Dale Yu
This year, the Opinionated Gamers are in an interesting position – normally we report back on the new games from Essen… but this year, we have a number of our writers who are involved in games of their own!  I thought it would be a good idea to get us in a chat room and discuss our new games for a bit.

[Based on the length of the chat, I will split this into at least 3 pieces for the blog, but what is published here is pretty much what we talked about without edits.  If you’ve ever been in a chat room, you know that the conversation gets a bit fractured from the lag.  There are a few places where I have re-ordered the chat to keep the conversations intact (and to make it easier to follow), but I have not changed any of the words of the participants.  The timestamps have not been altered, so you can try to follow my edits if you want.]


[Any extra text will also be denoted in brackets, just so you know]
The people involved:

Dale Yu – more of a host than anything else, though I do have a game (Suburbia Inc) which I have developed

Brian Yu – has 2 games coming out from Mattel Germany: Geister, Geister, Schatzsuchmeister, Kronen für den König

Jonathan Franklin – Plunder, from R&R Games

Brian Leet – New Haven, from R&R games

Ted Alspach – Suburbia Inc from Bezier Games (he also happens to own Bezier games)

W. Eric Martin – editor of BGG news.  He has no games that he’ll admit to designing

Jeff Allers – Artifact from White Goblin Games and Citrus from dlp games


Dale Yu – 9:32 PM
Ted, since you never leave the booth, maybe we should get you talking about your new game
which is really my new game that you put your name on the top of the box

Ted Alspach – 9:32 PM
Nice. I see what you did there.
I’ve got two new games coming out at Essen this fall:
1) Suburbia Inc., the expansion to the wildly successful and award-winning Suburbia.
2) A secret game that will be announced at Essen and shown in the Bezier Games booth.

Brian Leet – 9:33 PM
And remember, Dale will edit whatever you say, to what he wants you to say…

Ted Alspach – 9:33 PM
He always does, Brian
Dale Yu is the developer for the Suburbia expansion!

Jonathan Franklin – 9:34 PM
Ted, can you tell us about Suburbia Inc first?  What does it add or change?

Ted Alspach – 9:34 PM
Starting with Suburbia Inc
Suburbia Inc. brings all sorts of new things to Suburbia, the city-building tile-laying strategy game. First, it brings more buildings that do new and exciting things, like the Law Office, which lets you score a goal even though you’re only tied for it, and the Redevelopment Planner, which allows you to replace a building in the game for free. Absolutely free. Second, it adds Borders, new funky tiles that are longer and more bang-for-your-buck than regular building tiles, like the new National Park, that gives you +2 reputation *and* +1 reputation for every tile of any kind that it’s next to. Third, there are all new goals. Fourth, there are Bonuses and Challenges: mid game goals that anyone can get if they satisfy certain requirements by the end of the A or B stacks.
And as I said previously, it was developed by Dale
Which I really should start with, as the rest is just noise

Jonathan Franklin – 9:34 PM
Does it change any rules of the base game if you play with just the base game?

W. Eric Martin – 9:35 PM
Dale, Ted plans to announce his secret game on press day (Wednesday) before Spiel opens, then demo it and take preorders during the convention.

Ted Alspach – 9:35 PM
The only *change* is that the number of tiles in the A B C stacks are slightly different, and that’s just to make sure the new Bonuses and Challenges work out fairly among players.

Jonathan Franklin – 9:35 PM
Physically, what is in the box?  How many new buildings and borders?

Dale Yu – 9:35 PM

Ted Alspach – 9:36 PM
There are more than two dozen new building tiles, a dozen borders, 25 bonus, challenges and new goals.

Jonathan Franklin – 9:36 PM

Ted Alspach – 9:36 PM
Or simply, “lots”
This is why I work with dale

Dale Yu – 9:37 PM
and, because we thought ahead, it will all fit in the base Surburbia box so you won’t have any storage issues

Jonathan Franklin – 9:37 PM
Is this the first of many, or is it the expansion you have envisioned as a single expansion?

Ted Alspach – 9:37 PM
It is the first of more than one. I’m busy churning on others.
But this is one of those expansions that I believe most players will want to play with all the time.

Dale Yu – 9:38 PM
I am secretly working on Suburbia: Intrigue and Suburbia: Prosperity.

Ted Alspach – 9:38 PM
One of the nice things is that you can pick and choose which pieces of it you want to use, ala Fresco or Kingsburg expansions.

jeff allers – 9:38 PM
I’m looking forward to the “Suburbia: Berlin 1980” expansion.

