050: Luis Alejandro Martinez Flores, Creator of Fluffy Dragons

Midway on their journey, our heroes are reality-checked by Luis Alejandro Martinez Flores (LAMF Games), the creator of Fluffy Dragons. He recounts his pivot to a simpler, more accessible, easier-to-produce game after industry research.

In this episode:

  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 00:07 The Birth of Fluffy Dragons
  • 00:25 From Heavy to Light: Game Design Journey
  • 01:52 Early Inspirations and Gaming Background
  • 02:58 Kickstarter and Playtesting Insights
  • 03:41 Advice and Reflections on Game Design
  • 09:01 Challenges and Future Plans
  • 14:44 Personal Gaming Preferences and Memories
  • 24:58 Final Thoughts and Farewell

A reminder that the following is an automatically generated transcript from our interview, and while it’s cleaned up a tad for readability, it still includes verbal gaffes and other mistakes. Thanks for being cool.


Alejandro: My name is Luis Alejandro Martinez Flores. I go by Alejandro and eh, I’m originally from Venezuela. I’m a graphic designer.

The Birth of Fluffy Dragons

Alejandro: I live in Brooklyn and I started designing fluffy dragons almost three years ago: fluffy dragons is a betting bluffing game that takes between 15 to 25 minutes.

I’ve been working on this for almost three years. the Kickstarter will be in June of this year.

And I can be played between two and five people.

From Heavy to Light: Game Design Journey

Alejandro: Originally, I started working on a heavier game. It was a mid weight and then like I did a lot, I’ve been doing a lot of research.

And one of the first things that I learned is if you’re doing your first game, You should start with a small game as a cheaper game, less components, so then I put everything on the side and then I started working on this

Michael Schofield: I’d love to hear a little bit more about this was a more heavy game versus light game.

Alejandro: So I was working on a medium game. It had a lot of tiles and you have to make a bunch of different things and you get different points and it was like a, an asymmetric game and do you have to balance a lot of that things?

And when I learned about. That you need to make an easier game. I’m also like, okay, what’s the easiest game that I can think of? And then I was like, okay, rock, paper, scissors. What if I can write a bunch of rules to rock, paper, scissors and make it like more complicated.

And then I was like, okay, I want to broaden the audience that I, that that I can go for, so it needs to be cute. It needs to be cute and he needs to have a cute, silly name, fluffy dragons. And then I made like a very like rough prototype and I went to Pax Unplugged on 2021, I believe.

And I made a bunch of other designers and they play my game and they helped me, gave me a lot of advice. And that’s when the game really progressed. But yeah, like it was, that’s, that was a difference between those two weight of games.

Tim Broadwater: You said that you’re a graphic designer and spoke a little bit about your background.

Early Inspirations and Gaming Background

Tim Broadwater: Can you speak to a little bit more about your relationship with gaming? Have you always been a gamer, been in the games, or like what type of games, video games, board games, and then when did you start even getting the idea to design your own games?

Alejandro: Okay. So I had forgotten about this, but my parents and my sister reminded me that, eh, so I, my family and I used to play a lot of board games, but it was like the regular board games Scrabble Monopoly, eh, I used to play a lot of chess with my dad. So we, I, we grew up playing like that.

So I was talking with my parents that they reminded me like, yeah, you used to make board games. Like you used to make mazes.

And then, eh, you have to get like a sword over here and then you need the sword to kill this monster over here. And then I, like at one point, I like, I drew one, I painted it, I put, I blew it on a board. So that was my board game.

And then later on, when I met my girlfriend, she, I introduced me to a few new games. She introduced me to blockers, a blank slate, Codenames, Secret Hitler Check Cash and Guns, and a bunch of other different games.

Kickstarter and Playtesting Insights

Alejandro: And then on 2021 was when I decided, okay I had lost my job in 2020. I was unemployed for a very long time. Like I literally, my whole department got laid off like a week before the lockdown began and then no one was hiring for the longest time.

