And now it has come to this – the very end of my wonderful dinner with Shem Phillips, founder of Garphill Games, and designer of all things North and West. We have broken pie together, and so are now forever comrades. At the end, we talk about expansions, games to come and Shem’s alter ego, The Mico.
DTD: Oh, I love that. I thought they did a really good job.
SP: Yeah, so I haven’t played those ones yet, but very keen. And I think Sam just bought Dune: Imperium, so we’re going to dive into the deck-building, merged with worker placement genre, and see how they would do it.
I love newer games that are using deck-building as just one piece, just one mechanism within a game. Clank! was one of the early games to successfully take this tack.
DTD: There you go. The other thing Arnak has that I think is really a clever new thing that’s been going on, is having a worker placement type game, but you’re not restricted to playing a worker on your turn.
SP: Oh, like Everdell.
DTD: Exactly. I think Everdell was the first game that did it really well.
Worker placement games have historically worked so that when you run out of workers, the round ends. But newer games such as Dune and Everdell use worker placement as an adjunct mechanism, and there are some actions to do that do not require workers.
SP: I also really liked Lewis and Clark.
SP: That’s good, too. Yeah, so places to go or play a card. Or two cards technically, that would be.
Most of Lewis and Clark’s actions required a player to play 2 cards, one acted to power the other. There were, however, a few spots on the board that could be executed without cards.
DTD: Yes. And so, you never really knew when rounds would end, or when turns would go. And sometimes you could get a really long turn, or sometimes a really short…a really long round or a really short round. I thought they did well, but Everdell I thought really, really did it well. Lewis and Clark was still very on rails, and very rules oriented. But well done it was, it was really a clever game.
Everdell for the most part is worker placement, but clever card purchases and play could give more actions without using workers. Added on to this was the fact that each player ended rounds and progressed independently, makes Everdell is a very clever game.
SP: Yeah, I really enjoyed that one.
DTD: That was a cool one, and dating back a little bit.
SP: I think that…because I was still in the…I had Shipwrights [of the North Sea] out, and I was doing the Raiders [of the North Sea] Kickstarter. And had all that feedback about Shipwrights, and I was like, “Well, maybe I can make a little mini-expansion as like a…like, to kind of boost the campaign at the end.” And I just played Lewis and Clark. And the mechanism of, I think it’s called the “pow wow” in that game. Where you, rather than placing a worker, you pick up all the workers. I was like, “Oh, I could do something like that!” and then, that’s kind of what the Townsfolk Expansion was inspired by, for Shipwrights. Was the idea of, you can either put down a worker, or…you basically still do put down worker, but one of those actions picks them all back up again.
DTD: It’s that push your luck, see how long you can wait it out.
SP: Yeah, the tax stand.
In several of Shem’s West Trilogy games, there exists a tax stand action that accumulates money, but then triggers an event if it is used too often.
DTD: I’ve always been impressed with the “marshmallow test” mechanism. Where the longer you wait for your reward, the better the reward is.
SP: Oh yeah.
The classic marshmallow test mesured children’s ability to choose between an immediate reward or waiting for a greater reward. Many, many games make players choose between getting something now or investing in a greater payback later.
SP: With the tiles flipping over. And the silver, yeah.
The common mechanism in these games is that the player continues to play cards, putting off an action to pick up all cards played so far. The longer one can go without retrieving cards, the greater reward they give. Assault of the Giants, particularly, makes each new card played gain in power.
DTD: Which one?
SP: In Concordia, we’ve got the resource tiles that flip over, and get to… “How much silver can I get. I keep waiting and waiting, waiting and then…yeah.”
DTD: I know, “If I play all my cards then… Man, I’m gonna make so much. “
SP: Oh, you get paid back silver, that’s right. Yeah, we do that with the tax stand in Architects [of the West Kingdom], was that same thing, of like this little honey pot. And we’re actually playing around with that, for the, potentially for the second South Game. It might end up being in a different game. But we’ve got this, basically like, five tax stands happening. But it will be fed by different things, so that should be interesting to see how that feels to play. I really enjoy that. It’s like the players, basically they assign the value of that action, and all that. Rather than the maths of the game.
You will notice Shem is already planning the second South Trilogy game. This man’s productivity is incredible.
