As so we have come to the end of breakfast. The plates are clean, the waiters are patiently waiting for us to leave, and the drive back to the KublaCon hotel is nigh. Perhaps one more cup of coffee for the road.

DTD: Well, food is amazing, but… And I would do it all day long, but I think it would be bad. [laughs]

LL: Right.

DTD: Games, though. All day long, that’s fine. I could do that. and funny enough, too much games and I forget to eat, and too much eating and I forget to game.

LL: I said this is my first real meal of the entire weekend that I can recall. I don’t think I…

DTD: That’s against the rules! They tell you the rules when you start.

3 meals, 6 hours sleep, 1 shower per day. It’s official.

LL: Yeah, I brought peanut butter and bread and crackers and fruit and random stuff like that. And beer. I think I survived on beer.

DTD: There you go.

LL: Yeah, I did alright.

DTD: There’s nothing wrong with that.

LL: Coffee.

DTD: Coffee. Coffee is really good.

Coffee is important.

LL: Yeah, this trout and eggs hit the spot.

DTD: I’m kind of jealous. I was thinking about it, but… Ah, it looked really good.

I was going to order the trout and eggs, but Luke went first, and you can’t order the same as someone else. Against the rules.

PV: Looks really good. By the way, I’m a little tight on time now.


PV: But if you guys want to keep [going] here, I could Uber back.

DTD: Oh no, I mean, we’ve been going an hour and a half, which is about what we usually do. And we can talk on the way back and…

LL: Yeah, this was a great conversation.

PV: I mean, I enjoy listening to Luke talk about this stuff all the time. Keep going.

LL: Well, I like talking to Peter, so he doesn’t change his mind at any given point, and say, “Nah, screw this. I’m not moving forward with his games.”

The basis of a complete and fulfilling partnership.

DTD: Oh, you should hear what he says when you’re not around, man…

PV: I want to make enough games with you so that we could get you to do this full time, all the time.

LL: One of these days, I’m gonna make that light, quick, thing that everybody can play. That isn’t gonna take two years to solve the component issues. This massive, sprawling thing. Corey, you got this?

The check had arrived, and seeing as I forced Luke and Peter to tolerate my presence for nearly 100 minutes, it was the least I could do to take care of the bill.

DTD: I got it. Oh yeah, that’s part of the deal.

PV: Thank you sir.

DTD: This way you can, you know… You feel obligated to talk nicely about me. [laughs]

Truth. I have found over the years if you feed designers, they talk nicely about you.

LL: I so did. Can’t wait till this is over and I can let the truth fly.

DTD: I know, I know. Oh, trust me, I’ve gotten some emails.

LL: Man…

DTD: So, how did how did Andromeda [Edge] get started? Was it just a natural organic next step?

Andromeda’s Edge is the new title from Luke Laurie, being published initially by Cardboard Alchemy. The game has been compared to Dwellings of Eldervale, which was also published by Peter Vaughan, so the question is to imply the relationship with Dwellings.

LL: This is funny, so… It’s a very long story. All of these are long stories, but…

DTD: Well, there’s no short stories.

LL: Dwellings [of Eldervale], of course, started with a car ride conversation with me and Peter, and it was thematically his idea. So, Peter talked about these various aspects that he really would like in a game, the eight elements having…

PV: I played Lords of Magic. Have you ever played Lords of Magic?

DTD: No I haven’t.

Lords of Magic is a computer game from Impressions Games and Sierra OnLine, published in 1997. It was a turn based strategy game meant to combine elements of Heroes of Might and Magic with Lords of the Realm, and existed in a world with 8 factions.

PV: There’s this pie of eight elements.

LL: I don’t even remember anything about the ride, other than we were sitting there, just nodding our heads. Just kind of… We immersed ourselves in the conversation of what could be possible in this game.

PV: Right.

LL: We did kick around mechanics in this car ride too. And also, I brought in my usual, very mechanical mind.

Waiter: Thank you so much. You need any boxes?

