I talk with veteran game designer and founder of Cheapass Games, James Ernest.
James Ernest began his gaming career in 1993 as a technical writer for Wizards of the Coast. He has written the rules for Magic: The Gathering a grand total of four times. Unfortunately, none of these was the lucrative first time.
Burdened with an abundance of unpublished games and alarmed by first-hand exposure to the tribulations of traditional game publishing, he launched Cheapass Games in 1996 with the flagship title Kill Doctor Lucky. The slow start of Cheapass Games in 1996 is marked by the fact that Kill Doctor Lucky won the Origins Award for Best Abstract Board game of the following year.
For ten years, Cheapass Games released about twelve games per year, winning several awards and bringing light and joy to the hearts of dozens of humans. However, James Ernest was not able to pay his rent with light and joy. Thus, with a heavy heart and an empty bank account, James Ernest shuttered Cheapass Games, fired all of his staff, and retired into a dark cave called the computer games industry, in which he was forced to subsist on a massive paycheck and decent benefits.
After more than five years in his cave, James Ernest has re-emerged Willy Wonka-style, producing new versions of his old games as well as some entirely new creations.
Theme music created by Brett Miller http://www.brettmillermusic.net/