INTERVIEW // Jamey Stegmaier - English version of the interview
Jamey Stegmaier has enriched the board game world with a few more highlights in recent years. In addition to Viticulture and Scythe as well as other successful titles, his publishing house has landed another direct hit with Flügeschlag 2018/2019. We had an interesting interview with the author, designer and owner of Stonemaier Games.
Brettspiel-news.de // First of all, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with us. Your publisher certainly celebrated a massive success with Wingspan here in Germany. Wingspan won both the German Games Award and the award for best expert game of the year. Did you expect such a success at all?
Jamey Stegmaier // I love Wingspan, and I was certainly hoping that gamers would embrace it…but I had no idea it would reach this level of success so quickly!
Brettspiel-news.de // How long did the development of Wingspan take?
Jamey Stegmaier // I think Elizabeth had been working on it for about a year before she pitched it to us, and then it took 2 years in development.
Brettspiel-news.de // When you first saw the game, did you love it right away or did it take a lot of tweaking?
Jamey Stegmaier // I loved the unique cards, and I immediately knew Elizabeth would be great to work with. But the core of the game changed significantly during the development period.
Brettspiel-news.de // Let’s get to your hit game Scythe: It is still selling strong, how many copies have been produced so far?
Jamey Stegmaier // Currently there are over 300,000 units of the Scythe core game in circulation.
Brettspiel-news.de // In Tapestry you’ve already announced a new strategic game. It is now facing criticism for its high retail price. We know that is due to the detailed and coloured miniature figures – why have you not decided to produce a cheaper version without the miniatures?
Jamey Stegmaier // The sculpts were a big part of the inspiration for Tapestry—I wanted players to create something magnificent on their table, a beautiful, colourful, and memorable civilization. There are plenty of games with tiles if people prefer them to the landmark miniatures in Tapestry. :)
Brettspiel-news.de // How many titles is Stonemaier Games planning to release in 2020 other than Tapestry?
Jamey Stegmaier // We typically release 2 new games each year, so that’s probably what will happen in 2020. Oh, and Tapestry releases in 2019 (except the German version).
Brettspiel-news.de // At Stonemaier Games, how does the development of a game look like when it’s created by other authors? Are you involved in all titles?
Jamey Stegmaier // Yes, I’m the lead developer for all of our games. Basically this means that the designer sends me the most recent version of the game every few months and I playtest it. I send them feedback (ideas, questions, etc), we talk about it, then they implement those ideas. At various times I’ll also coordinate blind playtesting (usually 3-4 waves).
Brettspiel-news.de // What is important to you when producing a game with Stonemaier Games? Is there something like a core concept that needs to run through all games published by Stonemaier?
Jamey Stegmaier // We have a robust listing of guiding principles and tenets of game design outlined here: https://stonemaiergames.com/about/mission-statement/
Brettspiel-news.de // The games that you create or co-create usually have very diverse and innovative settings. How do you keep thinking of these new worlds and what inspires you?
Jamey Stegmaier // I love worldbuilding and exploring games in interesting worlds. I think it helps to work with talented artists.
Brettspiel-news.de // Imagine you could create a game without constraints of budget or licenses. What game would you like to develop?
Jamey Stegmaier // I’m currently designing such a game, so I don’t want to give away any secrets at this point. :)
Brettspiel-news.de // How did you get into board games? When did you start creating games and how?
Jamey Stegmaier // I started playing and designing board games when I was 7 or 8 years old when my parents shared them with me. Right away I was excited to make my own.
Brettspiel-news.de // What games do you like to play with your friends and family?
Jamey Stegmaier // A pretty wide variety! Though we mostly play Euro-style games.
Brettspiel-news.de // Thanks a lot for your time and your thoughts, Jamey. We at Brettspiel-News.de wish you all the best on your future endeavours.
Jamey Stegmaier // Thanks, you too!