LL: I do not.

PV: Yeah, thank you.

LL: And I criticized a lot of Peter’s ideas, and shut him down, and said, “You can’t do that. That’s too complicated.”

I suspect they did it.

PV: Yep, it was great. Because in that car ride he was like, “Tell me your top five ideas that you got cooking.” I told him, and he went, “That’s terrible! That one will never work.” And the next day [he] calls me – “I solved it. I got it. This is how we’re going to do it.”

LL: Yeah, but I hadn’t solved it. So we tried digging in right away, to try to build Dwellings of Eldervale. And what is this now, like eight years ago? Nine? It’s a long time ago now.

The Kickstarter Campaign for Dwellings of Eldervale funded in July 2019, and I recall seeing a prototype version of it at the GAMA Expo the previous year.

PV: Yeah, we were going to drive it to GenCon, to pitch it, actually. A little bit to Jaimey Stegmaier, who had just opened up outside designs at Stonemaier [Games]. And we were thinking, “Oh yeah, let’s give him a big, you know…” We think he would like it. It’s all… You know, it would be component-bling, and so much fun. And we did get it. A version was ready. But it wasn’t good.

LL: It wasn’t good enough. So we had some various versions of quote un-quote “Dwellings of Eldervale” in concept, and they were all worker placement. They all had some degree of innovation. They, some of them, did things that games still do. Some of them have the… The current game has echoes in some of these older versions.


LL: You would see something, like a hex grid is in one of the… Like the second version is a hex grid. But they would fade. In large part, because Peter and I were both doing other things, too. We were both moving on other projects in time.

DTD: So this is an early idea that kind of came and went and came and went?

LL: Yeah. And once in a while, I’d be like, “I gotta get back at that. I just finished working on this thing. I’m going to go back to Dwellings.” And then, in one interview, I was asked – What is… Do you have a design that you gave up, that you abandoned a long time ago? Like, what’s your favorite game you didn’t finish?

PV: That’s in print now.

LL: And I said “Dwellings of Eldervale”.

PV: That’s in print, yeah. 2014 is the KublaCon I think, that we drove back with that idea.

LL: So that’s now around eight years ago.

Considering this interview takes place during the 2022 KublaCon, that’s pretty accurate.

DTD: Wow.

LL: So, in any case, I started working… I was working on various kinds of worker placement slash area control, Battlestar Galactica-esque, science fiction games.

DTD: [laughs] OK.

PV: Was that what you were doing? You had this, but I asked you to make dragons, instead?

LL: No, no, no – this is much later. So, this is long after we’ve given a break from Dwellings. We said, “I don’t know if we can pull it off, etc.” And I’m doing something else entirely, building this sci-fi game. And I have all these different ships. And they have different worker placement abilities.

One of the hallmarks of Dwellings of Eldervales is that each player gets a variety of different workers – a knight, a dragon, etc.


LL: And so, I didn’t get too far on this design, other than I had an electronic prototype.

LL: Not to play online, but just in terms of making printable files.

Having exhausted the coffee, Peter, Luke, James, and I proceeded to leave the restaurant and head outside to the car.

DTD: Sure.

LL: And then I go, “Wait! What if this attack ship is a dragon, instead?”

DTD: Ah Ha Ha! [laughs]

LL: And then, what if these core worker ships, what if these are like workers in a fantasy world? And then your factions could be like, you know, goblins, elves, and whatever else. Wait, this could be Dwellings! And so, I took those mechanics, and then I go back to all our thematic ideas, and everything started to click. That doesn’t mean our first efforts worked, they didn’t. But that was Dwellings.

The conversation moved into the car, preparing to drive back to the convention center.

DTD: Wow, so…

LL: When I go back now, working on Andromeda’s Edge, I’m going back to that sci-fi idea concept, pre-Dwellings.

DTD: That’s actually what I was wondering about.

