Jaysen & Carl from Gayme Night – Interview
We have been – and are – going to highlight and hopefully interview some board game fans doing interesting stuff online. It might be videos, reviews, a blog, game development, something that one of us at Gameapalooza thinks is cool for whatever reason.
Today we’re looking at “Gayme Night”, a video series run by Jaysen Headley & Carl Li out of Astoria, NYC. They look at tabletop games and we love the enthusiasm for gaming that comes across in their videos. One of the team wants to adopt them, so we figured they must have something special, so we hit them up for an interview. So let’s do this “Gayme Night” interview in 3.. 2.. 1..
Firstly, weâve just introduced you in the above paragraph, but in your own words / minds who are you? Tell us a bit about yourselves and your board game review series Gayme Night. How did it come about etc.
Carl: I am what we consider a human entity, lost in the cosmos. I am passionate about ideas and organizing. A philosopher at heart, and interested in the psychology of humans. I’m an actor, and I pursue the creative arts.
We had been doing First Impressions, a show where we give our initial thoughts about Comics, TV, Film and games. This past year we REALLY got into boardgames, so we created another show just to talk about them
Jaysen: Basically what Carl said. I think we liked the timelessness of games. With a comic book, you have about seven days before it’s old news so we weren’t really getting the response we wanted. Board Games were something that seemed more timeless. Years from now, people will want a review of Cosmic Encounter. They’ll have long forgotten about Batgirl #28.
One will fade away, one will still be around… right?
As well as tabletop gaming, you seem to quite like all things Disney, one of our crew is a Disney fanatic, so tell us, whatâs your favourite Disney movie and why? If you could turn one Disney franchise into a tabletop board game what would it be and why?
Carl: Now that we’re rewatching ALL the animated ones, my answer to this question is less clear. I think previous to Jaysen’s Vault Disney Project, my favorite animated Disney film was either Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast or Lion King. Of the modern Disney animated features, they’re the ones that have stuck with me the most. To me they’re the most classic, like the older Disney fair. Now, as we’re watching them all again, I really really loved Cinderella. I wrote a piece about why, and the gist is that I really relate to it ha ha, in a weird way, and it really pulls at my heart strings.
I’m not including Pixar and live-action films; that is a bit more complicated. I think for Pixar, … I can’t. For live-action, straight-up Disney, and not another studio owned by them,.. um,.. right now I have to say Mary Poppins. We JUST saw that again, and everything about it kills me; the heart, idea, and morals I get from it. It’s kind of a good representation of my spirit and soul.
I LOVE the question about which franchise I’d turn into a boardgame ha ha. I suppose Cinderella, and Mary Poppins come to the forefront, but I’d be curious to consider others based on what would actually make the best game.
Jaysen: Yes, we are a bit Disney nuts aren’t we. My favorite Disney film just so happens to also hold the title of favorite movie for me. That movie being The Emperor’s New Groove, though Beauty and the Beast would be a close second.
I’d turn 101 Dalmatians into a 1 vs. All game. Each of four players control fashion designers trying to catch the puppies while the Overlord player takes control of all the puppies. It’s a miniatures game of course and you get all 101 puppies and miniatures. Plus, there is great potential for cows and horses expansions as well as a special Glenn Close character card to give away at GenCon. (See this is why we like these guys, you are NEVER going to see that answer in another board game interview answer EVER lol – Ed.)
Something with a bit more depth than the last outing.
In your personal opinion, are there any tabletop games in particular that lend themselves well to newcomers, that is, people who have never played anything other than perhaps the non German-style games?
Carl: There really are a lot of games that we consider starter, or warm-up type of games that we play before playing a bigger game that are usually great for newcomers. With any types/genres/style of games, any game of a particular type in its simplest form usually is a safe bet. For me, many of those are card games, like Exploding Kittens, Love Letter, Dead Man’s Draw, UNO or Phase 10. Otherwise really just any games that aren’t too complexly layered such as Lanterns, Patchwork, Resistance, Werewolf, Tokaido, Dixit, or Survive type games. And of course many of the classic mainstream stuff is good, any game you can basically figure out a way to play without having to purchase it. Lords of Waterdeep was a good intro to worker placement for us. It was our gateway game into this obsession ha ha. For deck building games, I’d say Star Realms, and then maybe DC Deck Building Game.