So yeah, I was looking for something to do. And then I was looking to some Kickstarter’s that were doing well. And then I was like, Okay., I’m going to design a board game. And then I started working on the other one. And yeah, I think I was working on that one for two or three months. I researched a lot and then I saw the video where I should make something smaller and then I took a pause for a month or two and then I was okay, I need to, a new direction and then I, that’s when I came up with Fluffy Dragons.

Advice and Reflections on Game Design

Tim Broadwater: Where did you hear that or who said that?

Alejandro: Yeah, I think the first person where I saw that was with a, Edo from Pencil First Games.

He has a whole YouTube channel where he talks about his Kickstarters, what he did different from the last time. And he has done a lot of Kickstarters and his point was mainly like, you’re a new person in the industry. Nobody knows who you are. They don’t know if they can trust you. So it will be easier if you tell them to pay something cheaper than if you tell them to pay something much more expensive.

And that also in its origin, if it’s bigger, then it will cost more. If it’s bigger and heavier, it will cost more to chip, then that’s more headache for you. And so there’s just all these things and it was just simpler to make something

Michael Schofield: No, it totally makes sense. And one thing that, I feel like we, we knew. Theoretically, but didn’t really feel deep in our bones is of course, the more complex game you make after you design it and after the mechanics are weighted well then you have even more work to do producing it and like creating the box and designs and the difficulty and subsequently the cost of that goes way up.

The same, like minimum viable product principles. Start something small, start something that can be really good with fewer assets. It just makes a lot of sense.


Tim Broadwater: Yeah. All that kind of

Michael Schofield: Yeah. That’s really good advice.

Tim Broadwater: let’s, how has, I have lots of questions about your first game that you said you’re putting on the side, but not focusing on that. Like you said that fluffy dragons is a couple of years old. You have TikTok posts about you play testing it at PAX unplugged.

And how can you speak to, a little bit more about anything what was the playtesting experience like for you? Did you get some gut punches? Or was it, oh, this makes sense.

And I can, cause I feel like the one thing I do agree upon that I think most of our guests and listeners is. No? Is that play test, as much as possible! And some people will think a hundred. And, until you’ve done a hundred, don’t do it.

Just, curious about your experience with that.

Alejandro: The things that since I’ve been working on this for so long, We have play tested it with a lot of people. Hey, I’m not entirely sure the number anymore, but I know that it’s past 400 play testers. Eh, and yeah, we started on Paxum Plug on 2021. Eh, on the next, on the following year, I believe we went to five different conventions that was a lot of money.

So we didn’t do that last year. We were like, yeah, okay. That we’re not doing that again. Eh, yeah. Last year, I believe we went to three different conventions. And yeah, this year we’re maybe going to, technically we want to level up here in New Jersey, I don’t know if I’m counting the big ones where we had to get a hotel and probably like flights.

Pax and Plug also, we’re gonna, we can drive there but whatever. The point is that yeah we, I have play tested it a lot. And there were a few big things. Mostly was when I was playing at BGG, when you’re playing with other designers, sometimes they might give you a way for them to design your game the way that they would design your game.

But they’re not the ones that in your game, you’re the one designing your game. So you cannot take the advice. Of every single person, like if there are like different things that they find a lot of problems in the game, like sure, that might help, but sometimes them giving you things that they would do, then that’s, then that, you start thinking about what this person said, what she said, what he said, so then it’s okay that’s a lot, and I got a lot of that at BGGCon, and I left the convention very I’m like, I don’t know.

I was very I don’t know. I just had a lot on my mind, but then I went to pack some blog when, where I played with mainly consumers and then like the field changed, like it was the feedback that I get from consumers is so almost like 98%, it’s so positive and so many people were Like what can I buy this and I was like, oh, not yet.

Not yet.

Tim Broadwater: That’s

Michael Schofield: That’s awesome.

Tim Broadwater: Yeah. There are just really great game designers out there with great ideas. And, and I think even with, in our day jobs, we work in user experience with software and, if you listen to all your customers, every customer is going to tell you like what they would do, what you have to do is listen for, okay, the overlap four or five people are saying the same thing about this process being painful.

