Jonny Pac Cantin, designer of Coloma and Sierra West has joined me for some damn fine Chinese food. We are on our third or fourth trip to the buffet, and through our MSG induced haze, we are still able to intelligently discuss board game design. Mostly.

JPC: And one that’s coming to Kickstarter soon, Bellwether’s Lions of Lydia. Originally it didn’t have a limit on the tableau you could build. It was an endgame trigger though, when you build X amount of cards, and additionally upgraded X amount of cards. And so, that was part of it. There needed to be a little bit of a speed bump or something, to rubber band that a little bit. So we kind of tied it in with mechanisms that, as you advance on your culture track, you can facilitate having a larger and larger tableau. Which Endeavor kind of has a little bit of that, where there’s one of the tracks on Endeavor you can now have this many cards in your tableau if you’ve done this otherwise you hit your ceiling sooner or later. So, we implemented that, and it ties in with nicely with the other mechanisms. And I think that was a kind of a fun decision to put in there, because it also, given that that is one of the end conditions, it stops somebody from just buying everything at once and sudden death ending the game. Because they need to cater and build up their culture [tableau limit]. And the only way by doing that is by doing good in different domains, which cross pollinate back into allowing you to do that. By the time that happens on somebody’s game state, it’s more than likely that everybody else is at a comparable game state, which is important.

DTD: Tell me a little but about Lions of Lydia. I don’t know much about it. I’ve followed a little bit online.

JPC: We haven’t released a ton of information on it, but it is coming to Kickstarter soon. That was one where the theme drove the design, even though it was pretty loose in what it did.

DTD: Cowboys, right?

JPC: [laughs] Yeah, cowboys. I was reading a book, and it was some sort of Reader’s Digest on how things came to be at some point in time. When did the sewing machine appear, and that sort of thing. And what did it do? And then it went to… coins, currency, when did that start? And it talks about Lydia and this particular coin, which is known as the Lydian Lion coin, because that’s the stamp on the front. Made out of gold and electrum. And that took people from just bartering, or crediting in some way, into more of a “give you coins” to do your thing.

DTD: Setting a standard.

JPC: Yeah, and I found it interesting, because a lot of euro games will be resource management games, where you are pushing cubes and all this to do stuff. And sometimes gold is just one of those resources, or a premium one, or a wild one in some cases, but it does rely more on the trading of things, this for that. A sheep for wood kind of a thing, instead of “I sell my sheep for money, and then I take the money and buy the wood” kind of a process. That’s more like what we do now. So, I wanted to look at a transition that had the front end of the game be very resource driven, and basically all you are doing is generating resources of various kinds. And that stuff going to let you invest in cards that will get you more resources. Like a better land herd, you’re going to produce more oxen by doing that. But those don’t necessarily get you victory points, and so there comes a point where the Lydian meeples come into your rural area. And they give you coins for your oxen now. You go, “Coins? OK.” So, these coins are wild resources, and they are the linchpin that allows you to buy the Estate cards, and things like that. Think, like Dominion. Like, the kind of cards that are going to get you the victory points. But those are conditional cards, like “Get points for having oxen”. But you need to buy that card with coins.

DTD: You need to set it up.

JPC: Right. And there’s no way to brute force it, be like, “I’ll just trade a whole bunch of cattle for it and get the card.” No, no, no, you have to get coins by some means. You have to go and trade for coins.

DTD: You have to go through the coins to get to the points.

JPC: Exactly. So, the game kind of goes…. It’s not a long game, it’s like a half hour. It goes through this point where you are playing this one kind of euro game, and it’s doing its thing, then all of a sudden money becomes a thing. And that opens up this back end of the game for you, when you change gears and you start to scoop up these point cards.

DTD: I’ve enjoyed a bunch of games that have that flow, where you collect stuff, and your game is a lot of collecting stuff. And at a certain point you need to switch to generating points. And it’s finding that right time to switch.

JPC: Yeah, this one’s based exactly on that. And it has a nice little arc. And the mechanical inspiration, besides the economic one, somebody was talking about bag builders and that kind of thing, and we were playing Orleans. The player was getting a little frustrated that you’d put a whole bunch of one particular type of worker in the bag, and that worker would never come out. And this other one, there was just one of it, and the damn thing would pop up all the time. So, the bags have this kind of this evergreen problem sometimes, where… Altiplano, that you play out your bag into a discard bucket, and so things will come out like a deck builder. And then it replenishes. I was kind of looking at the problem a little differently, going “Well, what if the distribution was very low in your bag to the point where you can use heuristics and impulse to figure out what is the likelihood of getting something?” So, in this particular game you always have 4 meeples in your bag that you’re picking up, no more, no less. So, if you have 4 of the same colored meeple, you have a 100% chance of getting this particular type out of there.

