Exclusive: Between Two Cities Interview

We had a chance to talk to creators Ben Rosset, Matthew O’Malley and Monrad Pedersen about Between Two Cities. Check it out!

Decapitated Dan: Thanks for taking time to talk with me about Between Two Cities. First of all lets talk about you. Who are you and what do you do?

Ben Rosset & Matthew O'Malley: We are Ben Rosset and Matthew O’Malley, the designers of
Between Two Cities. Ben lives in Chicago and Matthew lives in Washington, DC. We’ve both been designing games for several years. Ben’s full time job is as a Project Manager at Panda Game Manufacturing. Matthew runs a web design company with his wife.

DD: Let’s talk Between Two Cities. What is this game all about?

B&M: It’s a 25 minute tile drafting and city building game for 3-7 players (1&2 player variants) where you are in two permanent partnerships (with the player on your right and the player on your left) during the game. You build a city together with each partner. At the end of the game, there is a single winner, and you only get to score the points for your lower scoring city. This promotes positive player interaction as there is always an incentive to work with, not against your neighbors, even though you are competing with them.

DD: Where did this idea come from?

B&M: We were looking at different ways to create partnerships within competitive games, and the double partnership with a single winner mechanic was born.

DD: What kind of game is it?

B&M: It’s a tile drafting, tile placement, city building game.

DD: Since this is We Roll Solo, what kind of Solitaire play does the game offer?

Monrad Pedersen: I’m “the solo guy” in Stonemaier Gamers” :-) The core game of Between Two Cities is for 3+ players and since 3 players is 2 more than 1 player :-) we made a rule set that adds 2 artificial to the game (we call them Automas), so that solo play gives you something as close to the 3-player experience as we could.

In a board game the workload of running the bot of course falls on the human player, so we tried hard to find the balance between the right play experience and not overloading the player.

DD: So tell me about Between Two Cities: Capitals, what does it add to the original game?

B&M: It adds three new challenges. First, landscape mats give you natural features in your city (like lakes, rivers, or mountains) that you must integrate into your city design. Second, civic tiles are a new tile type. There are 21 civic tiles which all score differently, and they are are a challenge to work into your city, but they can pay off a lot if you use them correctly. Third, the expansion adds districts, which are 3 pairs of tile types that are randomly created at the start of each game. The cities that have the largest contiguous grouping of each pair (each district) will score extra points at the end of the game.

DD: Is Between Two Cities: Capitals a stand alone game or do you need the core to play?

B&M: You need the core game to play.

DD: Can Between Two Cities: Capitals be played solo?

MP: For Captials, we extended the Automa rules, so that they support solo play with all the new game features.

DD: How did you find yourself getting into making games?

B&M: I (Ben) got into making games as a natural extension of playing a lot of strategy board games with friends. I started designing games in about 2009, and have been designing ever since.

DD: What kind of board games do you prefer to play?

B&M: Ben prefers medium and medium-heavy weight Euro Games and card games. Alchemists and 7 Wonders Duel are two of my favorites. Matthew likes all types of games, including social deduction games and storytelling games.

DD: What is your favorite solo board game?

MP: That would be Dawn of the Zeds. It’s the most cinematic game I’ve ever played. It feels like being part of a zombie movie and at the same time it offers tension and interesting decisions.

DD: So let’s recap. Why should the readers go check out Between Two Cities and Between Two Cities : Capitals ?

B&M: Between Two Cities is a great gateway game to use to introduce new people to the hobby, and it’s a great filler game on game night. And if you like Between Two Cities and are ready for a new challenge, then check out Capitals. It adds a lot of meat to Between Two Cities, and turns it from a filler game to a solid mid-weight strategy game.

Thanks so much for your time!
Dan Royer Dan Royer Author