Sarah Rowan

#94 – Sarah Rowan

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

My name is Patrick Rauland, and today I'll be talking with Sarah Rowan, who currently is working on a game called Soothsayer, which is a storytelling game where everyone plays oracles, and you use the stars to predict the future. It should be on Kickstarter when this episode airs, assuming I don't mess up the schedule or something like that. But it should be on Kickstarter. Sarah, welcome to the show.

Sarah Rowan: Hi, welcome to you too.


Patrick: Great. Thank you for welcoming me. I appreciate it. I like to start with a lightning round to introduce you to the listeners. All right?

Sarah: Awesome.

Patrick: All right. In pop culture, there is a ton of ways to tell the future. You can throw runes, and there's substances you can ingest and magical dreams, and reading the stars, and touching an object to see the future. 

Or you literally go to the future, and then you go back to the present moment to change it. I know Soothsayer is about telling the future, so if you could tell the future, what would be your preferred way of telling the future?

Sarah: I would definitely want it to be voluntary. I know in pop culture, there are some characters who are afflicted with constant visions of the future, and that sounds not so fun. 

Probably I would go for one of the cool, magical ritual types of telling the future just so that there's a little more control over it. Then also you get to perform a cool fancy ritual, you'll probably get your own cut scene. It sounds fun.

Patrick: Cool. I like that. I was thinking about this when I was writing the question, and I think I agree with you, that some characters are afflicted by seeing the future and they go crazy, or they're depressed, or all sorts of bad things happen. I think generally I'd want to be able to control when I see the future, but wouldn't you on occasion want push notifications for like–

Sarah: Like a spider-sense?

Patrick: Like, “I'm about to be hit by a bus.” I want there to be a threshold for bad stuff that can then interrupt my– Does that make sense?

Sarah: It does make sense, but to a certain degree, I don't know. I already have a little bit of anxiety, and I don't know if I want to be constantly afflicted with anxiety notifications. Like, “You're about to stub your toe.” “I'm about to what?” Whack, ow.

Patrick: Yeah, I think I want future notifications, and I only want to be told about the worst ones as a push notification. If I'm about to be hit by a bus, interrupt me, that's fine. If I'm not going to get hit by a bus, then let me choose when to do it.

Sarah: I don't know, I guess it depends on whether you believe that the future is predetermined or malleable. Because if it's predetermined, then knowing about it makes it worse because it's going to happen no matter what. But if it's malleable, then, of course, being notified would probably be helpful.

Patrick: Yes. I think my assumption here is that it's malleable. OK, anyways. Very long lightning round question. Second one, when you go to game night, how many games do you bring?

Sarah: How many? I usually bring just one or two, because usually everyone else I'm going to game night with will bring one or two. I'll try to keep it to the thing that I'm hoping to get everyone to play.

Patrick: Cool, I like that. Then what is a game you play with someone every single time at a con?

Sarah: Probably something that's quick and easy to learn. Honestly, Skulls or Love Letter are some of my favorite games in that genre. They're just really fun, easy concepts to pick up, and don't—

There's plenty of room in them to talk to the people you're playing with without having to talk about the game. You could talk about lots of things and get to know them a little better.

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

Patrick: Yeah, love it. I think I totally agree with you on how it's nice to have those small, quick, easy to play games. Then first real question is, how did you get into board games and board game design?

Sarah: I was definitely gifted a heritage of board games from my parents. They have been backing Kickstarters for board games since it was a thing that you could do that. 

They've been playing board games with me and my siblings since we were really little, and I had a big love of it, and I went into game design, and then it was a natural from video games back to board games.

You have a degree in game design. How would you say that degree has helped?

Patrick: OK, you have– We mentioned, or we were chatting before the show, and you have a degree in game design. When I was going to university, I wish I knew that was a thing. 

Because it probably was, it just probably wasn't at my school, but I haven't had too many people who have degrees in game design on the show. How would you say your degree in game design has helped you design games?

Sarah: The ways it's helped me design games? Definitely being able to go to a school with a bunch of other game designers and talk to them and get that experience. 

