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On Who, What, Why? I discuss game design with those who make games and try to learn more about the game design process. Each episode I interview a designer, publisher, developer, artist, etc. of tabletop games such as card, board, or role playing. Some episodes discuss big ideas in design rather than individual games. I have both mainstream and independent developers as guests.
 
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Jonny Pac, co-designer of Unconscious Mind, joined me to talk about the design of this big game. We focused on the way this game keeps players involved thematically and helps keep these various mechanisms flowing intuitively between one another. If you are interested in this game, check it out on Kickstarter.…
 
Joe Slack joins me yet again! It's a second threepeat! In this episode, Joe and I discuss when to pitch your game vs. when to self-publish. There are a lot of things to consider with both avenues. First, you've got to have a game worth publishing at all. Then you have to decide to either give your creation to someone else where you may lose some cr…
 
Fabricio Leotti, designer of Hyperwars (now on KS), joined me to talk about the genre of real-time games. We explore what the term means to us, what games embody it, and where it falls flat. We also weave in discussion of how Fabricio's latest game, Hyperwars, attempts to capture the feel of real-time action. If you'd like to learn more about Hyper…
 
Joe Slack joined me (again!) to talk about when he shelves a design and when he returns to one on that shelf. This was a good conversation where I get to wax lyrical about some of my own lost designs. Remember, designers, it's okay to put something away for a little while to give yourself some clarity on it. Check out Joe's Kickstarter for 14 Frant…
 
Joe Slack, designer of Relics of Rajavihara and the forthcoming 14 Frantic Minutes, joined me for another threepeat of episodes. The first one explores the idea of a game being "done." How does one know when to call their design done and move on to the next phase of its life? Joe and I attempt to provide some insight into this quesiton. Joe also ha…
 
Aaron Trammel, Shelley Jones, Edmond Y. Chang, and Evan Tormer are four of the members of the editorial board at Analog Games Studies. This group of smart folk joined me to talk about the journal itself and about the importance of treating games from an academic lens. This episode involved a lot of smart discussion from these four about some deeper…
 
My friend and game designer, Isaac Shalev, joined me to talk in depth about Hanabi. When I thought about who to invite on for this game, I knew I had to talk to Isaac because I know of his love for it. I was more like a passenger on this episode because Isaac said a lot of really smart things about Hanabi's design and why it is such an incredibly g…
 
In the last couple of years, I've been looking to interview more designers of games that have something to say about history and through history about the world we currently live in. Tory Brown, designer of Votes for Women, joined me on the podcast to talk about the design of her new game from Fort Circle Games. I think there is a lot of learn from…
 
This episode is a departure from my normal gaming guests. I invited two guys I know from my backyard wrestling federation on to talk about a tv pilot they are self-funding called The Last Temptation of Slice. This episode is about the creative process, which has parallels no matter what you are creating. We discussed the inspiration for the show an…
 
A recurring guest comes back to the show to talk about his new game studio and publisher, The Game Builders. Ode (@AndreasOdendahl) joins me to talk about making the leap into publishing and how his deep connection to famed designer Uwe Rosenberg will help jumpstart this company. We also discuss emo music, punk music and how Ode's DIY roots helped …
 
Michael Addison, designer of Rebels of the Outlaw Waste, joined the show to talk about his role-playing game due out later in the Fall. We covered a lot of topics ranging from the inspirations that Michael drew upon for this game to the way this game brings new life to a genre that might feel a bit tired at this time.…
 
Matthew Dunstan (@wisegoldfish), full-time designer of many games such as the Kosmos Adventure game series and the Ravensburger Echoes series, joined me to talk about some of the nitty gritty of what it was like to be a game designer. We discussed contracts, payments, and more. Anyone who likes what they hear from Matthew can support him by going t…
 
This episode is 2 weeks late because my side of the audio needed to be rebuilt, but it is finally here! Taylor Shuss, designer of Stonewall Uprising, joined me to talk about this game. It was an interesting discussion exploring the ways in which the game's theme really shines through some incredibly smart design decisions by Taylor. The game is cur…
 