DTD: So, you always have 4 in there, but you are manipulating what those 4 are.

JPC: So, every time you take one, you put it on someplace, then you draw new one and repopulate it back to 4. So, you could have a varied, I could get anything if I have 4 different types, or I could put it in there where it skews heavily towards one particular [color] thing for a while.

DTD: And with that few, it works really well with a bag rather than with a dice roll at a table, which is a pain in the butt. And that is the way they would do it in the 70s. Or 4 cards, which are tough to shuffle. I’ve seen quite a few games do the 4 cards thing.

JPC: Yeah, then you would have to trade them out. Where in this case, there’s that natural, like, place a meeple, get your resources for doing a worker placement, and them pick up a meeple from someplace else, and you can only pick up the meeples that have been previously dumped by somebody else.

DTD: A little bit of Raiders of the North Sea there.

JPC: Yeah, something kind of akin to that. Now there’s kind of a central place where the meeples will congregate after they’ve done their work. And that’s the draft pool [the Fountain].

DTD: Cool!

JPC: Yeah, it’s kind of a neat thing, and the mechanism is, that if you go to a particular market, say it’s the red arch is there, the red gate… And you put your red meeple there, well you are going to get one red good for your red meeple, one red good for the red arch, and say there’s also a green meeple there, you’re also going to get a green good. So, it’s going to be like olive oil and oxen in this case. And those will stay there, so the next person that places something, they’re going to get what you got, which is the red that you placed.

DTD: Plus, the one that they placed.

JPC: Plus, the one that they placed. So, these build up, and once there’s two of the same color that came out, they flush. So, these 4 markets are building and ebbing and flowing, as you put these things in.

DTD: That’s lovely.

JPC: You can’t immediately withdraw the meeple you placed, like “I’ll put the red meeple there and take the red meeple back”. Well, no, he’s over there doing his thing until red meeples flush from some market. Or a second one. So, you have to adapt to what’s in the pool as you pull.

DTD: Well now I’m excited about this one. That’s just what I needed was another game to get excited about.

Spoiler from the future: I played Lions of Lydia at GAMA, loved it, backed it. The Kickstarter successfully funded on April 9, 2020.

JPC: Well at least this one only takes a half hour to play.

DTD: I never look at that. I’m one of those people that I don’t think I’ve ever looked at the time on the box. It just hasn’t been a big deal to me. It’s more does it look cool; does it do neat stuff?

JPC: I’m the same way. I mean, if it’s a 9-hour game, I know I’m going to have a hard time getting it to the table, but anything between 30 minutes and 3 hours, I can justify.

DTD: So, is it one of these games where you can get lost in the excitement of the mechanisms and the cool things going on, and forget to ever get points? Because I have played a couple of those in my day.

JPC: I know what you are talking about. You create really cool resource engines.

DTD: You said the Lydians come in.

JPC: Yeah, so there’s a couple mechanisms. One of them is that the Lydian meeples are the golden meeple, and they are placed out on the cards that pertain to those, and they are out in the market. So, they don’t enter the game, the pool, until somebody buys that card. Then that [Lydian meeple] guy goes into the central area, of which place he can be drafted. And as that goes into somebody’s bag, comes out of their bag, and ends up in play, people can start to interact with those [golden] meeples more.

DTD: But that’s again, that’s one of the things I really liked with Raiders of the North Sea, was these meeples got infused into the game. At the beginning there were just the boring meeples that only went to the boring places. But as people did more actions, it brought in the other colored meeples naturally. They just flowed in. And that, it changed the nature of the game without you realizing you were being manipulated. Which was just awesome. And what you are talking about sounds an awful lot like that. It just sounds very cool.

JPC: I’m really excited about it, because it’s one of those you’re talking about, like the elegant designs. I feel like this one is very elegant, tight design. And even the way we are dealing with the user interface on the cards and things is: if something would take somebody out of the zone of play, and put them in the zone of looking up in the rulebook, “what is this weird interaction thing?” We didn’t want anything like that to disturb play. We wanted people to look at the things [in play], and just intuitively know what they do.

DTD: Just get it.