The most helpful things we learned were mostly just the space to sit and do game design as classwork, to have the time to work things out for yourself, because there's not that many textbooks on the subject yet. If you read the one textbook that exists, and then you spend the rest of your time doing it, that's definitely the most helpful thing that came out of there.

Patrick: Very cool. Then the way you phrase that, is this a school for game design? Or was it just a program in the school and there's a million other programs?

Sarah: It was one of the many programs at the school. We were actually under the computer science college because we learned programming primarily and also design.

Patrick: Do you now have a career in video games, and you make a million bajillion dollars out in California somewhere? That's the laugh of a “Yes,” I can tell.

Sarah: No, it's the laugh of a “No.” The thing is that you will come out of the degree with lots of solid programming skills that you can use to get solid programming jobs that you can use to fund your game design proclivity, but the truth of the matter is that there are not nearly as many game development or design jobs as there are people who want them. 

You can certainly get them, you can certainly put in the work to get them, but it just depends on what path you want to take and whether you want to try to get into one of those bigger companies or you want to try to start up your own and work for yourself. You do come out of it with a lot of options.

Patrick: What did you try?

Sarah: What did I try? For a while, I was working at an educational games company where we were making reading literacy apps for children, which was cool but not what I wanted to be doing in the long term. 

The cool thing about it is that programming work will pay you very well, and you can use it to try to churn through your student loans you accrued from going to college to then set yourself up better to try to do the thing that you do want to do. Which for me, obviously, I would rather be designing board games.

What does it mean to design a game for a specific group of people?

Patrick: You designed Soothsayer, and I'm going to quote this from your website

“A game dedicated to storytelling, good-spirited competition and centering the lives of women and LGBT people.”

Which I think is a cool idea, and I want to ask you, what is it like when you design a game for a specific group of people? How is it different from just designing a game for you? I think most people design a game for everyone if that makes sense, so how is it different to design a game for a group of people?

Sarah: The truth of the matter is that whenever you design a game, you're always designing for a group of people, and if you don't keep in mind ahead of time who those people are going to be, it's going to happen implicitly instead of explicitly. For example, most board games are not designed with blind people in mind. 

Unless your game is Nyctophobia, blind people probably were not the group of people you were designing for. It goes on to other things like if you're designing a dexterity game, there's a particular assumption about the manual dexterity abilities of the people who are going to be playing the game. So, that will happen. You'll never think about what people are going to be playing your game unless you sit down and think about it.

Patrick: OK, then what do you do? You think about it, and you're like “Cool. I'm going to design it for this group of people.” Then what choices do you make to make that happen?

Sarah: You want to think about what those people want, need and like, and make decisions that go towards that. It's no more or less complicated than that, and the most important thing is you work with people that are in the group you're designing for at every step of the design process. 

If it's a group of people that includes people who are different than you, which ideally it should, so we're not designing totally homogenous games. You really– There's no way to do it without actually interfacing with them, working with them on your team, play testing with them at every step.

Building your design team: Co-designer, illustrator, play testers

Patrick: OK, so you got to get the people on your team, which I like. You've got to involve them. Does “On your team” mean they're play testers? Does that mean you have to have a co-designer? Does that mean they're an illustrator? What does that mean to have them on your team?

Sarah: It means they should be on your team in as many places as possible, especially if you're designing for minority groups. The real putting your money where your mouth is thing that you can do is hire them. Hire them for real money and put them on your team. 

In my game, I am an LGBT person, and I was designing it with LGBT people in mind, and then I also reached out to my artist, who is a non-binary Jewish person. 

I reached out to them to help me instead of any other random person I could have picked to do it. Not to say that they're not extremely talented and the best pick for the artwork, but also that it's a real financial, physical thing I could do was to pay a member of the community to help me with this.

Patrick: Yeah, I do generally like that. Just for listeners out there, I think there's a couple days a year where it's like women who draw or illustrators month and on Twitter there's a whole bunch of women who say, “I'm a woman who does illustrations,” and you can find this hashtag and find a whole bunch of women illustrators. 

