Interview

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Last week, Stonemaier Games announced something unusual – a new game that they’re releasing in collaboration with us! Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig is an upcoming release that combines the crazy castle-building world of the original Castles of Mad King Ludwig with the tile drafting and partnership play of Between Two Cities.

We asked Jamey Stegmaier, the publisher and developer of Between Two Castles, a few questions about how the game came to be and about the process behind its creation.

There aren’t many games that cross over into the world of another publisher’s game. How did the idea for Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig come about?

After we released Between Two Cities, Ben, Matthew, and I brainstormed potential themes for a future Between Two game. I mentioned castles, and it stuck. At some point during the design process, Ben realized how well some of the mechanisms of Castles of Mad King Ludwig translated to the Between Two model, so we decided to approach Ted at Bézier Games to see if we could license the IP and work with him. Fortunately, he agreed!

 

You’ve mentioned in your videos that Castles of Mad King Ludwig is one of your favorite games. What do you enjoy about it, and how did you work with the designers to capture that experience in Between Two Castles?

It’s true—I absolutely love Castles of Mad King Ludwig. It’s been on my top 10 lists for the last 4 years, sometimes occupying the #1 spot. I love how rewarding of a game it is in that you’re often gaining multiple rewards every time you make a choice. I love how the game steers you in certain directions with public and private goals but doesn’t require you to do any of them. I love the satisfaction of completing a room. I love how easy it is to teach. And I really love the I-price-you-choose mechanism of the master builder (and that the other players pay the master builder). The game flows so well. Like, just by typing this out, I want to play the game right now!

It was an interesting balance while working with Ben and Matthew to figure out what aspects of Ludwig belong in Between Two Castles and which aspects don’t belong. We would chat about this from time to time. For example, in Castles, tiles often want to be next to other specific tile types, and the challenge/variety is getting them to fit because they have weird shapes and sizes. In Between Two Castles, because the tiles are square, there isn’t much of a challenge in this regard, so we gave each tile type its own rule.

 

The art for the room tiles is stunning, and you’ve also said that there’s more to it than meets the eye. What are some of the hidden Easter eggs that players should look out for?

Thank you! It was a pleasure to work with the two artists who illustrated the room tiles, Anez and Laura. There are around 160 unique illustrations in the game. If players look closely, they can find quite a few animals in the rooms, including my cats. There are also nods to each of our previous games and a portrait of Kramer from the TV show Seinfeld.

 

What’s your favourite room in Castles of Mad King Ludwig? Did you recreate it in Between Two Castles, or are they all completely new rooms?

There’s a mix of old and new rooms in Between Two Castles. We basically had a long Google Doc of room ideas that started off with the Castles rooms and expanded/changed from there. My favorite room in Castles… thematically perhaps The Pit, just because who puts a pit in their castle?! (The answer: I do.) Mechanically I love the sleeping rooms because they give me the ability to make the game last a little longer, and I always want more Ludwig.

My favorite room in Between Two Castles is probably the Kittenry.

 

If you were a Mad King, what would your first decree be?

Something involving chocolate. Perhaps: If you present yourself to the Mad King, you must provide chocolate.

 

If you could play a mashup of any two games (not by Bézier or Stonemaier), what would they be and why?

Someone mentioned this idea on my YouTube channel the other day, and I thought it was quite clever: Scotland Yard meets Mysterium. I’d play that.

A huge thanks to Jamey for answering a few questions about Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig!

If you’d like to find out more about the game or preorder it for when it releases on October 19, head over to Stonemaier Games’ website.

If you’ll be attending Essen SPIEL this year, you can also preorder for pickup at the show through our website.

Have you played either of the original games? What do you think of this new combo of the two?

Cookies taste even better than Villagers! Cookies taste even better than Villagers!

What could make board games better than they already are? If they were edible, of course!

Stephanie and Shelby are two bakers on a quest to make your game nights even more delicious, creating incredible cookies and cakes inspired by popular tabletop games. We first discovered them when they created the “One Bite Ultimate Werewolf” cookies (inspired by One Night Ultimate Werewolf), and we have been drooling over their creations at Sugar High Score ever since!

In fact, we loved their creations so much that we asked if we could interview them about their inspiration! We asked them both about baking and board games, and how their sugary treats are made.

