If you are just joining us in the middle, I am at a wonderful Chinese Food buffet, in the middle of nowhere, in Northern California’s Gold Country, with board game designer Jonny “Pac” Cantin. And we are talking about grail games, time travel games, and deck builders. And I am very, very full at this point. So I may be slightly incoherent.

DTD: So, do you have a grail game at this point?

JPC: Something I’m trying to buy?

DTD: Something you’ve been after and looking for.

JPC: I actually got a couple of them this week. I got, it’s actually not one of my favorite games, but it’s one that kind of fits in the slot. A Stefan Feld game, Bruges.

DTD: Oh yeah, love it.

JPC: I played that when it came out. Wasn’t my favorite of his. You’ve got the “punishing Felds”, and it’s one of those kind of punishing Felds. As opposed to some of the others. I missed the train on that one, and it went out of print. Then it became this impossible to get, expensive game.

DTD: And the expansion is even worse.

JPC: Yeah, so I found somebody that sold me the expansion and the base game for a reasonable price.

DTD: Wow, that’s unheard of. The expansion was the River Zwin. I still haven’t found that expansion; it’s on my list.

JPC: I wouldn’t just buy only the base game, because I knew you can find that. The expansion was… so, I was like, “I want the base game and the expansion. In English.”

DTD: That’s pretty incredible.

JPC: So, I was able to track down a deal for that this week. Similarly, same publisher, Saint Petersburg second edition, which went through a weird German crowd funding whatever, and has all this boatload of modules: That one is really hard to get, too. And I was able to trade for that one. It’s not in the greatest shape; Somebody had written all their scores on the inside box lid. But it doesn’t hurt the game to play. And so, I look forward to exploring those modules. I like the game, I have the old edition, which is also worth a decent chunk now.

DTD: I think I’ve got an old one.

JPC: There’s a considerable amount of extra content in the second edition.

DTD: I got Pillars of the Earth not that long ago.

JPC: Oh, yeah, yeah.

DTD: That’s a great game. That does some really neat things that just all work well together.

JPC: Then they did A Column of Fire.

Pillars of the Earth (2006) was based on a novel of the same name from Ken Follett. The next book in the trilogy was World Without End, which became a board game in 2009. The third book in the trilogy, and subsequent third game was A Column of Fire (2017). While the first game, Pillars of the Earth, was universally praised, it quickly became a prized item and difficult to find. The following two games were not as kindly received.

DTD: Which was terrible.

JPC: [laughs] I see it on discount, so I assume so much.

DTD: So not the same. Just reminded of it, because Pillars of the Earth also had an expansion that was unattainable. And I think they did a reprint of Pillars of the Earth.

There was an English second edition printed in 2018. As far as I can tell, the expansion, also highly sought after, has not has a similar reprint.

JPC: And Egizia has been one of my grail games. Same publisher again.

DTD: It’s very new, isn’t it?

JPC: Well Stronghold just re-released it. They took it, do new artwork, the designers came back in and changed a bunch of the mechanics, and everybody’s whining. They like the old version, but they can’t get the old version, so they made a concession. [They] Did the flip side of the board with the old version, and included the rules for that.

DTD: That’s nice. They did that with Merchant of Venus.

Merchant of Venus, originally published by Avalon Hill in 1988, had a reprint from Fantasy Flight in 2012. The reprint included both a new revised version and the classic original.

JPC: So, you get both sides if you Kickstarted it, so I jumped on that, which was nice. So, I got to play that. I don’t know if I like the artwork as much as I’ve seen pictures and box cover of the original. So, part of me is like, “I kind of wish I got that one.” But the secondary market might loosen up on the old version as people adopt the new one. Like Endeavor did that. Because I had the old one.

DTD: I do think that a lot of these old ones that everybody knows are going to get reprinted. I got burned by Rococo.

JPC: Oh, did you? You paid out the nose for it, and then…

DTD: I didn’t pay out the nose, but I paid significantly to get a Danish copy.

Rococo is a fantastic game that is particularly hard to get a hold of.

JPC: Oh gosh.

DTD: It’s pretty language independent, but the box is Danish. I was at one of the big conventions, and I went to the head of Plan B, and said, “You technically have the rights to Rococo now. Are you going to reprint it?” And he said, “No. There’s no way. Because we would have to get new art. We have no plans. It’s not going to happen.”