Ted Alspach – 9:38 PM
Shhhh, Dale!

brian yu – 9:38 PM
Ted – when/how did the idea for the expansion come to you?

Ted Alspach – 9:39 PM
For Suburbia Inc., I definitely wanted to continue to give the game additional replayability and a few things to spice up the game a little, but at the same time not stray away from the core “build an awesome city” concept that most people love about the game. I had been working on it since way before Suburbia was
One of the new tiles, Redevelopment Planner, was axed by Dale from the original game

Ted Alspach – 9:39 PM
’cause he thought it was too scary

Dale Yu – 9:40 PM
scary = too many rules questions. the same reason I was against Black Market in Dominion at first… though Donald and Valerie later convinced me otherwise

jeff allers – 9:39 PM
Do you also try to address criticisms of the original game, or do you chalk it up to “you can’t please everybody”?

Jonathan Franklin – 9:39 PM
How do you handle the increased tile variability of an expansion given the way the stacks are constructed?

Ted Alspach – 9:41 PM
Regarding criticisms, I don’t understand what you mean, Jeff…   Actually, one thing that people have commented on is how to play for the “Least” and “fewest” goals. And we’ve addressed that with the new “Law Office” tile.
That tile allows a player who is tied for a goal to score it. Sweet.

W. Eric Martin – 9:40 PM
The interesting thing is that when playing Suburbia with two, you’re not seeing more than half of the tiles anyway — and now you’re throwing more into the mix. It’s kind of like the “problem” in Agricola of having way more occupation and improvement cards than you ever really need. You have to adjust a lot to whatever comes up as it does.


Dale Yu – 9:41 PM
Eric, that is true. though we have made sure to give you a way to keep the proportions of tile types equal to that of the base game even with the new tiles

brian yu – 9:42 PM

Dale Yu – 9:42 PM
removing certain base tiles when you add the new ones in

Ted Alspach – 9:42 PM
Regarding the tile variability, it was definitely a concern. While some of the “old” combos aren’t as valuable (airports, restaurants), there are several new Office tiles to boost that combo set.

jeff allers – 9:42 PM
For me, the game is perfect:-) I was curious because I’m working on an expansion for the first time, and I was wondering how you handle that.
Ted Alspach – 9:42 PM
And there is a whole section in the rules about removing base game tiles if you’d like to focus on the expansion, or just customizeit.

Ted Alspach – 9:43 PM
On to the secret game…

Brian Leet – 9:43 PM

Ted Alspach – 9:44 PM
You’re not publishing this, right? This is just between us, right? The Secret Game, on the other hand, is absolutely nothing like Suburbia, and while it will fit in nicely with other titles I’ve done, it’s better than most of them. Oh, and it’s a co-design effort with another designer. I can’t say anything else about it because then people would know it’s a micro game, and that information is something I just don’t want to share yet.

Dale Yu – 9:44 PM
ok, i promise not to publish this until some tuesday in the future.
your secret is safe

Ted Alspach – 9:44 PM
It’s so secret that WEM has given it a code name!
Thanks, Dale. I knew I could trust you.

brian yu – 9:45 PM

Jonathan Franklin – 9:45 PM
I have seen a wide array of smaller games on the release calendar for Essen that seem to have been influenced by the Resistance, Coup, and Love Letter models.

W. Eric Martin – 9:45 PM
Yes, I got to use a code name in the pending games list on BGG. The first one!

Ted Alspach – 9:45 PM
For the Secret Game that might be a micro game (or not, really, I will not confirm anything right now), I wanted to create a game in the vein of Love Letter but one that had immense replayability. Imagine if Love Letter had more roles, and adding/subtracting one or two roles would totally change things up? But it’s nothing like Love Letter. Except for the hidden roles. And it being a micro game (still, not confirming that). And because it has 16 cards (again, just speculation on my part). The focus on this game is much more social deduction. It has that “all of us together have all the information needed to figure things out, and if everyone tells the truth we’re good, but of course, some people are lying” thing going on. Social Probabilities. Again, I’m not saying that’s what it is, but if it was, that would be kind of cool.

Dale Yu – 9:46 PM
wait a minute. it’s really just werewolf with 2 werewolfs, 1 seer and 13 hunters?

Jonathan Franklin – 9:46 PM
Ted, do you see expanding the Suburbia line with a card or dice game?

Brian Leet – 9:46 PM
A friend of mine thinks it would be pretty cool. I don’t know, I’m just commenting for him.

Ted Alspach – 9:46 PM
That has been tried, Dale. And it’s fun, but not much deduction happening.
I would LOVE to see a Suburbia dice game. That’s a fun idea, Jonathan.

