Month: September 2017

Chilling And Grilling – A Conversation With…Darrell Louder, Unpub’s Main Man

I’m joined by Darrell Louder. Darrell is the director of The Unpub Network, a published game designer, and a big wig at Panda Manufacturing.

Hi Darrell. It’s great to have you back as my guest on Go Forth And Game.

Great to be back. Have to say, missed you at our previous Unpub. You are becoming more and more of a ghost for gaming conventions. Get your priorities in line! 🙂

Man, I so wanted to go to Unpub 7. I’m going to try really hard to make 8 but I can’t promise. What’s new with you?

Well I’m writing this laid up after having a badly torn miniscus repaired. So this interview will be brought to you by Oxycodone. So when it gets published I’ll get to read it all for the first time. Ha.

Seriously, new with me is a loaded question now adays. I got a promotion with my job at Panda Game Manufacturing, I’m now the Marketing Manager of the company. Been busy working on our upcoming presences at GenCon and Essen (which i’ll finally be going to this year). I have 3 new titles coming out in August, Fate of the Elder Gods, Fate of the Elder Gods: Beasts from Beyond, and Bottom of the 9th: Clubhouse Expansion. On top of all of that, i’m working on a brand new web series that Chris Kirkman/Dice Hate Me is producing entitled Meat the Meeples. It’ll be a cooking/board game show of sorts. Teaching you how to grill/smoke/cook and interviewing a guest from the game community and chat while playing a game of their choice. Not a review show- more of an interview and food show. Trying to bring something new to the table (pun intended). Lastly, working on Unpub 8 of course.

Congrats on the promotion! That’s pretty cool. Get well swiftly! I saw your pics of the incision. It’s not gross as some people said. Meat The Meeples is a fantastic idea! I will watch that. And cook something too!

I want to focus on UnPub for most of the interview but let’s talk about your games first. You’re a designer of several games. Remind us of them.

Sure thing! My games that are out (or to be released in August) are, in order: Compounded, Compounded: Geiger Expansion, Bottom of the 9th, Bottom of the 9th: Big League Support, Bottom of the 9th: Sentinels of the 9th, Fate of the Elder Gods, Fate of the Elder Gods: Beasts from Beyond, and Bottom of the 9th: Clubhouse Expansion

Bottom of the Ninth is a pretty well respected 2 player game. Any more work in the ballpark coming? 7th inning stretch?

I think after Clubhouse comes out, Mike and I are going to take a break for a bit from the ballpark. Clubhouse brings out SO many new players and new combos with the equipment cards that I may take players awhile to play through them all. So we want to let them absorb all of that before we release more. The ideas are aplenty, believe me, but there are other irons in the fire we want to focus on for a bit first.

Fate of the Elder Gods is kind of a dream come true for you because you got to design with Richard Lanius. What was that like? Is he the Cthulhu encyclopedia he is touted to be?

Working with Richard is like working with a best friend who happens to be Einstein. He was amazing to work with, and we are eager to work together again. He brought so many good ideas to the table, but was also incredibly open to ideas from myself- and Kirkman of course. Richard is the perfect gentlemen and one of the rare instances of meeting a role model to be a good/positive thing. I can truly say that Fate’s game design is all equal parts Richard, Chris, and I.

That is awesome. I can’t imagine what it is like to work with a role model. And on something that he loves as much as you. What’s up with Compounded?

Well, I am finally working on a solid dice version of Compounded, entitled Compounded: Lab Notes. It’s a roll-n-write, but with a touch of a different take on it. I have had many versions out there blind playtesting (thanks everyone) and I’m getting close to having a ‘final’ build to send to Kirkman for his play and take. I will have this on me at GenCon- if you (or anyone) wants to meet up to play. 🙂

Better Chemistry Through Gaming!

I played one of those versions. It was pretty fun. I’m sorry if I didn’t get back to you on that. We enjoyed it is what I remember for now. What is the hardest part of designing a game for you?

Keeping it enjoyable. I only work/design games that I want to play. If I get bored play testing a game (or if it’s feeling forced) I shelve it. I never want to be a designer that sells half-assed games, or games partially finished to rely on the publisher to complete. That’s just not my style. I want to continue to make games that I enjoy playing, completely. Games I can always be proud of.

That is a great answer. An admirable stance. When do you know a game is done?

When it goes to the printer. Ha. Seriously, I work games and over work them at times (much to Kirkman’s chagrin). Typically, it reaches a point where everything just feels right and fluid.

Do you have a regular group that you playtest with?

