Jason Tagmire

As an indie game and arcade enthusiast, Jason Tagmire has an eye for unique, quirky, fun and fast playing games. With this eye, Jason has set out to design a number of clever and innovative micro games under his Button Shy brand, as well as having a number of his games published by the likes of AEG (Maximum Throwdown) and Eagle/Gryphon Games (Seven7s). Hailing from South Jersey, Button Shy (and Jason) have recently started working with other designers to bring their games to market (several of which will be featured on October 22 at G2S).

Jason is bringing his eye (and games) to the Fall 2016 Granite Game Summit as one of our featured designers. I had a chance to connect with Jason and ask him about game design, self publishing and Muppets.


  • Jason was vegetarian for 13 years. 
  • He has a storage unit that is filled with Lego. 
  • He can say the alphabet backwards faster than he can say it forward. 

Questions by Michael Taylor (MT), answers by Jason Tagmire (JT).


MT: What inspired you to design your own games?

JT: I have a constant need for creativity in my life. Whether it is designing games, writing and recording music, making short videos, or building a world with toys, I have to be creating at all times. Board games are great because you can make a decent amount of progress entirely on your own. It can be quickly rewarding and very fulfilling, and you can do this late at night, on a train, almost anywhere on your own. There is plenty that requires others, but I love that you can accomplish quite a bit with pen and paper and some household items. The portability from concept to prototype is ideal.

MT: What made you decide to start self publishing your games after having several successfully published by established companies like Eagle/Gryphon or AEG?

JT: Self publishing is often a rite of passage. Many want to try it. Just for an inside look or some want full control of the process. For me, it’s a few things. I’m in love with product development and enjoy the crafting of a product as much as designing games. It’s also an opportunity for me to do things that are different and off the beaten path. Most publishers will shy away from a short run, $10 game, printed in the US and hand-compiled. We do all of that in record time, just to break even. To me, that’s what being an artist is all about. It’s about the craft. The end result, and everything you sacrificed to get there. I don’t experience that aspect when signing a game with a publisher, but there are limitations to this, so I’m thrilled to sign other types of games to publishers.

MT: How has it been for you switching from being just a game designer to a game publisher and working with other designers to get their games to market?

JT: Working with other designers on their games helps me be a better designer. Not only are their games great and fun to work on, but it helps me look at my own games through different eyes. I learned to take the advice that I often give them and let things go. I also get to work on aspects of the process that I love, such as theming and naming. Those are both right up my alley.

MT: What game are you excited to be publishing next, be it yours or under the Button Shy brand?

JT: The next Button Shy game I’m excited about publishing is Circle The Wagons by Steven Aramini, Danny Devine & Paul Kluka. It’s a 2017 game that’s still a few months out for us, but it’s an excellent little micro game that packs a lot of punch. There’s drafting, tactile card placement, set collection, and an unbelievable amount of ways to score. This should raise the bar for microgames here at Button Shy and everywhere. On a personal level I’m excited to see Gor Tier working it’s way to completion. God Tier is a CCG / LCG inspired fighting game that I designed for Homestuck. I’ve been working with What Pumpkin for a while on this, and I can’t wait to see it get out there to the Homestuck fanbase and the tabletop community.


MT: What game got you into the hobby?

JT: It’s hard to pinpoint a single game as I’ve been playing games my whole life in some capacity, but the one that made me dig a little deeper was probably Battleball. Once I played this, I searched for more and more big thematic games that would scratch that itch. 

MT: Is there a certain type of game mechanic that you really enjoy? Whats your favorite game that implements it?

JT: It’s hard to not say legacy. Legacy games have put a spin on everything in a way that nobody expected, but we all should have. There are part of GM-less role playing games in there with a campaign style crossover. The only difference is that the GM doesn’t hold the secrets, the game box does. It’s all so similar, but just different enough to blow our minds. As far as a game, I still can’t get past Risk: Legacy and the impact it’s had on me. 

MT: Top five Muppets you’d like to see in plastic toy form (Assume it hasn’t been done already)

JT: I just saw that Diamond Select has new Muppet Figures and are covering some of my wants. Walter, Bean Bunny, Mahna Mahna and the Snowths. Also, while not Muppets, I desperately want Fraggles.