JPC: Oh, because Eggertspiel had it, right?

DTD: And Plan B bought Eggertspiel. So, and it was… It wasn’t like a week after that, but it was months, 3 or 4 months, Eagle [-Gryphon] said we are redoing it.

In summary, Rococo was originally put out by Eggertspiel in 2013. Plan B bought Eggertspiel in July 2017. In July 2019, I asked the head of Plan B, informally, what the plans for Rococo were, and there were none. Eagle-Gryphon announced their new edition in September 2019.

JPC: They picked it up and are doing the deluxe version.

DTD: So, something passed hands around. But that one burned me a little bit.

JPC: That’s a great game. I have the original in English. And the Jewelry Box, and the promo expansions. I had the whole complete thing.

Jewelery box is the expansion to Rococo. Equally sought after. Equally hard to find.

DTD: I really like it. Did you dump it in time?

JPC: I dumped it just recently. I got a decent price for it. I didn’t charge a scalper price for it. Actually, I traded the base game for Glass Road.

DTD: I love Glass Road.

JPC: Then I sold the expansion to a guy who didn’t want to adopt a new one, but wanted the Jewelry Box and all that, so I sent it to him, and he was all excited.

DTD: Well, I like Glass Road because it’s very small, fast and intimate. And if you play it with 4, it has this lovely interplay between what you play and what I am holding in my hand. Which doesn’t count what I have played down. You know, with the double action or single action, like in Coloma. So, it works really well with 3 or 4 for this interaction interplay. Uwe [Rosenberg] said that it was a heavier, more involved euro game at first, and the publisher brought it down to a quicker, easier game.

JPC: Interesting. I always like to hear about that, because I heard Great Western Trail was a very simple game to begin with, and the publisher brought it up.

DTD: Which is unusual. And Great Western is really good. It’s still super high on my list. Maracaibo reminds me of it. It’s quite good.

JPC: Yeah, I jumped on the Rococo re-release. I think it looks nice.

DTD: I did too. I read it was Ian O’Toole, and I’m like, “I’m there.”

JPC: I’m not in love with all of his artwork, but I saw samples this week of how the new one is going to look, and the samples are nice.

DTD: I think I saw the same ones. It’s a beautiful cover they showed.

JPC: And it’s got wooden bits that are embossed. It’s nice. It’s going for what I like.

DTD: Eagle, I mean they’ve had some flops, but when they are doing a big version, Kickstarter thing, they deliver. They do a really pretty, high production game. I’m in love with their boxes, they do these really thick, really big boxes. Those are nice. [laughs] Isn’t that sad – get excited about a box?

JPC: Well, that’s what we do. That’s a great grail game. I’m trying to think what else might be kicking around. There’s a few oddball German games that never got printed here that…

DTD: Oh, my copy of Die Macher is in the mail. The new edition of it. I guess it’s shipping now.

JPC: Yeah, I’ve chased a lot of them down over time. I’m trying to think what I paid the most for. Witch’s Brew. I did pay a lot for Witch’s Brew.

DTD: I just saw it at the store.

JPC: Witch’s Brew?

DTD: The original Witch’s Brew. Just sitting there on the shelf. I went to the coolest little game store and they had old and new, tons, almost warehouse style, just piled up. And I found a whole bunch of stuff. And really new stuff. They had Maracaibo and Cooper Island, just sitting there. And Witch’s Brew was on a lower shelf.

Yeah, I love Maracaibo and Cooper Island.

JPC: Oh, where’s that store? Is it a secret? [laughs]

DTD: San Mateo.

JPC: It wasn’t Gator Games, was it?

DTD: It was! They were an awesome store. I was really excited. I talked with the owner a little bit. I told him, “I think your store is great.” I was a little early for the Rob Daviau dinner, and I saw this game store half a mile from where we were going to eat. It was a very cool store. They were having a Yu-Gi-Oh tournament when I was there, so it was a little crowded.

JPC: Yeah, it’s a small place.

DTD: I had to crawl around people to go look at shelves, so it was kind of neat.

JPC: Been there a few times. My brother lived down there for a while. That was our local spot.

DTD: I’ve been much too piggish to have grail games lately. I have just been buying everything that strikes my fancy.