Maybe we can do that, but there is definitely just, Hey, if it was me, I would make it pink, you have to pay attention to that because you can’t, it could change your game.

Alejandro: Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I was definitely very conflicted when I heard that but then like recently we went to gamma And this was one of the best feedbacks that we got because we got so many That of retailers telling us this will sell. This will sell well at my store. They see we got so many of those.

There was a woman that took a, like a our sell sheet that we have and she took it and she was with a group and they, I was about to start the pitch and one of her friends was like, aren’t you not going to listen to the pitch? And she was like. It’s called fluffy dragons and look at the artwork.

This will sell well. I don’t need to hear the pitch

Michael Schofield: Awesome. Yeah.

Tim Broadwater: Yeah. There’s definitely some stopping quality with, fluffy dragons, the name and just dragons, because and I think that’s that’s to your benefit.

Challenges and Future Plans

Tim Broadwater: I’m wondering like, what have your concerns or your thoughts have been going into Kickstarter? Because you’ve had the game for two or three years.

Alejandro: I’ve been pushing the launch back again and again. Like when I started on 2021, I was like, I started designing the other game in May. And I was like, I’m probably going to be ready by February of next year. That sounds doable. And then I changed the game like around September and I was like, okay, I don’t think I will be, I will have the whole game in less than a year.

So then I pushed it back a little and I pushed it back a little and now we’re in 2024. So yeah, but I like, originally we were going to launch in April 2nd, but we, eh, I haven’t finished the artwork for the Kickstarter page. And a friend of mine is right now doing the video for the, yeah, the Kickstarter page and I really need those.

So I was like, okay, let’s just push everything back because I think I feel like I’m brushing a lot of things and I have two little times. So let’s just make sure that we have time for everything. And yeah, June should be good. Eh, we’re probably going to have the Kickstarter page and the video by the end of April.

So then we’ll have a lot more time to make, to focus on all the smaller things that we need to fix.

Tim Broadwater: You are the illustrator as well as the game designer, right?

Alejandro: was going to but then I found someone who actually knew what they were doing and

Tim Broadwater: Okay.

Alejandro: I did not read no concepts for the artwork But then I gave them to an actual artist that I found on tiktok

Tim Broadwater: Okay. That’s what I thought.

What are your thoughts about the future of Lamp Games?

Alejandro: The future of laugh games. I’m really trying I’ve definitely heard that. Like what you were saying that the first game usually doesn’t make that much money or you should do something just to get in the industry and then just set foot on the second I’ve heard that a lot, but that’s definitely not what I’m doing.

I’m trying to make fluffy dragons my golden goose and this is that’s why I’ve been working on this for almost three years, like the next thing that I’m going to be working on is going to be the expansion for fluffy dragons. We’re going to be adding a, abilities for the different dragons and maybe adding two or three more players.

Eh, and yeah, eh, I think that a lot of in the near future will be a lot of, eh, merge probably we all know that in the industry, like it’s not great for the margins, but the margins do help like the profit margins do help with the merch because merch is much easier to to move, to, to sell.

It’s just it’s just the margins are better. So yeah, that’s why originally I made the game. Okay. I need different characters. Characters that can be for example, you have this one that is the like silly one, the therapy one. And then you have this one that looks really cute, but it’s also a menace.

And if you see on his on each of the dragons has different caves. And the caves represent their personalities. But the pink dragon has a cave that is really tetric. And there’s a bunch of bones, and it looks really dark. So we want the dragons to be completely different so people will like, okay, I really like the pink dragon and there’s going to be merch for the pink dragon if you want it and then like we’re gonna that’s that’s going to be the future for the near future but I’m also working on that first game that I said mentioned earlier and there are also like two or three also that I’m that I’m fiddling with but yeah those are definitely like long term goals yeah

Tim Broadwater: I love the idea that I, it excites me when someone says they want to add expansions to add more players because I feel like that’s one of the other things that people say a lot in board gaming is that Oh, it’s a big heavy box. It just, it must be a four player game. So because it’s just because it’s that just typically seems to be how the way things go.

