Something From Nothing: Episode 34 with Jonathan Gilmour

We're just wrapped up the 34th episode of Something From Nothing (my 5th episode as a co-host!), and it was a lot of fun. We had special guest Jonathan Gilmour, who you may know from South Park's Dead of Winter, as well as the usual cast of myself, TC Petty III, Jason Slingerland and Chevee Dodd. 

Tonight's discussion hovered around big moments in gaming, building expansions off of existing framework, strategy in social gaming, text adventure games, and much more. We end with a designer Q&A lightning round, which is always fun.

Check out the episode below and you can tune in live on Google / YouTube every other Sunday night at 8pm EST.

It's always tough to get in a lot of comments without talking over everyone else, so here's a few extra comments that I didn't get in there.

Re: Social Gaming - Jon basically said it, but I have to agree that there's a FINE LINE in social gaming (and storytelling gaming as well) where there are the right amount of rules. Too few and the players can go wild. Too many and the game becomes one note. Finding that sweet spot is something that makes a social or storytelling game stand out in the crowd.

Re: Improving The Community - I mentioned that support from outside of the community is lacking. The community isn't exclusive at all, but I think there is a barrier to entry. If you aren't interested in hobby gaming, you have no clue that it even exists. So a Monopoly clone like Body Breaker gets top billing on local news. Now I am not one to knock anyone's idea, whether it's derivative or not, but it is frustrating that this is the only board game coverage that has made it to the local news in a long time. And I would say the Philly/Tri-State area is pretty happening with game design (Unpub, Pixel Lincoln, Velociraptor Cannibalism, New Bedford, Compounded, TC is close enough to Philly so VivaJava, SJ Geekfest and more.) 

Re: Themes That Don't Work - I was thinking about this one and can't think of much. Almost everything has been done, since anything that features and action can be done in gaming. There are some things that won't sell because they are offensive or just boring, but not much that CAN'T be designed. I thought of foreclosure, since it's my day job and I can't think of something less interesting, but then again it would be an interesting commerce game and could probably work. Now my second thought might be more mechanic than theme, but a music game is really tough. Not a game about music, but a rhythm based tabletop game. Something along the lines of Guitar Hero without any electronic components would be really tough. 

That's everything that I couldn't squeeze in. Oh, and I would have been interested on Jonathan's reaction to the South Park episode that featured Dead Of Winter (with new South Park character artwork) and I'd be curious about the community side of launching and maintaining Pocket Dungeon. Maybe next time!

[EDIT: See Jonathan's comments below!]

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