Thomas Shepherd

#117 – Thomas Shepherd

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

My name is Patrick Rauland, and today I'll be talking with Thomas Shepherd, who designed Viking Games, Dodgeball, Pirates, Wizards, and Witches, Djinns of the High Desert and a ton more. I should say, he's also in my local playtest group and I also saw him at Tabletop Network. So Thomas, welcome to the show.

Thomas Shepherd: Hey, Patrick. It's good to be here.


Patrick: I like to start with a lightning round game, so I'm going to ask you three quick questions. All right?

Thomas: OK.

Patrick: All right. What is the coolest, “You got to see it” attraction in Colorado?

Thomas: There's so many to pick from. My favorite, though, is Independence Pass.

Patrick: OK.

Thomas: You get up on top of there, and you can just see forever, and it's just amazing.

Patrick: OK. Is this something you can drive to, or do you have to hike to it or anything like that?

Thomas: Yeah, you have to drive to it. It's right above Aspen.

Patrick: Very cool. I don't think I've been there. What is the largest order you've ever placed on Amazon?

Thomas: The largest order I've ever created was about $3,000 dollars, but that was a bit much. I think I whittled it down to about $450.

Patrick: Can you give us a hint? That's obviously very private, but how do you get a $3,000 dollar Amazon purchase?

Thomas: Actually, I was going through Amazon and picked all the games I wanted for my library just to see how much it cost to fill it up.

Patrick: Great, OK. I've never– That's a terrifying number. I've never done that. Then what's the game you play with someone every single time at a convention?

Thomas: Every single time? My own, of course, but I don't know that I have one that I play every single time. I try and get Power Grid to the table, that's the one for late nights when we're tired. That's the one I like to pull out because it's one of those where you're either going for it, or you're just too tired to deal with it.

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

Patrick: OK. Very cool. So first real question, how did you get into board games and board game design?

Thomas: I have been somebody who likes puzzles all my life. I've always created mazes and crossword puzzles and all those sorts of things, and I got in with the local game group here in Colorado. We always sat around at the end of the gaming session or whatever, going “We liked this about the game, we hate that about the game, we could change this.”

And we always said, “Why don't we make our own, then? Because there's a lot to change.” After three or four years, I just went, “I'm going to do it. You guys can come or not, but I'm going to do it.” So I just started researching, “How do I make my own board game?”

Patrick: When was this, roughly?

Thomas: That was roughly six years ago, seven years ago now.

Patrick: Interesting.

Thomas: It took me a couple of years to figure out just the basics, ins, and outs of what to do with games.

You’ve been publishing 2-3 games a year. How do you make games so quickly?

Patrick: Yeah, absolutely. One of things I definitely want to chat about is that you have a ton of games on your website, and listeners, I'll have a link in the show notes. You've got a ton of games on your website, and as I was looking on BGG at all of your games, one of the things I noticed is that you've been publishing what looks like about 2-3 games a year.

How do you–? Number one, how do you make games so quickly? How is that even possible? Because I feel like I'm still recovering from making a game and fulfilling it, how are you doing 2-3 a year?

Thomas: In all honesty, there's not two or three year. Because if you take a look at the first set of card games, I started with Snowball Fight and went on there from Food Fight [inaudible], it's part of a “Pick your battle” series.

They're all part of the same series, so once snowball fight was developed, the mechanic didn't change. It's still “Draw a card, play a card,” but the theme changed. Along with that, slight rule variances and such. It is not as many games as you would think.

Patrick: You more likely found– You created a main game, and you created a whole bunch of spin-offs? Is that a better way of saying that?

Thomas: That's a much better way of saying that.

Patrick: OK, very cool. Is it fun to–? All right, how about this. A follow up to that, is it fun to do all these different themes? One of the things I noticed even just listing your games, Viking Games, Dodgeball, Pirates, Wizards, and Witches, Djinns of the High Desert.

