Industry Interviews – Gamelyn Games, Michael Coe interview!

Greetings All,

Today I am pleased to bring you a really fun interview with Michael Coe from Gamelyn Games! My favorite Gamelyn Game so far is Tiny Epic Galaxies, if you haven’t had a chance to play yet, you really should! Mr. Coe was a pleasure to talk to and his answers to my questions were truly fun to read. Did you know that Mr. Coe is also an actor? Check it out below and visit the Gamelyn website to find out more about their awesome games! Enjoy!


1)With such a large family growing up, were board games common in your household?

Yes and No. Like most households we certainly owned a lot of games but they weren’t as cool as the games coming out today. We played them on family nights or when company came over but otherwise I was sinking my game time in the NES, SNES, PC etc. Board games back then just couldn’t compete with video games. That’s not so much the case anymore imo. Video games have seem to have gone the way of Michael Bay movies, lots of graphics but lacking in meaningful content. Board games however are currently seeing a huge improvement in meaningful decisions and overall experience.

2)What was the first game you can recall playing, and the first game that made you realize this is what you wanted to do for a living?

I played all the classics as a kid, Monopoly, Sorry, Life, Mouse-Trap etc. Life probably being the game that had the most impact on me as a kid, because it was easy getting into “character.” In my elementary years though, my dad brought home Hero Quest and that blew my mind! Unknown to me at the time, it laid a foundation that I’ve drawn upon as a game publisher. Though it wasn’t until games like Carcassonne and Stone Age were introduced to me that I thought, “okay, wow! Games are not what they used to be, I could really get into this!”

3)Why did you choose the name Gamelyn Games?

Gamelyn goes way back for me. During Jr. High and High School I played a lot of D&D. I quickly found my passion for that game was in being the Dungeon Master, writing my campaigns and creating my own worlds. Gamelyn was one of the key NPCs I created in my favorite campaign setting, Aughmoore, which I wrote and used for countless game sessions. Gamelyn just kind of stuck with me. The name became my gamer tag in PCs games and was the name of a Human Paladin I played for 5 years in World of Warcraft. I started Gamelyn Games as part of a WOW exit strategy. I was playing WOW too much and needed to do more productive things with my time. So in honor of quitting the game I loved so dearly, I named my company after my character.  

4)The Tiny Epic series is one of my favorites, how did the idea for these Tiny Epic adventures come about?

It all started with a Tweet. I put it out on Twitter that I was taking submissions for the first time to publish games other than my own designs. I received many offers that week but one by the name of Tiny Epic Planets by Scott Almes really caught my attention. My wife and I printed it out and gave it a whirl and knew right away that it was something special. It was small, easy to learn, quick to play but offered a lot of meaningful decisions. These were all things that I was focusing on as a publisher. So I wrote back to Scott and shared my enthusiasm for his design but that I fancied myself some Orcs vs Humans more than one random alien faction against another. He willingly obliged and responded with a rewrite of the game that became Tiny Epic Kingdoms. Once that blew up on Kickstarter I knew we were onto something, so I asked if he had anymore “Tiny Epics” up his sleeve. While he hadn’t quite seen it as a series at that time, he saw what I saw and knew it had legs. It was clear to us that people were responding to the small box-big game experience. Then came Tiny Epic Defenders, Tiny Epic Galaxies, so forth and so on.

5)What was the first game published under Gamelyn Games and what was the first game you ever designed?

Dungeon Heroes was the first published game under Gamelyn Games. I designed it to be a fast and approachable rogue-like dungeon crawl. Some of thought of it as a “Tiny Epic” before “Tiny Epics,” but it wasn’t my first published design. That belongs to a little abstract strategy called Rise! that I published with game company I co-founded called Crash Games. Though it still wasn’t my first design, that is a game called Lords, Ladies & Lizards that not seen publication yet… maybe one of these days I’ll just up and publish it.

6)What is your favorite Gamelyn game and your favorite non-Gamelyn game?

My favorite Gamelyn game is Heroes of Land, Air & Sea. It is the culmination of Gamelyn Games as a publishing company and Scott Almes as a designer. It is our magnum opus. My favorite non-Gamelyn game is Carcassonne and its many renditions and spin-offs. It just always delivers a good time and with very little setup!

7)Are you still acting and what was your favorite role?

