Soccer Moms and Steakhouses, Jacob Tlapek on what’s next
First of all, how did you come up with the game Grifters?
I was just getting started in boardgaming, maybe 6 months into the hobby. I asked Dave, my eventual design partner, if there was a game that captured the feelings of the Ocean’s Eleven movies. He thought about it and told me no, but he encouraged me to make my own. I laughed it off at first, but then got a spark of inspiration.
The rest is history.
Can you tell us a bit about it, in your own words?
Sure. The way I typically introduce it to new players is “It’s a deck builder, but without the deck.” The game is played over several rounds and as you use the cards in your hand, they must lay low in the hideout, hiding from the cops. Over the course of the game you can your growing crew commit heists and pull petty jobs to gain the most financial influence. I would put it in the Heavy-Filler category, 20-40 minutes. Enough strategy to enjoy, but simple enough for any skill level.
What do you personally like in a game?
Oh goodness. I love every inch of it. I know that is super cliché, but I really do. When I designed this game, it was for me, no one else. So naturally every element is exactly as I wanted it. I do enjoy the art. It is wonderful to look at and really makes the whole game come together. I also enjoy the simplicity of the actions, but not limiting the strategic depth.
What is your favourite game to play?
I tell everyone that my favorite game is Fury of Dracula. While that may have some truth to it, I find that I enjoy several games all for different reasons. I more have a favorite in each game “genre”. Agricola for worker placement, Deception: Murder in Hong Kong for social deduction, and Bohnanza for negotiation, I love negotiation games.
Do you have a favourite game designer?
Hmm. Hard question. I enjoy several designers, but I take every game as a separate entity. You have to. I am really loving Kana Gawa by Bruno Cathala right now, but I don’t really enjoy Cyclades or Five Tribes. Are the bad? No, of course not, they just aren’t my style game. I do have great respect for the guys that can put out content consistently that is good. Cathala, Bauza, Lang, and Leacock are people I have a ton of respect for. Daniel Solis is a personal favorite for unique concepts and designs.
How did you get into board games?
This wraps back to why Fury of Dracula is my favorite game. I was in the US Air Force. Working night shift was somewhat… boring. We found a few old board games to pass the time. I think we played FoD almost every night we were on duty for 6 months straight. I loved it. When I got out of the military, I fell into a rut. Forced myself to go find a group of people to socialize with. Met Dave and my gaming group and never looked back. That was 4ish years ago.
If you were trying to ease someone into the boardgame world, what game would you start them off with?
I tend to try and pair the game with the person. Codenames is always safe. My new favorite is a reprint of “Let them eat Cake” called New York Slice. Grifters is always nice if they can handle a bit more than drawing a card. Almost forgot Sushi Go Party as well. Great to introduce non games to a gamery concept (drafting).
What are you currently working on?
Lots of fun stuff. We have 2 finished designs, a goofy programming dungeon crawler and a pirate bluffing, pick up and deliver game. I am personally designing a neat tetris style tile laying game themed around eating at a Brazilian steakhouse (I love crazy themes) and another rondel action selection game based on being a “soccer mom”. We have 2 or 3 others in the pot simmering as well, but we never rush out a design. I’m pretty particular about polish. I almost forgot Grifters 2. I don’t want to say too much, but if you liked the first one, this one is going to blow your training wheels off.
If you want to find out more about Grifters, you need look no further than BoardGameGeek