JPC: So sometimes it’s very simple, an icon will show blue meeple goes to blue place, get +1 blue thing when you do that. Right, just simple, simple stuff like that. And that will change your behavior in a lot of interesting ways, let you hedge your bets in different ways. And some of these will allow you to go into a different market, to get different types of things.

DTD: Cool.

JPC: So, it’s simple in that, and then the other heuristic which I like a lot a lot from the game Valletta, was there’s double sided cards in that game.

DTD: Almost nobody plays Valletta! Valletta is great, it’s on my shelf. Pulled it out not that long ago.

JPC: I love Valletta. I love Stefan Dorra and I think that’s one of his best games. Definitely a big fan of it. Also, one of the big inspirations of Sierra West was to use a smaller sized deck building element, and to use tangible resources with a deck-builder. Because that’s one of the few games that does that, it’s like a digital resource. But one thing it does have, is a big old spray of cards up there that do all this stuff, and you go, “How do you know what a card does [on its back side] when it’s up there?” It does exactly double what it does on the front. Which is such a great way to look at that. You go, “Ok, if I get this card it gets me a stone. What happens if I upgrade it?”

DTD: Twice as much stone.

JPC: You get 2 stone. And so it’s like, Ok well that’s a great mechanism whenever you have a double sided element, and you don’t want people flipping back and forth, or referring to a rulebook that tells you what the upgraded side is. Because sometimes things are qualitative, like “Oh, it requires this type of meeple to activate this [action], but if it’s upgraded it takes a different type of meeple.”

DTD: That gets confusing. But I’ve also enjoyed some of these that upgrading it is something random, and you’re not allowed to know until you upgrade. So, you have to push your luck, of do I want to or not. Hadara had some of that. That the military tiles in Harada had a really good thing, and you could decide to pay money, so are losing resources to flip it. And it could be better, but it could be the same, and it was a real push your luck with that.

JPC: You know that’s an interesting point. I’ve played that game several times, once with you even, and I never thought of the idea of memorizing the back side of those tokens.

DTD: I love that random element to it. I know there’s something on the back, and it’s probably better, but I don’t know if it’s a little better or a lot better. So here is an interesting one – this is totally off subject now. I played, actually at Shiloh, the Dresden Files Cooperative Deck Builder.

JPC: OK, I saw you guys playing.

DTD: I was excited to play, I’ve read some of the books, it’s a neat world. It had a mechanism in there that I am really trying to decide if I hate it or not. That a lot of the cards gave you strength, and it was your typical “I have this much strength, and he has this much defense, and do I win”.

JPC: Sure.

DTD: And the cards would give you strength, and some would give you strength plus a die. But the dice in the game had 2 blank sides, 2 +1 sides and 2 -1 sides. So, they were completely even dice, probabilistically. At the end of the game, though, it gave you this option to have a ton of dice, and I think it was playing off of the supposition that people believe more dice are better, from every other game you’ve played. But in this game, they even out, so more dice, … you are going to get exactly the same result no matter how many dice you roll. But you’re going to have longer trailers and bigger standard deviation maybe. And I can’t decide if this is neat, or if this is terrible.

JPC: Yeah, I played a game recently that had dice that also went from a zero to plus to a certain amount of negatives, and it had a spectrum on it.

DTD: But it should skew one way or the other. I’d be fine if it was a minus, 2 pluses and 3 blanks. You know, something like that, so you knew, on average, it was better to have more dice. Let’s say you get 100 dice. And everything you have experienced up to this point is that more dice is better. “Oh, my goodness, I’m going to go crazy”. But 100 dice, and it will average out to, like, nothing. They all neutralize each other. So, it frustrated me.

I actually wrote a program to roll 100 of these dice 1000 different times, and one third of the time, the total of all the dice ranged only from -3 to 3. Half of the time they totalled between -5 and 5. Lots of dice, little consequence.

JPC: I don’t think I like that.

DTD: But then I started thinking about skewed dice, that have negatives on them, like you are talking about. You know, a minus, two pluses, three blank. Something like that. That would be kind of cool curve on that. Although it’s all psychology, I mean. If you are just thinking about the numbers and the mechanisms, none of it really matters.

JPC: The psychology of getting a negative is going to be way worse than zero or a flat.

DTD: People don’t like it.