SP: “Is it worth it? I don’t know.” And in the end in Architects, there’s like 20 silver in the tax stand, and no one wants it. You’re like, “Huh.” Whereas at the start of the game, if there’s 20 silver, people would be taking it like crazy.
DTD: I also liked how in the trilogy, as you went down the trilogy, it became less and less clear whether being evil was a bad thing.
The West Trilogy games play with the ideas of debts and corruption, gaining immediate resources for the cost of becoming more corrupt. In Viscounts of the West Kingdom, this turned into Debt and Deed cards, and a real corruption track.
SP: [laugh] Yeah, that’s intentional.
DTD: [laughs] I like that a lot because the first time you play Viscounts [of the West Kingdom], especially, nobody wants to do the evil stuff. Everybody wants to just do the good stuff, and then someone, you know…it’s usually my son being being a wiseass, will just intentionally do everything as evil as possible. And it works! It’s great.
Yes, you, heir to the house of Thompson. I’m looking at you.
SP: Yeah, we we even toyed with the idea of the third game being something like Charlatans of the West Kingdom. That you have to be bad. Whereas the first game was like, you can choose your path. Second game, you kind of have to do a bit of criminal activity. And the last one, would be like, you’re a criminal.
DTD: Oh, you’re so evil.
Viscounts is a much better word than Charlatans.
SP: [laughs] That’s good fun. I really enjoyed that. It’s almost like an RPG vibe, where you, like, choose your alignment slightly. You know, play how you want to play.
DTD: But it’s not inherently… It’s not inherently bad for you, it’s great.
SP: No, no, it’s just risky…
DTD: You have to do a little bit of catch up at the end. You know, to keep yourself from getting completely destroyed. But it’s delightful.
SP: We’ve got this one friend of ours. Who like, he kind of coined the “debt strat” for Architects. I think his record was like 30 something debts flipped over. So he would just like… He would just go to the bottom of the virtue track, and just constantly get debts, and always go to black market, and always do bad stuff. But he waits for like one or two cards to come out. I think it’s the reservoir gives you a virtue for every, I think it’s either one or two, virtue per debt that you have flipped by the end of the game. So, he has these 32 debts or something, and like another 20 that aren’t paid. And he just rockets up the virtue track. Destroys all his debts in the end. Yeah, yeah, it’s good fun.
In several of the games, players can acquire debt cards, which are bad. But then, if you can clear the debt cards, flipping them over, they become a positive. So while 30 debts are bad, if you can clear them, it works out to be incredible points.
DTD: I’ve always enjoyed winning by losing. A Loki strategy.
Blood Rage coined the term “Loki Strategy”, where losing battles translated into gaining resources and points.
SP: That was one of the ones where we were like…I think we tested it for like three or four months, we tested it. And like, “Oh yeah, the debts are working well.” And then someone like him came along and put it to its test, and we were like, “Yes, that’s far too strong. Let’s pull it back a bit. And nerf that one card.” Because you just don’t expect anyone to ever play like that, but they give it a shot.
DTD: [laughs] Yeah, there’s always one. There’s always one in the crowd.
SP: I got another guy we know who, he’s just so good at breaking our games, like in testing. He’s just like… We figured we’ve got it all balanced, there’s no kind of weird strategies that we wouldn’t expect, and then he just does something to the game. Don’t know how he does it, but he does it, and breaks it. Like “How did he do that?” It’s like the most out-there strategy you would never consider, like that would be stupid. Why would you ever do that? And he does it and it works.
DTD: He does it, just because he can.
My son will try any strategy, especially if I say that it cannot be done.
SP: Yeah. I think actually it’s his brother…I don’t know…sorry, different guy. He played the solo game of Architects, just going to the mines every turn. So, he didn’t build anything. So, every second turn he is getting a gold, maybe 2 gold now and then. And he gets captured, and then the thing puts him in prison, he gets them back, just goes mines, mines, mines. So why would you ever want to play a game where you just keep taking the same action over and over? But he did it. I think it took him two hours to play the game, and then he lost by like 3 points. It was like, “Oh that’s good. It’s kind of still balanced, I guess.”
DTD: That’s crazy. Well, you always hear, there are there are people who play the game in order to win, and nothing else matters. The game is fun if they win, and it’s not if they lose. And there are people who play the game in order to explore the game. They want to try every little path. And then there’s people who play the game just to be social, and they don’t really know what they’re doing in the game, but they’re there to visit you. And the game is an excuse or a distraction while they’re visiting. And I’ve known people who are completely focused on winning, doing the same move over and over and over and over, because at that point that is their best strategy to win.
