Today we have Will Esgro with us from Happy Fun Time LIVE to discuss tabletop and boardgame streaming. This topic was very interesting and I appreciated Will taking the time to share his expertise. Tabletop streaming is growing in popularity and I was excited to learn what it takes to setup and run a stream, as well as what drives people to watch streamed boardgames.
Kyle: Welcome Will! Before we get started how about you introduce yourself and Happy Fun Time LIVE.
Will: My name is Will Esgro, I was born and raised in Northeastern Pennsylvania. My professional background was sales which later transferred into technology. A little over two years ago, my wife and I adopted our Son and I have been a stay at home dad since then. Happy Fun Time LIVE was born out of this transition as it gives me time to socialize with other adults (sometimes) and it gives me a creative outlet.
The initial intent of the Twitch stream was to serve as a vehicle for my ultimate fantasy… designing and publishing my own games. It has since become more of the focus project rather than the vehicle and my design and publishing plans took a back seat. We have been streaming since September of last year. We made the affiliate level on Twitch within a month, which allows for a sort of monetization, and we’ve grown to almost 500 followers since that beginning.
Kyle: So you’ve started to touch on this, but how did you get into tabletop streaming? …
I am very excited to have game designer Jesse Bergman of Punch-It Entertainment with us today to discuss strategy card games and their place in the larger tabletop and boardgaming hobby. Collectible and expandable card games make up a large and important segment of the hobby that I personally have less hands on experience with. Jesse is here to enlighten me, and probably inflict some damage on my wallet as well.
Kyle: Before we start our discussion, why don’t you give us a brief introduction of yourself and your current project?
Jesse: Hey thanks so much for allowing me to come here and co-write this with you. My name is Jesse Bergman and I created a game called Battle for Sularia. Our current project is Reign of Terror: The Protoan currently seeking funds over on Kickstarter. This is a stand alone expansion to the original Battle for Sularia. I’m super excited to talk today about card games on the market and why it’s one of my favorite genres in this hobby.
This last weekend, we had the always welcome opportunity to play games. Lots of games. Nonstop games for 4 days. Our second year attending SaltCON was a huge hit. The sold out event was a gamer’s paradise, with hundreds of tables and a fully stocked game library. The exhibitor hall was home to some of my favorite publishers and plenty of local folks involved in the industry. We scored some great deals in the game swap and barely had time to stick our heads in the miniature gaming room. We completely missed the RPG events and the many board game tournaments going on.
We learned several games and I had the chance to teach a few favorites to others. We were able to pick up a few more and began playing them immediately after we got home. Best of all we spent great time with family, old friends, and new friends. …
Today we are taking a look at how board games are created, particularly at how independent designers and publishers have benefited from industry shifts and new technology. To bring us up to speed on how the world of tabletop game design and publishing has changed, I have asked Brandon Rollins, designer of the upcoming title Highways & Byways to join us for a discussion.
Kyle: Welcome Brandon, care to tell us a bit about yourself before we dive in?
Brandon: My name is Brandon Rollins. I make board games and I write about making board games in my blog, Brandon the Game Dev. I cover just about every subject you need to understand to go from having an idea to a complete product: game design, manufacturing, marketing, and a lot more. My first game was War Co., an expandable card game about a corporate sci-fi apocalypse. My second game, Highways & Byways, is about taking epic road trips across the USA. It’s coming to Kickstarter late this March, and I’m really excited about it! …
We recently had the chance to get Star Wars: Rebellion to the table for another great “Original Trilogy in a box” experience. This time around, I took notes on each round with the aim of compiling a play by play of our session. I’ve stuck to the thematic highlights, with the aim of telling a story (as the game itself does). As I review my notes, it strikes me how key the leader allocation is to the thematics of this game. Everything of consequence involves a name from the saga and this write up unintentionally showcases that. Moves are not highlighted by units, but by the leaders who activated them or attempted some other mission.
I would love for Rebellion to hit the table more often, but after the few games we have played, my favorite aspect is how close games are. I suppose a lucky Imperial player could blunder their way into the Rebel base in the first round or two, but each game I have played has come down to the wire, with room for either side to win in the last round of the game. …
Thanks to this blog, I have had the opportunity to connect with a variety of tabletop and boardgame enthusiasts, including those involved in the design and development of new games. There are loads of great creative minds out there working on all sorts of great ideas. Thanks to the internet, crowdfunding, and the popularity the hobby is experiencing, publishing your own game is more accessible than ever before.
To showcase what is out there, I decided to eschew designers with a game or two under their belts and go straight to the first timers. I sat down (virtually) with five developers hard at work on their first games and discussed their games and what drives them to design them. What follows is a summary of our conversations and a look at their games (in no particular order).
Ryan Dalton: Velocity-9
Ryan Dalton, who is also a sci-fi author, is nearing completion on Velocity-9. A spaceship racing game that uses a heavily modified roll and move mechanic and puts Dalton’s sci-fi writing into the factions, abilities and events. Players take control of various factions (space pirates, shady governments, etc) and race to a newly-discovered planet in what Dalton calls “… a fast paced game with no actual combat.”
Players roll a 6-sided die to move, but then modify their rolls with cards to increase their speed or slow their enemies. Turn order also varies throughout the game. Each faction has a pair of advantages and a liability. Players can use their first advantage with no strings attached, but using the second also triggers the liability, adding a bit of press your luck. …
I often explain that there are a lot of great people making unique and innovative board games these days and offer an example of a current favorite. Here, I have attempted to gather some of my deeper, though scattered thoughts about the board gaming hobby and the benefits I derive from it.
Who doesn’t love a good heist movie? With Burgle Bros, Tim Fowers gives your table the chance to participate in a high stakes break in of your own.
A cooperative game, Burgle Bros challenges 1-4 players to explore a 3 story building, finding and cracking a safe on each floor. This is made challenging by the roving guards patrolling each floor. Combined with an assortment of alarm tiles that trigger for a variety of reasons, the guards can be quite a thorn in your side. If any player is caught more than 3 times they are captured and rat the group out, resulting in a loss and a lengthy prison sentence.
This small box game packs a LOT of variability in. With 3 variations on the setup, randomly generated walls, 2 versions of each character, and loads of event, loot, and tool cards, no 2 games are the same. …
Gen Con 2017 is fast approaching, bringing with it a metric ton of board game news. Publishers have spent months constructing hype, teasing games to be released or mystery announcements to be made. While there will certainly be plenty of surprises, I’ve compiled my personal top 4 anticipated games based on what we know so far.
This hidden movement game from the team behind War of the Ring has been floating near the top of my list since it was teased last year. Where War of the Ring picks up Tolkien’s tale as the Fellowship departs Rivendell and war spreads across Middle Earth, Hunt for the Ring aims to tell the story of Frodo and his companions journey from the Shire to Rivendell. Previews have showcased plenty of twists on the hidden movement genre and based on my own experience with War of the Ring, I am looking forward to another game that expertly marries theme and game mechanics.