of Legendary and its Venture Brothers themed. It's great, and it's mostly a re-theme. But then he also tweaked the rules, like for this card he wanted to do this. You're heavily inspired by Legendary, but he definitely just thought it'd be cool with that theme, and he made it, and it's great.

Pete: Nice. OK, cool.

Patrick: I'm looking at my games now, and I'm trying to think of– So, how about this? I'm looking at my games, so when you play, do you play Codenames?

Pete: Of course I do, yeah.

Patrick: When you play Codenames, we make it an almost rule that you have to give a clue for two or more words because I just find the game drags a little bit if both players are novice clue givers. They're going to give you one word clues every time, and it's a little boring, I'd rather force both people to give two word clues. Does that make sense? Sorry, not two-word clues but a clue for two words.

Pete: Yeah. I try, personally, that's what I always strive for. When I'm giving a clue, I'm always trying to do a tie in with at least two cards. Because that's part of the fun anyways, and I never actually house ruled it that way. But that sounds a lot better, because then that way you don't have that one guy just going “All right. The color is red, or the card is red, a stoplight or whatever it is.” So it's just like, I'd rather there be a link between two cards, it just makes them get even more exciting.

Patrick: When I teach Codenames to someone else, I do not teach them the actual rule. I teach them my house rule because I think it reduces confusion. I don't want to say, “By the way, here's the official rule. But then here's my house rule because I think it's more fun.”

So I just guess you could consider that lying like I lie to the person I'm going to play the game with. They may be on my team, they may not. But I do think it makes them more fun. Do you go that far, or do–? When you do make a house rule, do you tell people it's a house rule, or do you tell them it's a rule-rule?

Pete: I have done it to where– And I can't remember the game that I did this with, but I did it to where I told them the house rule and whether I told him, I don't– Obviously, I don't think I told them it was a house rule, I just went with it, and they didn't question anything. But then they got the game, and they started teaching their family that way, so then they started– They just found it more enjoyable, and I was like, “Looking back on it, I completely forgot. This is actually how it plays.”

They were like, “Now, why would you play it that way?” Like, “I don't know.” But sometimes I'll say, “This is a house rule or whatnot, like an [ever dell] I might make a house rule for that or whatnot, and I'll bring it up. But for simple party games like that, I mean it's just simple. Just play the game that you want to play, and hopefully everybody finds it just as an enjoyable.

What are some fun ideas or mechanisms that you’re looking into?

Patrick: Yep, absolutely. Look at that, good question. So, let me see what questions I want to ask you here. What are some fun ideas or mechanisms you're looking into?

Pete: Quest for the Lost Pixel is my biggest game that I have as far as price wise and cards, amount of cards. So many cards in there. Ideally, it's this huge dungeon crawl that is very much in the same vein as a Roguelike style game. It takes forever. One of the reviews that somebody posted, they absolutely loved it, but the game takes very long. There's ten floors, and it takes an hour for each floor if you're playing with four or more players. I know, it's crazy. Ideally, what I'd like to do is just bring that down. I'd like to tamper with the idea of doing another dungeon crawl again one of these days and streamline that to not make it a 10 hour long game. But we'll see what happens.

Patrick: Cool. Man, a 10 hour game. Is that something you could turn into a campaign?

Pete: You probably could. I know I've done that with a few of my friends, we'll stop at one floor and make sure that we just save whatever cards we have, and then we'll go back, and we'll start back at that floor and just pull out our characters. You can absolutely do it. I personally, I'm not a big fan of campaign games. But Quest for the Last Pixel being a Roguelike style game, it can literally end in 10 minutes– Because it's a great solo player game and it's a lot faster than 10 hours if you're playing solo, but it can go from 10 minutes to ten hours just like that.

That's one of those things that it's good to save the cards and maybe revisit it and come back later, but there's just something about that game. “All right, we've got one more. All right, one more. OK, one more turn. All right. One more time to see what else I can get, what other monsters I could see.” That's one of the cool things about that game.