It feels like you covered every traditional board game genre, just with Vikings, Pirates, Wizards. That's three big ones right there. Is it fun to re-skin things with different themes?

Thomas: It is, and it isn't. It can be a little challenging. Everybody kept going, “Where's your zombie game?” I could probably try a zombie, but trying to figure out what you would do with the different cards and then the rules, and just nothing ever came. So, there's not a zombie one.

Patrick: It's just that easy?

Thomas: It's not that easy, but yeah.

Why did you decide to sell directly through Amazon instead of the usual Kickstarter campaign?

Patrick: Cool. OK, great. The other thing I thought was really interesting is on your website you have all your games listed, but if you click “Buy” on any of them or click the buy button or click a link, it takes you to Amazon.

You have all of your games, or most of your games, listed on Amazon. That's just unusual for the board game world, so why would you start listing all your games on Amazon as opposed to going with traditional Kickstarter route?

Thomas: I did a lot of research on Kickstarter, and most of the people were telling me it's almost a job in itself. I was just going, “As a new startup company doing game publishing, I don't know that I have the bandwidth to do Kickstarter as well.” Snowball Fight, the first game we put out, wasn't the first game I designed. First game I designed was Trojan War, a big board game war game. But I looked at it, and I said, “That's just going to take so much money to produce.”

So I scaled back, “OK. Let's start with card games. Those are a little bit easier to produce.” It turned out to be cheap enough that I didn't have to go to Kickstarter, and I'm thinking, “If I don't have to go to Kickstarter, I might as well just get it done. That way, I can save a little bit of my bandwidth for getting things going. Then I just kept going from there, I was able to keep self-publishing until this last little bit, and I was like “I still need to get out there because Kickstarter still is a viable way to do things.” So I ran my first Kickstarter last year.

Patrick: Congrats. How did that go?

Thomas: The first time failed, it was not good, but I learned a lot. I relaunched it that fall and was able to successfully get it Kickstarted.

Patrick: Congrats.

Thomas: So yeah, that one, I just finished doing all the shipping on the Kickstarter backers, and that game should launch in the next few weeks.

Patrick: That's great. I like that you were aware that Kickstarter is a job, because lots of people who try to make a Kickstarter, they don't realize it's a job ahead of time and bury themselves into too much work. I like that you did that, is that something you would maybe recommend to other people?

Especially if you're making a small game first, which is other general Kickstarter advice. It's like, “Make a small game first.” But is that something you'd recommend to other people, is to–? If it's a small thing, maybe just produce yourself and then sell it on Amazon?

Thomas: I would probably even take a step back. The one piece of advice that I always give to game designers that I meet up with is, “Publishing a game takes time and effort and all that. So if you just want your game out there, you've made a game, and you want to get it out there, find a publisher. Because they will run through all those things and get your game out there. If you want to run a business, then do it yourself, because that's what it's going to take.”

Because there's more than just going to find a manufacturer and saying, “OK. They've built my game.” Because now you've got to go, “Where am I going to sell it? How am I going to market it? How am I going to get the name out there? With us, we started with our website and even that website with all the– It had a place to sell games on it and everything, but the upkeep on it was just so big that I went “Maybe somebody else could sell for me, and then I'll just use the website as informational.” That's where we trickled over to Amazon, going, “There's another platform.”

Patrick: Really? So you started on your own website and then realized even that was just too much maintenance?

Thomas: Yeah. Because the website software in the background, every other month, I was doing some update and having to make sure that everything still worked. Especially all the integrations with the cells, with the shipping and those sorts of things.

Is selling on Amazon more manageable than Kickstarter?

Patrick: I am running my own store now, but I haven't had too many updates, yet so I hopefully won't run into the same problem, but I can see it being an issue. One of the things I know about Amazon, you have to package items the right way, and you have to put them in boxes, they have to be this big, and you have to have UPC codes. You have to do this, and you have to do that. Was that also–? Did that not feel like work to you? Was that more manageable in some way?