Um, but I also love the idea. I love the dragon merch. We were. We’ve been kicking around the idea. People won’t see this unless you actually did the play test, but we actually have a little bat in our rules book that literally teaches the rules as you go, because thirst vampire hits a bat. But then of course, one part of us is is there a merch bat in here that we could sell so we can actually sell with the game or it’s a stretch goal with a Kickstarter or something.

Getting in contact

Alejandro: They can follow us on Instagram. It’s mainly where I post more frequently. I have a YouTube channel that I put videos. I should put out more videos more frequently, honestly. But I put out a video like every few months, eh, usually it’s after a convention and I just like recap the convention, which I should have done for Gamma, but I didn’t.

But yeah, I, eh. Yeah, in TikTok, in Facebook, I’m pretty sure I have a Twitter, but I don’t use it.

D12: Q&A

Michael Schofield: Your graphic designer. What is a, what is your reaction when you hear UI slash UX?

Alejandro: I think it’s easier if they just put the freaking words like, I get it, but it’s oh, okay, so you’re fancy. Every time that I hear that, it’s you can just write that. It’s not really I, like I’m doing a lot of, I will, sorry, I don’t know if I was

Michael Schofield: No go. We’re just laughing because like

Tim Broadwater: Your sigh. The sigh

Michael Schofield: yeah we have just never like we’re in the same boat. We have just never encountered somebody who actually no, as is familiar with it with that phrase or that, like seeing it in job descriptions or whatever, who actually thinks of it positively.

It just always starts with like just the deepest of size. And then there’s some reason why they don’t like it. Yeah. Same. Yeah. I’m keep going.

Alejandro: No, yeah no. It was mainly like, for example, I’m doing a lot of ads in Facebook right now and they have a specific way to call them. But then if you go to Google, they have a different way to call them, but then they all make them into acronyms. And it’s wait, are you talking about this one? Are you talking about me?

What, which metric are you using? This is not my forte.

Personal Gaming Preferences and Memories

Michael Schofield: What is your earliest. Gaming memory, earliest positive game memory.

Alejandro: Remember playing a lot of. A monopoly with my with my parents my family like I know that a lot of people hate monopoly i’m good. I have seven versions of it. I have one of like family guy and pokemon and disney villains and don’t know, Mario Party yeah I, I don’t know I used to win very consistently, but also when we when I played as a kid, we played very differently we just had our own house rules, and it was like, you don’t need to get the whole set to build houses, you just need to get Wait one turn and then you can start building houses, which gave us a lot more of agency Because now I don’t have to buy everything where I land I have to see okay Do I put the money on the property that I have or I put up the money on a new property?

And it was like the game still took a long time, but I used to win it very consistent.

Michael Schofield: It’s like already those policy rules seem like a much more utopian life that we could all be living. It’s Oh, it’s Oh, NIMBYism doesn’t exist.

Michael Schofield: So I rolled a three. What game should everybody play at least once?

Alejandro: Honestly the game that got me the most into this was blockers. So I would definitely recommend bloggers Oh recently I played tumbling dice. That one is really good

Michael Schofield: Why should they play it? What do you think? What’s the reason

Alejandro: Oh docus is just very simple. Everyone can get it. Like it’s really fast and it’s just it’s not your metric game. The the strategy for the game is very simple. I think everyone can figure it out. Tumbling dice is just everyone just walking around the table and just throwing the dice one at a time.

And it was just really fun. And you start messing with people by rolling your dice on their dice. It was really fun.

Michael Schofield: that last one sounds like chaotic.

Michael Schofield: So I rolled a nine.

Like when you’re playing like a role playing game and like more like Mass Effect, like Baldur’s Gate or anything where you can choose like a morality path. Are you the Paragon? Are you the good guy? Are you the renegade? Are you the bad guy? All

Alejandro: I’m usually. Probably in between I usually do most of the nice things, but then every once in a while I’ll do something that I wasn’t supposed to.