I haven’t acted in some time, though I’m focused on getting back into sooner than later. My favorite role and my favorite job are two different things. I loved my time in theater where my roles were more developed but my favorite single acting gig is surely Urban Legends Bloody Mary. I had a super bloody death scene after all, killed by Bloody Mary herself! That was a very compelling experience.

8)Do you ever grow weary of playing board games now that you make them for a living?

No. My love for board games continues to grow more fond as I discover new ideas actually. There’s so much that can be done in board games and I love being surprised by a mechanic that unfolds to be more than it appears.

9)How did you and your wife meet and have board games always been a big part of your relationship?

My wife and I met at McDonalds of all places. We were both on our lunch break in Scottsdale, Arizona and I had the nerves to randomly introduce myself. It was Valentine’s Day, so maybe it wasn’t so random. Board games really wasn’t part of our relationship until I started making them. Our appreciation for board games has developed together and she’s been a key player in helping me keep our games approachable.

10)Do you have any advice for someone whom aspires to be in the board gaming industry?

Lots, but I’ll simplify it for now. Don’t let your worries hold you back. Don’t be so afraid that someone will steal your idea that you don’t share it. Get your game in front of as many people as possible. If it is good, it will resonate. Exposure, exposure, exposure.

I hope all of you enjoyed this fun interview and I just want to say thank you to Michael Coe and Gamelyn Games for doing this interview with my little blog. 🙂 Until next time… Live by the board.


Meet The Bartender!

Hello Internets!

I figured I’d introduce myself to the blog fans, I’m J. I’ll likely be doing some behind the scenes stuff here, with an occasional article. I’d still like to introduce myself as part of the growing crew here, and as part of the board game table (you could call me The Bartender since I’m always bringing and making the drinks). I wanted to write an article about board gaming and a bit my history with it.

What a lot of people know about me is that I love video games, but they don’t really know that even younger I had a love of board games too. Friends of mine never cared for board games- so I was left playing video games alone or occasionally with family. I don’t have too many memories of my childhood (I blame that concussion I got in college) but one I do remember is playing Payday with my step dad.

If you’ve never heard of it, it’s a classic from the 1970s. You play on a month with 31 days, where bills and other things rack up. At the end of the month you get your salary and have to pay off all those bills that racked up that were unexpected or taken on in trying to earn more cash- by buying properties and the like. In retrospect it was similar to adult-life but without crying myself to sleep every night. The crushing reality was surprisingly still there though.

I didn’t play much else growing up. The occasional hated Monopoly game, the forgettable Yahtzee. The stuff they let you play in class with an educational twist (though I have to say, Spanish Scrabble is a lot more fun than regular English Scrabble). I got into trivia style games late in high school, but due to having a tendency of being able to guess the answer out of nowhere- no one wanted to play very often. In college there wasn’t many board games- mostly just Smash Bros, an N64, and the closest we got to board games in Cut-throat Uno and Euchre. I think maybe there was a Game of Life and a Family Feud the board game somewhere in there but nothing too exciting.

So when I reconnected with The Husband a few years ago and he asked if I wanted to play board games, there was interest for sure. He knew me as mostly a video gamer, but fast with rules and how things are played. And I’m glad we did. I never knew how much the industry had grown in such a short amount of time, and how much it’s still growing. I’m happy to play some of my faves with new and old friends alike. We’ve had some heated arguments on rules a few times, but there’s still love at the table.

If you’re just starting out like I was a couple years ago and all you know of is something like Payday- some of my faves are Ticket to Ride, Takenoko, Splendor, and my newest in Tiny Epic Galaxies. Don’t get me wrong- there’s plenty of other great titles I enjoy playing, but those are my personal faves for sure. Start slow, with a group one evening you’re free. Bring some drinks like I usually do. And the next thing you’ll know it’ll be 1 AM, and you’ll be asking yourself how many games you guys played that night.

When you stop counting, you know you’re having fun. When you start counting again because it’s not enough games in one night- you know you’re a fan. Until next time, cheers.

J, aka The Bartender

Valentines Day Gameplay!

Greetings All,

Sorry this is about a week late. The lot of us (6) got sick this past week, not to mention my infant is teething so we are all collectively exhausted. I have posts about Concept and Codenames coming up, but for today I will be discussing some games I played on Valentine’s Day. For Valentine’s Day my husband got me Forbidden Desert, two light novels and a manga of The Devil is a Part-Timer (great story, you should check it out.).

