Today we are featuring Ben Warren, Matthew Jeffery, and Steven Landau of DiceBreakers. The DiceBreakers crew resides in New Jersey, but will be joining us in Nashua, for #G2SFall16. Ben and MJ were at our first event in May, but this will be Steven's first Granite Game Summit, so be sure to challenge him to a game of Klask. The DiceBreakers make exceptional quality videos where they teach the rules and show you the action of a variety of board games. You can check out their YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6jf0ZMeyCU .
Three Random Facts About BW:
- Ben dropped out of his math PhD program due to his crippling board game obsession.
- He takes a gummy vitamin every morning as an excuse to eat candy for breakfast.
- He used to shop at the same Whole Foods Market as Stephen Colbert.
Three Random Facts About MJ:
- MJ has a maxed out Luck stat IRL.
- He goes on vacations primarily to try new foods.
- He is also a volunteer firefighter.
Three Random Facts About SL:
- Steven has a cat named Kitty Meow; his Instagram (@Slandau2) solely contains pictures of her and her cat friends.
- He has played as every Civ in Sid Meier’s Civilization V, logging close to 1k hours in the process. He is uncertain about how this makes him feel.
- He prefers to play D&D as a Dungeon Master because he likes to give his NPCs silly voices.
Questions by Kimberly Bullock (KB), answers by Ben Warren (BW), Matthew Jeffery (MJ), and Steven Landau (SL)
Three board game media related questions:
KB:What inspired you guys to start DiceBreakers?
BW: MJ and I had previously talked about maybe starting a podcast. Steve always has his hands in creative projects. For me personally, the final spark of inspiration came from a guy named Matt Farley (www.moternmedia.com). I became really enamored with his life story about a year ago. He has recorded over 18,000 songs while juggling a family and a job. I figured if he could do all that, my buddies and I could put out some YouTube videos. I opened up a dialogue with Steve and MJ, and they ran with it.
MJ: I love anything artistic and creative. I try and saturate as much media as I can and get inspired by such great content. The project is, for me, to get some friends and family together to play and to hopefully inspire others to do the same.
SL: It’s easy to get me involved in a project that people are enthusiastic about, which is why when Ben approached me with the idea I was all about it. Of course it also helps that I love playing board games, and sometimes it’s hard to find a video tutorial for the games I want to play. I figure it can only help to add to the collection of quality board game content on YouTube.
KB: Are there any other areas of board game media that interest you as creators? Anything from potentially different content to your channel or something entirely new?
BW: We're working on one secret project in particular that I'm very excited about, but I have no further comments on that. As a consumer, I personally can't wait until streaming board game content gets really good. There are some hurdles that board games have that video games don't: board games require a lecture to understand, and they have downtime. People are eventually going to find clever ways around those limitations, and I can't wait to enjoy the results.
MJ: We’re trying to take our 360 content to some new levels as well as our “little secret project” the others might mention here.
SL: Yes! We have a few projects in the works that deviate from our normal “Let’s Play” and “Let’s Learn” format. I’m very excited about them, but we can’t talk about them too much yet or else we’ll feel like we accomplished something before we make any actual progress. Suffice to say it’s something that I think everyone will enjoy.
KB: You guys are still relatively new. How has becoming part of the community been so far? Have certain areas been easier and/or more difficult than others?
BW: It gets said a lot, but board game people are the best people. We've had very positive interactions everywhere we've gone, so far. I've mostly involved myself with /r/boardgames and Twitter. They’re very different animals. Reddit cares mostly about your product and what they have to say about it. They can drive a ton of traffic, but if you come to the table with nothing but self-promotion, expect to be ignored. Twitter cares mostly about you and what you have to say about the hobby. They’re often dispassionate about your product, but this is where meaningful personal connections are made.
MJ: The social media experience is a pleasure to be a part of. Twitter and Instagram provides us a lot of interaction and lets us get to know a lot of people we normally couldn't come in contact with. I'd say the hardest part might be to get to more conventions to play games with more people and interact on a one-on-one basis.
SL: As the behind the scenes tech member of the team, a lot of the community outreach has been thanks to Ben and Matt. I tend to stick myself in a dark room with the curtains drawn and just edit videos for weeks, so I’m excited about the opportunity to meet members of the community. I’m amazed at how welcoming the entire community is and personally I want to give back to them in some kind of meaningful way.
Three questions just for fun:
KB: What are a few of your all time favorite board games?
BW: My current list of perfect 10/10 games on BGG: Castles of Burgundy, Chess, Codenames, Dominion, and Modern Art. I definitely have a soft spot for games that reward repeated play.
MJ: Kemet (yeah Rodney!), CoB, various Pandemic iterations. Crokinole and Blood Rage are somewhere near the top.
SL: Mysterium, The Resistance, A Game of Thrones: The Board Game, Merchants & Marauders, Scotland Yard. I like a game with a solid theme.
KB: If you could reside in any of the worlds from a board game which would you choose?
BW: Cosmic Encounter seems like the closest thing to living inside of a Douglas Adams book. Let’s go with that.
MJ: Viticulture/Vinhos/Name your vineyard game. I'd work for those results.
SL: Probably Tokaido. Who wouldn’t want to be on a permanent vacation in Japan?
KB: What is your favorite podcast? (It does not have to be board game related)
BW: For gaming, I’m really grooving on Brawling Brothers and Flip the Table. Non-gaming, it’s the Motern Media Infomercial Podcast.
MJ: I'd echo Ben’s answer. Those two plus Secret Cabal get me pumped when a new episode shows up. I'm an equal opportunity listener and can’t have just one.
SL: Call me a criminal, but I don’t listen to podcasts regularly. That said, I am a member of one called Thumbstick Ninjas, a podcast about Video Games and Pop-Culture. We have a few Board-game crossover episodes just because it’s a shared hobby of all the members.
You can find the DiceBreakers at: http://www.dicebreakers.com/