Michael Schofield: What game is your guiltiest pleasure?

Alejandro: Game as a guilty pleasure. Huh? I don’t really know. No

Michael Schofield: guilty about nothing.

Alejandro: regrets.

Michael Schofield: I rolled a one. What is your favorite design tool of the trade?

Alejandro: One of my favorite game like, what is it like gameplays or one of my favorite things in a game is engine building. That’s I haven’t done a game like that, but I definitely hope to do one in the future where there are multiple ways to win just getting resources,

Tim Broadwater: Let’s go. I am very, I’m a fan of into building games, so

Michael Schofield: this is a specifically a graphic design question. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the whole, like a 2020 Barbara Walters. What are who, if you were a tree, what kind of tree were you? Like ours is if you were a color mode, RGB, hexadecimal RGBA, what color mode are you?

Alejandro: huh? You gotta go with RGB because you have more options. Although, I do like colors usually that aren’t as saturated. You would have to go for a CMYK, but I don’t know. Probably RGB because you have more options.

Michael Schofield: I rolled an eight. What is your favorite card game?

Alejandro: My favorite card game. Actually, it’s probably the one some friends of mine did. Eh, Not So Neighborly. They have a new, from my games yeah, they, they have their Kickstarter right now. Yeah we got the expansion recently and it’s annoying because we have played the main game so many times that it’s easy to know when one of the new cards is coming out because you can see that we’re on the old one.

Tim Broadwater: I, I’m aware of the game. Never got to, I’ve not played it yet, but I’m aware of it.

Alejandro: It’s really good.

Michael Schofield: Who is your favorite game villain? Your favorite villain in general?

Alejandro: Oh I might need to get back to you on this one. It’s probably from Disney, definitely. But I can’t remember right now. The only one that I can remember right now, but it’s because a really bad one, it’s Ramsey Bolton from Game of Thrones. He was a maniac, but he was. Funny, he was so funny like there were so many times that he would say stuff like oh, that’s really messed up

Tim Broadwater: I think he was a villain. Wasn’t he? Or

Alejandro: Yeah, he was

Tim Broadwater: I was going to say, yeah. Okay. Sorry. Go ahead. is five,

Michael Schofield: Whoops. That was I just saw a bunch of like pictures of Oh, the Game of Thrones actors like 20 years ago or whatever. And everyone looks like, like Tywin Lannister, Lannister looks or whoever the actor’s name looks really svelte or whatever. But the guy who plays Ramsey Bolton.

Looks just as like crazy and gaunt as he does now. Just like a younger version. You’re like, it’s like, how could you ever be this person’s friend? It’s terrifying.

Tim Broadwater: I feel like he looks in the face almost, the same thing that what’s the guy have going on from Rudy or Samwise Ganji. He literally has, it doesn’t matter what age he is, the face is the same. I feel like Ramsey’s Bolton has the same thing going on.

Michael Schofield: I also love that. Those are probably like opposites of the same coin. What is the absolute opposite of Samwise Gamgee? And the answer is like Ramsey Bolton.

Tim Broadwater: Literally. Yeah. How can I help you and Mr. Frodo and do things to get back to the Shire? And it’s no, how can I torture you? You’re my wife. And

Michael Schofield: you ever had your skin peeled off of your pinky finger before?

Alejandro: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. There was a part where he was killing one of his, I don’t know if he was his wife or whatever. And then the other one was like, he was saying, you made Miranda jealous. And then the other one was like, me, jealous of her. And then he was like, you can see how you have made things a little awkward here.

Michael Schofield: I guess this is related. What is your genre of choice to do? Like alternate history, fantasy, cyberpunk. What’s your genre?

Alejandro: yeah, I like things like for example, like in Game of Thrones, weren’t like, of course until season, like five, eh, when it’s very dark and very like grainy and just like very, okay. I don’t know. Like I, I really, generally speaking, don’t like when shows are like, for example, I used to like the first few seasons of the Mandalorian, which were very, Like kind of slower and but then the last ones were like, wait, there’s too many things going on every season, every episode.