Bob Ross Art of Chill Cake

Tell us a bit about who you are and your history with baking – and board games!

Stephanie: I am Stephanie, the baker behind Sugar High Score. I’ve been baking for many years, but started taking it more seriously 10 years ago when I discovered my love of cake making. I ran my own business making custom cakes, but took a break when our family moved to China. In China, our love of board games grew. We always enjoyed board games, but with a lack of TV to watch, our board game collection grew significantly. When we moved back to the US, I decided to combine the two hobbies into Sugar High Score.

Shelby: I am Shelby, 12 year old assistant baker and twin to my brother Preston. Becoming co-owner of Sugar High Score hasn’t been easy. I started with licking spoons but worked my way up to C.T.T. (Chief Taste Tester) and today my buttercream frosting makes unicorns cry and rainbows dance.

 

Stephanie and Shelby

When did you first start baking together? What’s the best part about baking as a team, and what’s the hardest part?

Stephanie: We have been baking together since Shelby was a toddler. We have shared many moments together from making a cake that looks like a Porg to a brownie catastrophe.

Shelby: The best part of baking together is that I get to learn advanced baking techniques that most kids don’t get to learn. The hardest part about baking as a team is finding the time to bake between school and ballet.

What is your favorite game, and why? (Or games if you can’t choose just one!)

Stephanie: Barenpark and Patchwork. I love tile placement games because it’s like solving a mini puzzle each turn.

Shelby: Dice Masters, Onitama and World of Yoho. Dice Masters is my favorite because it’s one of the first games my dad taught me and it’s just a fun game. It also helps that we use M&M’s to track health so when you take damage, it’s also a yummy treat.

Playing Kingdomino: Cookie Edition

Tell us about the start of Sugar High Score! What inspired you to create cakes and cookies based on your favorite board games?

Stephanie: My first set of board game cookies were based on the game, Karuba. When we moved back to the US, it was harder to lure the kids away from the slew of TV and YouTube options, so I initially made the cookies to get them back to the table. The cookies did the trick and we stumbled upon a new tradition of making board game themed treats for our family game night.

Our baking has now taken on a life of its own, so we created a Twitter page and YouTube channel to share our two favorite things: games and baking!

Go Nuts For Donuts Cake

Do you have a favorite baked treat that you’ve made for Sugar High Score?

Stephanie: My favorite board game cookies were our Kingdomino cookies because we could actually play our cookie version of the game.

Shelby: My favorite board game baked treat was the Go Nuts for Donuts cake because…. DONUTS! Duh.

 

We love the One “Bite” Ultimate Werewolf cookies that you made! What’s your favorite role in the One Night series, and why?

Stephanie: One Night Ultimate Werewolf is my son’s favorite game, so we play it all the time. I like being the Trouble Maker and trying to get one of my victims to give info on their original role before I reveal myself and then see if their story changes.

Shelby: Seer, because I get to stalk people without them knowing and I feel like I can see who is lying.

One "Bite" Ultimate Werewolf Cookies

Is there any chance of a sneak peek at the next project you’re working on? 😀

Our next board game project will be for an upcoming segment on Board Game Blender. I can’t share too much other than saying it’s a board game with a video game theme.

What is your favorite dessert?

We LOVE all desserts especially cupcakes and cookies!

For anyone who might be interested, do you accept commissions for special events, or requests?

Unfortunately, we do not take orders from the public. Our treats are just for us and our board game group. We do have a few video tutorials which may inspire you to create your own board game themed treat.

Most importantly, are there any taste-testing internships available? I have years of experience with dessert consumption!

Shelby: The taste testing internship is already filled by ME! Applications are not being accepting at this time. 😉

Santorini Cake

Thank you so much to Stephanie and Shelby for the interview! To see more of their cookies and cakes, you can go to their website or YouTube channel (you can even get some tips and tricks for making your own baked goodies).

We always love seeing fans inspired by our games, so if you’ve created something awesome please let us know on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook – you could be featured on our blog too!

Finally, you can check out our website to find out more about One Night Ultimate Werewolf.

Thanks for reading! From all of us at Bézier Games, we hope you have a happy holiday season filled with fun, family and games. We’ll see you in the New Year with an exciting announcement!