Yes, the group is consistently my wife, and then friends that are random (depending who is around). My wife is the best sound board as she hasn’t led me wrong yet. Also we have a game rule in the house, that I can’t buy a board game unless it plays 2 players, so to ensure all my games are 2-player friendly is important to me.

What game is inside you trying to get out?

Right now, a game shelved a bit ago by T.C. Petty III and myself, Pirates of the Carbon Copy. Sailing the seas with pirate accountants. I have been slowly opening up the files and pouring over things a bit. I MIGHT have this on hand at GenCon- we shall see.

Yep. I’d Kickstart that. Let me know if you drag it back out. What game got out but should have stayed in?

I had a game idea I called ‘The Die’ that was a small pocket game that revolved around manipulated a shared D6. That game/prototype was burned, and I danced around that fire with glee. It was an idea, I tried it, it flopped. It may return far, far, far down the road- but i woudn’t count on it.

I just did that too with Get Out! – was going to be my GenCant entry but it kinda stunk. Are you actively working on any new games?

Well Pirates and Lab Notes, as mentioned above, but I’m also working on a new expansion for Fate of the Elder Gods (yes before the game is released). It’s REALLY rough right now, so I don’t want to go into details as a lot may change on that. I also have a dice game called DieScrapers (working title) about building skyscrapers with dice and contract cards. Shared points and building phases, etc. I’ll have this on me at GenCon as well. Excited for this one as it plays quickly and i enjoy it. It’s co-designed by my wife Lesley. So it’s been a lot of fun working on this with her.

DieScrapers sounds Cool. Fate of the Younger Gods?

Ok, let’s talk UnPub. For those who have been living in a cave, please let everyone know what it is.

Something everyone should know about, no explanation needed. Next question. Ok, fine. Unpub (short for The Unpublished Games Network) is a non-profit (501c3) organization that is dedicated to helping designers get their games playtested and reach publication. We hold many events around the world (yup, global) from game stores, to existing conventions, to our very own annual conventions.

What is your role?

I am the Director of Unpub.

Who are the other responsible parties?

We just had ‘elections’ for the board and our new roster is:

Darrell Louder, Director

Brad Smoley, Assistant Director

Christin Miller, Treasurer

Sarah Stanziano, Secretary

John Moller, Consigliare

We also have a committee which is:

Lesley Louder, Event Coordinator

TC Petty, Marketing/Sponsorships

Greg Miller, IT

Ben Begeal, Unpub Mini Mayor

How many games have been published as a result of an UnPub?

Oh man, this is a solid number we are working to get. It’s easily over 50 in the 7 years we have been running it. May even be close to 100. We are really proud of our Alumni and want to showcase them more.

John Moller started UnPub in 2010. It was really small then. What was the attendance this year?

When John started Unpub back in 2010 the attendance was about 24 people, that includes the designers. At Unpub 7 it was 1,800. So we have grown up a bit. 🙂

How many designers did you have?

We had 88 tables, and 120 designers in attendance last year at Unpub 7.

I’ve never heard any bad words from any designer about an UnPub. That is a real accomplishment.

Thank you. We send our surveys to all our designers at the end of every convention. We stress that Unpub is a prototype itself and we want feedback to help evolve it to make it better year after year.

You moved in 2015 to the Baltimore Convention Center. And you just announced Unpub 8 in a new venue. Talk about the move and what advantages has that move offered?

Well the move was first a cost thing. To be honest, convention centers nickel and dime EVERYTHING. We would get bills a year later out of the blue for this/that which they “forgot to charge us”. Plus, they have many other events going on the same time (most of which brings them far more money than us) so communication was lacking until the 11th hour. With that said, once we were there our contact(s) were amazing and incredibly helpful.

The move to the Hunt Valley Inn location just makes everything easier on Unpub from a logistics point of view as well as for the attendees. We know the costs for EVERYTHING up front, no surprises later.

Unpub 8 VIP Matt Leacock!

The fact we have the whole hotel for Unpub 8 means we get the attention and focus we have been looking for. This also means attendees can play games 24 hours a day, as we won’t have to close any halls. Add that with free parking, 40+ restaurants across the street, all the rooms above the gaming hall. It’s just a 1 stop package and it was perfect.

It has grown so much that there will be THREE big UnPub events in 2018 correct?

3?? No. We are running 2 this year, to see how it goes. We have Unpun Midwest in November 3-5 in Grand Rapids, MI. Everyone has been asking when we are doing Unpub West or Unpub South, and it’s a long process to do that. Marc Spector approached us with an idea and a way to try out Unpub Midwest, so we are on that. We’ll see.