Thomas: It's more manageable. The UPC code thing wasn't that big, and I knew I was going to need UPC codes, so I bought a whole block so I would have all the UPC codes I need. But as far as packaging goes, I figured out what worked with the games, and I don't have Amazon fulfill it. That's a whole other issue.

Patrick: Right, OK. So you're not–?

Thomas: I self-fulfill.

Patrick: Is that one of things that makes it easier for you? Because a lot of people, when they talk about selling on Amazon, they talk about Amazon FBA or fulfillment by Amazon, where you send it to their warehouses.

That's when– And forgive me, that's earlier just a minute ago what I'm talking about, is where you have to have it regimented. There's very strict rules on exactly how you ship things for Amazon FBA, but maybe it's a lot easier just to ship it yourself.

Thomas: Until you get over a certain threshold, which we haven't reached ours yet. But there's just so much that you have to deal with Amazon on, and the cost. There's always fees for them holding your game, fees for them shipping your game, fees for them returning your game. That's just a lot to track.

Patrick: Yes, it is. I'm looking at some of your products now. So, do you–? Here's the upside of Amazon. Here's why people generally like marketplaces, do you just get random people who just buy your stuff from Amazon and have never even been to your website?

Thomas: Yeah, all the time.

Patrick: Amazing. OK, so that's great. I don't hear people talking about that. What's that like? How many sales do you get? You don't need to give me exact numbers, but will you move through your inventory quickly?

Thomas: Not quickly, but sufficiently. You get mostly gamers who are out looking for games, but I'll get a lot of people, especially schools and libraries.

Patrick: What?

Thomas: That's the one thing that amazed me, is how many schools and libraries go “I could use that in my class.”

Patrick: No way. I didn't even know that was a potential market.

Thomas: Yeah, and right before BGG Con this last year, I had an event planner from Dallas, who ordered a whole bunch of Dodgeballs.

Patrick: Very cool.

Thomas: I don't know why, but I saw they were in event planning, so I said, “Sure. Here you go.”

Would you recommend Amazon over Kickstarter to others?

Patrick: All right, very cool. I like hearing the story. So going back to the original question, would you recommend this for other game designers? Would you recommend that they just manufacture–? If you want to get your game out there, go with the publisher, but let's say you do want to run your own business, and you want to handle things yourselves. Then would you recommend it?

Thomas: I would recommend handling Amazon yourself until you get over a certain threshold, yes. Because if you get notified that you had a sale, you go out there and say, “Yeah, I'm shipping it,” you ship it, and you're done.

That's about all you do until you can get into those high volumes until you can start having to deal with Amazon and somebody like Quartermaster or Alliance or Golden Distribution. Because as soon as you start getting into all those distribution channels, now all of a sudden, “I've got six distribution channels to manage. Maybe doing it myself on Amazon isn't still good.”

What have you learned through working with Amazon?

Patrick: Yeah, OK. Then what was–? Just for people who are always, who are thinking about their Kickstarter campaign. What was the thing you learned? Because I generally think people who fail, really figure something out if they later succeed.

Thomas: The one thing that I always heard was, “Have your base, have your list ready to go before you launch.” I had that all ready to go and launched, and I think I picked the wrong time to launch because most of my base didn't back me. I'm just like, “OK. That seemed odd,” so I just spent some time, I looked at what I put out there, and I'd put out enough information on the Kickstarter for people to get to know the game and such.

But I realized that's all it was, it was very clinical, and it was very streamlined because I wanted it to be streamlined, and then I realized “You've got to keep people's interest, you got to give them “This is why this is great, there's other things involved with the game,” and so on and so forth. I got a much better response the second time for that.

Patrick: OK. Yeah, you got to get your base involved. Cool.

Thomas: Yeah, and you got to keep them involved. That was the other thing too, is that I launched it and then I had some conventions that came up, and so I dropped off the radar for a couple weeks. I think that hurt it too because, during the second one, I had people throughout the campaign who were asking questions, making comments. You need to stay on top of that.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a new game design?

