"Depends on your goals and what you consider to be success. Success means different things to different people."
- Taylor Hayward (Green Meadow Games)
Note: This is not a word for word transcript of the interview, some grammatical mistakes and other things of that nature were altered. For the full unaltered transcript, go find this interview listed under the interviews tab in The Social Deduction Network discord.
Dino: What a pleasure to have Green Meadow Games here at the Social Deduction Network. Their game, Dawn, was funded in three hours on Kickstarter and has nine days to go. In this game, players can choose to “build a village” or “build a fortune.” What do you say to the economists who argue that building a successful village could lead to prosperity? We always like to start with a tough question.
Taylor: I think they're right. Ultimately, in most cases, total prosperity is highest when everyone works together.
Dino: Ah... So those that seek to sabotage others for monetary gain are foolish then...? I've wasted my life…
Taylor: Depends on your goals and what you consider to be success. Success means different things to different people.
Dino: Anyway, thank you for being here, Taylor! Wanted to congratulate you on the success of your campaign thus far. Why did you decide to use kickstarter, and has anything surprised you about the process?
Taylor: Thank you!!! It's been great so far. Lots of work.
Dino: I'll bet! I spend so much time on kickstarter already. Can't imagine how much time I'd be on that thing if I was a content creator...
Dino: This is your second time using it, yes? You like the format, I take it?
Taylor: This is my second time. The format is okay. Could be better. I'm a UX designer by trade so of course I'm going to have my opinions.
Dino: Well, you are entitled to those, or so I've heard. Your game differs from most social deduction games where players are given a specific role from the onset. Instead, players make choices to determine their roles. Could you explain how that works?
Taylor: Correct. At the beginning of each round each player stashes a resource card in their own personal "storehouse". Each resource card has a different treasure value ranging from -2 to 3. If a player has more than six treasure at the end they're going for the solo win. If not they're going to the coop win condition with all the other players.
Dino: I see. So no one starts with this treasure, but they could choose to accumulate it?
Taylor: Correct. And the treasure you don't hoard you can contribute to the town.
Dino: By hoarding it, you are essentially not helping the town. Makes sense. What do players aiming to build the village need to accomplish?
Taylor: At the end of the game if there are, say, three coop players, the town will have to have 90+ prosperity to succeed (30 per player x 3). If the town fails that prosperity check, then the town is a failure and the scoundrel who's hoarded the most personal treasure is then the victor.
Dino: Oh! So the win conditions are contingent on the number of co-op players? That's interesting!
Taylor: Yes! Exactly.
Dino: So, the game is probably well balanced in that regard.
Taylor: A classic example is, you see the other people going co-op (you think) and they're not good players so you think the town will fail, so you switch sides mid-way through.
Dino: Even a single co-op player (if you can still call it that),can win.
Taylor: I have won several times as a single coop player. (There are a lot of scoundrels out there y'all!)
Dino: How can players sabotaging the village win? They don't all win together, do they?
Taylor: Hoarding the most personal treasure while also attacking other player's storehouses [removing treasure from their stash].
Dino: Great! So co-op players win together, but scoundrels win alone. Is that correct?
Taylor: There is only one scoundrel player that wins, correct!
Dino: Very nice. I imagine that works quite well. I'll bet that lone scoundrel win is pretty satisfying, as are co-op wins. All losses, I'm sure, are incredibly shameful. As they should be.
Taylor: Indeed. Sometimes everyone goes coop and the town fails. And that is... sad.
Dino: I imagine losing this game leads to much angry finger pointing and lowering of heads.
Taylor: It seems you already have a copy.
Dino: Oh, that would lead to MUCH shame. Just an accurate imagination. Do you think players have an advantage if they choose a side early as opposed to going back and forth?
Taylor: Yes. They are more likely to stash 3 treasure cards early on. 3 treasure cards are harder to come by.
Dino: Oh, so if you get something like that, it might make sense to become a scoundrel.
Taylor: Correct! Or, build the village more quickly.
Dino: Right, because cards with higher values achieve more?
Taylor: Correct. The higher value cards build buildings faster.
Dino: Besides not contributing to the town, is there anything more scoundrels can do to sabotage others?
Taylor: They can elect not to defeat threats, and again, they can attack other player's personal storehouses.
Dino: Those scoundrels! Not even Han Solo would do such a thing! Sorry... I hear Scoundrel... I think Han Solo… What are some of your favorite social deduction games, and were any of them inspirations for Dawn?
Taylor: My favorite is probably still Avalon. I like the simplicity. All of them were an inspiration in one way, I was tired of getting a role I didn't want and I decided to change that.
Dino: That is a classic! Indie Games definitely has some good social deduction games. Came across Scape Goat from them recently. I love it! I always love it when someone changes up the genre just a little bit.
Taylor: I haven't tried that! I'll have to take a look. I like the name. Thanks. It's a lot of fun. You should try it on Tabletop Simulator sometime. Very enjoyable.
Dino: Yes, and the characters are goats. Basically, everyone is trying to pin a crime on one of the characters. Most are targeting one player, but that player thinks someone else is the target. He needs to figure this out before the crime is pinned on him.
Anyway... Players can choose to back the game or the deluxe version of the game. What is the difference between the two?
Taylor: Interested. The retail version is going to be the basic vanilla version of the game. The deluxe version has higher quality cards, and few more promotional cards, and extra stretch goals. The stretch goals are actually pretty great. New art, primarily.
