Role Selection -- Interviews with People Working, Living, and Playing Board Games
Matt
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I like talking to folks about their jobs.

You always learn something interesting that you didn't know before, or perhaps didn't even know to ask. You learn about specialized tools, you learn about practiced techniques, you learn about on-the-job training.

But best of all, you learn about the people. That's the real privilege of doing interviews like this -- you get invited 'backstage' to people's lives to see how they do what they do. It's a generous gift of time and access that I sincerely appreciate.

I'd been thinking about an interview series in the board game arena for some time, but I didn't want to repeat what other fine folks had already done. It wasn't until I decided to exclude designers -- to talk to everyone in board games BUT designers -- that the column really came together in my mind. Designers get a lot of love, and rightly so, but there's plenty of other people doing interesting things in board games, and I thought readers might find their stories interesting as well.

In early in 2016, I approached The Cardboard Republic with the idea, and they were very supportive. The first column ran in May, and so far I've managed to keep up with the monthly schedule. Six interviews in, I thought I'd start this Geeklist to share what I've learned.

--Matt

August 2017 update: Role Selection is on hiatus due to some exciting travel opportunities. Thanks for reading!
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1. Board Game: The Farmers Market [Average Rating:5.42 Unranked]
Board Game: The Farmers Market
Matt
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Kevin Kellow, Game Store Owner

Kevin owns Dark Mountain Games in Springfield, Vt., which got its start at a farmer's market. Because, Vermont.
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2. Board Game: CON! [Average Rating:4.45 Unranked]
Board Game: CON!
Matt
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Norwich
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Kimberly Bullock, Kevin Craine and Mike Taylor, Convention Organizers

These folks organize New Hampshire's new (and popular) Granite Games Summit, and I was interested to learn how they made some of their first decisions.
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3. Board Game: CodyCards [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Board Game: CodyCards
Matt
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Cody Carlson, Video Reviewer

Cody -- a.k.a. the Discriminating Gamer -- puts his improv and theater skills to good use when reviewing board games, but he's had to learn a bunch of technical bits as well.
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4. Board Game: Buffalo [Average Rating:5.79 Overall Rank:16298]
Board Game: Buffalo
Matt
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Max Seidman and Dr. Gili Freedman, Game Researchers

Max and Gili work for Tiltfactor, a research lab that carefully studies how games can influence the players.
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5. Board Game: Exchange [Average Rating:9.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Exchange
Matt
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David Muta, Renter of Board Games

David started the board game rental site Board Game eXchange, and I found how he slims down games to fit them into flat-rate boxes to be really cool.
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6. Board Game: Dark Moon [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:979]
Board Game: Dark Moon
Matt
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Tony Vandenberg, Convention Vendor

You'd think Tony would be busy enough owning Black Moon Games, with two retail stores in Lebanon, N.H., and Rutland, Vt., but he also goes out on weekends to sell games at conventions. His motto: Always be standing.
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7. Board Game: The Game of 49 [Average Rating:6.42 Overall Rank:2976]
Board Game: The Game of 49
Matt
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Mark Corsey, Demo Master and Designer of Game of 49

Mark has demoed his game hundreds and hundreds of times, and he shares his tips on how to make a game demo work (spoiler: it's part lanyard, part practice).
 
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8. Board Game: Stop Thief! [Average Rating:7.02 Overall Rank:1756]
Board Game: Stop Thief!
Matt
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Justin Jacobson, publisher, Restoration Games

This is more than a nostalgia play, as Jacobson explains. Restoration Games is updating older games, not just reprinting them. I'm curious to see what games they target next.
 
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9. Board Game: Cobras [Average Rating:6.93 Overall Rank:4844]
Board Game: Cobras
Matt
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Suzanne and Chris Zinsli of Cardboard Edison

Between publishing game resources, organizing contests, and designing games themselves, Suzanne and Chris of Cardboard Edison fame keep busy in the game community.
 
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10. Board Game: Project Nos [Average Rating:7.90 Unranked]
 Missing Image
Matt
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Peter Newland, Kickstarter Underdog

Pete's pick-up-and-try-again attitude was inspiring. I'm looking forward to following his next Kickstarter effort.
 
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11. Board Game: Gingerdead House [Average Rating:6.23 Overall Rank:13309]
Board Game: Gingerdead House
Matt
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Matt Holden, Indie Game Alliance

Matt and his IGA crew fill an important support role for budding designers.

 
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12. Board Game: Café International [Average Rating:6.25 Overall Rank:2581]
Board Game: Café International
Matt
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Ryn Grant, The Castle Gaming Cafe

I had fun talking to Ryn about The Castle Gaming Cafe in Beverly, Mass., and now I wished I lived closer.
 
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13. Board Game Artist: Naomi Robinson
RPG Artist: Naomi Robinson
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Naomi Robinson, board game illustrator

It was fascinating to learn about Robinson's process in working with publishers and designers to produce amazingly-illustrated games.
 
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