They'll share all the things they want to share, all their identities. So there are ways of finding those people, and it can be a little bit tricky, but there are ways of finding them. I like that you include them in certain parts– On your team in some way.

Sarah: Yeah, definitely. Cruising around on Twitter was how I managed to start finding these people and start forming these relationships outside of my immediate circle of people I know, like from the real life.

Using Twitter to build your design team

Patrick: Can I ask you about that quickly? Because I did an episode on finding an illustrator months and months ago, but I'm curious on how long–? Did you, like, was this like, “I spent one week looking for illustrators, and I spent eight hours on a Sunday and two hours on a Monday.” 

Was it an intense process, or is this just like you're hanging out on Twitter, and over the course of a couple of months, you randomly discover people in your–? Tell me about the process of finding someone on Twitter.

Sarah: Sure. For me, I've run other projects. This is my first one that I'm going to take all the way to publication, but I have run other projects, so I had a little bit of experience with what trying to find team members out of the blue is like. If you are intensely scrambling, like “This week, I shall find an artist,” you're going to make yourself real upset. 

You definitely can do it, and definitely good ways to do it are searching things like those. I think it's visible women hashtag will have a lot of women artists, and then as soon as you find one, you can cruise and find they're often connected. 

There's often communities, you can even ask into the abyss and stick a bunch of hashtags on it like “Art” or something, and people will start pointing you in the right direction. Which is less reliable depending on how many people you're already connected to, but it's definitely—

You want to start keeping your eyes open well before you actually need to sign them, because you also don't know if the perfect artist is actually in your price range or if they actually even want to work with you, or anything like that. You have to have the wiggle room to spend the time you need to because you're making a human connection. 

If you are a small team, you have the opportunity to be kind in a way that corporations aren't, to reach out to people, and talk to them instead of feeling like “Here's the proposed contract. Take it or leave it. Work for me, iron fist.” That's not how I want to do things. 

You definitely want to keep your eyes open and start looking and start recording interesting art that comes across your dash whenever you can, because even if it's not right for this project, it might be right for one in the future.

Audience Specific Marketing Decisions

Patrick: Love all that. Were there any game decisions, like did the content of the game change based on who you're marketing to?

Sarah: Based on who I'm marketing to?

Patrick: Who the game is designed for.

Sarah: Yes, distinctly. I knew from the beginning who this game was designed for. It was designed specifically in mind to be a game that would be appealing to women and LGBT people to play. That's what I wanted to make. I am those things.

I made it originally as something I wanted to show to my wife because I thought they would like it. From the beginning, I had that in mind, which was able to shape decisions made throughout gameplay. Already, you're playing as oracles in the game, and oracles historically are women. 

It's historically a female-led profession, so that's already like a signifier that the main characters in the game are women, and they're doing interesting things. They're in control of the situation, and they're not side characters or anything else. That's who you are playing as, which is another thing. 

Just adding those characters into the background would be nowhere near as impactful as having them like “Actually, these are the characters you're playing,” if that makes sense. Then from there, you do have to make sure that the whole rest of the piece that you're creating supports that. 

Every single decision needs to support your core ideas, which is just a principle of design always, like always you want to make sure that what you're going for from the beginning or you're going to end up drifting throughout the process.

Advice for avoiding appropriation in game design

Patrick: Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. I also think– Didn't you put some effort into making sure the artwork in the game is representative and that, I think you even mentioned the box cover, right?

Sarah: Yes. The box cover. That's the thing that people see. You look at a game, what does it look like? It looks like the box cover, and only after you look at the box cover and judge a book by its cover do you look inside and see what else is there.

One of the early things that I knew I wanted and I talked to my artist, and they agreed, was that we would have a woman's face as one of– Part of the central box art, so it's very obvious, and then you might look closer and see that the game is designed by a woman and a non-binary person. 

You might look closer after that and see that there's more signs that this is for you, and this is all something that if you overlook, then, your target audience might overlook you in return. They might not know that you made it for them, even if everything else inside is for them. 