I guess I’m being hopeful with the “three” cause I’d love an Unpub South here in Durham. Or maybe Asheville or Greenville, SC. Or a special TomPub? Would you come to that?

It’s funny you mentions Durham cause when we were looking to move from Delaware initially we scouted the Raleigh/Durham area. In the end we wanted to keep it close to HQ (Delaware) so Baltimore came to the aid. I’m down for doing something down south, we all are. It’s just time and funds.

Talk about UnPub Minis. How do they work? How easy are they to run?

Unpub Minis are where designers can submit to run their own little Unpub event inside a public location. Typically these have been in their local game stores, but we have also had them in universities, libraries, etc. They are 100% to run/attend, and it’s just bringing designers/playtesters together to play prototypes. It really is a mini version of the ‘big show’. They are very easy to run and to sign-up for. All through our website. 🙂

UnPub runs Proto Alley at many other cons too. How do you handle that?

Conventions will reach out to us to run a proto alley within their convention. Like minis these are free to attend, BUT you MUST have a badge for the convention to do so. These run very similarly to the minis, but with a massive built in attendence.

When do UnPub Prime 8 tickets go on sale, in August correct? Can I get a press pass? How many designers can you accommodate this time?

Tickets for Unpub 8 go on sale 8/8 at 8pm EST. We will be making press passes available this year- that is IF you actually show up this time. 🙂

We will have 80 designer tables this year, and are selling them as all TAG tables. This means designers who only purchase 1 of the 2 blocks will have their tables for 4 hours each day. Designers are allowed to purchase both blocks giving them a full-time table. So at max we could have 160 designers, at minimum 80.

What’s the latest grilling masterpiece?

As i touched on a bit above, I am working on a web series that encompasses both hobbies of grilling/smoking and board games. I’ll be showing off my techniques as well as helping others learn to grill/smoke. I’m really really excited for Meat the Meeples and you can look for the first episode to drop in August.

Meat The Meeples prep!

BTW, I’m still noodling with the BBQ Battle idea we had when I interviewed you before. I’ll keep you posted.

What is something interesting about you that most of us would not know?

So much. I would say i’m a huge fan of smoked meats, but that isn’t really a secret. Let me ask my wife, one moment…

Ok she said “you’re a thespian”. So there. In high school (and college) I was the drama/stage guy. My degree is in theater. I went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland in High School to perform as Henry David Thoreau in The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail. I have also written shows that have been performed at area theaters/schools. So I’m a nerd for musicals, movies, and stage productions.

I discovered theater my senior year in high school. I was the Stage Manager in a production of Our Town and served as stage manager for Guys and Dolls and The Music Man. Guys and Dolls is such a fun show. Man, good memories. And I am a wantabe puppeteer.  I used to do puppets in church. THAT was interesting in a very small Southern Baptist church.

I played Harry the Horse in Guys & Dolls. Fond memories of that show indeed.

Anything else you would like to say?

Just for everyone to check out my Meat the Meeples show once it hits. It’s something my whole family has been excited for and working on. We are set building and everything. So I would love to share my love of games and grub with everyone. 🙂

You can also reach out to me on twitter:

@getlouder as well as @meatmeeples

Thanks for being my guest Darrell. It’s good to talk to you even if it is not in person. I hope you get to see me soon.

Readers, thank you for joining me again. As always you can reach me by email at or on Twitter @tomgurg. I’d love to hear from you.


The Terra Prime Directive – A Conversation With…Seth Jaffee of Tasty Minstrel Games

Hi Seth. Welcome back.

Thanks for having me!

You’ve been around the game industry for a while. But there may be a few newbies that don’t know you. How about a brief bio?

For those who don’t know me, my name is Seth Jaffee, and I’m a game designer, and a developer for Tasty Minstrel Games. I snuck into the industry when my best friend Michael Mindes started a company to publish my first game (Terra Prime), as well as a game I’d helped develop (Homesteaders). I helped Mike behind the scenes as the little company grew, and now I’m a full time member of the TMG team. My best known game is probably Eminent Domain, a space empire building, “deck learning” card game, which has 2 expansions out already and a 3rd in production as I type this. My latest game, Crusaders: Thy Will Be Done, was recently on kickstarter and will be out early in 2018, soon after backers receive their deluxe versions.

Ok, let’s talk about your publisher hat first. You mentioned that you are the game developer for TMG. What do you do in that role?