Patrick: Definitely. So, what kind of research do you do before you start a new game design?

Thomas: For game design, I don't do a lot of research. I play games all the time, whether they're with other designers or in general. Usually, when I start a game design, and I know there's a lot of different series of thoughts out there, I know some people start with the artwork, and some people start with the theme, some people start with the mechanic. I bounce back and forth.

It's like, the one I'm working on most right now I started with mechanics. I said, “I want to design a ‘Take that' game.” That's where I started, and then I said, “OK. How can I fit ‘Take that' into something?” That's where I moved on from there. Other games I started out going, “OK. I want to have a game about life,” so started with the theme there and started working on that. “OK, what mechanic goes with that?” Those sorts of things. So, it varies.

Does game design energize or exhaust you?

Patrick: Cool. One of the things you highlighted in my giant list of questions that I ask people is, does game design energize or exhaust you?

Thomas: And it's “Yes.” There are plenty of times that when you're sitting there thinking about the game design and thinking about the game's work, it's just exciting. You're like, “I'm digging into the game.” Then there are times when I'm going, “I've been working on this game for two years now, and I'm still not done.” Those are the points where you just go, “OK. Maybe I'll start another design, get re-energized, and then come back to that one.”

Patrick: Let me ask you a more detailed question, what parts of game design energize you and what parts of game design exhaust you?

Thomas: All parts of game design energize me, I love puzzles, so I think it's figuring out the puzzle of the game. Figuring out, “How does the game work?” That's what energizes me. The exhausting piece is just when you get so many moving parts, and you just sit there, going “OK. I've made this change, and I've made that change, and that worked, and that didn't work. Now I'm back to where I was two months ago.”

So you're sitting here trying to figure it all out, that's also a little exhausting. Because you're like, “But I already tried that. It didn't work. But then I changed this, and maybe that does work.” So it's just keeping track of all the different things you've done to see whether or not maybe one didn't work in a certain context, but it'll work later.

Patrick: Yes. I've had a similar problem, where you go to a playtest, and someone says, “You got to add rule X,” and you add rule X, and then the very next playtest someone else is like, “You've got to remove rule X.”

It's very hard to figure out what to do in those situations, and I think it forces you to pick who you're trying to sell to and what you're selling. Or who you're trying to make the game for and ask tougher questions. That is a very hard thing, I've definitely had that.

Thomas: It's also that thing that you can't be afraid to let go of things. If you take a look at the first game that I did, Snowball Fight, that game didn't start as a snowball fight. It started as a snowman building game, so I started with, “How do you build a snowman?”

I was trying to figure out how the cards worked and everything, and it just wasn't working. It wasn't working, and I'm just like, “I want to do something with it.” For some reason, it popped into my head, “Snowmen having a snowball fight. A snowball fight? That could work.” I moved on from there.

What games inspire you?

Patrick: Very cool. Are there any games out there that inspire you?

Thomas: I don't know that any inspire me, they all inspire me. Every time I get a new game or something, I look at it, and I go, “What did they have to go through to design this game?” On some of the bigger ones where you're going, “There's 100 moving parts here.” Sometimes it blows me away, but I keep going “That's going to be me. I'm going to be doing that.”

Patrick: Yeah. I think I'm similar when I pull out some games I'm sometimes amazed that other humans made these. Like, “How did you come up with these ideas?” Yeah, absolutely. What type of games do you like to design?

Thomas: My favorite are strategy games. I like playing them, and I like designing them. That's what I have most in my game design journal, but it's not what I've published so far because it takes time to design them. Especially strategy games, because too many times, I've seen designs where the strategy is linear. You do X, you do Y, you do Z, and you win the game.

Patrick: Sure.

Thomas: For me, then it just becomes a race. It's not a strategy. Strategy, you've got to have multiple paths. It's coming up with all those multiple paths to winning that takes the time.

