Developer Dialogues: Amino

We're psyched to bring you guys another installment of our Developer Dialogues series. There are a quite a few excellent board games that will be entering the public arena during the next six weeks or so and you can find full coverage of all these projects right here. 

Today we get to know Lauren of the CGS Unit and learn about her didactic, science-filled card game: Amino, which now is live on Kickstarter. We've had a lot of fun playing Amino and are thrilled to see that it may become available to the rest of the gaming world. 
Tell us a little about yourself. What prompted you to want to become a developer?  

I've been obsessed with tabletop games my entire life. My dad jokes that he stopped letting me win when I was five. After so much time playing games, especially when I moved beyond the world of Hasbro and Parker Brothers, I learned all the different mechanics, themes, and components found in games. When I had the idea for my first game a few years ago, I decided to go ahead and pursue its development.

Once you decided to put on the developer’s hat, what made you choose a strategy card game? Why did you feel this style was a particularly good fit for your vision of Amino?

Amino is the second game I've been working on, but because everything clicked so well with it during the development process, it has leap-frogged into the lead for production. I have always been a big fan of small games. My goal for Amino was to design a game that could easily find itself in science classrooms as well as in any tabletop gamer's collection. Keeping it a card game meant that it can be affordable and portable. The game also needed to have enough strategy to be enjoyed by seasoned gamers, but also be simple enough for anyone to dive into for the first time.

The game is touted as being extremely easy to learn, but a highly satisfying overall play experience. How long would you say it takes people to pick up Amino and what demographics do you think would most enjoy the game?

I've been thrilled to get the feedback that lets me know that Amino is fitting into the niche for which I designed it. A game of Amino is played over several rounds, and by the end of the first round everyone has caught on to all of the basics. That's about ten minutes. I'm hoping that the game will be enjoyed by kids and adults, by gamers and non-gamers alike. During the development and playtesting process that seems to be holding true!

Let’s say your upcoming Kickstarter campaign goes smashingly well. Would you be open to continuing to develop Amino? What would your first improvements to the game be?

I would love to continue to develop Amino! An idea I've been toying with is an expansion that adds molecules to the deck to deepen the educational aspect of the game. That expansion would have a smaller target audience, but being able to provide fun, scientifically-sound games is one of the driving forces for my interest in game development.

What do you feel was the most enjoyable part of developing Amino and, conversely, what would you say was your biggest challenge?

It has been so much fun seeing playtesters from so many different backgrounds and with a wide variety of interests universally enjoy playing the game. It has been a little challenging to develop the educational aspect while retaining the wide appeal. At this point, though, I think I've successfully been able to sneak in the science like vegetables in lasagna; you can choose whether or not to focus on it, but it's delicious either way.

Is there anything else that you think potential backers and players should know about Amino?

In order to have this campaign go smashingly well, I need to reach all of my target audiences. It's a lot easier for me to access the tabletop gaming community than it is to reach chemistry and physics teachers, but I know that they would love Amino. So tell your favorite science teachers about the game!

Want to know more? Check out the Kickstarter page!


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  2. I've played Amino and it's certainly a lot of fun. It's easy enough for casual players, but as a group of hobby gamers, it still kept our interest. We had loads of fun and even introduced bluffing, which added another layer to the game. I've already backed it, personally, and feel strongly that others should, too