SP: Right, yeah?
DTD: I could never do that.
Of course, I also never win.
SP: Yeah. I’ve still gotta have the fun factor. I want to do something that’s fun and feels good to do. Not just “That’s the optimal move. That’s the optimal move.”
DTD: Yeah, I want to explore the weird things I want to do strange actions.
SP: Yeah, yeah, all right. I want to find cool combos.
DTD: I want to see if I can get away with getting my 7th or 8th worker on the same spot in Architects, see how high I can build that crazy production.
In Architects, the resource production action spaces get better for every worker you place there. In response, if you get to big for your britches, the other players can throw your whole gang of workers in jail.
SP: I don’t need 8 stone, but no ones catching me, so I guess I get 8 stone.
DTD: Right? How can I not go there? They have not caught me yet.
SP: Yeah, that’s good fun.
DTD: I mean, do catch me. You know, I’ll pay the money, I’ll do it again.
When your workers get captured from an action spot, again because of the size of the britches, the jailed workers can be sold for money. Unless you are willing to take a debt to retrieve them before your opponent sells them…
SP: One of the weird things that one of that family figured out, was there’s an action at the guardhouse where you can get a debt and lose a virtue to get all your workers back from everybody. So, if they’re hoarding your workers. We put that rule in there, so that you would never feel like you’re totally stuck. Like, if everyone’s just catching you, and sending you in there. It’s there, so you can get them back. But they used it as like a standoff! So, they’ll capture like…someone captures two of their workers, they go straight there, get a debt, pays a virtue, get their two workers back. Like, straight away. And now that person is scared to capture them. Because they’re going to do it again. So, there is this weird thing that we never experienced in playtesting, that they kind of created this, like…
DTD: It’s not worth it to capture them.
SP: Almost like a poker kind of thing, where they’re like playing the person, and like getting in their head. Like if you catch me, I’ll just steal them off you straight away. You’re like, “Oh no…” No one wants to capture me anymore.
DTD: And you won’t get any money.
SP: Yes, it was bizarre when that started happening.
DTD: That’s why I love that balance there. That you capture them, not so much because you want to harm them or stop them, but more that you’d really like to make the money.
SP: Yeah, yeah.
DTD: And then the player bypasses that. That’s just mean.
SP: Yeah, but it’s good if you’re being evil, because you just get more debts, and flip them over. It was interesting, but it wasn’t… Fortunately, it wasn’t broken, it just made a really weird thing of like, “I don’t want to capture you, but I do.”
DTD: That’s awesome. Well, the debts… I mean in Viscounts, the debts were really extraordinary, because you could just pile them up and flip them over. And it was one of the fastest routes towards a lot of points sometimes, collecting those debts.
Gotta borrow money to make money.
SP: Yeah. Getting all those resources back, yeah.
DTD: Of course, you triggered the timer, right?
The game timer in Viscounts is either the number of Debt cards or the number of Deed cards played. The more Debt cards taken, the faster the game ends.
SP: Yeah, we knew that… We knew that once Viscounts came out, that most players wouldn’t get criminal cards. We know they’re going to go to the virtuous route. Just like the players who always play the cathedral in Architects
DTD: Oh sure.
SP: Yes, we had to try and balance the game in a way that…it was like the timer of the game, just so the game wouldn’t be too long. But we’re going to balance this game, knowing that players will play this way, even though we don’t. So, it was quite interesting trying to balance it. We had to try and play almost like new players, and be real cautious of criminals, and not get debts. Yeah, because those games would be really short.
DTD: I love the arc of that, that the first couple of times you play, you only do good stuff. And then you start seeing, “There’s not a lot of penalty for doing the bad stuff. I should just really be evil.”
SP: We actually tested a card for BGG, who wanted some promos. So we had an idea for Viscounts; It was a criminal card, that when you play it down, you can basically ignore the punishment for playing criminal cards down.
DTD: You could be super evil.
SP: So, we thought, “That can’t be that bad. I mean you’re only losing like 6 corruption at most over three turns, it’s not that bad.” Sam got something like 150 points, and I got like 30. Like, “OK… Yeah.”
DTD: Maybe this one is not perfect.