Patrick: OK, so coming up with different strategies for the game. I like that. How about this? When do you think you will be ready? Because you've been publishing small games for I think close to three years now, that's a long time. When do you think you're going to be ready to go all the way with your big strategy game?

Thomas: I don't know, probably a couple of years, but I am getting bigger. The one that we have coming out a few weeks here, Serpent Master, that's a card-driven abstract game. It's a little bit more strategy, and then we'll just work up from there.

Patrick: I don't think I'm following, so why not create your strategy game today? Maybe that's a good way to ask the question. Why not create the strategy game today?

Thomas: Because I don't think it's ready. It's not that I don't think that the product has to be polished and finished because there are so many different gameplay styles out there. People have their own ideas of what they like, and they don't like. I'm not trying to create that game that everybody will like, but I do want the game where there's nothing in it that's broken.

Patrick: Absolutely. OK, so sorry. Just to clarify, you're not holding yourself back. You're not saying, “I can't create this,” you're saying “It's not where I want it to be, so I'm going to keep going with these other projects.”

Thomas: Yes.

What is your favorite way to market a game?

Patrick: Great, very cool. As someone who's released several games, what is your favorite way to market a game?

Thomas: I don't know that I have a favorite, just anywhere I can market it. I get advertising space where I can, where I can afford it. This last year I was able to get into Casual Game Insider. It's a pretty neat magazine.

Patrick: Cool, how did you make that happen?

Thomas: Actually, they Kickstart every year. They do a Kickstarter for their issue. So when I was doing all my Kickstarter research, I found out about them and missed the Kickstart the year before. I was like, “Dang it. I missed it.”

So this year when it came out, I'm like “OK. Jump on it.” So that's a good way to get that name out there. Then there's, of course, the conventions, getting out to all the conventions you can, that's also pricey, but it still gets your name out there.

Patrick: Yes.

Thomas: Then, you move on to things. This year, I'm going to be doing more BoardGameGeek advertising. Start small and build up.

Are there any fun ideas or mechanisms you’re looking into?

Patrick: Very cool. I'm looking at Casual Game Insider Kickstarter right now. I'll have to– Why didn't I–? This would've been perfect for me. I should've backed this, so I'll have to look into it for future years. Then what are some fun–? How about this, what are some fun ideas or mechanisms you're looking into?

Thomas: I think the most interesting one I was thinking about was trying to make a– I'll call it a “Changeable maze.”

Patrick: A “Changeable maze?”

Thomas: But vertical, so if you take the old Connect Four or Kerplunk where you have the marbles, and they're stuck in by rods. I'm trying to figure some mechanic where you could have that type of deal where you're racing your marbles down the maze, but you can change it by putting rods in or taking rods out, those sorts of things. So that's probably the most interesting mechanic I can think of that I'm toying with.

Patrick: Would there be a real-time element to that game?

Thomas: It's not so much a real-time, because if you did real-time, I just can imagine people getting their fingers poked and so forth. But there's definitely figuring out how the marble moves down, because somebody on the other side may remove a rod that lets your marble go straight through. So, there is a little bit of– You have to plan a little bit.

What does your five year plan look like, and how are you getting there?

Patrick: Then let me just ask you, it sounds like you want to design games full time or run a publishing company. What does your five-year plan look like? How are you getting there?

Thomas: In reality, I started this business to be a retirement business. It's something that when I retire, I'm going to go “I'm going to have fun playing games. I'm going to go around and play games.” 10-year plan, hopefully, 10 years. But everybody that I've talked to said there's a lot of money in games, but trying to do it as a full-time business is just really difficult. Until you reach the level of Mayday, you're probably not going to be able to do it full time.

I was talking with the owner of Mayday last year, and we were talking about game companies and owners, who owned what. He says, “It amazes me because I looked around and I saw all these game companies, and I was interested. Who owns these game companies? It seemed like most of them were owned by one or two people, ran by one or two people.”