Dino: Cool! I'm down for the deluxe, myself. I notice there’s a lot of chicken or rooster imagery on your campaign page. Does this village allow their chickens to roam around free range? And if someone attacks one of them, do the rest of them rise up to defend the victim like in the Legend of Zelda Games?
Taylor: Hah, the illustrator loves birds.
Dino: I see... So cage free, then? I think that's good. Those creatures deserve a bit of freedom.
Taylor: I'm not sure why she likes birds so much. I'm a fan of her art so she could illustrate pictures of lumber and I would be happy.
Dino: And no one should be attacking them. Link gets what he deserves when he goes after one of them if you ask me...
Taylor: Yes! Like our forefathers!
Dino: Oh, maybe a wooden bird.
Dino: I'll ask more about the art in a moment… But first, Dawn is actually the second game of a series, correct? Backers could also choose to add the first game, Darkness, to their pledge. Could you tell us about that game?
Taylor: Sure. That's another great game that players can play now for free on Tabletop Simulator. It's a very different game. It's been called a "progressive bidding" game.
Dino: That's great! TTS is on a lot of people's radar during these times, I'm sure. A "progressive bidding game"...? I'm intrigued...
Taylor: Players progressively add cards to their played collection of cards in a systematic way that allows them to gather more collections of cards from the middle of the table. Here's a link to both free games on Steam.
Dino: Wow, thank you! It definitely does sound different. Kind of cool that games in a series differ as much as these two do. Gives a nice variety. The two games, Dawn and Darkness, definitely look similar. To me, the illustrations almost look like details I’d find on a mural in a restaurant wall or something. By whom was Dawn drawn? Ha ha… “Dawn drawn”... And how did your partnership begin?
Taylor: I've never actually talked with Angela. Our relationship has been strictly via email. I found her artwork while doing a long review of art on DeviantArt looking for an illustrator. I reached out to about ten and she was the best fit. It's been working out great ever since!
Dino: Nice! Is she not good at drawing werewolves? Because I don’t see any in your game. What is up with that?
Taylor: Lol. If you would like her to illustrate a werewolf for you you should contact her! I think there might be one in her portfolio.
Dino: Maybe, I will, Taylor. Maybe I will...You have to admit though, a village without a werewolf is pretty ridiculous...
Taylor: No doubt.
Dino: Really creates a bit of a fantasy setting in your game. It's a village, but no werewolf. Pretty imaginative.
Dino: Still want a werewolf there, though… But I digress. How many games will be in this series? Will they all have the same artist/look, and will any of the others feature social deduction?
Taylor: There will be four, and this is going to be the only social deduction game. The next game is going to be "extended" co-op, and the final one is going to be "new" legacy.
Dino: Oh, interesting. I suppose it seems fitting that they are all so different. Did you have all these games designed from the get go? How did this happen?
Taylor: Yes. They are supposed to represent the progress of humankind.
Dino: Oh! So it's a human evolution series.
Dino: Will the last one take place in space? And will there be a monolith of some kind?
Taylor: Nope. Still in ancient northern Europe.
Dino: No space embryo? Space embryos come up in many of my interviews, faithful viewers will notice...
Taylor: Just a bunch of monkeys pounding each other with femurs. lol
Dino: Hey, a weapon is a weapon!
Taylor: An ape does what it takes....
Dino: As it should, as it should, like the chickens they evolved from.
Dino: Okay, so I need to retake some Darwin classes… Do you foresee yourselves doing expansions to any of these games, or are you more focused on completing the series?
Taylor: No expansions for the games, but I may well take a break from the quadrilogy if another project looks like it has potential, then come back to it.
Dino: Oh? Can we get a scoop on this mystery project?
Taylor: There actually is none at the moment. I feel like there are interesting things to do with exploration and decision making that would make for a great game. We'll see!
Dino: Ah. Well, before you start making plans, I'm going to attempt an inception.
Dino: How are you PUT WEREWOLVES IN THE NEXT GAME handling these times of quarantine?
Taylor: *snarl* I feel great!
Dino: My what big teeth you have...Ugh...
Dino: Looks like you have already achieved some stretch goals! Which met goals are you most excited about?
Taylor: Honestly, the undersides of the cards really need a facelift, so I'm looking forward to upgrading those. And then the $30k is the big one. Unlockable progress cards are just cool.
Dino: What upcoming goals are you most hoping to meet?
Dino: Right. You are not TOO far from it. You just passed $26K and you have plenty of time to go, including that glorious final 48 hours.
Taylor: No too too bad. I'm hoping to get over it soon. We'll see. Just another week or so. Yes! The final 48. Should be fun. Interested in putting a side wager on how much it will be in the final 48? I'm personally wondering how many people are on the fence.
Dino: There's also that upcoming $34K stretch goal, adding the werewolf, right? I've heard that many campaigns make about 30% of their funding in the final 48 hours.
Not sure how true that is.
Taylor: Yup. I've heard the same.
Dino: Can't you see how many people are following your project?
Taylor: I can, but it's unclear how serious they are.
Dino: That's usually an indicator of sorts.
Dino: I think you will do quite well.
Dino: I'll do my part with adding nonsensical comments to your comment section.
Taylor: Why thank you!
Dino: Well, there you have it! Dawn is on kickstarter for about nine more days. Make sure to back a copy for yourself today or the chickens will get you! I always feel it’s best to end with a threat, don’t you? Back it today!
Taylor: Thank you Dino! I'm really glad you brought me on!
Dino: It was our pleasure!