Join us as we welcome Jay Cormier and Sen Foong-Lim to the interview table. Collectively Jay and Sen make up the Bamboozle Brothers board game design team responsible for Belfort, Akrotiri, Orphan Black, Junk Art, and now Godfather: A New Don.
Don’t forget to check out part one of our Bamboozle Brothers interview.
MM: Okay. What game in your catalog took the longest to get published, or is still not published, and how long have you had it?
Jay: Sen and I can answer that at the same time. Ready Sen? 1, 2, 3:
Jay & Sen: JUNK ART!
MM: How old is it?
Jay: 10 years.
MM: 10 years?! How much has it changed?
Jay: Not a lot. Later in the development 3 new pieces were added.
Sen: But that was their [the publisher’s] decision, it wasn’t our decision. It was a fine decision. We always did want more pieces but we never thought anyone would do it.
Jay: We were always struggling to figure out “what is the game of Junk Art, and here’s a whole bunch of ways to play it”. FYI it used to be called Junkyard. When Pretzel Games got a hold of it they wanted to call it Junk Art and have each of the variants be a different city and we could do this thing called a World Tour. And were like “yes! awesome.” That’s it, everything else was done for like 10 years.
Jay: Persistence is the name of the game right?
Sen: Jay and I are in a lucky position that we both have very good jobs outside of the gaming industry where it doesn’t matter how long something sits on a publisher’s shelf. We want it to come out, but from a monetary perspective, neither of us is hard up if something sits on a shelf for a year. That said we do want things to come out quicker because of parallel design. Every time another dexterity game came out while Junk Art was in development, we said “damn, damn, damn, we’re missing out!”.
MM: I’m sure you get this question a lot. How did you pick the shapes?
Jay & Sen: [laughing]
Jay: We literally went to a craft store and bought all these wood kits for making cars, or boats.
Sen: I bought 4 of every model kit at a Michael’s one day.
Jay: We would also buy weird things like flower pots, and wooden dowels, then router them into the shapes we wanted. We started with about 50 pieces and whittled them down and figured out what the right balance was until we ended up with 12.
Sen: The manufacturer of the game had these leftover pieces from another toy they had made, and they suggested that we add them. It was really weird, they even fit some of the pieces we already had.
MM: They must have also shopped at Michael’s! Who knew?
Sen: I still have 3 buckets of wood pieces left over from making that game. We use them all the time to prototype other games.
Jay: We ended up making 3 sets of Junk Art back then. We had to cut and router them, and paint and shellac them and varnish them. We actually numbered the pieces and we even had to do that by hand.
Jay: There was a variant which needed numbers on the pieces. And then once we got further into development, we realized people could just look at the pieces and tell what they were.
Sen: The other thing was that the manufacturing cost of labeling pieces was astronomical. They cut the piece with machines, but to get the numbers on the pieces…the cost was just ridiculous.
MM: I appreciate the color palette you chose for the pieces.
Jay: That was the publisher.
Sen: Are you colorblind?
MM: No, I just appreciate the beautiful and vivid colors. They’re striking and they’re not just red, yellow, green, and blue. Alex Kevern uses alternate color palettes as well. It’s just another way to make the game more unique.
Thanks again to Jay and Sen for taking time to answer our questions. Make sure you check out part one of our Bamboozle Brothers interview.
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