JPC: [laughs] I guess that would make sense, too. It’s just a matter of restraint in some stuff, you know. There’s copies of Saint Petersburg out there if you want to spend $100 on one, but I was like, “I don’t want to spend $100”.

DTD: It’s about the hunt. I picked up the expansion to Quacks at Gator Games. And was very happy with it. They even had extra dice for Cthulhu Death May Die, which was exciting.

JPC: Found one at Spiel that I was looking for, for a long time. It’s a Rüdiger Dorn game. There’s an English edition called Titania. I don’t know much about it, except there’s a big tower on the cover, and a bunch of boats inside of it.

DTD: I’ve heard of it, but don’t know much about it. He’s done a lot of games.

JPC: He has. He’s one of my guys that I said, “I’ll buy something blind and it might be something I have no idea about, and I’m surprised – this is great, too”. Very few misses.

DTD: Mine are the Brands. Markus and Inka Brand. If I see a new euro game from them, I’m just buying it.

JPC: Yeah, big fan. Me, too. Now I don’t so all their escape room games, and I don’t do all their kids’ games. And so, I gotta kinda wait for the chunky euros to come out.

In addition to their fantastic heavy euro games, such as Village (2011), Murano (2014), Rajas of the Ganges (2017), A Castle for All Seasons (2008), the Brands also did the award winning EXIT series of escape room games, Saint Malo (2012), one of the first heavy roll and write games, and Noch Mal (Encore) (2016), one of the first of the new wave in this genre.

I love them. Call me, Brands.

DTD: Gotta wait in between. And it’s been a little while; feels like there’s one right around the corner. I mean, Rajas of the Ganges was really good.

JPC: What did you think of Queensdale?

Rise of Queensdale (2018) was a legacy dice placement game from the Brands. It had a mixed reception.

DTD: I actually liked it. I went through the whole thing, and there’s one fiddly rule in it, which I can never figure out what the real rule is. You played it?

JPC: I got 3 or 4 campaigns into it. And then we kind of fizzled out.

DTD: The whole thing about saving your points in between, by using, it was a crown I think. There’s a way to bank points between games, and the rules are unclear on how you are supposed to do it. And there’s two interpretations. And one of them I think is much too powerful, and one of them I think is not nearly powerful enough. So, I can’t figure out which one is the intended purpose.

JPC: Because you need to hit a different high-water mark than players that are out of phase with you. And then you’ve got your upgraded board. And perhaps upgraded dice. And then there’s a way to…

DTD: When you bank the points, one interpretation is you count how many highwater marks you’ve passed, and you get that many points. So, if you have gotten to, whatever it was, 40 points, but it was 3 of those marks, you start at 3. Which seems much too weak for banking points. And the other one is you bank at your last high-water mark, which will basically just make you win the next one.

JPC: No, we didn’t play it that way. Because I was the front runner, and I got out of phase with everyone else. I was always about a round ahead of everybody.

DTD: It is a little tough if you have to repeat the games over and over and over, but our group, we had very few repeat games. We were kind of even with who was winning and stuff like that. I liked the story, I liked the play, I liked the dice. I had fun with it. But I have heard a lot of people who didn’t like it.

JPC: I didn’t dislike it. It felt too same-y for what I think I was expecting. I felt like it would be nice if there were significant changes.

DTD: Well you got nothing new if you’re repeating the game. Someone has to get to the next mark.

One of the biggest complaints Queensdale received, was that the player did not reveal new legacy elements every game. The new surprises only showed up if a player reached a new milestone marker for the first time.

JPC: I think every time somebody made it. We didn’t have to repeat the same exact scenario. But even those were incremental. There’s one new worker spot, there’s one new rule, there’s one little [new] thing here. But then it was build your buildings, collect your herbs again, and do a lot of that same stuff.

DTD: But we did kind of get individual patterns to it, because of how our dice worked out, and things like that. So, there was definitely a very herb heavy person, and there was a very dice resource heavy person, so it worked. One of the people I played with liked it enough, that they bought another copy and played it a second time. And now we are going through Machi Koro Legacy. Enjoying that. I think next on the docket is Clank Legacy.

Pandemic update, May 2020: My game of Machi Koro Legacy has been delayed because of social distancing, and I have not played it since January. However, I have been able to play Clank Legacy with the family while we are locked up, and are enjoying it tremendously.

