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#206 Jon Shafer of Conifer Games – At the Gates

#206 Jon Shafer of Conifer Games – At the Gates


Jon Shafer – @JonShaferDesign, atthegatesgame.com, forum.conifergames.com
David Heron – @DavidVHeron
Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, artana.com, dirk@artana.com

00:05 Welcome Jon Shafer of Conifer Games
01:31 At the Gates in out and has some cool features
01:51 At the Gates elevator pitch
03:08 Jon has worked on this since 2012, how was it working on it that long?
05:05 David’s memories of his perspective of Jon starting the game
06:16 Where did the motivation come from?
06:47 The source for the clan feature
09:32 First drafts sometimes start as ‘a pile of mechanics’
10:48 Iteration is essential
11:51 How was the game steered away from micromanagement?
16:39 What are the systems that allow players to develop high level strategies in a short, repeatable time frame?
18:53 What are some indicators that would show a player they’re on the right track for their approach to play?
20:38 How do seasons play into the game play?
23:36 Are there any systems where Jon is unsure about because he’s breaking new ground?
29:30 What’s next for Jon Shafer?
30:28 Where can listeners follow the development of At the Gates?
31:26 How has it worked out, deciding to provide transparency to the design process?
33:44 What games might be next for Jon?

Episode #125: Stonemaier Games and Scythe with Jamey Stegmaier

Episode #125: Stonemaier Games and Scythe with Jamey Stegmaier

Description

Jamey Stegmaier stops by to talk to Dirk and David about his previous games as well as the upcoming and hotly anticipated Scythe. Scythe’s evocative art and theme have piqued the interest of the boardgaming community. Jamey fills us in on how the game came about and what the players can expect in terms of mechanics and gameplay.

Contact Info

Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, Dirk@Knemeyer.com
David Heron – @DavidVHeron
Jamey Stegmaier – http://stonemaiergames.com/, kickstarterlessons.com, @jameystegmaier

Episode Outline

  • 0:01:18 – Making the jump to full-time game designer

  • 0:06:18 – Viticulture

  • 0:14:48 – Kickstarter and content

  • 0:18:09 – Kickstarter and non-US customers

  • 0:21:31 – Treasure chests

  • 0:24:54 – Scythe

  • 0:31:51 – Scythe’s art

  • 0:36:58 – New players and describing actions

  • 0:50:22 – Game length

  • 0:56:27 – Combat in Scythe

Episode #107: Cooperative Gaming with Amy Jo Kim

Episode #107: Cooperative Gaming with Amy Jo Kim

Contact Information

Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, Dirk@Knemeyer.com
David Heron – @DavidVHeron
Amy Jo Kim – @amyjokim, www.shufflebrain.com, www.mvpdesignhacks.com

Episode Outline

  • 0:00:26 – The cooperative revolution
  • 0:04:35 – Amy Jo’s background
  • 0:13:14 – Zero-sum games
  • 0:23:28 – Mobile and free to play
  • 0:35:48 – Balancing feeling special and teamwork
  • 0:54:43 – Powerful mechanics in co-op
  • 0:57:10 – Steps for a new designer
Episode #92: Et tu, Brute?

Episode #92: Et tu, Brute?

Description

Dirk, David, and Rob get together to talk about the betrayal as a game mechanic. Betrayal can bring out the worst in people – yelling, table flipping, and even physical violence. So why does it still get into so many games, and what makes it a compelling mechanic?

 

Contact Information

Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, Dirk@Knemeyer.com

David Heron – @DavidVHeron

Rob Daviau -@RobDaviauGamer, rob.daviau@ironwallgames.com

Episode Outline

  • 0:00:28 – Betrayal!

  • 0:04:41 – The mechanics

  • 0:12:34 – Betrayal at House on the Hill

  • 0:29:46 – Risk

  • 0:36:36 – The most dastardly of betrayals

  • 0:43:39 – Bang! and Werewolf

  • 0:54:40 – Seafall

Episode #85: Bamboozle Brothers with Jay Cormier and Sen Foong Lim

Episode #85: Bamboozle Brothers with Jay Cormier and Sen Foong Lim

Description

This week Dirk is joined by game designers Jay Cormier and Sen Foong Lim of Bamboozle Brothers. Jay and Sen describe what it’s like working with a partner long distance, getting picked up by a publisher, and their process to designing tabletop games.

 

Contact Information

Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, Dirk@Knemeyer.com

Jay Cormier – @bamboozlebros, http://www.bamboozlebrothers.com/ourgames.html

Sen Foong Lim – @sengfoonglim

 

Episode Outline

  • 0:02:20 – Belfort Design Process

  • 0:03:27 – Starting Small

  • 0:14:27 – After getting picked up by a publisher

  • 0:18:10 – Getting Started

  • 0:23:37 – Teamwork and Collaboration

  • 0:27:12 – Disagreements

  • 0:35:04 – Game Artisans of Canada

  • 0:56:13 – Starting with theme or mechanics

Episode #76: The Inside Scoop

Episode #76: The Inside Scoop

Description

Dirk and David take a moment to discuss the games they’re working on and the challenges they face when trying to bring new game concepts to life.

 

Contact Information

Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, Dirk@Knemeyer.com

David Heron – @DavidVHeron

 

Episode Outline

  • 0:00:49 – War Stories

  • 0:06:33 – The Knights of Puzzleot

  • 0:15:15 – David’s side CCG project

  • 0:29:30 – New CCG mechanics and approachability

  • 0:35:01 – Futbol Strategy

Episode #63: Theme

Episode #63: Theme

Contact Information

Jon Shafer – @JonShaferDesign,www.JonShaferOnDesign.com, Jon.Shafer@ConiferGames.com

Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, Dirk@Knemeyer.com

Rob Daviau – @RobDaviauGamer, Rob.Daviau@IronWallGames.com

 

Episode Outline

  • 0:00:58 – How much theme is enough?

  • 0:06:42 – Translating theme into gameplay

  • 0:18:40 – Steering the theme

  • 0:22:25 – Bad themes

  • 0:27:37 – Choosing your themes

  • 0:35:48 – Shared themes

  • 0:42:00 – Themes in games we’ve played

  • 0:55:22 – What IS a theme?
Episode #46: Theme, Mechanics & Fun

Episode #46: Theme, Mechanics & Fun

 

Contact Information

Jon Shafer – @JonShaferDesign,www.JonShaferOnDesign.com, Jon.Shafer@ConiferGames.com

Dirk Knemeyer – @DKnemeyer, www.artana.com, Dirk@Knemeyer.com

David Heron – @DavidVHeron

 

Episode Outline

  • 0:01:08 – Definitions

  • 0:05:15 – Business considerations

  • 0:16:00 – Favoring one over the other

  • 0:22:08 – What is ‘fun’?

  • 0:31:50 – Theme vs mechanics

  • 0:43:30 – Can you omit one?

  • 0:53:00 – Jon’s approach in At the Gates

  • 1:00:40 – Dirk’s approach

  • 1:02:17 – David’s approach