A Quick Chat with Jamey Stegmaier of Stonemaier Games

I wanted to talk to Jamey briefly in the last days of the Tuscany Kickstarter campaign. The game is well overfunded and you’ll see from the interview that there is a ton of stuff included.

Jamey: Hi Tom, thanks so much for having me back on your blog! Stonemaier Games is doing well thanks to the success of Viticulture, our first game, then Euphoria, and now Tuscany, the expansion pack to Viticulture. We’re based in St. Louis.

Tom: Talk about Tuscany.

Jamey: What is it? Tuscany is a pack of 12 different expansions to Viticulture that extend certain elements of the original game (more visitor cards, for example) and expand the game in a variety of ways (4-season game board, special worker meeples, Formaggio and Arboriculture expansions, etc). 12 is a lot of expansions, so we’ve structured the game to unlock over time–you start with no expansions, and the winner of that game choose the next expansion to unlock and permanently add to the game.

Tom: Tweleve expansions! That’s amazing. I like the aspect that they unlock. Kind of a “legacy” idea. It’s cool that you set them up like that.

Jamey: What’s in there? The 12 expansions are as follows: mamas and papas (asymmetric starting resources), advanced visitor cards (better versions of the original cards so there never is an untimely draw), property tiles (sell unused fields for money), patronage cards (secret goals), special worker meeples (workers with different abilities), extended board (4 full worker-placement seasons), structures (build permanent additions to your vineyard), new visitors (all-new visitor cards), Formaggio (cheese), Arboriculture (trees), Mafia (deduction/chase social game), and Automa (solo expansion).

Tom: All of those sound very cool. I enjoy asymmetry in a game so the Mamas and Papas is for me. I’m interested in seeing what the cheese expansion is about. And the Mafia expansion. That one sounds quite intriguing.

Jamey: How long has it been baking? The idea for Tuscany has been “baking” ever since I sent Viticulture to the printer. At the time I really didn’t know how Viticulture would sell on the open market, so I wasn’t sure if I should pursue those ideas, so it really wasn’t until last June that I really started designing the expansions. They changed quite a bit over time, and I’m really pleased with the final product.

Tom: I know you did a TON of playtesting for Tuscany. I did a very small bit myself. You say the game changed a bit over time. How is the Kickstarter going?

Jamey: Really well–we’ve been very fortunate to have amazing backer participation from over 3,400 backers, and while I write this, we have just over $346,000 raised with a few days to go.

Tom: That is really awesome. That’s a lot of overfunding. Euphoria is another big hit for you all. Talk about it some.

Jamey: We sold 5,700 copies of Euphoria through the Kickstarter campaign last spring, and we made an additional 3,300 copies for retail. We’re almost sold out of those copies. For the most part, people seem to have a lot of fun with the game, and we’ve heard a lot of positive feedback about the art and components.

Tom: What else do you have up your sleeve? What’s in the game queue for SG?

Jamey: Up next for us is actually our first non-game product, a Kickstarter campaign for realistic resource tokens similar to those found in the KS version of Euphoria. We hope to launch in June. After that it’ll be a while before we release another game. I’ve been working on a game for a while now, but it still has a ways to go. And we’re definitely open to publishing a game from outside designers–we’re specifically looking for a large-group social game and a cooperative game, either of which would ideally be set in the world of Euphoria.

Tom: People say micorgames are the new hotness but I think larger social games may be it. I’m terrible at deduction games but a co-op in Euphoria is neat. You post A LOT about Kickstarter about running a campaign and are a sought-after ‘mentor’ with regards to running one successfully. First, thanks! Now, why are you doing that?

Jamey: Honestly, I do it because it feels like the right thing to do. I am the happiest when I get to help other people. I can’t help everyone one-on-one because it’s very time consuming, and only one person benefits, but the blog entries are now read by thousands of people. I’m still learning a lot about Kickstarter, so I love sharing that knowledge (mistakes, successes, observations, etc) with others in a way that they might find helpful.

Tom: How’s Alan doing? When are we going to hear from him?

Jamey: Alan continues to really exist, for real! I think he even chimed in on Kickstarter the first day. Social media really just isn’t his forte, which is unfortunate, because he’s a great guy. He’s staying busy with his day job and his family. He and I are actually helping out a local game shop at the St. Louis ComicCon this weekend, so I will confirm tomorrow that Alan is still actually a person (some people have wondered if he’s real–he’s in the project video!).

Tom: I hope I’m able to meet you both one day. If I’m ever in St. Louis I’ll give you a call for sure.

Jamey: What’s new with you? What’s your favorite game of 2014 so far?

Tom: Game wise I’m prepping Duck Blind and University Labs for a local Unpub Mini in May. I of course have several other designs in the hopper.

My favorite game of 2014 so far is MobTown by 5th Street Games. It’s officially not out yet but I playtested and reviewed it and it’s fantastic. I’ve played it with my family and with my game group. It’s a super game that will please everyone. Phil has a real hit on his hands. Russian Railroads is very good also. And a couple of the Dice Hate Me Games card games in the Rabbit line are sweet. Especially Isle of Trains by Keltner and Jaffee.

Otherwise things are great. I’m especially blessed and am very grateful.

I appreciate Jamey stopping by to chat a bit. Tuscany is in its last hours. I encourage you to support it here.