Omari Akil

#246 Omari Akil Talks Rap Godz

Designing Thematic Games


Board game designer Omari Akil joins Dirk and David to talk about Rap Godz, Hoop Godz, and the process of making games that connect both mechanically and emotionally with a specific theme. They discuss the hip hop theme of Rap Godz as well as the street basketball theme of the upcoming Hoop Godz. Additional topics include managing scope and IP issues with a hip hop game, staying true to theme even if it upsets other game design norms, and designing as a sibling team.

Episode Outline

01:19 An introduction to Rap Godz, Omari’s lightweight hip hop-themed board game

05:26 Were the later games Omari worked on a conscious decision to expand upon the hip hop theme?

08:14 How did Omari balance his personal experience with hip hop with representing diverse aspects of hip hop?

12:50 Making Rap Godz a storytelling game without it being overt

15:08 Balancing the thematic lack of a catchup mechanic in Hoop Godz with keeping the game fun to play

19:03 Board Game Brothas and its focus on highlighting black culture with its games

22:13 Managing scope while making a theme-heavy game

27:23 How Rap Godz dealt with intellectual property and real names in hip hop

29:35 How does Board Game Brothas speak to different communities about board games

33:10 Game influences for Rap Godz and Hoop Godz

37:04 How Hoop Godz combines stable strategic elements with randomness to simulate street basketball

40:20 Working as a sibling designer team

43:26 Omari’s advice for designers who want to make thematic games

In this Episode

Omari Akil - @OmariAkil,
David V. Heron - @davidvheron
Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer

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