Going Analog

Where video game industry veterans introduce great board games to video gamers

Podcast #31: Board game dopamine, world-building, kid-friendly games (guest: Jerry Hawthorne)

Going deep behind the scenes of some awfully cute (and memorable) games.

Adventure-based board games like Mice and Mystics (and the upcoming Aftermath) have more than a few words in their text-dense story books -- and you don't even know the tenth of it.

Game designer Jerry Hawthorne has typed up countless pages of content while building out the rich worlds for his creations. Yet you and I will never see most of them. Why? What happens to those untold stories? And what's it like writing so much material that no one will ever read? We get the answers straight from Hawthorne, who gives us a little peek into how his mind works and what that creative process looks like.

Here are the four topics from everyone in this episode:

  1. Shoe: What goes into the world-building in games like Mice and Mystics and Aftermath?
  2. Christina: How do we feel about the material we never get to see in legacy or adventure games?
  3. Mike: Our favorite kid-friendly family games
  4. Jerry: Dopamine (positive and negative) and how games tap into it

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Here's a full list of the games mentioned on the show:


  • Mice and Mystics
  • Stuffed Fables
  • Comanauts
  • Aftermath
  • Battlelands

Christina's topic: How do we feel about the content we might not see in campaign/legacy games?

  • Pandemic Legacy

Mike's topic: Game recommendations for kids

  • Penguin Trap
  • Don't Break the Ice
  • Bugs in the Kitchen
  • Loopin' Louie
  • Buckaroo!
  • Jenga
  • Pie Face
  • Celestia
  • Fireball Island
  • Mysterium
  • Dixit
  • Muse
  • Snake Oil
  • Apples to Apples

Jerry's topic: Dopamine and board games

  • Agricola

Final thoughts:

  • Pret-a-Porter
  • Tussie Mussie
  • Betrayal Legacy
  • Betrayal at House on the Hill
  • Horrified
  • Skulk Hollow