Jaysen: I’m a big fan of Lords of Waterdeep, which we reviewed on the show. I think it looks really complex but is actually quite simple so you get really into it very fast because you feel like you’re ‘getting it,’ which is something important for newcomers. We also force Survive: Escape from Atlantis and Five Tribes on everyone as I think they show just how different board games can be from the stuff that they grew up with. I like any game that can get people trying to kill each other the fastest as I think it breaks the ice and makes everyone have fun.
*Weâve covered gaymers here at Gameapalooza before, but it was mostly Australian in nature. Are there any gaymer groups youâre aware of in your local area? Do you attend them, or tend to just play with friends? *
Carl: I know of at least one LGBTQ specific gayming group here in NYC, but we’ve never gone. NYC is so diverse, you really don’t need to go to a specific group to find others you can relate to, but I understand wanting to find a group that’s more specific like that, because it could be considered more comfortable or potentially more fun when there’s more things in common between people. Jaysen and I aren’t opposed to going to groups at all, we just haven’t yet, especially since we have so many friends to play with. Unless you’re talking about wanting to play specific games, like Dice Masters, ha ha. I may have to go to a group for that.
Jaysen: We don’t attend any Gaymer groups but we do know some Gaymers for sure. Like anything I do, I like to think that Board Games are for everyone, but more importantly that they have the power to bring people together. Board Games transcend that idea of nationality or sexuality and make everyone on the same page. Maybe we’re all aliens fighting for control of the universe, or maybe we all just want to avoid the last exploding kitten. I think there are a lot of people like us who have their ‘straight’ friends and their ‘gay’ friends and I like to think that Board Games provide a nice bridge to get all those folks having fun together.
Are there any American style (Ameritrash) board games that you think manage the sort of depth that many German-style games offer?
Carl: Well, with the popularity of boardgames, many American creators have now been heavily influenced by German-style & European games, so I imagine there are some now, if not on the way. How about games like Star Wars Imperial Assault, or Dead of Winter? IDK, Jaysen??
Jaysen: For sure I think that American games can be just as complex. Look at the Arkham games. They are full of depth and complication. I do tend to notice that Ameritrash games tend to lend themselves a bit more to playing your way. I think of Xia a lot as a very deep Ameritrash game because there is so much there to do and see but it really comes down to how you play that game that decides what you get to do in the game and that’s really special.
Xia … space the final frontier
Keeping in with the geographic line of questions, have you played any of the games coming out of Asia that have been repurposed for the english language audience?
Carl: I love this question, but no, not that I know of. Um, Majong? ha ha. I’d be interested in hearing about such games.
Jaysen: We really like a game called Shadow Hunters which is a hidden identity game sort of like Werewolf but with a lot more depth and strategy. We also have a game called Tragedy Looper that we haven’t played as much but that we really like that involves trying to solve a mystery, starting off from not knowing anything. I think the great thing about these games out of Asia is that they are so different and have such fresh eyes and takes on what we’re used to. I guess all I can say is that I’d love to play more.
What do you think are the cutest tabletop games? We chose “Takenoko” as our winner awhile back, what do you think?
Carl: Oh yeah, Takenoko would definitely be on our list. I bet Jaysen will say Exploding Kittens as a nominee for that ha ha. This game Shear Panic looks cute, but haven’t played it. Anything with figures or art of characters with big heads, or anime influence is usually a potential contender. Or in Jaysen’s case, anything with cartoony animals.
Jaysen: Well Takenoko is adorable for sure. Exploding Kittens also has a pretty high cuteness factor. Krosmaster Arena is not a game we own but I think it’s incredibly cute and I have to talk myself down from getting it every time I see the cover. Seasons also has a lot of creepy cute art which I enjoy and Imperial Assault has tiny wookies which I’m always quick to comment on how cute I think they are.
Get your geek on guys, what other geeky pursuits are you into? Other than tabletop gaming, whatâs your geek passions?
Carl: Yeah, we’re into lots of stuff. Most people are I guess. Comic books, TV and Film! I love entertainment news and geek out for all of it! I’m kind of a DC Comics loyalist, but I love all comics! I love videogames, but not great at them. Jaysen is a better gamer than I. We are currently playing Skyforge, and Diablo III. Jaysen is playing EVERYTHING. We also watch a lot of fun TV shows like Arrow, Flash, Once Upon A Time, Game of Thrones, Sense8, Empire… and I’m a fan of all the DC Comics cartoons ð Oh, and geek guilty pleasure is Christina Aguilera ha ha.
