This article originally appeared in Issue 8 of The Campaigner, published in 2014. The issue is still available as digital download or in limited print stock.
Interview by Matthew Lee
Stonemaier Games is a recent addition to the board game scene. It broke into the industry with its game Viticulture, which was largely funded through Kickstarter. Since then Stonemaier Games has successfully crowdfunded two more of its own projects, as well as helped other game creators in their Kickstarter campaigns. This issue The Campaigner talks to Jamey Stegmaier (JS), game designer and part-owner of Stonemaier Games, about his companies games, Kickstarter and his place in the industry.
ML: Can you tell us about Stonemaier Games?
JS: Sure! Stonemaier Games is an indie publishing company based in St. Louis that I co-founded with my friend Alan Stone back in 2012. We’re a Kickstarter-driven company.
ML: What is your role there?
JS: I’m currently the President of Stonemaier Games. It’s my full-time job, so I handle all day-to-day operations, logistics, fulfilment, marketing, promotion, customer service, backer outreach, Kickstarter campaigns, and game design/prototyping.
ML: Stonemaier Games has a very thought out set of guiding principles and tenets. How were these developed?
JS: I’ve always wanted to run my own business, and I decided a long time ago that if I ever had the opportunity to do so, I wanted to run a company that was inherently good to people. I think it’s possible to be profitable and good at the same time. I can’t say that we always accomplish that goal, but we always try to do so. Making awesome games and positive Kickstarter experiences for our supporters is what drives everything I do.
ML: Stonemaier Games has published two games, Viticulture and Euphoria, as well as an expansion pack for Viticulture called Tuscany. Why have these been the first games you develop? What have the major challenges been in both game design and publishing?
JS: I think it’s worth pointing out that those are far from my first two designed games. I’ve designed board games my entire life. But I like that you used the word “develop”—there’s a big difference between designing a game and developing a game. The latter takes a lot more time and effort, as it’s a series of evaluations, playtesting, prototyping, and working with a manufacturer to see what you can actually put in the box.
So, back to your question: Viticulture was the first game I sought to seriously develop and produce because I wanted to make a gateway game that would be accessible to a broad audience. I think I ended up creating a medium-weight game instead. 🙂
Euphoria came about because I wanted to create a completely different type of worker-placement game, and I wanted the worker-placement mechanism to be inherently tied to the theme. The dice were thus always the core of the game—the idea that dice are workers and the number on them represents their knowledge/intelligence.
This article continues in Issue 08. The issue is still available as digital download or in limited print stock.