Every single piece has to reinforce what you're going for, so obviously, just sticking a face on the box is in itself diversity. [Inaudible]. But it's an important signal, how would people know that you focus diversity in your game if you can't even make it onto the box? 

Then all the other art in the game, there's not a lot of other places where the characters have art right now because it's designed to look like a ritual object. There aren't playing cards with faces on them so much, which is why it was really important to put it in places where we could. 

Then there are characters other than the oracles you play, there are supplicants that come and ask you questions, and you get to hear about their lives. 

Through there the text makes it very clear that this woman is a hunter and she has a wife, she has a job, and she's got like a lot of interesting things going on in her life, and that's why she's here asking you questions right now instead of just a background character.

Patrick: I like all that. It's cool, all the little ways you incorporate it into your game. I think the thing I want to follow up on is I'm working on a game which is called Mintsugi because it's in a mint tin and I like puns, but it's based off of this Japanese practice called Kintsugi, which is—

I'm going to butcher this, but it's like you're honoring and item's history. So if you have a beautiful jug, vase, or cup that breaks, instead of throwing it away and buying a new one, you fix this pottery with gold. People who are listening, you might have seen this in various places, but it's originally a Japanese philosophy, and I came across this a couple months ago. 

I think it's an idea that my culture, more Americans, need to learn about. Because I think we're a very disposable consumer culture and it's like as soon as– Actually, good point. I just had a pair of sunglasses that broke, and I threw them away and got a new pair of sunglasses when I probably—

If I was practicing Kintsugi, I would've just fixed them with tape, and it would be a cool story. Not tape, maybe super glue, but fix them and then I'd have a cool story that I can add into the item's history. Anyway, so I'm making this game about Kintsugi, and I'm just wondering how do I share this respectfully? 

Because I really do believe it's something more people in the culture need to hear, but also it feels intrinsically Japanese, so do I have to throw up my hands and wait for someone else to design that game or how do I do this?

Sarah: I'll reiterate to start with my previous assertion that if you are designing for a specific group of people, they need to be included. At the very least, if you feel that this is– I don't want to say, “If you feel that this is,” what I'm revealing is that I don't know much about what this is. 

So if it is inherently Japanese culture, Japanese people should be involved. You should have them play test the game, and you should have them help with the design materially, something along those lines. But I also feel like there are layers, and using somebody else's religion is a lot more “No” than using a bit of philosophy. Because philosophy is inherently something written to share. It's a bit– What do I want to say? 

What I want to say is that in this particular case, think again about why. Why did you want to make it? What you said was you want to make it because you want to bring it to an American audience, so I think that's a valuable contribution. What you are providing is the overlap with American heritage, so make sure you do your research and talk to people who have the other side. The overlap with Japanese heritage.

Patrick: Cool. I like hearing that. I think I worry about someone just assuming I'm ripping off a culture and stealing, and I don't know. Just not being careful or thoughtful or considerate when I'm trying to be all those things. 

But it's not always apparent if you have a game on a shelf, you don't know what work went into that game. I think I'm worried about vengeance, or I don't know. People being angry about it.

Sarah: I would think about why. Think about why they would be angry. People aren't angry for no reason. If there's something about it that makes them angry, think about that and address it. 

Address it before it happens and not after, and if it's something you can't address, if they're angry because they believe you shouldn't be making it, then that's your sign to stop. 

That's your sign to maybe try to find somebody who is a more appropriate person to be making it and ask if they wouldn't allow you to work with them on it, rather than just doing it anyway.

Patrick: That's– I think the word I want to use here is “Heavy.” So if I think someone will be upset by this, I shouldn't work on it? I struggle with that. Because I think I struggle with that because no matter what I work on, there will be at least one person who hates it. 

No matter what you create in the world, there's always going to be people who dislike that. Just what you're doing, why you're doing it, the price, the marketing, the this and the– For lack of a better word, the cultural appropriation. 