Crystal Mazur, freelance RPG writer and more, joined me on the show to delve more deeply into what it is like to be a freelance writer for RPGs. We discussed a lot here. Crystal knows an incredible amount about the process of writing and preparing RPGs for publishing. We discussed compensation, duties of a writer, and red flags to watch out for. If…
 
Re-Released! I've re-released this episode with a file that takes up less of my monthly allotment. Enjoy (again). Welcome to another case study episode. This time me, Jonny, and Jeff tackle the game often called misery farm... Agricola. We discuss a where the game hits and misses for us. I find myself at odds with my guests since I like Agricola. T…
 
Dan Thurot, game critic extraordinaire, joined me to delve into a difficult topic: representing history through games. We focused on ways that history is represented poorly and ways that it is represented successfully and thoughtfully in games. This is a big topic, and one I will likely explore in future episodes. For now, enjoy my time with Dan Th…
 
I am starting a new series of episodes called "A Case Study in..." Each episode will feature me and some designers discussing a particular game that none of us designed. The games we will focus on will have made an impact on the hobby. My first episode of this series is on Dominion featuring Jeff and Jonny. We discussed the impact Dominion made on …
 
Listening to music on your discman or Zune might seem like the pinacle experience, but nothing beats being at a live show. In this episode, I talk about some of my favorite venues that I've been to over the years. What are some of your favorite venues to see your favorite bands? Tweet at me to share. @whowhatwhycast…
 
The CEO of Massive Black, Melissa Lee, joined me to talk about both her life in the games industry and what she has been trying to accomplish with Massive Black. The company focuses on creating art for all sorts of games and tech projects, notably Elder Scrolls and Betrayal at the House on the Hill 3rd Edition. To learn more about Massive Black, vi…
 
David Malki, director of product development at Cut.com and Cut Games, joined me to talk about developing games that connect with the kind of content Cut.com creates. Cut is a media company that puts people in situations to connect with others and maybe even learn something about themselves in the process. We discussed how the game wing aimed to re…
 
The third episode in my short series with Joe Slack is here! We discuss the do's and don'ts of crowdfunding campaigns based on Joe Slack's experience as a successful crowdfunder and my experience as a successful crowdfundee. I think we came up with some excellent tips and tricks. Check out Joe's work at: The Board Game Design Course…
 
Maceo Mair, designer of the game Brutal Orchestra, joined me to talk about 2 important topics with this game: the first one being Heironymous Bosch, a Dutch painter from the 1400s and the ways this game tries to stand out in such a crowded field of rogue-lites and RPGs. Check out Brutal Orchestra on Steam if you are so interested. Also, check out B…
 
Douglas Zeilsdorf, the organized play administrator for Frog God Games, joined me to talk about what is organized play and what administrating it entails doing. We also discussed the Splinters of Faith Kickstarter (live now) and what this world is bringing to the RPG world of Frog God Games.Oleh Mike Bonet
 
Bez stopped by the show to talk about her Bezzy Bargain Bags. There is currently a Kickstarter campaign running for A Game About Quickly Grabbing Creatures That Are Totally Different and Counting Your Beetroots. Say that 5 times fast! We discuss Bez's bargain bag model for producing games and how she can use that to create interesting games and use…
 
Jason Piercy, James Mosingo, and Jason Ward, creators of The Real Thing RPG, joined me to talk about their role-playing game set in the world of Faith No More's album The Real Thing. I thought this was a unique opportunity to talk to creators who did something I hadn't considered before: created a game out of a band's album. We discussed how this p…
 
Joe Slack, a 2-time guest, has returned for a short series of episodes exploring some broad ideas for game designers. This first episode with Joe in the series explores advice for first time designers and how to get people over that hump to design their first game.Oleh Mike Bonet
 
Another episode of Why Ska?! Why are you all so lucky? My friend from college, Jon, joins me to reminisce about a New Paltz local ska band we used to see in all sorts of venues: college cafeterias, other college campuses, on my final college radio show, etc. We were excited when we discovered this band because it was some local ska to connect with.…
 