I design and discover games for TMG, and I develop them to be as good as I feel they can be, then I usher them through the production process, doing some art direction, and some coordination with manufacturers. Since the TMG team has grown, I generally hand off the project once the manufacturer’s production proofs are approved.

What is the most satisfying part of that role?

As Hannibal on The A-Team used to say (am I dating myself here?)… “I love it when a plan comes together!” I especially like when the final art and graphic design comes together to make a game look as good as it did in my mind’s eye when playing with the prototype.

What is the worst part?

Like any job, there are good parts and bad parts. The worst part is probably rules editing. So many little details, so many rules to follow, and not all of them universally agreed upon! Sometimes it’s difficult to explain even the simplest process clearly, in a way that many different people will understand.

Yeah, it seems like that is the most popular answer to “what’s the worst part of game design?”. Reprints – TMG is starting to land some sweet reprints. Can you talk about how that came about and any future ones to look forward to?

We work with publishing partners all over the world, always on the lookout for the opportunity to reprint games we like, and that we think our fans will like too, as well as to license our titles into different languages and regions.

Since I’m usually working on design and discovery of new titles, I’m not too involved with reprints or licenses from partners. Sometimes I get asked if a particular game is one we should do, so I’ll weigh in on that, but I’m not usually the one making those deals, so I couldn’t say offhand which future ones you should look forward to.

You are also partnering with overseas companies to bring cool games to the USA.   Would you talk about that a bit?

We have a good relationship with certain overseas designers and publishers that we’ve built up over time. For example, we licensed Orleans from Reiner Stockhausen, one of our first “Deluxified” products. That went over very well, and so you’ll see more TMG-DLP partnerships in the future. Also, Michael has become enamored with Japan, and he loves to go to Tokyo Game Market, where he’s built relationships with various people, and he always comes home with a pile of potential imports. We’ve done a number of games by Hisashi Hiyashi, from big games like Yokohama (another very successful Deluxified product), to small cooperative games like Okey Dokey, which just launched at GenCon.

I’ve seen tweets of Okey Dokey. I need to check it out. As a game developer, what designer would you love to bring under the TMG umbrella?

Any of the big name designers, really. But especially Antoine Bauza, I think. I’ve also been impressed with Phil-Walker Harding lately, and Alexander Phister has been very popular these last few years.

Phister is gathering an impressive stable of published games. Do you have a publishing philosophy or a style of game that TMG is focusing on?

What do you look for in a game?

There are a few “lines” of games that TMG tends to do. Euro style strategy games (45-60 minute medium weight, or 60-90 minute medium-heavy), and smaller, shorter, lighter family games. We like anything that excites us, really. The only things we shy away from are abstract games, 2-player only  games (though not entirely a dealbreaker), arena combat style games, and games with a lot of output randomness.

EmDo was one of the first big KS hits. It seems like forever ago. You’ve expanded that universe some with Battlecrusiers. Any further expansion plans?

Eminent Domain: Oblivion, a 3rd expansion to the original card game, is in manufacturing right now and should be out by the end of 2017. In addition to that, I had made an Eminent Domain dice game a few years back, and that might eventually see the light of day. Finally, I’ve been looking forward to the opportunity to re-release my first title, Terra Prime, re-themed into the Eminent Domain universe as a sort of prequel to the card game — and that should be happening in the next year or so.

I’m excited for that. I think Homesteaders and Belfort are my all time favorite TMG game. Any plans around either of those?

I don’t know about Belfort, but we’re just wrapping up artwork for an expansion to Homesteaders, so watch for news on that to be coming soon!

Sweet! My kids will be very glad to hear that. Most underrated TMG game? Which one do you wish more people were playing/talking up?

I guess I’d have to say Terra Prime. Production issues, and it being a small publisher’s first game, led to a disappointing release of a game that I personally think holds up even today. That’s why I’m so happy to get the chance to revisit it, with some experience, add the expansion I made several years ago, and re-release it as Eminent Domain Origins.

I can’t wait to see it. I liked the original game and know the new edition will be even better. Most successful TMG game?

It depends on how you measure success. I think Dungeon Roll has still sold the most copies. I think Yokohama Deluxe brought in the most dollars on Kickstarter, and I think Eminent Domain has had the most re-prints so far (and the most expansions and related products).

Biggest surprise either game or happening?

I’m not sure, maybe the reaction to the Deluxified line of games… it’s a pleasant surprise how well the whole idea has been received.

TMG in B&N and Target. Congrats! Any other “targets”?