SP: Yeah, that that card is broken. So, we, you know, changed it. It was a criminal card. Now it’s actually a merchant, and it’s like a hero card, rather than just an award chance. But I just thought my head, “Surely it’s not that bad to avoid corruption, but…the criminals get punished rightly.” But they’re strong, they’re very strong.
DTD: Well, now I want to go play the games again. Are there more, are there more big boxes coming?
SP: So, we have one for Paladins [of the West Kingdom] for sure.
DTD: Yeah, well, Paladins doesn’t fit in the original box.
SP: I know. [laughs]
Some may have commented that Garphill’s default game box size is a tad too petite.
DTD: It takes a feat of magic to make it actually go back in.
SP: I actually designed like a 3D insert, but you can’t… Definitely won’t fit with sleeves. But if you don’t use sleeves, you can fit it in, but it’s tight. But yeah, we’ve got a big box for that, all with like plastic inserts that all fits, even with sleeves. And then we’ll do one for Architects, because it’s got two expansions at that point.
The Paladins of the West Kingdom Collector’s Box was part of the City of Crowns Kickstarter Campaign, which finished on March 4, 2021.
SP: For Viscounts, I’m not too sure, because I know you can fit the expansion we’ve designed in the base game. But if we do a collector’s box now, then we are kind of cutting off the ability to do an expansion down the line. Because I don’t want to release a collector’s box and then release another expansion that doesn’t fit in the box.
Note: There is a Viscounts of the West Kingdoms expansion. Again, insane productivity on the part of Garphill Games.
DTD: No, I understand.
SP: Yeah, so we might do just the expansion of Viscounts. And then maybe a year later, do another expansion, because that game, that’s got quite a lot of potential for expansions, I think. Because there’s more cards, more stuff.
DTD: And the cards are just so much fun. The whole idea of the conveyor belt, and some cards have actions when they come in, and some actions when they fall off, and some change the order. It’s just, it’s delightful. There’s so much room to play with what the cards do.
Viscounts has a moving conveyer belt of cards. Some cards have abilities that activated when they are placed at the start, some continuously while they are in the conveyer, and some activate when they fall off the end.
SP: That’s all Sam [Macdonald]’s work. He’s a bit of a genius, I think.
Sam Macdonald became a permanent part of Garphill Games on March 31, 2021.
SP: Delayed actions, kind of thing, yeah.
DTD: Delayed action cards, yeah. Yeah, and then the first time I started getting the abilities in Viscounts, where you could switch positions of your cards…I thought, “That’s great!”
SP: Yeah, put the one that’s on your left, drop off to the right. And then one that has the ability, bring it back.
DTD: Yeah, my ability that’s present when the card is on the conveyor belt, that sucker’s going to the beginning. It’s never coming off. And the one that’s falling off, that’s going to the end instantly.
SP: Yeah, that’s good fun. So, the expansion for that one, it’s like a bit more to the merchants…or the manuscripts, where there’s like a little board that you plug them into. And if you do, you start with one ability, which is to basically hire a peasant, which is this new kind of card in the game. But the other three colors, the ribbons you don’t have already, as long as you get one of each of those, they trigger these new abilities you have the whole game. So, one of the abilities is that you can spend 3 resources to rearrange your tableau. So, at any point on your turn. So that makes quite fun, because you’re like, “Oh, I just hoard resources.”
I will immediately purchase this expansion. Merchants…
DTD: That’s dangerous.
SP: “Start of my turn, I’m going to spend 3, and then rearrange them. That drops off straight away.” Makes for a bit of fun. And a bit more control of your own tableau, and stuff as well.
DTD: That’s pretty cool. Just spending resources to turn a delayed action card into an instant.
SP: Yeah. Because the the new peasant cards are really fun. they are, you can either destroy them from your hand, like through the usual mechanism of destroying. And they let you trigger these kind of negative… Not negative, but corrupt actions. Like basically, like not put them in a house, not looking out for these peasants. Or you can play them down, and wait for him to drop off. And when they drop off, you get this really awesome benefit. So that kind of ramps that more, because you really want these cards to get to the end, because they’re pretty horrible…I think they’ve just got one merchant bag, so they are pretty rubbish cards. They have no ability, so you want to get them off as fast you can, so kind of works on that quite well as well.
So, more ways to be evil through abusing the peasantry.
DTD: That’s awesome.
SP: Yeah. Good fun.