Patrick: Yes, it is amazing to me how many game companies are small game companies. Like, less than ten employees. A huge number of them have less than 10 full-time employees, which blows my mind.

Thomas: Even if you do get into trying to do the full time, it's tough.

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

Patrick: Yeah. So, just a natural follow up. Nope, sorry. I almost skipped a couple questions. I'll come to that in a second. So you've been doing this for a while, what is a resource you'd recommend to someone? It could be a blog, a podcast excluding this one, stuff like that.

Thomas: Boy, I don't know that I'd narrow it down to one. It's really, “Do your research.” If you're going to do something, go out and find people who have done it before. Read what they've done, see if it works for you, see if it fits for you. A lot of times, what they did maybe 5-10 years old, and the market's changed, but a lot of the same basic concepts and ideas still work. They're still valid, and you just have to update them. So when I was doing it 6-7 years ago, I went out and I read James Mathy, I read everything that James Mathy put out.

I read everything that Jamey Stegmaier put out. I found the Dice Tower, I listened to their podcast, watched their videos, and just went from there. When I was getting ready to publish and manufacture, I went out on Kickstarter and was looking through all the Kickstarter projects. I said, “OK. Who are you publishing with? Who are you manufacturing with? Who are you shipping with?” I just looked at who everybody was using, and that's where I started doing my research and started going “I'm going to contact them, see what's up with them.”

Patrick: You're advocating doing all the research, which is great. Read Jamey Stegmaier, read James Mathy, back Kickstarter projects, reach out to other creators. You've just got to do everything, is what you're saying.

Thomas: Yeah. It just eliminates all the assumptions that a lot of people make, a lot of people go “I can just get a manufacture in, I can make 1,500 games or 500 games or whatever, store them in my garage and I'll be good. I'll just sell them.” No, there's more to it than just that.

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

Patrick: Yeah, just a little bit. OK, so how about this. What is the best money you've ever spent? What is something where every single cent was 100% worth it, what's the best money you spent in the game design world?

Thomas: I would have to say that the absolute best money I've ever spent in the game design world is the Tabletop Network.

Patrick: Really?

Thomas: If, as a game designer, you don't do anything else all year, go to that.

Patrick: OK, so that–

Thomas: Because you will meet people.

Patrick: Yes. That is great to hear because I'm always trying to understand, “Who is that exactly for?” Let me ask you some– Is that to meet other people in the industry? It sounds like that's your main reason you like it?

Thomas: To meet other people in the industry, and to get outside of your local playtesting group. Because you get to know your local playtesting group a lot, and once you know each other well, you can usually tell what other people are going to say, and you go “OK. I know why you did that, and I know why you did that.”

But by bringing in people that are fully outside, they're going to give you honest opinions. They're going to give you no-holds-barred. “This is what you need to change. This is what's up. This is what I don't like,” and you get to meet other people in the industry.

Patrick: Great, I love that. I love hearing that. So I take it you're going back next year?

Thomas: Yeah, that's the thing. It started in Utah, and I had just finished going to SaltCON the year they started. Right after SaltCON, they announced Tabletop Network. I'm like, “I can't make it back out to Utah in the same year.” So I missed that first year on-site, but this last year being on-site with them was just so much better.

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

Patrick: Very cool. My favorite ending question is, what does success in the board game world look like to you?

Thomas: I saw that question, and I've thought a lot about that because, for some people, it's being able to sell 10,000 games. That that would be awesome, I would love that, every time I sell 10,000 games.

I think the biggest success for me is when I hear people go, “I loved your game. Thank you for creating it” I've heard that enough that it keeps me going, but just to hear that, it gives you chills.

Patrick: Just to have that impact on a person so that they reach out to you and say something?

Thomas: To me, that's what gaming is all about it. It's about getting to know other people, getting out of the house, getting off the computer, and getting across the table from someone. Chatting, playing a game, having fun.