Patrick: That's great. I love that. That reminds me of some of the older computer games that I played, especially when I was a lot younger. I think for me, it was like Starcraft, and I would just be like, “I'll just spend 10 more minutes just to get past this this section of the level.”

Pete: Right.

Patrick: Then it's like three hours later, and I don't know what happened. So, it's cool that you have a game where “We can do another round. Yeah, let's do another round. Just one more.”

Pete: “One more turn, let's do it.”

What one resource would you recommend to another indie game designer or an aspiring game designer?

Patrick: This is great. I love hearing all this, and I can't believe how many games you make. So, all right. Normally I ask people what is a resource you'd recommend to another indie game designer, but in your case, I'm going to say, “What's a resource–?”

And a resource is like a website, a book, a podcast excluding this one, something like that. “What is a resource that you'd recommend for someone to help them make more games, or to emulate how many games you make?”

Pete: It all depends on the person. For myself, I can go one of two different ways. If I have an idea of something, sometimes I'll try to attach a theme to it. When I have that theme, that's where I'm going to go off of. One of the best resources I've found recently is a website called Game Dev Market, in which they have a ton of different art that you can use.

Now, you'll have to pay for it. You're paying for their art, and of course, you can choose whichever art you want to choose, it basically comes in these packs or whatnot. If you want something that's going to give you a certain style, you can go for that route. If you're going to go for pixelated, you could do that, or a little bit more artsy, you can do that. When you get those packs, I think at least in my eyes, when you're restricted to that artwork, that's where your best creations come from, at least for me.

When I'm stuck with just the artwork that I got from these packs, it's like, “I've already got the idea. How can I make that idea and this artwork work?” So then that's when a lot of ideas start to flow, and then I start to feel how this game is going to go. Then it's all laid out right there in front of me, so that's where I think my head usually goes, is the Game Dev Market just because how amazing a lot of these artists are and how cheap a lot of the art is. To get all this artwork and just try to figure out how you can make your idea work with it, that's my best tool and favorite tool to use besides Photoshop and The Game Crafter, of course.

Patrick: I will have a link to that. It is just, and I used it on one of my most recent games, and I think I got some planets or something. It was for Skyhook, and it was great to just go “These are the planets I want. They gave me 30, I want to use these 15. And done.” You know what I mean? It was so easy to add, and it's like $10-15 bucks for a certain asset. Then if you have Photoshop skills, you can do a lot with them. Especially when they're layered.

Pete: Yeah, some people do some great things when they give you those assets. They'll come in a folder and sometimes the transparent– Like the planets, I'm pretty sure I know what you're talking about. I think those are the ones I used in Starfall. Sometimes they'll layer them in certain ways, so when you put them in Photoshop, you can customize it that way. Sometimes it will come with backgrounds or whatnot, so if you're just looking for something really simple, you can throw some backgrounds and then your image or whatever art on top of it. It's fantastic, and I absolutely love it.

Patrick: You copied my planets? How dare you.

Pete: It depends on when you used them. Again, it was November-December. So maybe it's vice versa.

Patrick: I think you got them first, but that is the downside. Theoretically, we both have the same planets in our games, and I don't know if this would ever happen, but if we ever both published a game on Kickstarter at the same time, people would be like “It's less exciting because I already have a game with this artwork.” But.

Pete: It's very true.

Patrick: No matter how cheap they are, it's just a great deal.

Pete: The top side though, thinking of it this way, is you're getting this great looking artwork, and most of the time if you can't get it in through a publisher and you're able to get them a copy of this game, you're not just giving them something that you made basically in paint or whatnot. You're giving them a quality product because I would say that most of the time, those prototypes are just going to be redone with different artwork with a better artist or whatnot, or making something different.

Five Minute Dungeon is probably a good example where they used a lot of the stuff from the Game Icons website originally, and then they, of course, published it and got it made. Boom, now they've got a good artist with beautiful icons and something different from the Game Icons website. Some people can get away with game icons, like Too Many Bones, they use them, and that game is very successful.