I remember when we first got a game into Barnes & Noble, it sounded so unbelieveable! I don’t know if we have any other plans for getting our games into big box or mainstream stores, but there are people on the team who are always looking for ways to sell more of our games!

There are some lesser known TMG games – Citrus, Lemuria. Tell us about them.

Citrus is an import from DLP, and Lemuria is an import from Manifest Destiny. Both of these have had original releases, but may not have been as widespread as some. Since we didn’t use Kickstarter for these, they might be coming out a little under the radar.

Both are euro-style games that will fit right into our respective line of euro and Japanese imports.

What is Automatown?

This one isn’t necessarily a TMG project, at least not yet. It’s a game I’ve been working on, and if I finish it and it’s good, then it’ll probably find a place in the TMG lineup.

Automatown is a worker placement game where you’re building robots in an effort to assemble an army strong enough to take over the city. It’s intended to be quick-ish and light-ish, taking about 6 rounds to play. Each round you send robots to rotating worker spots to get resources and convert them in order to build more robots, which give you combo-y abilities as well as additional workers to place.

Dairyman – what’s it about?

Dairyman is one of our lighter, small box games. It’s a press-your-luck dice game from Taiwan where you roll a bunch of dice looking for combinations of 2-3 dice that total 10 pips. Then you choose to roll again, or spend your pips to produce milk (which is worth points).

If you successfully press your luck, you can earn Freeze tokens, which will turn your milk into ice cream, which makes it safe from spoiling, as well as gives you the helpful ability to reroll certain dice.

Ok, TMG has Harvest and Pioneer Days coming out soon. I want to know all about these.

Harvest and Pioneer Days are two titles that I have been working on developing for a LONG time now. We’re skipping Kickstarter with these two, they’re both debuting at Essen 2017, where TMG will have a booth for the first time.

Harvest is a compact worker placement farming game by Trey Chambers, where you draft turn order, place workers on variable worker spots, and try to earn the most points over 5 rounds of play. 5 rounds with only 2 workers does not sound like much, but add in a bonus that comes with your turn order, and a special ability or two from your character, and you can get a surprising amount done in those 5 short rounds!

I put a lot of effort into balancing everything, and (along with the designer) designing and testing the many characters in the game.

That sounds really interesting. Very tight and fast. I like that. I can imagine that it was a challenge to balance.

Pioneer Days is a bigger, euro style dice drafting game which comes across like the old video game The Oregon Trail. You spend 4 weeks heading out west, collecting cattle, mining for gold, and recruiting townsfolk to come with you. But along the way, you’ll have to contend with disasters such as storms, disease, famine, and raids.

I had a lot of fun working on all the little parts of this one, from balancing and character design (much like Harvest), to re-working some of the mechanisms supporting the core dice drafting in the game.

For both of these, I’ve played a few games with the production proofs, and they really look and feel great! I can’t wait for them to come out at Essen and take the world by storm!

Let’s talk about your game designs now.

As a game designer, who would you love to co-design a game with (I’m available btw.)?

I’m not sure. I used to think that co-designing was the way to go, but I may be re-thinking that more recently. I guess it depends on your relationship with the co-designer, and the mutual buy-in each party has.

Isle of Trains went to a second printing. How does that feel?

It feels great! Isle of Trains actually had a second printing a while ago… my understanding is that early next year they will be launching (possibly on Kickstarter) another reprint, along with an expansion we gave them.

I think it’s good to see a game out there with my name on it that isn’t from TMG, I think it might lend more credibility to me as a designer. Though I’m a co-designer on Isle of Trains, that one to me felt more like a development project, as Dan Keltner had the original idea for the game.

I really like Isle. I got to ‘test’ it for the contest and it hooked me. I’m happy it is getting an expansion and will have some legs for a while.

Let’s talk about Crusaders, Thy Will Be Done – your latest design.

Crusaders was a game I started on around 2012, (I remember us talking about it.) and finished a couple of years ago. It’s one I really liked, and had played quite a bit. When TMG was going to move forward with it, I got a little giddy, and then when it was decided that Crusaders would be our next Deluxified product, that excitement went up to 11!

It was really great to see all the people excited about the game, and I can’t wait until next year when people will be able to play it, in all it’s deluxe glory!

You’ve talked about a Terra Prime reboot. Tell us more about that.

As I said above, I’m excited to take another stab at Terra Prime, cleaning up the rules, adding an expansion I made a long time ago, and setting it into the Eminent Domain universe as Eminent Domain Origins. It’s fitting, as the game mechanics make sense as a prequel to the deck learning game, and since I made it first, it’s also sort of a meta-prequel. 🙂

So cool. What’s going on with Alter Ego?

