GenCon 2016 - Consolidation in the Board Game Industry


Release Date: August 16 , 2016

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Running Time:   44 min.

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There have been waves of consolidation within the board game industry over the past 3 years.

The largest contributor to this trend is the French publisher Asmodee. Backed by a huge influx of funds from a new investor, Eurazeo, Asmodee has acquired several very successful publishers including Days of Wonder, Fantasy Flight Games and most recently F2Z Entertainment. They have also acquired the licenses to mega popular titles Spot It and Catan and have reorganized their retail and distribution policies to streamline their supply chain and limit online sales. 

Does this speak to the overall health of the industry, as it expands out of the niche market, possibly allowing some of the modern games we love to make their way into the mainstream or mass market?

OR is this the start of a cycle known well in economic circles where consolidation leads to less innovation and competition with one massive player in the market dominating all levels of the playing field?

OR is the truth somewhere in the middle?

Our panel features:

Eric Summerer (The Dice Tower)

Lance Myxter (Undead Viking)

Doug Richardson (Spieler, aka Lyle Otterbein)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2016 - Designing Games with a Partner


Release Date: August 15 , 2016

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Running Time:   37 min.

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Working with a partner in any endeavor can be rewarding and challenging. Collaborating with someone on a creative project perhaps even moreso.

We’ve assembled an all-star panel to explore the process of co-designing games: Matt Leacock, Rob Daviau, Bruno Faidutti and Bruno Cathala. Both Brunos have a wealth of experience working with many different designers throughout their careers. Rob and Matt have also worked with several co-designers and have joined forces recently to combine two game worlds and game systems into an experience that is greater than the sum of its parts (Pandemic: Legacy).

What motivates designers to want to work together? How do they establish a common vision or divide up the tasks involved in the development process? How do they playtest since partners are often separated by distances large and small? How do they deal with conflict? How do they know when the game is done? We learn how our panelists approach these challenges and more over the course of our conversation.

Our panel features four noted game designers:

Matt Leacock

Rob Daviau

Bruno Faidutti

Bruno Cathala

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2016 - The Art of the Matter


Release Date: August 14 , 2016

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Running Time:   47 min.

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This round table discussion explores the importance of art and aesthetics as an integral part of the game development process.

From the artwork on and in the box to the size and shape of the components to the layout and logo, we examine the time and effort that goes into making a game beautiful or visually engaging. We also delve into the relationship between publisher, artist and graphic designer. These decisions and these relationships are not trivial. The publishers on our panel invest heavily in the idea that aesthetics can make an average game good and a good game great. Tune in to learn why!

Our panel features:

Stephan Brissaud (Iello)

Stephen Buonocore (Stronghold Games)

Kevin Brusky (APE Games)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2016 - So, You Want to Start Publishing Games


Release Date: August 13 , 2016

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Running Time:   49 min.

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Every month, more small game publishing companies seem to sprout up. Even with a great game design in-hand, bringing that game to market as a sustainable business is a huge challenge for any young publisher.

Each member of this round table discussion has gone through the process of learning the various elements that go into publishing games. And each member has become an established player in the industry as a small or mid-sized publisher.

What can we learn from them? What advice do they wish others had given them when they were just starting out? What pitfalls would have been easy to avoid had they only known about them? Are there basic but not obvious steps anyone interested in publishing games can take that will set them up for success or, at the very least, prevent them from falling prey to common first-timer mistakes?

Our panel features:

Ted Alspach (Bezier Games)

Paul Bender (Greater Than Games)

Tim Fowers (Fowers Games)

Travis Worthington (Indie Boards & Cards)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2016 - Women Building Careers in the Game Industry


Release Date: August 12 , 2016

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Running Time:   47 min.

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The game industry is growing. And as it grows, it includes an even greater variety of voices at the table. This means more women are building careers in publishing and creative development as well as media production and marketing. We delve into the details and daily routines behind several of these career paths and we explore the different ways the game world will evolve as more women work and play in the world of games.

Our panel features:

Lea Culliton (HABA USA)

Brittanie Boe (Game Wire)

Tanya Thompson (Marbles: The Brain Store)

Donna Jaffe (Peaceable Kingdom)

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

GenCon 2016 - Designing Games for Kids


Release Date: August 11 , 2016

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Running Time:   47 min.

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A round table discussion about the challenges of designing games for kids.

Are there factors that weigh into the design and development process when publishing or designing a game specifically for kids? If so, what are these factors? From rules and components to playtesting and packaging, we explore the decisions children's game publishers and designers make that are markedly different from games catering to adults.

Our panel features:

Markus Nikisch (HABA)

Brandan Parsons (Blue Orange)

Josh West (ThinkFun)

Bernie DeKoven (Major Fun).

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 236: Karuba is Major Fun


Release Date: August 1 , 2016

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Running Time:   35 min.

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Karuba is an island with hidden treasures. Your goal is to lead your team of adventurers through the jungle along the smartest route to riches. Each turn you have a  choice: place a tile to create a path to the treasure temples OR discard the tile and move one your team's pawns along the path. You might even run across some gold or diamonds along the way.

Deceptively simple, Karuba uses a bingo like system to offer players a wonderful strategic puzzle for players young and old. 

Tune in to learn the mysteries of Karuba why we think it deserves the Major Fun Award!

Complete Show Notes continue after the break.

Episode 235: The Spiel on Paradox


Release Date: June 20 , 2016

Download: PDF

Designer: Brian Suhre

Publisher:  Split Second Games

2-4 pl 90 min ages 10+ MSRP $40


In Paradox you are a scientist fighting to save worlds from The Quake which tears at the fabric of reality. Inspired by Match-3 games like Bejeweled, players manipulate a grid of colorful discs to gather resources in order to save the past present and future of 15 different worlds

The heart of Paradox is the match-3 engine that drives so many casual games. The wonderful surprise is that this same engine can drive a game with greater complexity and deeper strategies. This brilliant union of seeming opposites makes Paradox a worthy winner of the Spiel of Approval Award.

Written review continues after the break.


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