Patrick: All right. I like to end my show with a little game called Overrated/Underrated. Basically, I'm going to give you a word or phrase– In this case, I'm going to say “Cell phone,” and then you're just going to say they're overrated or underrated.

You're going to say– You can go with either one, let's say you could magically say “Underrated because they let you check your e-mail from anywhere.” Something like that. Make sense?

Thomas: Sure.

Patrick: All right. I wrote this one ahead of time, and now it's funny. Tabletop Network, overrated or underrated?

Thomas: Underrated. I think there's a lot of people that go, “I'm not a very good designer. I don't think I should go.” It doesn't matter if you're a designer and want to get your stuff out there and people to look at it, go.

Patrick: OK. Fantastic. Let's go with Post-It notes. Overrated or underrated?

Thomas: Boy, that's a good question. I'm going to say overrated, just because there are so many ways to keep track of things now. I used to have so many Post-It notes on my computer and on my desk that I would lose things, and I got to the point where I'm like, “It needs to be in a journal, it needs to be somewhere where I know it is.” Then I moved all the Post-It notes to a journal, and then my journal got all messed up.

Patrick: OK, love it. Let's go with– The last game-related one here. Let's just go with escape rooms, overrated or underrated?

Thomas: It depends on how they're built. I think the well-built ones are underrated because the non-well-built ones can turn people off.

Patrick: OK, right.

Thomas: For instance, I was in an escape room where there was a picture on a wall that had a key in it, and you had to have a magnet that moved the key through a maze behind the picture. We tried that, it didn't worked, and we never escaped the room because we never got the key. Come to find out, they hadn't designed it well, and the key got stuck in a crack.

Patrick: That's incredibly frustrating. This is a little long rant, but I find that game masters and the people who help you run your room are incredibly important to the overall experience because inevitably some piece of tech will fail and then you just need one person to be like “Let me pause your time, I'll do this. I'll get the key out. OK, keep going.” I've had some bad experiences too.

Thomas: But if they're done well, the number of puzzles you have to solve and the number of things that you can do can just be wonderful.

Patrick: OK. Then I would just want to end with, now that Disney Plus has been out for a few months, I asked someone right as it came out, but I don't think I've asked anyone in a couple months. So, what is Disney Plus? Overrated or underrated?

Thomas: I'm going to say overrated, and that comes from a maybe unique perspective. Because we decided, my family decided 15 years ago now get rid of TV services. We haven't had cable or satellite in all that time, so all these streaming services and everything that come along “We'll give you here great content,” but you have to do X Y or Z, and it's usually so much per month.

Which is fine, but it always seems like it's more of the drug dealer saying, “We're going to give you great content for the first two years, and then it's just going to fall off from there.”

Patrick: Sure.

Thomas: It's like, “I've been paying you all this money. Why don't you keep going?

Wrap Up

Patrick: All right. Fair enough. Thank you for being on the show, Thomas.

Thomas: I appreciate it. I loved it.

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

Thomas: Amazon, if you want to buy it. Amazon just under Toresh Games. Look up any of our games.

Patrick: How do you spell that?

Thomas: Toresh Games, or you can go to our website, all one word. That will direct you also back to Amazon to buy games, and then in a couple of weeks here, we're launching our new game Serpent Master. That will be

Patrick: Fantastic. I love it. So, listeners– Hold on. I just lost my place here. Great, listeners, if you liked this podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes. If you leave a review, Thomas said he would check with Jeff Bezos if Amazon Prime could someday include a game explaining service, where when you order a game, you get the game and a game master who delivers it to you and explains the game. So, Thomas, you'll get on that if someone leaves a review?

Thomas: Yeah, definitely.

Patrick: Yeah, definitely going to happen ASAP. You can visit the site at, you can follow me on Twitter and BoardGameGeek, I am @BFTrick on both platforms. That is all I have for you, so everyone out there have a good night. Bye-bye.

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