The Seventh Peg Ep. 3- Jamey Stegmaier of Stonemaier Games

BPPP 7th Peg Stonemaier Games (click on the text to the left to listen to the interview)
stoenmaierDuring this episode of Blue Peg, Pink Peg’s Seventh Peg, Patrick & Robb  interview the founder of Stonemaier Games and the designer of Euphoria and Viticulture, Jamey Stegmaier. During the discussion they discuss kickstarter tricks and trends, game design and the gaming industry from the perspective of an independent game designer and publisher.

Click here to buy Euphoria, Viticulture or its expansion Tuscany.

Click here to read Jamey’s extensive writing on kickstarter and game design.

 

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16 thoughts on “The Seventh Peg Ep. 3- Jamey Stegmaier of Stonemaier Games

  1. Big thumbs up!

    I’m only half way through the podcast, but loving every minute of it. Wonder if Jamey would be keen to do an article on his childhood game designs. Now that he’s made it in the industry, it would be interesting to see him critique his own games, see what worked and what didn’t. Perhaps among those designs, there might even be a couple of gems in there!

      1. Sweet. It’s like magic!

        All your childhood games look really cool; I’d back it if it was on Kickstarter.

        Especially that Viticulture game. I wonder if that’s on Kickst… oh wait, it is. Now, I really think you should do an expans….wait. This is like MAGIC!

        I’ll be serious for a minute, I’m a big fan of both Viticulture and Euphoria. Our gaming group was over the moon when we found out we were among the first to receive Euphoria weeks before others. My copy stands proudly on the centre shelf for all to ogle at.

      2. Ha ha…that’s the magic of reading old blog entries. 🙂

        I’m glad your group enjoyed getting their copies early, and I appreciate you all for supporting our projects on Kickstarter.

  2. New listener so I’ve been going through the back catalog and couldn’t resist posting a comment on this one. I enjoyed the interview but it was a shame we didn’t get to hear more about Bora Bora’s pasted on theme!! The blue pegs were having none of it apparently. (I recently bought the game and I have to say the theme is definitely iffy, but certainly cheerful enough.) Would like to hear more of Jamey’s thoughts on integrating theme and mechanics, maybe a follow up interview one day?

    Jamey’s link to his old board games bought memories flooding back. I made a bunch of games as a kid too. None of them exist anymore unfortunately.

    1. Yeah, I would have liked to discuss it more myself. I think it was a line of inquiry that we could have pursued more actively; I just felt that it might require a little context that we could not provide in the episode. It is our aspiration to have Seventh Peg eps stand on their own so that people need not be listeners to BPPP to be able to follow the line of conversation. But in retrospect, I think that was a topic that we could have discussed in greater detail. Expect to hear a follow up with Jamey in the future, I have heard a few bit of information about his current doings that will be of interest to our listeners and moreover, the guy is a wealth of knowledge and a great interview.

    2. foldedcard: I’m glad that link to those old board games brought some memories bad. 🙂 I’m lucky my parents hung on to them!

      As for integrating theme and mechanisms, we could spend an entire podcast talking about it. I haven’t played Bora Bora, but here’s the key question: Could you explain Bora Bora to someone else without mentioning anything thematic? I’m guessing the answer is mostly yes, but some no. I agree that some designers just create a mishmash of (mostly interesting) mechanisms and then slap on the theme, but I bet once that theme arrives, certain mechanisms are adjusted for the theme. Which is a good thing, in my opinion.

      My design process is a constant balancing act between mechanisms and theme. I usually start with a theme, and I look for mechanisms I’ve previously brainstormed that match the theme. Then I hone those mechanisms to make them interesting. Then I’ll check to make sure those mechanisms haven’t gotten too far away from the theme. And so on.

      1. I like that way of thinking about integration of mechanic and theme, ie. does the explanation of one require reference to the other. I suppose it could be done (ie. explain mechanics in isolation) with Bora, Bora but there are some areas of the game where theme is closely tied to mechanic. In fairness, I have never thought of Feld as being one who combines mechanics with theme very well, yet still I love his games. I do, however, love the themes he chooses for his games. As I will discuss during our GenCon recap, I think his upcoming title is more thematic then many of his earlier games.

  3. Thanks for the reply. It came up right at the end so I am not surprised you guys veered off to closing questions. As regards “pasted on themes”, I don’t think I agree with Jamey’s premise that theme has to be established from the start to be well integrated. In the case of Bora Bora too much tie in to the theme may have obscured the mechanics of the game making it harder to learn (pretty tough as is) or resulted in fundamentally worse game play for the sake of better integration. I haven’t tried his games but I have a couple on the wishlist.

    Anyway, keep up the great show! I am relatively new to the modern crop of games and your podcasts hit the sweetspot for me, especially for the discussion with the pink pegs and how board games fit into a busy family life. So now I am an avid listener.

    PS:I personally think Keri’s right about abbreviating the rules description. I tend to glaze over, but I am sure opinions vary. I wish the technology was at a state that made it easier to jump to specific content. As it is, it’s pretty fiddly to have to jump to specific time stamps etc but that’s not your fault.

      1. Hi Jamey, I wrote this before I saw your first reply and was probably incorrectly reading into your unanswered question about Bora Bora’s theme during the interview. Yes, it makes sense that different designer might prefer different approaches (this might be related to the clichéd notion of left brain and right brain thinking) or a different approach will work better for a particular game feel. I can see value in all approaches. Completely agree that rules should be tweaked as a theme is integrated (and have to imagine that happens in 99 percent of cases but what do I know). Even if the theme is loosely related to the game mechanics it can make or break a game. My wife hates Spyrium, for example, because of the steampunk. But she will happily play Bora Bora and CoB because of their cheerful themes. The theme can also be key to making a game easy to play because it can provide a very helpful mnemonic for complex actions in a game. It would be hard to have much fun if CoB’s buildings with numbered and colored tiles instead of particular buildings. I am sure you are well aware of all this, having made such well received games!

        Re games I made as a kid, the only one I can somewhat accurately remember was one I made when I was 15: a “tactical” RPG with a wild west theme with 2 pages of handwritten rules. (Inspired by the short 6 page rulebook of an indie cyberpunk themed RPG I bought around that time). It got one play with 6 kids at my high school. The key combat mechanics were wildly innacurate firearms, brutal hand to hand weapons if you could get in close, and body part specific injuries that couldn’t be healed. That one game was a short bloody affair but no one else was much of a gamer so I moved on…

    1. Thanks for the feedback. You should surely put Feld high on your list, Castles of Burgundy is a good place to start. As to the rule’s breakdown, you will be pleased to find that over the past several episodes we have committed to making them about 3 minutes long, a trend that we intend to continue.

      1. Yep, Castles of Burgundy was our first Feld and it’s great! At the moment, we still like it more than Bora Bora, but we need more plays of the latter.

        Good to hear on the rules. 3 minutes seems like a good compromise. I should be caught up in another week or so. (Then what will I do?)

      2. You keep listening, we’ll keep ’em coming. We have an ep releasing Monday; recorded most of it last night. Some pretty cool games reviewed. We will also have a lengthy GenCon retrospective, because what we all need is more games to buy.

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