W. Eric Martin – 9:48 PM
Wouldn’t that be Blueprints?
Jonathan Franklin – 9:47 PM
How about your werewolf publications, do you have additional plans in that direction, or is the market pretty saturated?
Ted Alspach – 9:48 PM
The werewolf market is still growing. I’m on the 5th printing of Ultimate Werewolf: Ultimate Edition.

W. Eric Martin – 9:48 PM
Ted, do you want to say anything about efforts to transition to being a full-time publisher?
What’s involved with that?

Ted Alspach – 9:49 PM
Someone said logistics earlier. It’s a lot of logistics.

jeff allers – 9:49 PM
And receiving tons of unsolicited prototypes?

brian yu – 9:49 PM
so you’re the new brown?

Ted Alspach – 9:49 PM
I don’t let just anyone send me prototypes. So far all the games that have and will be published from other designers are people I personally know.

Dale Yu – 9:50 PM
i’ve done the cold prototype desk for awhile for a company in the past. that is a hard job.

Brian Leet – 9:50 PM
Do you have a vision of where you want to take Bezier in terms of type of game?

brian yu – 9:50 PM
how far in advance are you working now? do you have your essen 2014 line up planned?

Ted Alspach – 9:50 PM
The hardest thing right now is figuring out how to fit in all the great games that are coming out next year.

W. Eric Martin – 9:51 PM
I’ve heard of this site called Kickstarter…

Jonathan Franklin – 9:50 PM
Ted, can you talk about being a designer and publisher while working with a developer?  Is your relationship with Dale as a publisher or as a designer?

Ted Alspach – 9:51 PM
With Dale it’s both. Dale has been awesome to work with on Suburbia and another upcoming project because he understands publishing limitations.

Jonathan Franklin – 9:52 PM
If cashflow is not the issue, does kickstarter actually make things harder?  I know it is publicity, but it also appears to take lots of time away from other aspects of running a business.

Ted Alspach – 9:52 PM
Dale never once said “Suburbia needs awesome plastic minis for all the buildings” ’cause while that would have been cool, it wouldn’t have been financially feasible.

Dale Yu – 9:52 PM
i’m all about making a good game, and making sure that the game can be made

Ted Alspach – 9:52 PM
Cashflow and time are the two major issues.

Jonathan Franklin – 9:53 PM
I guess what I meant is whether you thing designers should go find developers before their designs are signed, to improve the game, or let the publisher decide whether or not to develop the game through an outside developer?

Ted Alspach – 9:54 PM
I don’t think any designer should invest in a developer before they get a publisher.
Ted Alspach – 9:53 PM
Time for art, time for development, time for graphic design, time for quotes on manufacturing, time for creating marketing materials, time for these group chats with other Essen designers…and I didn’t even pick up GTA this week as a result.

brian yu – 9:54 PM
you’re doing it wrong

brian yu – 9:54 PM

Ted Alspach – 9:54 PM
Stop that, Brian. I didn’t even read the reviews ’cause I can’t afford to be sucked in right now.


W. Eric Martin – 9:55 PM
I know what GTA stands for. That’s my level of video game sophistication.

Jonathan Franklin – 9:54 PM
Time to move to Jeff?

Dale Yu – 9:55 PM
sure. i talk to ted all the time. if he’d only work on the games that I’m working with him on

Ted Alspach – 9:55 PM
I do want to mention that I own all of Jeff’s games and like most of them too.
Jonathan Franklin – 9:55 PM
Anyone want to codevelop something?

Jonathan Franklin – 9:55 PM
I’m tired of working alone.

Brian Leet – 9:56 PM
Jonathan, you should seriously consider going to a Protospiel

W. Eric Martin – 9:57 PM
Yes, I think I first met Brian at Stephen Glenn’s designer thing in 2004, and I’m still in contact with him and several other designers. Plugging away on projects for a weekend in close quarters puts you all in a hive mind situations.

Brian Leet – 9:56 PM
I met a bunch of great people there, and your plea may not fall on the ears of the already overcommitted

Ted Alspach – 9:56 PM
Didn’t Frank do a bunch of development for you, Jonathan?
Or Kris?
Dale Yu – 9:56 PM
Paging Mr. Allers.  Please pick up the blue house phone. Your party is looking for you



[END OF PART TWO… come back tomorrow to see if we ever find Mr. Allers!]

About Dale Yu

Dale Yu is the Editor of the Opinionated Gamers. He can occasionally be found working as a volunteer administrator for BoardGameGeek, and he previously wrote for BoardGame News.
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