Hi, I'm Donald Will from Last Slice Games and this is our blog. Tanner Short and I are long time friends and partners in our board game design endeavours. We will collaborate here to give insights into our design philosophies, processes and challenges. We also want to open up conversation and connect with people we meet on our journey.
Now I think it's time to introduce ourselves with a self guided Q&A. I think if we let you know a little about ourselves, we can learn more about you.
Why do you like board gaming?
Tanner: The biggest reason is that it's just a fun quick and easy thing to do with friends. I've never been someone who's excited by just sitting around catching up with friends and chatting. I actually want to DO SOMETHING
with them. It’s a bonus that they
get you thinking, keep you away from a screen and help you get away from the more serious and important things in life.
Donald: I enjoy puzzles and spending time with friends. Board games bring both of those things together. I host a monthly board game night to get my friends together. The main draw is getting a crowd together, the pizza and games are secondary.
How did you get into board gaming?
Tanner: I've actually thought about this a lot lately and I think it could be a full blog on it's own. I'll save the full story for another time but long story short I would say Donald got me into board gaming.
Donald: My passion for board games was fostered by my family. When I would visit my grandmother, I used to play a lot of cribbage with her. A lot of summer days were spent on the deck playing crib with Grandma.
When my family plays Balderdash together my father is the star of the show. In Balderdash, all players write a definition for a provided obscure word. To score points, you want players to guess your definition and you also want to guess the proper definition. Typically you’ll try to make your submission believable. NOT MY DAD. He writes the longest, most grandiose definition for the word with lots of funny details. He chuckles to himself laughing while writing his definition (short story). When it comes time to reading the submissions, he stares down the turn player in anticipation for his to be read. You’ll know when his definition is being read because my dad’s face will turn red and he’ll begin to kill himself laughing. His joy is contagious and everyone ends up laughing with him. For me, that’s the definition of fun and that has stuck with me since my childhood.
What is your favourite game mechanic?
Tanner: It's hard to pin point a favourite mechanic, but I love anything that forces me to think on my feet. Social games that force you to react to things your friends say or real time games that make you think fast keep me super engaged.
Donald: Social Deception/Traitor type games. There’s something special about lying to your friends. Playing this type of games really gets my heart racing if I’m the traitor. It’s difficult to not lose your cool when under pressure and it is very rewarding when a well fabricated lie takes some pressure off. A lot of these games are good in party settings so it suits our monthly game nights.
What is your favourite game?
Tanner: Magic Maze! I love the frantic energy and how fast it forces you to think.
Donald: Diplomacy. If anyone will ever play it with me.
What is a game you played recently that you would recommend to a friend?
Tanner: I'd recommend Deception: Murder in Hong Kong. I love hidden traitor mechanism and how this game keeps you thinking for 40 minute straight. It's the best when players start to develop stories based on the clues given and everyone needs to react and warp these stories to fit their motives.
Donald: I would recommend Quacks of Quedlinburg. I enjoy the art in this game, the bag building aspect, and the ‘push your luck’ mechanism. Most of all I love the theme. To me there’s something hilarious (almost Monty Pythonesque) about a bunch of scamming miracle doctors and quack surgeons throwing nasty ingredients in a pot to make a potion. It doesn’t really matter what you’re putting in the cauldron, anything will make your creation better! I feel bad for whoever is taking this “medication”.
Why do you want to make games?
Tanner: I've always been interested in toy design and the science of play! I studied industrial design in university and even took toy design classes. I just think that so much can be accomplished by playing games. It's literally how young kids and animals learn EVERYTHING. After school I got a few jobs as a graphic designer and board games fit really well within that skillset and obviously work great with my interests in play.
Donald: I like to entertain my friends. It’s the reason I host a monthly games night - to facilitate fun. My basis for game design is to create fun or interactions between players. I like bringing people together to make them laugh. Designing and creating board games is an engaging way to do that, while also letting me flex my creative muscles. Collaborating on projects with my best friend Tanner is also a huge positive. We used to play Yu Gi-Oh together and would always talk about card interactions and deck building philosophies. I think board game design is something we both stumbled into naturally because we both wanted to keep improving on Yu Gi-Oh’s finished product.
How did you get into board gaming? Was there a specific moment that hooked you into the hobby?
You can connect with Tanner and I on Facebook by following our page "Last Slice Games" or our group "Granny Gossip". If you'd like to hear more from us check back on this blog or subscribe to our newsletter.