LL: So it’s a combination of being a prequel and a sequel. Imagine like 3 movies that came before 3 great movies, and then there’s three movies that come after. This one is none of those. It’s “Rogue One“. [laughs]

PV: Alright, I can accept that. I was about to say if you don’t put this one as Rogue One…

DTD: So Peter’s idea was Phantom Menace

PV: Oooooh…

Coded Star Wars shade has been thrown.

LL: [laughs] Let’s see how it goes. Let’s see, uh, maybe the Christmas special? I’m not sure.

DTD: Oooo.. Now, you have to remember… I loved the Christmas special. I was the right age, right time.

The Star Wars HOLIDAY Special Came out November 17, 1978. I was 10 years old. Perfect age to worship a bizarre wookiee family and a completely unknown Boba Fett.

LL: Oh, you’re gonna hit a curb there.

DTD: Yep, I just saw that.

I was much too excited about Star Wars. Needed to pay attention to my driving more.

LL: Look how many people have done that, too!

DTD: Oh, it’s hard to see.

LL: It’s lined right up with the…

DTD: So they really want me to go left, but there’s a barrier, so… OK.

LL: Yeah, this is funny here. So anyway, yeah, it’s not, it’s definitely… Andromeda’s Edge is definitely not exactly what I was working on prior to Dwellings, but thematically it was easy to go back to that place, because that is where it started. But from that, that effort to kind of rebirth the science-fiction version, it’s now branched out in all kinds of ways. But it also, it has… Its pedigree draws heavily from Dwellings and from Energy Empire.

DTD: Oh, OK.

LL: So, it does have energy. It does have this engine building, where you can fire off a whole bunch of things on a given turn, rather than…

DTD: I didn’t expect Energy Empire in there…

Since this interview I have played Andromeda’s Edge a few times, and the use of energy as a resource, the ability to use it fire off multiple actions, now makes sense.

PV: Yeah, one of the things that I feel was really fresh to see, is that Dwellings doesn’t have a timer per se. I mean, there is a timer about, you know, when you could end it via going to the dungeon. But this [Andromeda’s Edge] has one of those Energy Empire -like time tracks that people can engage in. Like pollution is in Energy Empire.

DTD: Yeah.

PV: This one has this event track, that certain things cause that, certain things will trigger that, and players are right there in control of that.

DTD: I was looking at that.

PV: And they can speed that up or slow that down by their actions.

DTD: Very cool.

LL: And I’m really happy with all of the different mechanisms and how they sync together, but it definitely has made my heaviest game so far. Some folks are, they’re just drooling over that idea. And I know that other folks, who are into a little lighter gamers, can be like, “Aah, this is a little… I don’t know, can we go back to Dwellings?” Because Dwellings is that lighter, cleaner play.

DTD: It was right on the edge, because it had all of these echoes of “this could be really heavy…”, but then it played lighter than I expected.

Dwellings of Eldervale tends to scare first time players, because there are a lot of pieces, components, and it looks like a heavy experience. But the core game play is quite simple, place a worker until you have none, then take them all back. Andromeda retains this feeling of light elegance, but has expanded the extra actions and modules, akin to the dungeon cards in Dwellings.

LL: So this one is meatier, for sure. And I think it’s gonna rope in and keep those heavier gamers really engaged for many different plays.

DTD: [driving noises] Yeah, I need to… So, I remember when I did my breakfast with Scott Caputo, he was saying, “Oh, this is… The one I’m working on now is my heaviest design ever…”

LL: It was Whistle Mountain

Whistle Mountain, released in 2020, was a collaboration between Luke Laurie and Scott Caputo. Interestingly, Scott and I also had an interview over breakfast. I tried to go to the same place, but they were very crowded this morning.

DTD: It was Whistle Mountain, and it was really fun, just… And that’s when I started following all the designs you were doing. Was just to follow up on that. And Whistle Mountain ended up being so thinky and so unique.

LL: That’s cool. That was a… That creation of that game was a really fun story, too. Because Scott and I, we decided we wanted to make a game together before we had anything.