JPC: I hear really good things about that.

DTD: Everybody I talk to says best legacy game they’ve ever played. And these are the reviewers I’m hearing it from.

JPC: That’s what I hear too. And I like Clank. I’m excited about that one.

DTD: Clank was elegant, I thought it really worked.

JPC: I hear bad things about Orléans Stories, which isn’t exactly a legacy game.

DTD: That’s a shame. I’ve heard nothing. I have it. I’ve heard nothing, good nor bad.

JPC: Yeah, Man vs Meeple said, “Keep your stories to yourself.” And they were disappointed in it. Very few things are being said about it. Some other reviewer spent just a half hour complaining about everything in it. A lot of people on BGG are giving it ones and twos, saying, “I love Orléans, I hate this game. I can’t believe this was made by the same people. What’s the deal, was this rushed for Essen?”, and all this stuff. Now I still feel like I want to check it out, but I hear there’s some strange things in it where there’s player elimination.

DTD: You liked Altiplano a lot?

JPC: Yeah, yeah.

DTD: Because a lot of people poo-poo’ed Altiplano.

JPC: Oh, did they?

DTD: A lot of the reviews were, “Cute. But it’s not Orléans, and we don’t dig it.”

JPC: Oh, OK. I like it better.

DTD: I like it about the same. I think it’s different enough. Orleans is very classic, especially with some of the expansions to Orléans. I really enjoy them. Like collecting the different elements in the different cities, that little add-on was nice.

I just want to point out that the Invaders expansion to Orléans, which introduced cooperative play, was co-designed by… INKA AND MARKUS BRAND. Call me. I love you.

JPC: Yeah, there’s a lot of content.

DTD: There is. It’s big. It’s [Reiner] Stockhausen, isn’t it?

JPC: Yeah, yeah. I like him a lot generally. I think Siberia is fantastic. Another chip pulling game that he did. Now it’s hard to get.

DTD: Because he hasn’t done that many things, right?

JPC: Not really. He did one called Bohemian Villages, I really like that one. It’s kind of under-sung.

DTD: I know that. I think I played that once and liked it. Who did Tybor, do you remember? Because that’s almost Oh My Goods.

JPC: Oh, Tybor the Builder. I want to say that’s Alex [Alexander Pfister] and somebody [Dennis Rappel]. Like a Collab. It was also Lookout.

DTD: Yeah, it’s got the Lookout art for sure.

JPC: I think it’s a collaboration.

DTD: I liked Tybor, I thought that was pretty good.

JPC: I still want to try that Orléans Stories. I was actually, I was talking to Klemens [Franz], I write him from time to time, just tell him how much I love his artwork. And he’s kind enough to reply. And I was like, “Oh, I’m really excited about Stories.” And he was like, “Well, it-s really looooong.” I’m like, “Well, is that good or bad?” And he said, “Well, there should be some house rules.” So, I said, “If you do think of the house rules, could you share them with me?” So, he wrote me a little [rules] thing. I don’t know what it means exactly, because it’s very gamer-speak. It’s like “During the Kingdom phase, you should do one instead of two, this, this and this.”  And he had a little list of things that he suggested that he thinks would knock an hour or something off the game and fix a few spots. And so, I think when I dig into it, I’m going to do the Klemens Franz Orleans Stories experience, and see how that goes. And be prepared for a 4- or 5-hour game.

DTD: Well, I had heard that Queensdale was long before I played, so I was kind of ready for that. I did Charterstone with 6 players, and I liked it, I didn’t love it. The thing is, I have done Charterstone with 2 players, and did not like it. And now I have done Charterstone with 6, and I think 4 or 5 would have been the sweet spot. To be fair, 2 of the 6 were very, very, very not gamers. So, they got lost in the rules. But it was a good solid game, I didn’t hate it by any means.

JPC: I haven’t really jumped on the [Jamey] Stegmaier bandwagon so much. I’ve played a few Stonemaier games, I’ve played Scythe and stuff. Those don’t resonate with me for some reason. I know a lot of people like them, and get a lot of mileage, and it’s kind of scratching that itch. They like euro games, they like this, they like that. And it kind of hits the sweet spot for a lot of people.

DTD: He’s got a niche for a simple euro game, and he’s good at conveying a certain simplicity. But a lot of his games have the laundry list effect, where you get a “point” if you do one of these 6 things, and the first one to 4 points wins.

