A Look into the Future—An Interview with Jason Tagmire

Today we sit down once again with Jason Tagmire, designer of the much-anticipated Pixel Lincoln deckbuilding game. Last time we caught up with Jason was on election day last year, and since then he's been very busy with all sorts of new projects.

Jason, thanks so much for taking time out of what seems to be a VERY full schedule to chat about all of the big things you’ve been up to!

First of all, can you give us a quick update on the Pixel Lincoln Deckbuilding game? How soon can we expect to see that hit the shelves?

After a loooooong winter, the deckbuilding game is hitting the final stages of production. I should have the final game in my hands for approval within the next few days, and once approved they’ll proceed to assembly. This is extremely exciting and I’m happy to say that our backers have been so unbelievably supportive throughout this process.

Game Salute estimated early June and it seems like we’re still on track for that date. I would love to see a big Origins launch since I’ll be there this year.

We hear the pixelated President is going to show up in other games besides Pixel Lincoln... What’s up with that?

You know how rappers all appear on each others songs? That’s how PL rolls.

We’ve had a few opportunities to pop up in friends' games and have friends pop up in ours. It’s really cool to mix universes. We’ve had Sentinels of the Multiverse in our game, and Pixel Lincoln will be a Boss Monster adventurer, a gold-mining Lost Dutchman and an alternate Emperor in the mysterious Emperor’s New Clothes. All of these are very inspiring projects and I’m honored to have the opportunity to explore those worlds via Pixel Lincoln.

PL-Bicycle1And finally, he’s showing up in a deck of Bicycle playing cards. This is similar to the deckbuilding game since it uses the same art, but it’s a very different type of project. It’s a standard playing card deck. The kind you can play Go Fish with your grandma. Except you might play Go Laser Shark instead.

The idea of challenging would-be game designers to develop a game around a deck of cards is great; how is that going? Are you getting TONS of submissions?

We’ve gotten a handful of submissions, plus a bunch of people who said they are interested. There is still some time left, so I assume we’ll see some toward the end. If anyone works like I do, they’ll be coming in right before the deadline.

Can you tell us about the craziest submission you’ve received (no names, please)?

We haven’t officially received it as a submission yet, but I know someone was talking about making a dexterity game. I cannot wait to see it. I also saw a photo of someone playtesting theirs on a train. We’re still taking submissions until 4/15, so there’s plenty of room for more crazy!

Speaking of submissions and game design, word on the street is that you’ve put a little something together that doesn’t have anything to do with former presidents or food-based weaponry. Fill us in on this!


MAXIMUM THROWDOWN! Yes! It’s a card-throwing battle game coming from AEG and featuring some of the awesome characters from other AEG games (Smash Up, Nightfall, Thunderstone, etc). Players will throw cards to enable abilities and then try to cover up opponents cards to disable their abilities. My wife nicknamed it AEG Smash Bros., which was a massive compliment and realization. Being thrown into those universes has been super exciting and I can’t wait for everyone to get a chance to play.

"Throwdown" reminds me: Do you think WWE Wrestling is legit? Or is it an oily, be-singleted soap opera?

It’s totally a big oily soap opera, but isn’t that what makes it so desirable? While I’ve seen some hilarious clips online, I haven’t seriously watched wrestling in decades. My era is a little less oily, but way more gimmicky. Brutus the Barber Beefcake, Hacksaw Jim Duggan, and Jake The Snake. If the wrestler had a prop, I was sold.

Anyway, is Maximum Throwdown (and yourself for that matter) going to make it to the conventions this summer?

I will be at Origins, Gen Con, WBC and a few others. The Maximum Throwdown prototype will be on hand, as always. As for the complete game, it will be available to purchase at Gen Con. Hope to see you there!

Can you tell us anything about the game you’re developing for the Button Shy brand? It seems storytelling is making a bigger mark in the gaming industry these days.

BS-StorytellerCards-BoxCoverI’m developing a deck of cards called Storyteller Cards. It’s made up of 54 cards with an illustration that features a Character, an Item, an Action and a Location (illustrated by the amazing Campbell Whyte - see 8-Bit Dreams if you want to immediately fall in love with his art). Instead of a game, it’s more of a toolkit for gamers, or writers, designers, artists, kids, etc. The cards are meant to inspire creativity. If you are writing a story and need a location, just flip a card and you’ve got one. And along with the illustrations there are icons (Rank/Suit, Letters, Colors, Moods, Seasons) that will provide additional inspiration.

BS-StorytellerCards-Layouts-1So it’s not actually a game, but there are games that can be played with it. I’m including rules for my game Director’s Cut that’s played using 8 cards from the deck and your imagination. I’m also gathering a whole bunch of creators to make games, activities, and examples of uses for the cards. It’s a big undertaking and an ambitious first project for the Button Shy brand, but I have a lot of good friends in the industry who are willing to lend a hand and their experience in helping me kick this off.

So that’s it then? Anything else going on?

There are two other things on the horizon.

First, I’ve been itching to start my podcast Designing Out Loud. It’s a interview/game show style show where myself and Alex Strang put game designers through challenges forcing them to design on the spot. Unfortunately Alex has been hospitalized since the start of this year, so it’s on the backburner. Hoping the best for him and looking forward to this and other projects we have planned.

PigPenCoverFullAnd second, I’ve been developing games with Island Officials as part of their tabletop division. One of the first is Pigpen by Kevin Kulp. It’s a family style pig-penning / pen-destroying game. The art is wonderful and the game has been in the pipeline for a few years now. Kevin’s a good friend and it’s been great to work with him, as well as on the other side of things.

Ok, so when do you sleep?

I’ve learned that it’s not the amount of sleep that matters, as much as the quality of your sleep. When I sleep, I sleep like a loud, snoring rock. I’ll get in good few hours and then I wake up around 5AM and get right to work. I’d rather work than sleep any day.

You know the drill: 5 questions answered with 5 words (or Phrases). And GO!

Nazgul or Deatheaters?


Psyduck or Slow-Bro?

Haha, this is so hard but I love good old Psyduck.

Favorite guilty pleasure movie?

The Warriors

G.I. Joe or Transformers?

G.I. Joe all the way.

Super Mario or Legend of Zelda?

Super Mario (World to be precise)

We'd like to thank Jason Tagmire again for taking the time to share the latest in his world with us and our readers. You can find the Pixel Lincoln playing card Kickstarter here.

You can also keep up with Jason on Twitter, and find out more about Jason's latest work on ButtonShy.blogspot.com

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Thanks for reading!