Cole Medeiros

#258 Cole Medeiros Talks Stardew Valley: The Board Game

Designing Thematic Games


Cole Medeiros joins Dirk and David to discuss his work on the board game adaptation of the popular Stardew Valley video game. The discussion covers thematic game design in general—how Cole approaches theme-first design, how mobile game design utilizes theme, and how a specific IP as a thematic setting can create both challenges and signposts for a designer. Several specific design challenges and iterations are covered as Cole talks about the development process for Stardew Valley: The Board Game.

Episode Outline

1:15 What does emphasis on a theme in game design mean to Cole?

3:25 A brief conversation about Cole’s experience in mobile design, and how theme intersects with mobile games

5:09 How an indie PC hit ended up as a tabletop game, and Cole’s explanation of Stardew Valley and its success

10:28 How to distill the expansive experience in digital Stardew Valley to a tighter experience in tabletop

15:56 What parts of the original game ended up being non-critical when translating the game to tabletop?

24:29 Some of the tabletop influences in Stardew Valley: The Board Game, and some development challenges

32:07 When is it right to keep iterating to find the right experience, and when is it time to just abandon a mechanic?

35:38 The pros and cons of working on a beloved IP, and working with the video game’s developer, Eric, in general

38:20 Advice from Cole on designing thematic games for our listeners

In this Episode

Cole Medeiros - @TheGubsGuy
David V. Heron - @davidvheron
Dirk Knemeyer - @DKnemeyer

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