JPC: Psychology of getting +1 is going to be relatively good, so it’s one of those things, where sometimes games will penalize you for not getting something, and to me that’s kind of a penalty alone. Is that you didn’t get to do something, because your delta is gonna get pushed around, and then if it tips you backwards the other way that’s just punishing somebody doubly.

DTD: It feels again like a 70s mechanism. You know, there were a bunch of these games where you draw card and it just says, “You die!” The classic Talisman “horrible black void”. I’ve played a 4-hour game, I’ve gotten to the center, I’ve done everything, this is the final climactic end of the game, and the final card that says, “You die.”

JPC: There’s another game from the 70s that’s reprinted a lot was that Cosmic Encounter. It has a very, very strange number set in those cards, because you might have a 5 or a 6, and then somebody has a 93.

Cosmic Encounters was first published in 1977, and it was famous for not having any dice. Of course, it made up for dice randomness by having massive card randomness. Including early expansions, card values range from -7 to 40.

DTD: They’re all over the place.

JPC: And there’s no 74, and it’s like there’s a lot of numbers.

DTD: They just announced a new Cosmic Encounter game, which kind of blows me away. It’s a 2-player only Cosmic Encounters.

JPC: Great for negotiating.

DTD: [laughs] That’s strange. I don’t know. Because nothing else, as far as I know, has really been in that universe, or used those kind of mechanisms. Or even those same designers since the 70s.

JPC: Seems pretty sleepy, yeah.

DTD: But it’s a loved game.

JPC: Yeah, it is.

DTD: I like it a lot, if you have a social group, and you all like talking to each other, it’s a fantastic, crazy game. And you have to have a group that accepts the fact that the game is inherently broken. It just has a lot of stuff in it that’s crazy. I don’t know how much of it you’ve played, but there’s actually a character that is allowed to cheat, and the description of the character says, “You are allowed to cheat.” Anytime you want, just grab a card from the middle, and you can just take cards, money, whatever you want. And if someone catches you, then you have to reveal that you are the cheater guy and you got caught, and then the rest of the table knows. We need more games that allow you to cheat.

The cheating alien is Filtch. It’s an absolute blast to play, but you feel bad if you don’t warn people it could be in the game. Yet, it doesn’t work if people know it’s in the game. A conundrum – the ethics of cheating.

JPC: I think there’s one called Cheating Moth. From the Cockroach Poker guys. I think the whole premise of that is you try to play a normal game, but you’re stuffing cards up your sleeves, throwing them on the floor, and just trying anything.

DTD: It’s a neat idea, but I think… It’s a cool idea that’s almost impossible to make work. Because you couldn’t play it repeated times, you couldn’t get good at it. Like the cheater in Cosmic Encounter, it works until people know that there’s a cheater in Cosmic Encounter. And it’s kind of neat and frustrating and exciting all at the same time when someone says, “I’ve been cheating the whole time because I’m allowed.” But then after that, everyone’s looking for it. There’s a couple of games based on that sort of thing – Quao. And the whole game is basically a whole bunch of cheating that all happens and it’s surprising, but you could never play it again. It’s probably the original Legacy game. It was interesting. Again, it was these crazy ideas in the 70s and 80s that just took every rule and threw them out the window and made completely broken games.

JPC: Gonna grab another plate, some soup?

DTD: I’m getting pretty full. I try to stop, but they just keep dragging me back in again.

JPC: [pointing up] And this is not the soundtrack. They put on a different CD.

DTD: I jinxed it. We talked about it outside.

JPC: I will have to ask her about it, what the deal is.

DTD: Maybe they set a different soundtrack for each day of the week.

JPC: I don’t know.

DTD: I remember when I was a kid, I was into board games forever. They were just harder to find when I was a kid.

Our hostess happened to walk by at this moment, and Jonny did, in fact, ask her about the new music. There was a bit of communication difficulty, but a few things became very clear. 1) She disliked the old music, which was very, very old. The old music likely came with the old music player, which had broken. From old. The new player came with new music. 2) She could not understand why Jonny liked the old music. 3) She was in utter disbelief that Jonny even noticed the music had changed.

DTD: When I was a kid, I had a game, and it was an independent design. I don’t know where I found it, but it was called Wabbit Wampage. And it was Looney Tunes, the board game, and it was cheap, cheap components. You might even have had to cut apart some of the paper, but it was chits mostly. And it was so broken, but there was dynamite and shotguns, and everything you’d see in cartoons.

JPC: Elmer Fudd in a corset?

DTD: It was a blatant rip-off. Raymond Scott music going in the background. One of my favorite jazz composers, by the way.