DTD: [laughs] OK.

LL: We said, “We want to make a game together. Let’s see how it goes.” And he said he came up with an idea. He’s like, “Well, what if you have worker placement kind of next to tiles?” Like a polyominos or… You know, oddly shaped compositions of shapes, squares, various kinds. We had some different ideas on what that would be like. But his basic concept was put a worker next to it, get something. That was about it. And so we started just sitting down and messing with bits, and we started brainstorming ideas. And during that conversation, I remember we were putting workers next to something we’re building, and putting it down. We talked about, “Well you can get resources in some way, and you get whatever you’re adjacent to when you put your worker here.” But then I’m like, “You know what? If we come up with a theme, a grounding theme, that’ll help inspire where we go from this, in terms of the mechanics.” And I remember an early one I came up with was what if it’s a tree, like a tree that’s growing? We’re building the tree, and these are like elves, like wood elves. And they’re, you know, they’re doing things around this tree. This tree of life or something like that.

DTD: [laughs] You were a couple of years early. That’s every new design getting pitched now.

Oak, Woodcraft, and Living Forest come to mind…

LL: Yeah.

PV: Yeah, no doubt.

LL: So then, I was like, you know I like games… And I try to include this in all my games that have some kind of external threat. I don’t want the game to feel so lacking in tension, that there’s no sense of haste, there’s no sense of… I mean, I sometimes like to play those games. Sometimes I want to play a game that’s just a relaxing… You know, put some stuff down and have a good time.

DTD: Sure.

LL: But a game that is that kind of experience, that you really remember, is that one where you had to accomplish something before it was too late. And so that’s when I came up with the idea that, what if we made it so you can’t build in every direction? What if you have to build kind of generally in one direction? Call it “up”.

DTD: Because you’re being chased, or you’re being…

Too excited. Stole Luke’s thunder. It’s coming.

LL: And I’m thinking, like what is this – white walkers, what’s, you know, what’s coming? And I’m like, how about rising water? And so, we had a version we called Rising Tide. We had a version we called Airships and Gadgeteers.

DTD: Rising Tide, that’s a good name. [laughs]

LL: So, it was called Rising Tide after it was signed. And then there came out a Pandemic: Rising Tide.

DTD: Yep.

Pandemic: Rising Tide by Splotter Games’ Jeroen Doumen and Matt Leacock released in December 2017. Someone should interview those guys.

LL: And there was public backlash because it came out right around a tsunami.

DTD: Oh!

LL: And like, you know, you design something and three years later there is a natural disaster that corresponds with the release of your product. And you get backlash for that. So we changed the name from Rising Tide, because the name was taken. And eventually it got rethemed to be Whistle Mountain.

DTD: That’s awesome.

Whistle Mountain was themed into the “Whistle” Universe by Bezier Games, following up Scott’s 2017 train game, Whistle Stop.

LL: And so, Scott and I did a lot of that remotely, the work. But a lot of it was independent work, where we would kind of… I’d take the game for a while, then he’d take it for a while, and so on. And then we would meet together at cons.

DTD: Very cool.

LL: We’re actually working on another game together right now.

PV: I saw it yesterday.

DTD: Oh! Can you talk about it at all?

LL: It’s, it’s really light.

DTD: Oh, I… Is this the one that was… And I’ll edit this if I’m not allowed to say, that was the REDACTED themed REDACTED, and it had REDACTED?

LL: It may or may not be. [laughs]

DTD: [laughs] It won’t go in.

Heh. I played it as well. No comment.

LL: So yeah, so he and I worked on this light, fairly easy, pretty quick game. And…

DTD: I saw Scott playing it the other day in Proto.

KublaCon has a thriving prototype program, associated with ProtoSpiel.

LL: It works really interestingly, so yeah. He built it, a lot of it. He built a lot of it himself and then he kicked it to me, and then I cut out three quarters of the game.

DTD: Oh, goodness.

The best designers are skilled at removing and editing out their favorite bits.