JPC: That’s not a bad system really. As far as a race mechanic goes, that’s probably one of the better ones, because it kind of lets you navigate your own course a little bit.

DTD: I’m pretty sure Scythe has that. I think I’ve played all his games now, that were actually his. Like, Between Two Cities wasn’t him. I didn’t love it. That’s not my thing. And Between Two Castles [of Mad King Ludwig] is just Between Two Cities. But Tapestry I like. It’s fun, it’s really pretty. It may be unbalanced, but I don’t care. It’s just cool. The only thing that’s weird with Tapestry, is it’s not just multiplayer solitaire with a little bit of competition, but it’s actually to the point where players can end their game at different times. So, you’re in full control… your character, your person levels up through ages, and it’s independent of other people leveling up, except that you get first choice of spoils and things like that. And if you level up the last time, you’re done. But everyone else keeps playing. So, you often can get one person who played very slow and efficiently who can get, like 5 or 6 more turns after everyone else is done. So, it gives an uncertainty to the point structure, because you are all kind of going and comparing your points, and all of a sudden, it’s like, “Well, Barry has 6 more turns.”

JPC: It’s interesting, because coming back to Clank!, I really like how that one has a player-driven ending. Like how deep do you go, and then the person who gets out starts the panic.

Clank is a race game. The first player to delve into the dungeon and return home with a treasure starts a truly horrific endgame.

DTD: A push your luck thing. Starts the panic.

JPC: And then somebody gets out, and they don’t take normal turns, they kind of advance the doomsday clock incrementally for the other players, who scramble.

They rain holy terror down on the remaining plebes.

DTD: But it’s still kind of satisfying because it kind of gives that role of, “You are devastating the other players, which is cool.”

Fear my wroth!

JPC: You’re not, you know, knee deep in their fridge, getting snacks, saying “Let me know if I won…”

DTD: No, you’re there, raining death and destruction down.

JPC: You know your score, you are just hoping they don’t make it out, because if they do, you win or lose.

DTD: And it’s really funny, because it’s rarely the first one out who has been winning. And I’ve played, probably 10, 12 games of Clank. And it’s rarely the first one out.

JPC: That’s a cool system. I think for an asymmetric game ending, that’s a pretty cool one.

DTD: I like the space one a little better than the regular one. And all the expansions I’ve enjoyed. My wife really likes the mummy one. And it’s such a clever gee-wiz idea that they just took the normal square board, rotated it 45 degrees, and cut a line in the middle – “This is a pyramid, and this is underneath.”

JPC: Oh, OK. I have it. I haven’t busted that one out yet though.

DTD: It’s just perfect. So, the mummy one is neat. The space one I thought was pretty clever. It added a couple little mechanics in there that helped a lot. Like when you’re running away, you jump in an escape pod, but once you use one of them, that one is gone. That was pretty cool.

JPC: I think my only complaint with that one is there’s kind of natural speed limits. It doesn’t matter if you draw lots of moves in your hand, you’re going to get the same [limit].

DTD: They tried to do that with the original one too, with the crystal areas make you stop. And there’s very rare cards that let you move without boots, to kind of cheat the stop.

JPC: I kind of felt like I hit more stop signs. I felt like I had excess boots.

DTD: Well they reined in the movement more, that you had to get the codes and the access, and that sort of stuff. And there’s that monorail.

JPC: Yeah. And I think something I like about original Clank is that screen wrap. You pop off this side of the board, and you appear on that [opposite] side. Just silly throwbacks to the old video game Pac-Man kind of thing.

DTD: I don’t think it even registered to me that it was there. It was like, “yeah, that makes sense.”

JPC: It’s just one of those funny ideas that this whole thing wraps around, and how that works.

DTD: It did the whole deck building as a side mechanic really, really well. And right before that, Vikings Gone Wild had come out, and I didn’t think that did it as well. I didn’t like that game. It felt very flat.

JPC: I like it as an internal mechanic. Like Rococo is cool. It has a small but important deck building element.

DTD: The way that Rococo plays with cards I really like a lot. I think that’s really cool.

JPC: Yeah, when I was working on Sierra West, I wanted to go for a lighter deck-buildy thing where you are getting these cards from there. And they are affecting how you move.