JPC: Oh, no kidding?

Raymond Scott wrote nearly all of the jazzy cartoon music made famous by 1950’s Looney Tunes. Look him up. It’s worth it.

DTD: One player plays the rabbit, one player plays the dog. It plays up to 4. And each character is progressively less powerful. So, it was pretty much always the rabbit who won. And if you had 4 people, then the person in last had like no prayer at all. Just one of those games I had in high school or junior high even.

Don’t get me wrong. Wabbit Wampage was terrible. It was unbalanced, it looked ugly, the components were cheap. But I loved it.

JPC: A game as a kid I remember for whatever reason is… I don’t know why we had it, and where it came from. It was a 1964-5 game called, I think, Gingerbread Man. It was kind of a roll and move thing, but you were collecting these puzzle pieces to build a tableau of a gingerbread house, if you could complete it. It had a candy roof and all these other, cracker sides and all that stuff. And you were trying to roll and land on the right places to assemble this thing. And I remember really liking it. It wasn’t drawn, it was pictures of real candy, that they had kind of made, pre-photoshop, worked into it.

DTD: There were a couple of those strange ones.

JPC: I haven’t chased down a complete, cheap copy of it yet, but I intend to at some point.

DTD: My parents didn’t play very many games, but I remember very distinctly every game that was in the game closet, and exactly where they were, and exactly what the boxes looked like.

JPC: [laughs] The order and everything.

DTD: I had a nearly photographic memory when I was a kid, and it kind of went away with years of abuse. They had Aggravation, and Rummikub, which I still absolutely love. That is still such a good games.

JPC: Rummikub, we had that too! I liked it. It is a good game.

DTD: And my dad, pretty smart guy, would go absolutely nuts on Rummikub. He would look at it for a while, and you were allowed to rearrange absolutely everything.

Rummikub had a great mechanism: Players would lay down tiles in sets and runs, but once played into the middle of the table, they were free game. You could take apart and rearrange the tiles any way you like, as long as 1) you added at least one of your own tiles into the middle, and 2) all runs and sets in the middle were at least 3 tiles. This led to people doing massive rearrangements, often to the point of destroying the game.

JPC: Mess everything up just to lay one more down.

DTD: And he could do it. That was such a good game.

JPC: It’s an interesting mechanic, I haven’t seen redone in another game, where you can… You have some objective and you can go mess up the entire board state freely, as long as you can then legally do your one thing.

DTD: Yeah, but a lot of the time, someone would do it all and then wouldn’t be able to put it back.

JPC: Yeah, exactly. Misfire.

DTD: That was the bad side. But it was worth it. That game was very, very good.

JPC: We have it here, that was one of my very favorites. That and Uno.

Uno. I did not edit this to make fun of Jonny. He really said Uno.

DTD: We never had Uno. Or even very many card games. My parents would play Canasta. My grandparents were Bridge national champions, so I always hated Bridge. [laughs] But I would shop for all the Avalon Hill Games and all the niche games, and weird games, and would seek them out. And I was an only child, so, more often than not, I would get a game and not be able to play it. So, I had a bunch of these Avalon Hill games that I couldn’t play, never played. But I read them like crazy like they were novels.

JPC: Right, right, thinking of all the rules.

DTD: My grail game then, might still be, because I don’t think I have it anymore, was Freedom in the Galaxy. It was a blatant rip-off of Star Wars. So, it was a 2 player, enormous board, with a gillion planets. And every planet had an orbital ring and a surface. And one player had good looking, individual characters that all had back stories, and skills and abilities, and they went on quests. And one player had faceless masked bad guys in black and white, who just had a bunch of ships, and they just killed things. And it was a battle between doing these quests and running versus obliterating.

The character names in Freedom in the Galaxy were fantastic. The giant dog man was named “Barca”. The female hero was “Thysa Kimbo”.

JPC: Wow.

DTD: But it was Avalon Hill, and it had the 100-page rulebook, with everything nested and numbered in a very logical manner.

JPC: I don’t think I’ve ever played anything remotely like that.

DTD: Oh, I tried hard. I brought it to music camp. I went to a sleep-away music camp 3 years running, where they just throw us in the middle of the woods in Vermont for 7 weeks.

JPC: 7 weeks, wow. That’s a long time.

DTD: Well, there was a 4-week session and a 3-week session. And I was a very independent kid, so I didn’t care, I didn’t really get homesick. I didn’t care if I was away. It was cool to be there as long as possible.

