Jamey Stegmaier is the CEO of Stonemaier Games and the creator of games such as Scythe and Viticulture. He is a prolific content creator and thought leader in the Kickstarter and game design space, who’s spent years making videos and writing articles on nearly every aspect of running a game company. To be fair, Jamey probably interviews me just as much as I interview him, and we end up discussing everything from creating games to content generation to crowdfunding—so much knowledge is packed into this episode that it would be hard to list it all here! Enjoy!
You can find everything about Jamey at https://stonemaiergames.com/
“I designed a game specifically to put on Kickstarter because I was interested in both the design side of it and the publishing side of it.”
We start by talking about Jamey’s past, growing up designing games, and then we dive into Kickstarters and rulebook design. We discuss alternate spaces for teaching rules like youtube videos, digital learn-to-plays, and online-only rulebooks. We then go into building digital versions of tabletop games and the challenges associated with that transition.
“There is a robust solo community of people who play games solo […] partially because they like to talk about their solo experiences with the solo community.”
In this section, Jamey and I dig into what it’s like to design a variety of different game modes. It’s based on an annual survey he sends to his customers regarding campaign games. We dig into different modes of gameplay, from solo to legacy to campaign. We compare notes on Shards of Infinity: Shadow of Salvation and Scythe: The Rise of Fenris and discover different ways that we used creative limitations to keep our campaigns short and impactful. Jamey specifically believed that every scenario should have one big memorable moment.
“Time is by far my most precious resource.”
The best way to describe this section is time management, but we touch on a ton of subjects. I’ve always been impressed with Jamey’s ability to generate content on youtube, his blog, and various other platforms while running a business and designing games. Jamey talks about having a day where he consistently creates video content and reserves time every night for design. We discuss learning to be a CEO who effectively delegates and lets others do their work in the company without micromanagement—something that is famously difficult for people in growing companies. We end the episode by discussing ambassador programs and how to utilize superfans to make your games better, spread brand awareness, and make it fun for others to play your games.
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