DTD: Oh, well see now, there’s too many things that I’m waiting for. You’re making this difficult.
SP: That one’s still a while away. We haven’t teased that one at all yet. You’re the first to hear it.
Exclusive! Exclusive! Exclusive!
DTD: It’s like the first of the year now. That’s awesome, now I’m really excited that you’ve got plans, you know this far in advance, for where all these things are going. That’s awesome.
SP: Yeah, we used to like… I used to basically be pushing it right to the last minute to get it on Kickstarter in time for March. I even…I think it was Architects. I think when it was on Kickstarter, I only had half the building cards illustrated at that point, because there were so many cards.
SP: I sent out the review copies and just told them can you please not show this half of these cards on screen? Just show the ones that are illustrated. So, we didn’t… You couldn’t even tell from looking at the Kickstarter that we were waiting on artwork. Yeah, that’s that’s never a good feeling, when you’re like, you know you’re behind schedule. So now that we’re like, actually starting to get a bit of a buffer now, where the work’s done, and we can wait now, and release when we feel comfortable. It’s actually a lot better because it’s not that fun when you have to pester the artist, “Please, can you please get it done on time?”
Ignore the man behind the curtain.
DTD: Sounds like you’re a real board game company now.
SP: [laughs] Yeah. yeah, I know. Almost, yeah.
DTD: I’ve heard that Mico is fast with his art, so it’s…
SP: He is.
The Mico, also known as Mihajlo Dimitrievski, is a very prolific and important board game artist. He has illustrated all of Garphill’s trilogy games thus far.
DTD: Yeah, the stories I hear about just piles of art all showing up in incredible amounts of time.
SP: He’s just he’s just very, very busy. Rightly so, but yeah.
DTD: Oh yeah. He’s one of the artists you see everywhere now.
SP: Yeah, he’s very good.
DTD: I love his style. And I think Shipwrights [of the North Sea] was the first place I saw his art.
SP: It was his first game, yeah.
DTD: Oh, I didn’t know that.
SP: I was just searching deviantart.com. I think I just searched “Viking” and found a few images I really liked. His was one of them. And I actually contacted someone else first; They were in Canada. They were quite interested, but then they said they had like some personal things, like moving house, moving country, or something, so they couldn’t commit to doing the game. So then I went to Mico, who I think… Inside the first 2 hours of me pitching him the idea, he fired back 3 characters. And I was blown away by what he created. I think it was like the blacksmith, the assassin and one other one… Well, the carpenter. And I was like, “Whoa, this is amazing.” I wasn’t expecting it to look that good. Pretty impressive.
DTD: [laughs] That’s awesome.
SP: But he has never played board games. He had never done any other games before. He’s done like comic books, and animated movies, and videos, and that kind of stuff. He teaches a bit, I think, in Macedonia.
Macedonia officially became The Republic of North Macedonia in February 2019. The name Macedonia comes from an old Greek term meaning “the tall ones.” So now, I want to know how tall The Mico is.
DTD: Wow. No, I didn’t know that. I just know I’ve talked to some other designers who said that he’s fun to work with, and super-fast.
SP: Yeah, that’s pretty much it. I think he lives in an old cinema, like an old theater, in the middle of…
SP: As far as I’m aware, there’s like a main street kind of in Bitola, where he lives, and there’s an old theater on that street that he’s converted into a home. And he has all his like, his office, and all his collectibles, and everything downstairs, almost like a museum type thing.
DTD: He’s sounding more and more like a superhero.
SP: I think he probably is, yes.
DTD: He probably is. Either a superhero or supervillain, but he’s got a lair. He definitely has a lair.
SP: [laughs] He’s got a lair for sure.
DTD: [laughs] Man, I gotta hunt him down the next time I’m in Macedonia.
Oh yeah. I’m in Macedonia all the time.
SP: Yeah. Now I actually, I haven’t even met him in person, which is quite funny. But I’d love to one day. Because I think he’s been invited to Essen a couple of times, but hasn’t made it.
DTD: That’s a shame.
SP: He’s a cool guy, though. Pretty funny.
DTD: That’s awesome. And I assume he’s continuing with the art and all this stuff.
SP: I hope so, yeah. I had, I think at the start of the West Kingdom, I was…I had to save him, “Like, are you in? We’re doing another trilogy, are you on board for the whole trilogy?” He’s like, “May as well.” That’s kind of his usual like, “Oh yeah, why not?”
