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Experimenting with Fun in Science-Themed Games feat. Tim Eisner – 101

Episode Overview

  • Episode Topics and Interviews
    • Who is Tim Eisner? – 2:17
    • Starting Weird City Games – 6:19
    • Outside of Real World Concepts – 8:32
    • March of Ants Expansions – 11:38
    • Developing from Real-World Examples – 14:34
    • Choosing Fun Over Realism – 22:18
    • Last Words of Advice – 29:00
    • Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Rapid Fire Round – 32:12

On today’s episode of Board Gaming with Education Dustin interviews Tim Eisner, a Portland, Oregon based game designer. Tim is the founder of the board game company Weird City Games and has designed and co-designed many games across many genres. Tim explains his history with game design as well as his games March of the Ants and Canopy, both of which are board games that explore concepts based around science and nature. The two discuss in detail the importance of making a game entertaining and what the inclusion of educational themes can add to a game to make it more interesting.

Kickstarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/canopygame/canopy

Website: https://weirdcitygames.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WeirdCityGames/

Thank you to Purple Planet Music for the wonderful contribution of their song “Retro Gamer” for our Interview Segment. This song can be found in full on this music archive. Also, thank you to Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) for his creative commons 4.0 contribution of “Getting it Done” for our Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Rapid Fire Round.

Thank you to Dallas Welk, the editor of this episode!

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Updates from Board Gaming with Education – 0:55

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Who is Tim Eisner? – 1:55

We meet Tim Eisner, a game designer from Portland Oregon and founder of Weird City Games. We learn about his early business creating macrame jewelry and how some of the skills he developed transitioned to what he does now as a game designer.

Tim has been designing boardgames for the last 8 years. His design credits include Grimm Forest, Tidal Blades, March of the Ants, Wonderland’s War, Aquicorn Cove and more. Game design is my main work, hobby, and passion. 

As a game designer, I draw on skills I learned in previous experiences including jewelry crafting, preschool teacher, and improvisational theater and juggling. I founded Weird City Games in 2012, ten years after designing my first board game, to make my dream a reality. At Weird City Games our goal is to create games that are fun, elegant, and worth playing

Learning through Gaming – 5:04

Tim tells of his earlier experiences in game designing through playing Magic: The Gathering.

Starting Weird City Games – 6:19

Niall gives his history with game design and some of the games that inspired him to choose a game design major.

Outside of Real World Concepts – 8:32

Tim explains some of the games that he designed that drew from fantasy and fictional settings.

March of Ants Expansions – 11:38

Niall tells about playing games at his university to better understand game design and game mechanics. Dustin asks Niall to share some of his experiences as a game design student. Niall describes being a part of game jams and how they taught him transferable skills for working in the gaming industry.

Developing Real World Examples – 14:34

Niall explains some of the educational benefits of his game, Blockers.

Choosing Fun Over Realism – 22:18

Niall gives insight from the student-perspective for teachers looking to teach game design in a university setting.

Last Words of Advice – 29:00

Tim gives a final word of advice for someone trying to discover the educational value in science-based games.

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down Rapid Fire Round – 32:12

Dustin challenges Tim with some rapid-fire statements to see their unsolicited opinions on them. Be sure to tune in to hear his answers!

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