DTD: And taking them off the mountain is really cool. That’s neat.

In Sierra West, you climb a mountain, which is a pyramid of overlapping cards. If you reach the top, you claim that card for your deck.

JPC: There’s clear inspirations for all that stuff. There’s a little bit of Clank in there, there’s a little bit of 7 Wonders Duel in there, there’s a little bit of Valletta in there.

DTD: New expansion for Duel is coming. Just around the corner.

Its called Agora, and no one knows anything about it.

JPC: Yeah, that’s great! That’s a great game.

DTD: It is. It’s one of the better 2-player games.

JPC: There’s a few of them like that. Targi is really fun.

DTD: Targi is great. And the English version of the Targi expansion is right around the corner.

JPC: Finally.

Targi is a universally acclaimed 2-player only, worker placement game. For a long time, it and its expansion were only available in German.

DTD: I know, I don’t have it.

JPC: That’s been one of those grail games, that I just want the English version and it doesn’t exist. And I don’t want to do paste-ups and sleeve my original.

DTD: No, that annoys me. Oh, the only Abyss expansion I could get was French. So, I need to decide if I am going to…

JPC: Leviathan?

DTD: Leviathan. Their distribution is terrible.

JPC: It’s getting better starting next week.

DTD: Good, because I want Conspiracy.

JPC: Yeah, that’s coming out in the next couple weeks, too.

DTD: Good, I want it bad.

News From The Future! I was able to get an English version of Leviathan – love it. I also procured Conspiracy, the small card game version of Abyss, and it is delightful. Oh, and don’t hug too many people, past-Corey.

JPC: And they are re-releasing Abyss with, a 5-year anniversary edition with specials.

DTD: And a new cover!

Abyss was famous because when it released in 2014, the game came with 5 different covers. All of them were beautiful, as was all of the art by the amazing Xavier Colette. But 5 covers? I thought we were done with this after comic books did it to death in the 1990s.

JPC: New cover. And a big new play mat. The mat is big, and it facilitates all the expansions.

DTD: Oh, that’s nice. I probably have to do that. Abyss is one of my more played games. My wife really likes it. And I thought it was a brilliant design; I really love that game.

JPC: That’s Charles Chevallier in there again. I know he’s the under-sung partner, but…

DTD: Oh, he’s so good.

JPC: He is good.

DTD: Abyss is fantastic. Haven’t played with Leviathan yet, because of the whole French thing.

Spooky voice from the future: It’s goooood.

JPC: Sure. Mine’s on pre-order along with Conspiracy. I felt so bad for them at Essen, in that they got their whole order got locked up. I remember the booth, the whole show they just had a little glass case with one copy of each thing, and you could meet Bruno [Cathala] and Charles [Chevallier] and not buy anything.

DTD: Zee ended up getting the one copy of Conspiracy.

JPC: Then Charles had another game by another publisher. Shadows of Macao I think it’s called. So, I ran over to the other booth and bought that. Charles came along with me with a silver pen and signed the inside of that box, because he couldn’t do signing at the other booth. He was really nice.

DTD: That’s very cool. I’m starting to put together my wish list for designers to interview at Essen next year. I really wanted to interview Steffen BenndorfThe Game. And he was super nice, but he was too busy. And I had E-mailed Wolfgang Warsch, and he was all for it, but said he had zero time. He was very nice, answered all my letters. Super nice dude.

JPC: It’s neat seeing those guys in the wild. Play the game for 10 years and then… Antoine Bauza walks by you, and you’re like “Hey!”

DTD: I know who that is! A lot of the new guys I wouldn’t recognize them if they bumped into me. Like if Warsch walked into me I wouldn’t recognize him.

JPC: Yeah, I probably wouldn’t recognize him off the bat. I’m friends with him on Facebook, but don’t know his face so much. Saw Dirk Henn [Alhambra, Wallenstein] over at the Queen booth. Said, “Hey, I recognize that guy!” Dirk is on his name tag.

DTD: That’s pretty cool. Friedemann [Friese] was pretty easy to recognize.

JPC: Green hair?

DTD: Green hair, green shirt, green pants. He was a character. He was really insane. That was such a fun experience.