It would be odd to have the South Trilogy without art from The Mico.
DTD: That’s very cool.
SP: It would actually be quite a weird shock if he said no, I guess. But hopefully it doesn’t happen.
DTD: Well then you just gotta make the next trilogy, you know, with the [Raiders of] Scythia artist.
You know, Sam Phillips, Shem’s brother. Yeah, I think he would agree to do it in a pinch.
SP: Yeah, that’s probably it.
DTD: That’s very cool. Well, I feel bad. I’ve been talking your ear off here. This has been absolutely amazing for me. Like I said, I’ve been a fan of your games for a really long time. So, it’s…again, thank you so much for doing this bizarre non-interview over dinner, where I just ramble about, you know the weirdest things.
SP: No, it’s good. It’s good fun just chatting.
DTD: Absolutely, that’s what I like. Just so you know, what I… I don’t know if I specifically said it. What I usually do, is I just transcribe.
DTD: Almost word for word, what we talk about. If there’s anything you don’t want put out, you just let me know.
I think I’m proving the truth of my statements right here. How meta.
SP: No, it’s fine, whatever.
DTD: And when it’s transcribed, I’ll probably send you a Word document that’s about 100 pages long, that you certainly do not have to read.
Hyperbole. It was 57 pages, 28000 words, representing 2 hours 37 minutes of chatter.
SP: [laughs] Yeah.
DTD: But I feel obligated. Is there anything else that you you wanted to talk about? I’ve been, I feel like I’ve been dominating the topics here.
SP: No, that’s been good. I have to head out in about 30 minutes or so, so. Say goodnight to the kids first, I guess.
DTD: Oh sure. Oh, I was thinking you’re later than me. I was feeling all guilty. Yeah, you could stay forever. It’s early.
New Zealand is 5 hours earlier than my native California. But in the next day. They’re living the future over there.
SP: Yeah, it’s 6:30 over here.
DTD: Oh, that’s nothing! So, how’s Tuesday? I’m still sitting on a Monday here.
SP: That’s going well, yeah. It’s going well.
DTD: Oh, and thank you for the suggestion of the pies. It’s…they’re crazy good. I wish gas stations here had those.
I was lucky enough to be able to purchase meat pies from a New Zealand Bakery near my home. So fantastically delicious.
SP: Yeah, I do like the potato top. Potato top and just put tomato sauce all over it, ketchup on top of it. It’s good as well.
DTD: I might pass on that.
I did in fact pass on the opportunity to put ketchup on these fine pies. But a friend of mine was not as wise. I’m looking at you, Barry.
SP: Chili sauce then.
DTD: I’ll go for a good chili sauce. I could definitely do that. Very cool, so I’ve got to look forward to the whole South Trilogy, the expansions I don’t have yet. You’re cruel man, cruel man, Shem.
SP: Like, someone else said that on BGG, I can’t think what game was for. But basically she said like, “Do you guys have no shame?” And then Sam just said, “Nope. No shame at all.”
Thank you, Benesato.
SP: Fair enough. Yeah, yeah. Sam has no shame, yeah.
DTD: Well, please tell him thank you as well, because the games are an absolute delight.
DTD: So, you two have been doing fantastic work, so I’m always looking forward to what’s coming next.
DTD: Alright, well I think I’m gonna let you go.
SP: Yes, it’s been good chatting.
DTD: Absolutely. Thank you, thank you. I’m probably looking at, in a couple of months they’re probably going to start posting, and I’ll let you know. I’ll throw you a line.
SP: Cool. Yeah.
DTD: And I usually talk about it on Twitter a little bit. But, I’m a pretty low-key guy. Alrighty, thank you again. Have a wonderful evening and apologize to your family for me stealing you for a couple hours.
SP: Alright, thank you.
DTD: Hopefully I’ll talk to you later.
SP: See you.
DTD: All righty, good night.
And another wonderful meal is in the can for Dice Tower Dish. Shem Phillips was an absolutely wonderful guest, kind enough to put up with my absurdity at a moment’s notice, and introduced me to the addictive worlds of New Zealand cuisine and junk food. I have been a fan of Shem’s games for a long time, so it was a dream come true to be able to sit down to a meal, albeit virtual, and talk games. I truly hope I will be able to show my gratitude with an in-person meal sometime in the future!