It's like, is there a threshold? I don't know what I'm asking here, but– Because I imagine there's always at least one person who's going to hate whatever you make in the world.

Sarah: True. The answer to that is, I think, empathy. This isn't a black and white, “Here's a rule, and if you follow it, you'll always be right.” It's empathy. At the end of the day, no one can stop you from doing this except for you, only you can stop you from doing something that is a mistake, or that is cultural appropriation, or that is cruel. 

Not to say that making a Mintsugi game is inherently cruel. That's not what I'm saying. What I am saying is that we're game designers, so you run play tests, and not every bit of play test advice you get is useful. 

But what I'm saying is that the advice of the people that are in the culture you are talking about is more equal than others, not less. They have– [inaudible].

Patrick: OK. I don't quite get the second part, but I think I hear you. I like the analogy to play testing advice because whenever I do a play test, I listen to every single piece of advice. Sometimes I don't always take it, but I'm at least always listening.

Sarah: Yes, exactly.

Patrick: Cool, OK. That's helpful. This has given me a lot to think about, and I still don't understand the many intricacies of when you're stealing from a culture or when you're trying to share it and make it better. 

I don't know, but I'm happy that we had this chat because I think I understand it a little bit better.

Sarah: I'm not exactly an expert, but what I can say is that it's definitely a learning process and that everyone will make mistakes. The really important thing is how you respond to that. 

Try to avoid the mistake upfront, try to be open and honest with what you're making, and if you do make a mistake instead of doubling down on it, apologize. Try to make it better and do what you can that will get you a lot farther than trying to guarantee you never make a mistake because it's just not going to happen.

What have you been doing marketing-wise for your Kickstarter campaign?

Patrick: Excellent advice. Thank you. OK, your Kickstarter campaign. We're recording obviously ahead of time, and this episode should come out when your campaign is live. 

But it's a couple weeks away at this point, and I like this marketing question because a couple weeks before the campaign you don't know what's working. Or, you don't have a perfect idea of what's working. 

With your best guess, what have you been doing marketing-wise to promote your game, and what do you think is work–? What do you think will work the best for promoting your game?

Sarah: I've been reaching out to people who know more than me and trying to get advice, but the fact of the matter is that when you're trying to get up and running off of the ground, you don't have the raw capital to spend on actual advertising for your game. What I've been trying to do is a lot more grassroots type advertising. 

There's a local board game store that I've been going to since I was a child, and I've been reaching out to them. There are other places where I can play testing my game a lot, reaching out to them. I worked directly with Kickstarter for a little while, so I have a few contacts there that have given me advice. 

I'm not great at social media and marketing myself on there, but I do have a Twitter, which is where all the cool board game people hang out as far as I can tell. So really just the grassroots of reaching out to the people you know care, and don't waste your money on Facebook ads or things if you don't have enough money to make a lot of them.

Patrick: OK, so it sounds like you're not going the advertising route, you're on social media a little bit, and then a pretty grassroots you're at your local board game store or designer meet up, and you're saying “Here's the thing I'm working on.”

Sarah: Yeah, that's what I'm trying. I'll let you know if it works out.

Experience from working with Kickstarter

Patrick: Yeah. I want to go back to one thing, you said you were working with Kickstarter. What was that like? Does that mean you were working with them on this project, or does that mean you're working with them on previous projects?

Sarah: They had what is called a creators in residence program where they would bring people in, and ideally, they would mentor them about the ins and outs of running a specific campaign that you're planning to run with.

Patrick: It sounds like you're– Are you in New York then, and you're working with the– Or, you have worked with the people in the Kickstarter office?

Sarah: Yes. I currently live in Brooklyn, so this program is only open to people who can get reliably to the Kickstarter office in Brooklyn. It's a very specific thing that I wouldn't recommend as a general.

Patrick: So you said you got some piece of advice from them, and since not all of us happen to know all the cool people at Kickstarter, what are some of the tidbits that they gave you that you are going to implement?