Patrick: Really?

Pete: Yeah. You just look at all this stuff all day long, you're like “I recognize that. I recognize your planets, Patrick.”

What was the best money you ever spent as a game designer?

Patrick: All right, this is a great. What is the best money you've spent as a game designer? What's worth every single cent?

Pete: I was just talking a lot about Game Dev Market, and I would say that's probably a great one, but probably The Game Crafter. I say that because there's no better feeling than opening up that box and then holding that game that you just worked a whole two weeks on, or however long.

But there's no better feeling than opening up that box and literally just pulling out that game, and looking at all of the stuff that you've been working out for however long. Just sitting down with some friends or some family to play that game, and looking at the faces they make. “You did this?” “I sure did.” The Game Crafter has just been amazing.

What does success in the board game world look like to you?

Patrick: Absolutely. I love it, it's a great feeling. The last real question is, what does success in the board game world look like to you?

Pete: I think a lot of people have a lot of really enlightening things when they come to a question like this, and I think for me, it's just as simple as hopefully one day seeing my game on a shelf, but not through my eyes. From somebody else, I know, and they say, “I saw your game on the shelf today.” It's like, “Yeah, you should get it.” But I mean, it's one of those things that I would just love for my board game to be somewhere other than local areas or The Game Crafter. That would be ideal for me. That's my ultimate dream.


Patrick: Perfect, love it. I like to end with a game called Overrated/Underrated. Have you heard of it?

Pete: I sure have.

Patrick: Fantastic. For listeners who haven't heard this before, I'm going to give him a word or phrase, and he has to say if it's overrated or underrated. I think you'll get it, listeners. First one I want to go with are simulator-style games. Are they overrated or underrated?

Pete: I think they're underrated. When you've got games like Stardew Valley, which just blew everything out of the water, that's just a fantastic game. I don't think that's an overrated game at all. Some games are probably overrated, like the nowadays Harvest Moons. But old school Harvest Moon, that's underrated.

Patrick: What about Spotify? Overrated or underrated?

Pete: Underrated. Love me some Spotify.

Patrick: Perfect. Print and plays, overrated/underrated?

Pete: I would say that these are probably underrated as well. Sometimes that's the best way to get your game out is just by throwing it on the internet and having people print and play. I don't think they're overrated at all.

Patrick: Let me rephrase. For you, as a consumer, print, and plays?

Pete: Probably overrated, in that fact. I probably wouldn't do it very often. I've done it before, though, but it's not something that I enjoy doing. I just don't like cutting out a million things, personally.

Patrick: That's what I was thinking of when I realized I didn't make the question clear enough. All right, last one. I was just talking about this before we started recording, summer heat. Overrated or underrated?

Pete: That is overrated. I don't like it. I don't like the cold either, and I like that ‘tweener. But there's something about the heat that's just too much. It's not good.

Wrap Up

Patrick: Love it, awesome. Pete, this has been delightful. Where can people find you online?

Pete: You can probably find me through The Game Crafter, you'll find a bunch of my games under GBF games, which is the Gummy Bear Factory games. I also am on Facebook, so you can definitely look me up there through Pete Jank or The Game Crafter Facebook group. I'm always popping up around there.

Patrick: Awesome. Let's see, anything else? Listeners, if you liked this podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes. If you leave a review, Pete said he would help you name your very own slime. So if you got some weird slime stuff growing in your home, he'll help you name it and then maybe call someone to clean it up because that's definitely not healthy. Fun in a board game sense, not fun in real life.

Pete: That's true.

Patrick: Great. Then I have a Patreon, if you guys want to support the show and help me keep the lights on, it would be super appreciated, and it basically keeps the lights on for everyone else. If you enjoy these episodes, it'll help make sure the episodes are free and available for everyone else.

Then I also share some of my own updates on my games getting published. You can visit the site at, and you can follow me on Twitter and BoardGameGeek, I am @BFTrick on both platforms. Until next time, everyone. Happy designing, bye-bye.

Pete: Bye.

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