LL: And kept all of the gameplay.

Our caravan of satiated diners arrived back at the KublaCon Hotel, ready for a final day of games, games, games.

DTD: Do you guys want out? It looks like I’m going to have to go around to the pool area.

PV: Yeah, I think I’m going to do that. And then I… Luke, I’m gonna have to drop the banners at your door?

LL: I’ll just be up there in just a second, yeah.

Being the final day, Luke and Peter were busy cleaning up the private room they had for playtesting Andromeda’s Edge. The banners advertising the game were quite extraordinary, showing off art from Sergio Chaves.

PV: OK, I’ll be there to meet you.

LL: OK, I’ll just finish this this one, and then I’ll run right up there. Probably we’ll get there at the same time.


DTD: All right.

PV: Thank you again Corey. That was great.

DTD: Oh yeah! You’re heading up now?

Since I drove to KublaCon, I had brought a few bottles of wine from Napa Valley – a gift for letting me monopolize their time at the end of a long, tiring, weekend.

LL: Sorry, did you say it’s a Spanish wine?

DTD: Tempranillo. There’s a Spanish family that owns a winery by me, that I love their wines.

LL: I wonder if it has any echoes of wines from Spain? We’ll see.

DTD: I think it does. Madrigal Family. They make such good stuff.

LL: OK so I was saying about the design work, so I trimmed it significantly, but managed to keep almost all of the gameplay.


LL: In a way that made it… It’s really lean. It’s fun and it’s very much not a Luke Laurie game.

DTD: Oh wow.

It is a difficult skill for a developer to help improve a designers game without imposing your own design onto it.

LL: So, that makes me… Like, I wonder how people are gonna respond to that. Because it’s definitely not worker placement, it’s definitely not heavy. But it is a thinky, play under an hour, kind of game. And it’s the kind of thing kids could play too. So, we’ll see where that goes.

DTD: Very cool, I’m excited about it. I watched a Protospiel playthrough of it last night, I think. That’s really cool.

LL: Awesome.

DTD: Alright, I’ve got…

LL: We did it!

I have been trying to get an interview with Luke for several years, but there were complications such as pandemic, my being a terrible planner, etc. And Luke I suspect was a little nervous.

DTD: Barely. I think I’ve got my necessities. I hope that wasn’t too brutal for you.

LL: Oh, it was a lot of fun.

DTD: I enjoy it, and nobody understands what the h-ll I’m trying to do before… Let me – here… This is one of the best pinots I’ve ever had.

LL: Awesome.

It is true that I have trouble explaining to designers what my interviews are all about. Mostly because they aren’t about anything. I’m just plain lazy. Oh, and I handed Luke a Pinot Noir from Wren Hop Vineyards. Lovely.

DTD: And it’s a little local, by my house.

LL: We will love this, and I really appreciate it.

DTD: Good.

LL: Heading back in?

DTD: I am. So I’m just tagging along with you. [laughs]

LL: And you may or may not do Andromeda’s Edge, or…?

Luke had one more play scheduled, and I was working hard to squeeze myself into that game. I can say now that I did play, and I loved it.

DTD: I would love to sit in on that. I don’t have a schedule.

LL: Alright, let’s check it out then.

DTD: So, I’m driving back whenever the heck I feel like it, so that’s all it is.

LL: So my plan was to do that around 11.


LL: I’ve got to go have some downtime and do some wrap up stuff.

DTD: Of course.

LL: And then I’m unsure the location, might be the 9th floor space.

That was the private room the team had been using all weekend.


LL: But it’ll depend on me checking in with this other guy, but we didn’t have any trouble communicating via text and coordinating.

DTD: Sounds good. I’m going to stop the recording.

Thanks once again to Peter Vaughan and Luke Laurie for a delightful breakfast, wonderful stories, and great company. And thanks to James, who was great to have around, although I suspect he was bored with the whole thing.

Andromeda’s Edge is currently scheduled to crowdfund on Gamefound on January 31.

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