JPC: I had a fun moment where I got to Germany, kind of was on my own. I was staying at a different place than my friends were staying. I dropped off my stuff, and I had to take the underground to someplace to find the meetup that Danial Zayas was throwing with Martyn Poole, and I had to go to that dinner, and I didn’t know where that was. And I went to the underground, and there was nobody down there. When I [first] arrived, it was packed, and we were all coming out like cattle. When I went in [later] it was just this vacuous thing, and I was just waiting for a train in Germany.

DTD: What do I do now…?

JPC: From the darkened stairwell comes down somebody, [and] gets to the bottom and goes, “Jonny?” It’s Stella from Meeple University. I hadn’t seen her in person before.

DTD: Oh, yeah!

JPC: And she says, “I’m going to that party at so and so.” I said, “So am I! OK, cool.”

DTD: Stella is probably the person I bump into the most at conventions. And she’s always got her suitcase with her. Giant suitcase rolling along beside her. Yeah, I bumped into her so many times, at Essen, at Dice Tower, GAMA, everywhere.

JPC: Oh yeah, she’s great! A ton of fun.

DTD: She’s so nice. She is cool.

JPC: One of those media people that is super comfortable with people.

DTD: Oh, she’s great. Amazingly awake for being 12-18 hours off.

JPC: Yeah, she always messages me at weird hours. But I’m awake at weird hours too. She will message you at funny spots, too. She was at a massage parlor one time, and said, “Oh yeah, Tarrant bought me a massage for my birthday.” And I can just imagine her in Australia, texting while she’s getting a body massage. OK, that’s a funny time to ask a rules question!

DTD: Hey, crossed her mind, so she’s going to do it. She’s awesome, she’s just one of those people, she’ll just send you something.

JPC: She’s a big fan of Dávid Turczi. And David worked on solo modes for my work, so we are kind of floating around each other a lot. He’s a character, he’s blown up in the last few years. Anachrony: the guy sure gets his name on a lot of things.

DTD: It’s true. Anachrony, I thought was very good. Trickerion, I had trouble getting into.

JPC: Trickerion he only did the solo mode of the expansion, so that was the publisher did that one. But he’s tight with those guys, they’re kind of like his…

DTD: Mindclash.

JPC: I was working with them. He’s real tight with the NSKN/Board and Dice guys.

DTD: Mindclash was, I think they’re a good group. I couldn’t get into their new one. I can’t come up with the name [Cerebria: The Inside World]. It’s basically kind of a board game version of the Pixar movie Inside Out. So, it’s about clashes of personality types inside somebody.

JPC: Oh yeah, that weird motion, had that real splashy artwork.

DTD: And they did a normal board game version and a littler card game version [Cerebria: The Card Game] of the same game. And I think that’s their 3 games, Mindclash. I thought Anachrony was really clever. There’s been a lot of “try to do time travel” games, and most I think have flopped.

JPC: That’s a holy grail designer thing. You will be asked, “What’s the theme you want to work with the most?” And it’s like, time travel, travel, time travel. Nobody can do it.

DTD: Oh, there’s a new one. There is a time travel trick taking game [Time Chase from Renegade]. So, basically tricks get played, but you can muck with time and go back and play a card into a trick that’s already been resolved. And it’s getting rave reviews. And it’s got one of these generic titles, like “Time something”.

JPC: The interesting thing about time travel is, I think, because there’s Steam Time, a steam punk, Rüdiger Dorn, time game. And you get on board the time ship and you can just go back to different periods of history and get artifacts, get artifacts from dinosaurs, get artifacts from this, get gems here, get points. That’s not scratching the itch that people are talking about when they think of time travel.

DTD: I think Anachrony did it.

JPC: That’s probably the one that gets cited the most.

DTD: The closest.

JPC: And I think the thing with the time travel thing, is people want their minds blown when they see a time travel movie. It’s that reveal, where it’s like, “What?!?!?” And doing that with an analog game is really tough.

DTD: I think you just need to take whatever mechanism it is, and you need to be able to manipulate things that have already been played. And say it’s time travel. And if you do it clever, that will work. Although Anachrony went the other way; instead of just taking a loan, you borrow from yourself in the future, and you’re obligated to pay it back at some point.

Stay tuned true believers, for the next and final segment of Life according to Jonny. At the end of truly monumental meal, possibly the last one I ever need, JonnyPac and I discuss time travel in games, good and bad end game scoring, and camels. Lovely, lovely camels.

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