JPC: I would go to a 2-week one sometimes, or a week-long one for music or art. And I really liked it.

DTD: Yeah, this was Point Counter Point in Middlebury, Vermont. And we would get some pretty impressive teachers and guests and things. The guy who ran the camp was the head of music for Middlebury College, and they had a pretty decent music program, so he had connections. There was, people from other countries would show up, it was really wild. It was a very cool experience, and they didn’t know what to do with me. Because when I was a kid, I played early music, renaissance and baroque.

So, we have a dude that played Uno as a kid, and another that went to music camp with a recorder. Bow before king nerd.

The check arrived, and Jonny made the mistake of actually daring to reach for it. There are some thing I simply will not abide.

DTD: Oh, no, no, no, no. Officially I paid for this, it’s part of the deal.

JPC: I understand, I’m a cheap date. [laughs]

DTD: I’m not cheap, but I’m easy. Oh, we had people from other countries and very strange connections. One of the granddaughters of the M&M Mars company was in the music camp, so we would get these 50-pound gift boxes of candy that would show up every once in a while. There was one guy, I think he was 17 or 18, but he was highly autistic, almost noncommunicative, an idiot savant. You could sit him in front of a piano and he could play anything. Perfect pitch, could tell you exactly where things went, what was wrong, what was right. But if you moved him away from the piano, and he just walked in circles around the camp, and he couldn’t communicate. That was wild. And there were a lot of people with perfect pitch, and I found that fascinating.

JPC: It is.

DTD: So, I grilled them all the time, about “What are you hearing that I don’t hear?”

JPC: Exactly. I don’t have that. I have good relative pitch; I don’t have perfect pitch.

People with perfect pitch can hear a sound and tell you exactly what note it is, sometimes even what frequency it is. Relative pitch is the ability to tell how far apart notes are with some accuracy. People with relative pitch can tell you what notes are played by ear, once you play them a reference note first.

DTD: I had OK relative pitch. My daughter actually has perfect pitch. You met her. She was exceptionally good at piano, but also very good at art. And she’s always kind of meandering between more drawing and more music. She got me mad because she picked up a ukulele, because she thought they looked cool. And within 5 minutes figured out exactly how to play it, what all the chords were. Started strumming things out from ear. I can’t do that. But at music camp they couldn’t figure out what to do with me, because I would come in as a recorder player, or… And this was classical music, where every third person was a violinist. They didn’t know how to set me up with anything.

JPC: Next thing, come in with a slide whistle.

DTD: Yup. But I was very good with my slide whistle.

JPC: Just need to be in the Spike Jones orchestra.

DTD: I would have loved it. As a kid, I absolutely would have thrived being near Spike Jones. Just half a generation off [laughs].

Spike Jones was famous for playing all sorts of “toy” instruments in his orchestra, including slide whistles, gunshots, and goofy voices. I would have given anything to play crazy music with the man, but unfortunately his hey day was a good 20 years before I was born.

JPC: Yeah, that’s great.

DTD: I really want to do more music. I love bluegrass, absolutely love it. But I am so frustrated that I can’t make my fingers do what my brain is thinking about.

JPC: Bluegrass is a surprisingly structured and regimented way of playing music. I tend to play looser forms of music than anything classical or bluegrass, then I tend to play looser forms of games than ones that are chess like or extremely logical. Or, ones that have a lot of cognitive rules, and a 100-page rulebook. I can’t maintain that size. Somewhere in between, a middle weight euro with a skosh of luck, and need some people skills on top of being able to guesstimate, is my jam.

DTD: Tichu.

JPC: Yeah. I like to be able to guesstimate numbers instead of exact numbers, and I try to do that in my designs, in that if somebody were to crunch one of my games, they are not going to do that much better than somebody that’s going to have a good instinct for that. And if you are, if you have good instincts, and you follow then repeatedly, it will pay off over time. Whereas managing nickels and dimes on every transaction won’t net you that much difference, to the point where it’s not worth it.

DTD: I’m not a big min max-er, I’m not going to sit there and agonize over my every move. I’m going to do what feels right. More often than not, I’m going to explore. And sometimes that exploration will bring me somewhere terrible, sometimes it will work for me. So, here’s a question for you.

JPC: Sure.

Next time Jonny and I talk about designing for casual gamers vs. designing for conisseurs. Plus the usual rambling banter – expansions, mancalas, and more.

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