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[Interview] Board Game Designer Interview: Yohan Go (Yummy Yummy Pancake)
(Yummy Yummy Pancake)
Where did your relationship with board games begin?
"I first remember playing board games in middle school. My parents ran an after-school math academy and there were a lot of creative math-based games there. The first game that I can remember playing was Jungle Speed, localized to Korean by Korea Boardgames."
How did you become a board game designer?
"I started creating my own board games in late middle school. At that age we all live in our own little worlds, right? Well, I dreamed I would become a board game designer. I started by designing cool looking games, taking pictures of them, and uploading them to online blogs. The funny thing is, during that time, I never actually play-tested any of my games. I just spent a bunch of time making them look nice enough to show-off online. When I got to high school I decided to try contacting some game designers from around the world to hear what they had to say about the profession. I did some searching and stumbled upon BoardGameGeek’s “The Hotness” list. At the time, I didn’t know most of the names on the list let alone which board games they designed. I just assumed they were famous and knowledgeable about board games. Thinking no one would respond to me, I sent out emails to almost all of them, but to my surprise a lot of them sent me replies back. Among those, I was fortunate enough to speak with 7 Wonders designer Antoine Bauza, who told me the design process for him was extremely tedious. He told me that he would test his games at least 200 times before bringing them to publishers. I also remember speaking with Agricola designer Uwe Rosenberg, who suggested we meet at Essen Spiel to talk more. These interactions really had a lasting effect on me as a game designer."
What would you say to young aspiring board game designers looking for direction?
“I still haven’t figured out the best way to answer this question. When I first started I figured board game designers just keep making games and enjoying that process alone forever. But the more I worked trying to create better and better games, the more I wanted to learn about things not directly related to board game design. I wanted to improve my English a lot to more closely collaborate with the international board game community. I wanted to improve my graphic design skills to be able to more accurately portray my game ideas. And I also wanted to learn more about psychology to better understand the way people might react to my games. After high school, I decided to focus on making board games and opted not to go to college thinking it would be a waste of time. However, knowing what I know now, I think going to college and learning about a variety of different subject areas would have positively affected my board games.”