Jaysen: Oh boy, there’s a lot here. I play a lot of video games of all kinds and shapes on various systems, my favorites being anything of the Nintendo styling. Zelda, Animal Crossing and Splatoon all have very special places in my heart. We read plenty of comics and geeky literature. You might know from the blog that I’m a die hard Harry Potter fan. I’m a brony, though I don’t talk about it as much. I really should though. We love going to sci-fi and horror movies and, gosh, there are so many things I can’t even think of them all right now.
Thereâs been a huge rise in popularity of new-style Eurogames over the past decade. Do you think it will ever make that crossover into the every day âMonopolyâ crowd, or will it remain niche?
Carl: Oh, it will, and IS. Yes, it will crossover. People love games, and there’s a game for everyone. People just need to be exposed to games outside of Monopoly that fit their various playing styles. American toy and game companies are starting to see the trend in these games and we’ll be seeing more and more of them hit the mass market, especially games that are genre specific or have been repurposed with licensed properties popularized in the media and our culture.
Jaysen: Absolutely. A couple years back there was this story about the Green Bay Packers, a football team out here, that was playing Settlers of Catan as a way of team building. I think, like with so many things, if something is really great, eventually people are going to find out about it. Good things have a hard time staying hidden in this day and age and football players setting down to some Catan is just the start.
*Whatâs the oldest board game you guys own? *
Carl: Ha ha, our collection is VERY new. We really just started this past year. So any older games would be ones we happen to have previously. I know back at my parents I may still have an original Candyland, or older yet, some Chinese marbles game.
Jaysen: I guess it would be Survive, as it came out 30 years ago. As far as our first? The first games we bought were Takenoko and Terra Mystica.
Survive! An oldie, but most definitely a goody.
Top 5 Favorite TV shows! Go! (we understand this is a hard question, if you need to up it to ten, go ahead).
Carl: Right now, Arrow, Flash, Empire, Game of Thrones, Once Upon A Time, Fresh Off the Boat, I, Zombie, The Good Wife, Scream, um,… anything Cartoon Network? Oh, and um, honorable mention, BLINDSPOT! Shameless plug; I’m in the pilot episode. I’d like to see more Doctor Who.
Jaysen: Guh! Okay, I’m really going to try to stick to 5. Here goes.
1) Adventure Time â Finn just kills me every time.
2) Arrow/ The Flash – Let’s be honest, they’re really just one show
3) The Good Wife – The best drama on network television
4) Friends – an oldie but a goodie and my go to for a sad day when I need cheering up.
5) Once Upon a Time – A very new addition to my list as we just started watching it, but so good!
Last questionâ¦ Of the new slew of boardgames – of the last decade or so – what ones have made you want to throw pieces at the wall or do a table flip and why?
Carl: Oh man, I bet DC Deck Building Game will be on the top 10 of Jaysen’s list ha ha. Believe it or not, I dislike competition, it scares me ha ha. Regardless of the game, if at any given time, I suck at it, even if I normally don’t, I’m likely to be upset. It’s particularly amplified if I’m the weakest link in a co-op, or the loser of the losers, or it’s a one-on-one game. It’s not that I get upset if I lose. The distinction is losing cause I suck, ha ha, versus, losing though I played a good game. I have issues, but I’m a good sport. So long as you’re not throwing it in my face, I won’t throw or flip anything ha ha.
Jaysen: DC Deck Building isn’t so bad, but I honestly believe the Crisis Expansions are some of the most broken deck building anything to ever be released. And Yes, I did rage quit at one point. I love Mice and Mystics but it makes me violent. The dice system often seems so unfair that I just want to throw them at the wall. Other than that, sometimes during Seasons or Five Tribes I want to throw Carl at a wall as he takes so long to make decisions. Ha ha, just kidding…kind of. Other than that, I’m a pretty chill gamer. We always joke that everyone always tries to kill me first which is funny as I rarely ever win. Case in point, my favorite game is Cosmic Encounter. I’ve never once won it though.
You can catch up with them at Jaysen’s blog, Carl’s blog, their YouTube channel Gayme Night, Jaysen’s Twitter, Carl’s Twitter, or where we first spotted them: Instagram Carl, Instagram Jaysen, lastly Facebook.
Wow that’s a whole lot of linkage! Remember you can follow us on Instagram and / or Twitter and we follow you, if you think our content is good enough to follow, we’d love to see what tabletop gaming you’re up to also so hit us up!
Now go get gaming!