Sarah: I got some interesting advice. Let's see, what actually general advice and not specific to me? One thing I got from Luke Crane that was very helpful was the advice to not rush yourself into launching the campaign, that you should when you first start thinking about launching the campaign that's when you're setting months out as the earliest you could possibly launch it. 

Because there's all kinds of work that goes in between when you first have the thought in your head and when it's going to happen. Don't try to slam the campaign together at the last minute because you're just going to cripple your chances.

Patrick: Right, I think it makes a lot of sense, “Launch when you're ready” is the advice I've heard.

Sarah: You launch when you're ready and not before, and not after either. Just don't get too anxious about it.

Patrick: Cool.

Sarah: You've got to feel it out. Other interesting advice I got was about stretch goals.

Patrick: Go on.

Sarah: Stretch goals and shipping are like the things that you will do to yourself that will make you fail. Shipping is a little more obvious and known, but stretch goals if you're not very careful with them will capsize your ship right quick. 

The advice I got was that you can maybe tease that you'll have stretch goals, but you should be very careful with committing to them outright on day one of the campaign, because there might be things that happen that make you want to tweak them or adjust them, but once you've said out loud that they're going to happen you're locked in. 

Even if they were not a great idea and you find that out later, so that's the most general bit of advice that I got that I could share.

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

Patrick: Yeah, and I think that's a very good piece of advice because I think you should just before you start throwing things in the game you should have costs for everything, including all of your stretch goals. If you don't, I think that you're opening yourself up to killing your own project. 

So, very good advice. I want to go down towards to start wrapping this up, and I like to ask the same three questions near the end of every single interview. I would love to know what is a resource that you would recommend to another indie game designer or an aspiring game designer?

Sarah: A resource I would recommend? Honestly, I would recommend your local game store if you have one. Go there, and the people who staff that store know all about games. They know so much about games. 

There's often going to be events or other things so that if you don't necessarily have the cash to shell out for every new game, sometimes you can go there, and you can play during events, or you can meet other people and talk to them. It's definitely that you'll get community, you'll get experience, you'll get to ask people who know lots of interesting tidbits about games, and it's all relatively easily accessible.

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

Patrick: I think that makes a lot of sense. Then I know for me, I'm a frugal person, so I try not to spend money when I don't have to. What is something that was worth every single cent that you paid?

Sarah: As a designer? Let's see. Recently I moved, and when we moved we set up– We bought a nice big desk for me and put it in a room with sunlight and set it all up. That's been immeasurably helpful in my productivity to have a space that is dedicated to working on games.

Patrick: Is that just for games, or is it like all work that you do at home?

Sarah: I try to keep it just to games. I try to keep my other work in other parts of the home and have this space where I can pull out all my games and spread them across the desk if I have to, and not have to worry about like balancing with other distractions while I'm at this space.

Patrick: That is very cool. I don't think anyone's mentioned having a dedicated game space before. That is a very cool thing to hear.

Sarah: If you can get it, I recommend it.

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

Patrick: You got it in New York City, so if you could make space for it, then I'm sure other people can. It's cool, and I'm excited to ask this question a couple of weeks before a Kickstarter campaign. But what is success in the board game world look like to you?

Sarah: Let's see. I think there's definitely layers to it. The all-time dream would be to have my own studio and be able to help other designers through some of these early hurdles that I'm jumping through on my own. That's the all-time goal. 

I remember being a student, and I remember desperately trying to get internships and figure out what to do with my life, all of that. Being able to reach out to new developers as a developer who has some clout, and some experience would definitely be a goal for me.

Patrick: make sure I heard that right, you want to be a resource for other people?

Sarah: Yeah. I want to be cool enough to be a resource for other people. That's definitely a goal.

Patrick: Cool. What about your Kickstarter? Do you have–? Do you want to sell 100,000 copies, or just 100? Or do you have goal in that regard?

Sarah: Really, the goal for this is to get a single print run. If we raise enough money to print the game, the minimum print run, I will be happy. That's all I want to do. Get my foot in the door, get it published, and have people play it. Games are made to be played.

