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Famous last words 2020: Todd Sanders

2020 brought us a global pandemic and, along with it, social distancing, masks, financial uncertainty and postponed delivery dates. For our end-of-the-year special we decided to turn to some of our favourite solo and soloable game designers and ask them to share their own experiences, feelings, plans and hopes both for the year we leave behind and the year to come. Every day until December 31 we will publish one of these short interviews (we have no patience for long ones). Our guest today is Todd Sanders. Designer of The Maiden in the Forest, Mr. Cabbagehead's Garden and Pulp Detective, among others. He was kind enough to answer our 3+1 questions.


1. Nobody likes being forced to stay at home, but did the quarantine actually help you concentrate on your design work? Or did it instead feel restraining and cause designer's block? Did you miss any face-to-face meetings or conventions?


Yes it has been a tough year. I have not been able to design anything really new, no. I’ve been working full tilt at my usual job of being a graphic designer and thankful to be working with Rio Grande Games, doing graphics for some of their games. That leaves little time for anything much of my own, beyond continuing to be a book publisher. I did manage to finish the first expansion for Pulp Invasion as well as tweaks to the base game and begin some very preliminary work on Pulp Romance but that's pretty much it.


I don’t usually go to conventions so no, nothing missed there.



2. Marie Kondo shows up in your dream in the form of a yokai. She is throwing away your entire board game collection and only lets you keep one game: the one that 'sparks the most joy'. Which one is it?


Hmm tough question indeed. If it was only one of my own games it would be Mr. Cabbagehead’s Garden. If it was another designer it would, I think, be Carcassonne.



3. We are a news website, so we will obviously ask you to share your plans for 2021. Anything us solo gamers can look forward to?


Yes, a few things. Working with Alban Viard on a line of three Nano games (9 cards, 9 dice) for next year with his company - AV Studio Games. One of mine which is a solo game, one of his which is solo, and one we collaborated on which can support 1 or 2 players. Excited to get these going next year for everyone to see.


Also I will, hopefully, be able to develop Pulp Romance further, the next game in the Pulp series, as well as the 2nd expansion for Pulp Invasion. Pulp Invasion (Base Game and 1st Expansion) should be shipping soon and I am curious what the solo gamers out there will think about it. With Pulp Detective, the 2nd expansion was driven, in part, by feedback from players about what they wanted to see and upgrades to the base game. Hoping the same thing will occur with Pulp Invasion.



Bonus question: You recently launched a very successful book campaign on Kickstarter. It contains fairy tale mashups. Do you have a favorite fairy tale or short story?


I suppose my favorite fairy tale would be The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf. The whole premise is quite silly and it teaches children the valuable lesson to not use bread as a step stool.


Short stories, hmmm, too many to mention, though I am focused a bit right now on All You Zombies by Robert Heinlein because I am considering publishing a time travel short story anthology next year, and I consider it one of his masterpieces.


The first fairy tale mashup book - Upon a Once Time - was so successful for my press that I will soon be announcing a follow-up - Upon a Twice Time.



Thank you very much for participating, Todd! All the best wishes for 2021. Where can our readers follow you online?


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