Industry Interviews – Ryan Laukat, Red Raven Games.

Greetings All,
Sorry about the long wait between posts. I have been working on my anniversary gift for my husband and therefore have been a bit preoccupied, however, I have been doing some sharing and interacting on my Facebook and Twitter so if you’re hankering for some Living by the Board love please give us a follow! 🙂
Today I get to bring you a lovely little interview from Ryan Laukat of Red Raven Games. My favorite Red Raven game is Above and Below. Oddly enough my anniversary gift for my husband is a mini adventure of our time together in the format of Above and Below including new adventures and character cards. If you want to hear more about my gift and my husbands Mice & Mystics gift, please stay tuned! Until then, enjoy the interview folks!
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1) When you were younger you did some commercials as a boy Soprano, correct? Can you provide me with a link to see one by chance?
(I have a solo at about 19 seconds)
2)I understand that you currently have a second job at Cannonball Musical Instruments. My daughters were super excited to learn about that because they play flute and saxophone. Outside of this, what job(s) did you have before your gaming career?
Because Cannonball is a family business my parents started when I was young, that was my first job, and I’ve worked there since I was sixteen. Before I started Red Raven, though, I did freelance illustration in the board game industry for companies like Rio Grande and Z-Man Games.
3)I’ve read that you and your wife both participated in Missions. You lived in the Dominican Republic for a spell, how did you enjoy that?
I have a special place in my heart for the Dominican Republic. I loved the time that I lived there. Coincidentally, my love for euro games came from my time there. I had a copy of Puerto Rico which I played many times there.
4)What was the first game you ever designed?
I was twelve years old. It was a card game inspired by trading card games. I painted cards with monsters and creatures that would battle each other with different abilities.
5)You created Red Raven Games in 2011. What was the inspiration for the company name?
I had written a short story with a red raven in it and decided to use that for the company name.
6)What was the first title published under Red Raven Games?
Empires of the Void. It’s a space exploration game and we only made one print run. Now, years later, we are publishing its sequel: Empires of the Void II
7)What is your favorite Red Raven game and Favorite non-Red Raven game?
My favorite Red Raven game is City of Iron. My favorite non-Red Raven game is Agricola. But I also really like games that are immersive of that tell an intriguing story.
 
8)Given market trends and the performance of Red Raven Games catalogue, what do you believe the future holds for the company, such as expanding the company and it’s game library?
There will probably be lots of new story games throughout the years. 
9)Obviously your wife is heavily involved in the company and therefore gaming. Do your children enjoy tabletop gaming as well?
Our kids love board games. Every time we sit down to play, they want to come and join. They help us play test and they’ve even started designing their own games.
10)Do you have any advice for someone aspiring to be involved in the gaming industry?
The most important thing about getting involved in the gaming industry is doing it because you love it. Also, get involved in-game groups, design groups, trade shows, demos–anything you can. It’s important to meet people and make connections, not just to get started, but because this industry is very interactive and friendly. Everyone is there to help you and give you useful input.
I want to thank Ryan and his wife Malorie, as well as Red Raven Games for this interview. It is greatly appreciated. Thank you everyone for reading and until next time… Live by the Board.
-Livingbytheboard

“Junior” Game Versions

Greetings All,

Today I wanted to talk a little bit about “junior” versions of games or more kid friendly versions of games. I grew up with a lot of Hasbro games and their Junior versions. I have a 20 month old and obviously a good amount of time before he is old enough to really get into gaming, but I started thinking about Euro games and their “junior” versions. Please keep in mind that my list(s) are not complete and when I locate more example games I will be adding them.

Before I go into “junior” games, I just want to mention a company called Haba. Obviously there are tons of companies out there making games for you kids and toddlers, but Haba has a collection called “My Very First Games“. They are so cute and I am looking forward to picking a few out for my son. My biggest thing about them is that their games are rather expensive for little kid games. Regardless, please go take a peek because they are adorable… or maybe I’m just a sucker for the whole “My first” thing. 🙂

We’ll start with your basic Hasbro Junior Games listed by youngest age first!

Boggle Junior, ages 3+, 1+ players.

Yahtzee Jr, ages 4+, 2-4 players.

Monopoly Junior, ages 5+, 2-4 players.

Junior Scrabble, ages 5+, 2-4 players.

Clue Junior, ages 5+, 2-6 players.

The Game of Life Junior, ages 5+, 2-4 players.

Cranium Junior, ages 7+, 2 players.

Trivial Pursuit: Junior, ages 8+, 2-4 players.

Taboo Junior, ages 8+, 4 players.

Non-Hasbro Games.

Sequence for kids, Jax Games, ages 3-6, 2-4 players.

My First Carcassonne, Z-Man Games, ages 4+, 2-4 players, 20 min playtime.

My First Stone Age – The card game, Z-Man Games, ages 4+, 2-4 players, 10 min playtime.

My First Stone Age, Z-Man Games, ages 5+, 2-4 players, 15 min playtime.

Junior Labyrinth, Ravensburger, ages 5+, 1-4 players, 15 min playtime.

Catan Junior, Mayfair Games, ages 6+, 2-4 players, 30-40 min playtime.

Ticket to Ride First Journey, Days of Wonder, ages 6+, 2-4 players, 15-30 min playtime.

Ticket to Ride First Journey Europe, Days of Wonder, ages 6+, 2-4 players, 15-30 min playtime.

Krosmaster Junior, Ghenos Games, ages 7+, 2-4 players, 5-15 min playtime.

I hope you’ve found some new additions to your game library on this list and hopefully you can find that perfect gateway junior game version of your favorite games! Know of anymore? Let me know! Until next time… Live by the board.

-livingbytheboard

Gaming for Adam West.

“Of what use is a dream if not a blueprint for courageous action?”

-Adam West

Greetings All,

We had a small game night on Saturday and four of us played five games.

We got a game of Pandemic by Z-Man Games in and beat it shockingly quickly, but I’m fairly certain that’s because we forgot the rules in the beginning and were only drawing one card from the player deck instead of two for like two rounds, so we didn’t get an epidemic card for a while. That said we were not wanting to restart the game, so we just fixed the rules and rolled with it.

After that we played Ticket to Ride: First Journey by Days of Wonder. Being that it’s a kid version of Ticket to Ride, the trains and map symbols were huge and cute. The rules were simplified and yet there was some difficulty. I’ll do a review of this later because I was annoyingly excited to play it and I totally won.

The last big game we got in was Ghost Stories by Asmodee. I freaking love Ghost Stories, it’s so darn difficult and the defeat is sometimes earth shattering, but when you win… It’s a golden feeling. We beat the game and it was super fun.

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After hearing about the sad news that Adam West had passed away, we had to get some Batman games in at the end of the night. We ended it with Batman Fluxx by Looney Labs and Batman Love Letter by Alderac. The games are simple and relaxed and it was a nice way to say good-bye to Mr. West. I say relaxed, but truth be told Love Letter ended with our friend Sam comparing hands with my husband, beating him, and subsequently screaming WU-TANG!

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That said I’ll end this post by saying Sam… calm down. 🙂 And farewell Batman.

Until next time… Live by the Board.

-Livingbytheboard