It’s like, all right, I don’t know. Eh, there’s that stuff, that type of show that I like that it’s just much darker.

Tim Broadwater: Dark, high fantasy, story driven.

That’s what I’m hearing.

Tim Broadwater: This is penultimate question. This is 11, the next to last

Michael Schofield: What is, let’s make some enemies. What is the most overrated game?

Alejandro: Overrated games. I don’t know if I’m allowed, I’m saying this in a podcast. Um,

Michael Schofield: This will be the title of the podcast.

Tim Broadwater: games says, yeah

Alejandro: I don’t know. I don’t really know. Eh, there’s a few games. There’s a lot of games that we have bought on I don’t even know.

Tim Broadwater: I don’t know. So I think some people struggle with this question as well as like the other question, which is like your guilty pleasure. I think it is what’s a game that everyone’s playing that you’re just like, I’m not going to play it or I’m just not into it. There’s like everyone. It’s overrated.

I don’t get it. Since you like Monopoly, you may like a lot of games, so I don’t know.

Alejandro: Yeah. I think the pro probably I don’t know. It’s just a very simple game. It’s just cards against humanity. I get, it’s just putting a card down and then everyone just puts a card down and it’s I don’t know. Eh. Yeah.

Michael Schofield: And what I’m going to hate on it for a minute. Like what. It is just, it is everybody, every nognon. Maybe they’re gamers or whatever, but they’re not like serious gamers. It’s like every non gamers at a family get together. It’s like their go to alternative game.

We’re like, Oh, we don’t want to play UNO, but I got cards against humanity. And I’m like,

Tim Broadwater: Yeah. That’s literally the feeling I have. I’m like, I’d rather play Uno. Let’s do Uno.

Michael Schofield: Let’s play blood on the clock tower.

You guys think you’re

Tim Broadwater: Oh my god, that is not a party

Alejandro: Play that one. You need to play it. I did play werewolf genkin, I believe But yeah, like people were telling me just play a clock on the and the blood towers just better. I don’t know. I

Michael Schofield: I played it at PAXU a couple years ago. Like those games. Those registrations like go get taken up big time, but I managed to get in and it was really like nice because like it was beginners. And there’s someone there who knows that people are trying to teach you.

So it was like, it was well taught. I totally dug it. I think Tim was like, fuck this.

I hate these games.

Tim Broadwater: I’ve played it three times. The first couple times I’ve played with were literally with people who were like, Oh, they’re a noob. They don’t know what they’re doing.

Michael Schofield: Yeah, it can be

Tim Broadwater: and it was just like to me. I don’t think lying’s a game, and figuring out who the liar is a game. That is enjoyable for me.

And trying to lie, and this is even for like Jack in the Box, or even like Werewolf, or One Night Vampire or Clocktower, it’s just I don’t un find. I understand bluffing is a thing and lying is a thing. I just, I don’t have, find that mechanic enjoyable in any way. Now, the only time that I have found it, and I’ve talked to Mike about this before, is if you ever play like the thing board game, part of the end of the board game, the physical board game that has dice and that we’re all playing collaboratively together is there can be, you have to question at the end, if someone’s been infected, if they’re the alien or the thing or not, apart from that, though.

That’s not the whole game, yeah, anyways, I could go on, I could, an hour of rant on that. So

Michael Schofield: I’m a fan. I’m a fan of it, but clearly if you don’t like social deduction, you won’t like blood on the clock tower, but it’s pretty cool.

Michael Schofield: But this is the last question we ask this of all of our guests.

Final Thoughts and Farewell

Michael Schofield: And so and so the lights go down, the camera slowly pans in and zooms on you.

You’re playing some, you’re playing some board game and you rolled your last death saving throw. And it comes up as a one, you fail, you are dying game over. What are your final words?

Alejandro: I don’t know. That’s all folks

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