The Solo Interviews: Celebrating the 2021 Solitaire Print and Play Contest

Welcome to the Solo Interviews, providing a platform for the designers, artists, YouTubers, and creatives of BGG’s 2021 Solitaire Print and Play Contest. We’ll dive into their gaming interests, their new games, and lessons learnt from designing games.
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Interview with Clint Ghosn, designer of Dice Drop

Today’s interview is with Clint Ghosn, whose entry Dice Drop tests your pattern making skills as you roll dice, strategically place them with power ups, and drop them onto the grid to score the most points. Enjoy the interview, and please head over to their WIP thread to check out the game and show them some love.

Could you talk about your gaming history? How did you get into board games?
I got into board games back in 2016 when one of my friends decided to celebrate her birthday in a board game cafe. The same week, I bought Spyfall and played it with my family. I then realized it's a great way to bond with them, so I bought more and down the rabbit hole I go.

A friend who's never played board games before asks you for advice on what to play. What starter games do you suggest to help them love the hobby?
The usual casual games such as Exploding Kittens because it proved to be effective, especially fast games with high table interaction. In addition to this, I also usually recommend different games by mechanisms; Avalon, Clank, Ticket to Ride, Stone Age, Catan. Then if I see they like the hobby, I will introduce them to big interesting games like Scythe, Blood Rage, etc.

How did you start designing games?
I've always wanted to make games because I grew up playing videogames. So when I got into the hobby whenever I play a new game, my brain starts working like how it could be rethemed, how this could be implemented in another way. But I never really designed games publicly, only variants, rethemes, and houserules. This is the first time I designed a game for public consumption.

If you've participated in this contest before, what do you know now that you wish you'd known when you first entered?
I have never participated before but now I wish I'd known that the community is very kind and welcoming and that I should have started joining years ago.

Tell us about your game: why should we play it? What makes it interesting?
If you are a fan of Tetris and puzzle games then Dice Drop is worth a try. In Dice Drop you will use dice and powerups to form different shapes that are worth varying points. Build combos to score more and get the highest score possible.

What makes the game interesting experience-wise is the satisfaction of doing the chain score combos as it gives you more points if you score multiple shapes in a single turn. Mechanics-wise the game uses the rubber-band effect; the more dice of the same color you have in the grid, the less chance of it being drawn from the bag. So it's a balance of building a combo for a big gain, and scoring every turn for a stable gain. Do all of this to be the number one in the high-score leaderboard.

Pick a theme or mechanic that's crucial to your game. What made you want to design a game with this in it?
I think my pick would be the Drop rule. The Drop rule is to move the dice to the bottom-most empty space of a column in the grid. So in this way it will seem like the dice follows "laws of physics" or "gravity" in 2d environment. Lack of 2D physics game in the board game market (based on my experience, not research) made me want to have this in the game.

Main inspirations are Tetris (videogame), Puzzle Pirates mini-games (videogame), Potion Explosion (board game, Mobile puzzle games like Candy Crush (app).

What have you found most challenging when designing this game?
Balancing the scores. I wanted it to be like in the video game and I want it to be unlimited but that is not ideal in board games so I had to make the scoring simpler, as also suggested by the good people in the community.

Other than your own, which game in this year’s contest is most interesting to you, and why?
Deckula because of its simplicity in mechanics but well-executed combo mechanics somewhat similar to Fantasy Realms but very different as well. Also the art is fantastic and well-timed this upcoming Halloween.

Glitch Pixel because of the implementation of the multi-use cards. It is amazing how one card can function as the objective, the player card, and the AI behavior card as well.

Ask a question for another designer of your choice in this contest. We'll try to get that designer to reply in the comments
Chris K (Glitch Pixel) In terms of balancing the cards with regards to it being multi-use (as objective, as player card, as enemy behavior). Is it just trusting the game's system to work smoothly in random environment or there is a math behind it?
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