Patrick: Yes. I hope people aren't making games just put them on their shelf.

Sarah: They do look pretty.


Patrick: They do look pretty. All right, so we're going to move on to Overrated/Underrated. Have you heard about it?

Sarah: I have now.

Patrick: Yes. So, listeners, you get to hear a fun fact. We had technical difficulties, so we are re-recording overrated, underrated. For listeners who have never heard of it, I'm going to give her a word or phrase, and then she has to say if it's overrated or underrated. 

If I said, “The cool stickers you see on the back of laptops,” she would obviously say, “Underrated. There are cute Pikachu stickers and Totoro stickers and all the good things in the world. So, they're awesome.” The first of one of these, micro games. I'm going to define micro games as 18 cards or less and maybe a couple of tokens. Are those overrated or underrated?

Sarah: I'm going to say underrated, and I think I tip my hand a little bit earlier in our interview here by saying that I love to bring small games with me.

Patrick: No, they are super fun. I was going to ask you about the butterfly effect, but now I know from us having done this in the past that you have not seen it. I'm just going to go with time travel, movies, and movies and TV shows in general. Overrated or underrated?

Sarah: I have to say overrated, I'm not a big fan of time travel as a device in storytelling.

Patrick: Are there–? How about this, because I generally agree with you, are there any time travel shows where you are like “That one was well done.” Or movies?

Sarah: I know there is because I feel like I had this discussion with someone recently. What was it? I'll get back to you if I think of what it was. But the answer is, “Yes, it has been done well at least once.”

Patrick: OK, third one, and this is a genuine question because I've been thinking about this. The guild system or the guild whatever on BoardGameGeek. Are those overrated, underrated, or “I don't even know what you're talking about?”

Sarah: I have to go again with “I don't even know what you're talking about.”

Patrick: So I– Yeah, you could have guilds around certain topics so I could have a guild around this podcast. But I don't know what people would chat about, other than dumb things that I said on the show. 

But anyway listeners, if you know why people join BGG Guilds, let me know. But for now, we'll leave that as unanswered, and the last one here, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which is an awesome– I tipped my hand there. Which is a show on Netflix. Overrated or underrated?

Sarah: That's not a leading question at all.

Patrick: No, not at all.

Sarah: I'm going to sound lame because I'm just going to say I haven't seen it, and I'm not going to rate something I haven't seen. That sounds like cruising for trouble.

Patrick: I feel like you, and I are going to, at the next con instead of playing Love Letter I'm going to have to make you sit down and watch some TV and movies. Sound good?

Sarah: I've been watching Battlestar Galactica. It's been chewing up all of my time.

Patrick: That is. This is your first time through?

Sarah: Yeah.

Patrick: Exciting stuff. All right, I will not spoil it.

Sarah: If there is time travel though, I'm going to be mad.

Patrick: I will not say anything and leave you in suspense.

Sarah: No. All right.

Wrap up

Patrick: Sarah, thank you so much for being on the show.

Sarah: Thank you for having me. It was great.

Patrick: Where can people find you and your games online?

Sarah: Online, you can find them at, and I'm on Twitter @echoinglaughter. I don't do a lot of social media outside of that, but when the Kickstarter is live, you'll also be able to find it on Kickstarter, ideally under “Soothsayer.”

Patrick: Yeah, hopefully. Listeners, this should come out probably a little bit after Soothsayer launches on Kickstarter. If you're listening to this, there's a very good chance you can find it on Kickstarter. 

Listeners, if you like this podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes or wherever you listen to podcasts. If you leave a review, Sarah said that she'd be able to read 10 minutes ahead into your future, so could be super useful. 

I also want to share that the very first Protospiel in Denver will be happening March of 2020. I'll be attending, and I'd love to play your games if you're anywhere nearby, so please stop by, and let's play a game. 

I will have a link to that in the show notes, but the short version is you can go to, and you should be able to find it there. You can also visit the site at, and you can follow me on Twitter, I am @BFTrick. Until next time everyone, happy designing. Bye-bye.

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