In this second episode, I wanted to provide a bit of context for those who may not know how ska has been informing Who, What, Why for quite a while now. This is also a chance for me to give some public credit to the Mexican ska bands that have helped give me some kick ass intro and outro music.Oleh Mike Bonet
 
Takashi Sawada, designer of Floating Floors, and Stella Jahja, co-founder of Guf Studios, both joined me to talk about this unique balancing strategy game live on Kickstarter right now. We discussed the game's origins, its development, and its life with Guf Studios. We also discussed Guf Studios game publishing ethos. If you are interested in Float…
 
Elli Amir, designer of Worldbreakers, joined me to talk about this interesting 2 player game set in a pre-colonial Western Asia (think Mongol Empire sort of era). We discussed the intricacies of designing 2 player card games, Elli's decision to set the game in an underrepresented era, and ways to keep the game's production nimble. If you are intere…
 
Rory Muldoon and Matthew Dunstan, co-founders of Postmark Games and co-creators of Voyages, join me to talk about their newest game venture--a print-at-home game company. We discuss Postmark's genesis and Voyages' uniqueness as an engaging single sheet pen and dice game. Check out Postmark Games if you're interested: Postmark Games website…
 
Greg Loring-Albright, co-designer of Bloc by Bloc 3rd edition, joined me to talk about this game about social uprisings in a simulated oppressive state. We focused our conversation on the things that 3rd edition adds to the game and the way the game immerses the players in a social uprising. You can look for the game on Gamefound on Feb. 15th.…
 
@RandyReiman, designer of Skate Summer--on KS 1/18/22 from @pandasaurusgame, joined me to talk about Skate Summer. We discussed how the game changed, how virtual playtesting helped, and how Tony Hawk Pro Skater inspired this game. Check out the game on Kickstarter on 1/18/22 if you like the game.
 
Carol Mertz, senior game designer at Exploding Kittens, designer of games like Pass the Buck, and cool experiences like Hell Couch, joined me on the show to talk about multidisciplinary design. We explored her life as a designer and how her experiences in different disciplines help designers better understand their own discipline.…
 
Ken Spencer, partner at Frog God Games and writer of the Tome of Wondrous Items, joined me to talk about this new 5E supplemental on Kickstarter now. Our conversation focused on the guidelines that Ken and the team employ when creating items for an established system. He also shared a snapshot of the kinds of items that will appear and the rational…
 
Totsuca Chuo, designer of Ostia, joined me to discuss his game that uses the mancala mechanism in a unique way. Totsuca sent his answers via email, and Quentin Hudspeth provides his voice. A big thank you goes out to Saigo, who helped Totsuca translate. Ostia comes to Kickstarter soon from Uchibacoya Piece. Quentin Hudspeth can be found at quentinh…
 
Jeff Warrender, designer of Acts of the Evangelists, joins me and Jonny to talk about self-publishing and producing 100 copies of his game. We discuss a lot of details about the production of games like box sourcing, shipping considerations, and more. If you'd like to learn more, visit Belltowergames.com.…
 
Marie and Pauline of Hot Banana Games joined me to talk about their game Steam Up. We focused on discussing the unique aspects of this game such as the components, theme, and pre-production. I believe I also learned where the name Hot Banana Games comes from. Check out Steam Up on KS if you are interested: Clicky Linky…
 
Travis Drake of Brouhaha Games joined me to talk about his game company, which has a unique angle in the hobby. He makes games mostly dedicated to Halloween (or celebrations close to Halloween). We discussed his unique status in the hobby and upcoming Kickstarter title Hysteria, featuring beautiful artwork from a Mexican artist. If you are interest…
 
NBSP, designer of the P500 game Cross Bronx Expressway, joined me to talk about his game. We focused on its design, its importance in telling a story not many will know, and its creation as a whole. I was drawn to interviewing this designer because I have grown a fondness for the Bronx since being a teacher there for the last 5 years.…
 
Jay Shipinski and Jonny Pac joined me to talk about the insights Jay gained from playing 365+ games every day without stopping. He and his family documented their gaming, sometimes with fun costumes, and they were even featured on their local news station. We explored how Jay's insights might help us think about how reviewing works.…
 
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