Now that’s a design that has been sitting on the shelf for far too long. I picked it up recently and got it to the table for a test or two, and I even figured out something that may be an improvement!

Alter Ego is a cooperative deck learning game of vigilante heroism. As players, you have had enough with the crime in your town, and you’ve decided to band together and do something about it. But you’re new at this, and in order to train and become stronger as a hero, you’ll necessarily have to neglect some part of your alter ego life – your job, your family, or your community.

I love the story behind this one, and I would love to wrap it up and get it into production. It would be great to see a final version of it out in the wild some day!

That  sounds really fun. It’s a different perspective for a supers game. Do you have a design philosophy?

I’m sure I do, but I don’t know if I could put it into words.

Some part of it is this… some designers (and some players) think it’s not worth making a game that doesn’t do something brand new, novel, or innovative. I don’t agree with that… often times the games that innovate, while they do come up with something novel and new, don’t use that innovation to its full potential. I like finding better ways to use these novel mechanisms. In other words, when making a game, you don’t have to innovate if you’re improving on what’s out there.

Also, as long as the game experience is new and novel, the mechanisms themselves don’t have to be.

That is a neat idea. No one else has expressed that particular philosophy to me before. I agree with you. I don’t need create something brand new if I can improve or add to something that already exists.Is there a game mechanic that you haven’t conquered yet but want to build around.

Not in particular. I’ve only designed a couple of games from the ground up, but if you consider all the games I’ve worked on in a development capacity, I’ve actually touched quite a few different mechanisms!

Crusaders player board showing the rondel

You have a great blog,where you talk about your designs and thoughts.  First, thanks for sharing. Why blog? What does it do for you?

The primary use of my blog is to record thoughts on games and projects so that I can revisit them myself later. A secondary use is to share those ideas with readers.

I don’t get a lot of comments on my blog, which leads me to believe that not many people are really interested, but that’s OK because most of it is for my own reference anyway.

What designs are you working on?

Now that Harvest and Pioneer Days are finally coming out, I’ve started moving on to other projects. In my notebook I listed out all of the games I have playable prototypes of, and found that it would take about an hour and a half to pitch them all at a publisher speed dating event!

The games I’ve been working on most recently include:

  • Automatown, which I discussed above.
  • Alter Ego, which I discussed above.
  • Deities & Demigods, which is sort of like a deck learning game with a common deck. This one is almost done, I just created a bunch of player powers to try out, but haven’t gotten any of them to the table yet.
  • Evaluating about 6 submissions that I’ve brought home from Origins and Gencon, several of which are very promising!

Best advice for us aspiring game designers.

Keep at it, and don’t get discouraged if things don’t turn out the way you thought they would the first time around. Design is all about iteration!

Pitch Tag: Pitch me a game about…shapeshifters.

This is basically how Automatown come to be. I came up with an idea off the cuff for a worker placement game where you build yourself more workers, and then I ended up making that game. So this is a dangerous proposition for me! It might lead to a bunch of work…

Let’s see, shapeshifters.

I’ll stick with worker placement, and say that your workers are of specific types. Maybe different animals, or alien races, or just nationalities. Each type of worker can be used in specific ways, or for specific things, in addition to the standard stuff that any old worker can do. But then you can get Shapeshifter workers, which, for some in-game cost, can act like a worker of any type (i.e. they can change from one type to another).

So thematically maybe each player is a different faction of a shapeshifting alien race, and you’re all trying to infiltrate human society. But of course you want to infiltrate the highest levels of the government, military, and intelligence communities, so you shapeshift your workers into the various different types of people in order to gain access to places like the white house, the pentagon, etc. in order to facilitate your faction being the one to take over the world!

That sounds pretty cool. What is something most people may not know about you?

Well, I think everyone knows I play Ultimate, that I live in the Southwest, and that I have been to every BGGcon they’ve had (including the 1st cruise, but though they screwed me up by having a 2nd event in May, and by continuing to have cruises. So now it’s just “every November BGGcon event”). So my usual answer is that I’m anosmic — I have no sense of smell. But by now i don’t know if that’s still a mystery 🙂

Wow. I didn’t know that. Interesting. Well, Seth. Thanks being my guest on GFG. It was great catching up.

Readers, if you want to talk to Seth you can do so by tweeting him at @sedjtroll, emailing him at, or checking out his blog, Cumbersome. And as always you can contact me tweeting to @tomgurg or email