Ami Baio and the Flatter Me Interview
Ami Baio is a game designer living and working in magical Portland, Oregon. Previously a massage therapist, writer, and personal trainer, Ami brings her unique experience in self-care, storytelling, and personal growth to make games that are creative and kind.
JF: I found out about your work through the Board Game Design Lab Facebook group and
Kickstarter with Flatter Me. Could you tell us a little bit about that game?
AB: Yes- Flatter Me is a compliment battle card game for two, best suited for friends, family, or partners. There are 250 unique compliments in a beautiful box with art by Ashley G! I also wrote and designed the game to be a gift- you can give away the game of course, and the individual cards as tokens of affection.
JF: What drew me to Flatter Me and your first game You Think You Know Me: A Conversational Card Game was the way it riffs off of the Cards Against Humanity formatting, but the theming is completely juxtaposed to that game. Instead, players are encouraged to be good people and engage with each other in a meaningful way. Was this purposeful?
AB: Yes! Even though You Think You Know Me is often compared to CAH, it was not on my mind at all- when the idea came I was struck by how we all follow each other on social media, but there's so much that we don't know about each other, and we all make so many assumptions about one another! But the truth is we all change all the time and have so many stories to tell.
While playing YTYKM- the players who pay the closest attention usually win, even when they don't know the other players! It truly turns into whatever the players at the time want it to be- a dating game (a fun-sweet way to get to know each other, I know of two proposals so far! Seriously!), a storytelling game, and/or a guessing game, and more! There are multiple ways to play and people have reached out to me to share how they like to play it- one of my favorites includes people who carry YTYKM cards on them- that gets me in the heart every time.
So again- yes, very purposeful- I want to create meaningful connections, see people share themselves- and their precious time together making some solid memories.
JF: Your games are uniquely uplifting, where do you get your inspiration from?
AB: Thank you so much! I love super fun, kindness focused, and thoughtful games so that's the goal of Pink Tiger Games. I'm truly inspired by conversation, it's what I love the most.
I also read and read and read some more. I take notes on anything with good card theme potential and go from there. When game ideas come to me, I feel like it's some kind of magic and I follow my heart and write everything down.
JF: What was the most enjoyable moment you had in developing Flatter Me?
AB: Playtesting! Watching people play Flatter Me made me tear up a few times- I'm a mushy human anyways so when I see people communicate and connect over words I wrote- it's just the best.
JF: You mentioned in the Kickstarter video for Flatter Me that some people have a difficult time
giving and receiving compliments, why do you think that is?
AB: Hearing kind things is tricky! Being a human is tricky! I think so many of us (most of us) are wrapped up in the notion of not feeling good enough, so to feel seen, and hear or share genuine compliments is really special.
JF: As an independent publisher, you wear many hats. What is your favorite hat to wear when
you’re developing a game?
AB: Research and writing for sure! I also love to draw up designs with markers or crayons for the card and box art. Once I start to visualize and sketch the whole concept comes together.
Also the thrill of playtesting! So many things!
Making games makes me so happy, it's not easy, but it's the best job I've ever been lucky enough to have, and that's all because of the community of people who love and buy games so I'm inspired by everyone and beyond grateful.
JF: What advice would you give to aspiring designers looking to self-publish a game on Kickstarter?
AB: First, go with your gut and always stay true to yourself and what you love, next make a prototype out of whatever you have on hand at home and playtest a bunch, if it works have a professional prototype made and playtest some more more more.
JF: I definitely want to check back in when your next game is gearing up for release, but until then, how can we learn more about Pink Tiger Games and your games?
AB: Thank you! You can find everything about You Think You Know Me, Flatter Me, and future projects on Pink Tiger Games including links to all the places I post, and sign up for an email list!
Confession, I do love Instagram the most and post on my personal account, heartshapedsky pretty often- so lots of options for your personal social media preferences! xo!
JF: Thank you so much for your time Ami, I'm excited to see what you and Pink Tiger Games have planned in the near future.