Forbidden Desert

By Gamewright Games

2-5 Players

30-45 Mins

(Forbidden Island, 2-4 Players, 20-30 Mins)forbidden

Ok so starting with the new game. Forbidden Desert(FD) is the sequel to Forbidden Island(FI), which is a great game and very easy to learn. Forbidden Desert, however, is a tad bit more complex. Both games are co-op and have simple set up. We have had FI for quite some time and after a few plays we could play in a very automated fashion. I’ll attach rules and a video regarding FI. FD we’ve only played twice, but I really feel that it’s going to have much higher replayability than FI. The games are very similar in mechanics, but the sequel offers several additional rules which makes it have a higher level of skill. I’ll also include rules and a video for FD. There are directional cards for the storm in FD and those are we bit confusing at times, but other than that it’s pretty simple. I had a great time playing with my husband and I think it was a great choice, but it’s honestly better with more players. I prefer FD of the two because it adds an additional player. We have six in our family, but only five us old enough to play. Us five never got to play FI together so it’s really cool knowing that sometime this week I can play with my older kids. I really suggest giving both of these a try.

The Duke

By Catalyst Game Labs

2 Players

15-25 Mins


This is a game that we’ve had for a while. It’s similar to chess and I’ve heard people say that it’s similar to Hive. I honestly did not think I’d like it, but the variety makes it hard not to at least be interested in it. I’m not great at abstract strategy games and I do not much care for chess. The tiles you lay have two sides because you flip them after you move them. Each side is different and there are many different tile abilities and movements. It feels overwhelmingly complicated at first, but you quickly get used to it. I will include rules and a video. I’ve never played with anyone but my husband and I truly believe I wouldn’t enjoy it with anyone else. My husband makes the game fun for me and encourages me to calm down and not get frustrated at the fact that I’m not great at it. I believe I’ve won once and we’ve played ALOT. He played with our daughter today and of course she win her first game. Ugh. Even if this doesn’t sound great to you… still give it a shot, you just need to find a good player 2. Catalyst has tons of printables on their site for The Duke, including a print and play!

Tiny Epic Galaxies

By Gamelyn Games

1-5 Players

20-30 Mins


TEG is an adorable game with great components and fairly simple rules. I’ve played several games now with 2, 3 and 5 players and it definitely gets more fun and more complicated with more players. This is a competitive game that involves conquering planets, upgrading your galaxy, and generally hoping your opponents don’t realize how easy it’d be for them crush your hopes and dreams. I’ll add rules and a video. I know I already mentioned it, but the components really are great the art is beautiful and the cards and pieces are made well, not to mention the inside of the box is part of the game! One lid is a dice tray with amazing art and the other is a handy little guide for the different planets in the game. This is a wonderful game and there is a whole series of Tiny Epic Games that you should check out. I’ve only played two so far, but I am honestly looking forward to playing the rest of the library.


By Blue Orange Games

2 Players

5-10 Mins


I do believe I have talked bout BraveRats on here before, but just in case here we go. BraveRats is a war like game for two players that plays really quickly. It’s a remake of the game R. It reminds me of a 2 player Love Letter. It’s easy to grasp because the rules are written on the card and any confusion you might have is summed up by this tiny little que card that comes with the game. I’ll include rules and a video. The cards are nice, the insert is lovely, as is the tin. This a favorite for passing time and you can play almost anywhere.

Thank you for reading. Real quick question for everyone, one subscriber contacted me and asked if I’d post a short message any time I played a game. If that’s something you’d be interested in please contact me and let me know. If you liked this review and want to be kept up to date please follow my page and like me on Facebook. Until next time… Live by the Board.


Contests from Board Game Geek

Greetings All,

Board Game Geek has some contests I just wanted to post for you guys. Good luck everyone!

Tiny Epic Galaxies – This is a 2-4 player game from Gamelyn Games and the BGG giveaway ends tomorrow 1/18/15.

Wallenstein – This is a 3-5 player game by Queen Games and the BGG giveaway ends 1/22/15.

Orleans – This is a 2-4 player game by Tasty Minstrel Games and the BGG giveaway ends 1/20/15.

Thank you for looking, good luck everyone, and until next time… Live by the Board.