New York Slice Designer & Publisher Interview

by Lindsay Schlesser September 01, 2022

New York Slice Designer & Publisher Interview

New York Slice Designer & Publisher Interview
by: Lindsay Schlesser
Below is an email interview between New York Slice designer Jeffrey Allers & Bezier Games publisher Ted Alspach. Jeffrey Allers responses indicated by JA, Ted Alspach responses indicated by TA.

 

Q: How did you come up with Piece o’ Cake Jeffrey?

JA: I played Alan Moon’s classic game, San Marco, and I was surprised there were not more games with the I-cut-you-choose mechanism. I wanted to make a lighter, quicker game that also accommodated more players. San Marco is essentially simultaneous 2-player games of dividing and choosing. I wanted a multiplayer game with one player dividing the “pie" for everyone, but I didn’t want it to be such an overwhelming task for the divider. So I kept the pie pieces in the order they are drawn, which minimizes the number of choices for the dividing player.

The goal of collecting the different sets and having the most of each was there from the beginning, but I needed something to make each slice valuable to every player, regardless of whether they could collect the most of that type or not. That’s where the dollops of whipped cream came in, and the guaranteed points for “eating” a slice. From then on, the game had a nice tension that forced players to balance eating slices for guaranteed points with battling for the majorities of the different types.

 

 

Q: How did New York Slice originate? Ted, did you reach out to designer Jeffrey Allers? 

TA: I've known Jeff for a while, and was a fan of several of his games. He had sent a few new games to us to review for possible publication, and while we were talking about them, Piece o’ Cake came up. The license was available for it if we were up for taking it over. He also had an expansion for it that had never been published that he was interested in including in the game. I suggested that might be more interesting if we rethemed it to pizza instead of cake (it was really weird German pies, as the art was done for a German publisher and the US publisher never changed it).

 

Q: How is Piece o’ Cake different from New York Slice?

JA: Piece o’ Cake sold well for many years, and at one point I was asked to design a special slice as a mini-expansion for the game to be included in the German gaming magazine Spielbox. I came up with more than a dozen different ideas, and I posted the ones that were not chosen on boardgamegeek.com for fans of the game to print themselves.  Years later, when my contract expired for the game, I revised these to include in my pitches to new publishers. That’s when I also made them separate tiles instead of slices so that only one would be drawn each round. I also added slices that were half one type and half another, and a slice with a hot pepper that was negative points. When Ted told me he was interested in the game, he also said that he wanted to add more variety and depth to the original game, so it was great that I had already worked on doing just that! We also brainstormed a lot more daily specials together, of course, which is how we were able to have these mini-expansions.

 

Q: What made you excited about New York Slice?

TA: Once Jeff was on board with the pizza theme, we dove in to making it more and more thematic. Out were little balls of whipped cream for extra points, and in were pieces of pepperoni. His expansion was about slices with new powers and events, and we changed those over to Today’s Specials, and made them look like they were written on chalkboards. Making the rules look like a menu and the box as a pizza box were easy, almost obvious. But the real thematic moment was making up the score pad as a “check” pad from a restaurant. The whole package together oozes with tons of theme!

 

 

Q: How did you create the photo-realistic slices of pizza for this game?

TA: We ordered each of the pizza types in the game from various local pizza places, specified that we did NOT want the pizza sliced (that’s both more common than we had thought, and also more annoying, because once they sliced it we could no longer use it for photos for the prototype), and then gained a lot of weight by eating the pizzas after we had photographed them. The realistic look was actually a little disgusting when we put it together, as food closeups of things like cheese and sausage are somewhat unpleasant. We found an artist who could duplicate the look and feel of a pizza while not keeping the “ick” of the shiny grease and unpleasant small details in actual pizza toppings.

 

Q: Why is Bezier Games re-releasing the 2017 Today's Specials now?

TA: New York Slice continues to sell well 5 years after it was initially released, and we had run out of the limited number of Today’s Specials that were initially printed. The game itself has had multiple printings, but we hadn’t reprinted the expansion tiles since the game’s debut in 2017.

 

Q: What is your favorite Today’s Special? 

JA: I don’t normally do this in real life, but I do like to be able to “Cut in Line” when playing the game!

TA: I think “Sneak a Slice” is probably my favorite, as it lets you move a slice from one section to another. It’s great when you have that ability early in the game, as it makes the other slicers’ job more challenging. When it’s out there and I’m the slicer, It really changes how you split up the pizza.

 

Q: Do you have any tips for winning New York Slice?

JA: Only collect what you absolutely need to win a few majorities. If I have a 2-slice lead, I’ll eat the next slice I get in that type. It’s also difficult to compete for the most of a slice with your right-hand neighbor, as they will almost always be choosing before you do (except when they divide the pizza).

 

Q: What is your favorite kind of pizza?

JA: Pizza has always been my favorite food, and I’ve enjoyed trying all kinds. In Germany, where I live, they often use corn as an ingredient. Across the border in France, there’s a white cream sauce pizza that is popular called “Flammkuchen” or "Tarte Flambée”. I love a good American-style supreme pizza with everything on it, but my favorite has to be from the authentic Italian restaurant only a block away from our last apartment in Berlin. It was called “Pizza Parma” and included Parma ham, rucola, Grana Padano and Mozzarella cheeses, and tomato sauce on a thin hand-tossed crust, baked in a stone oven.

TA: My go-to pizza is sausage and pineapple, but nothing beats a plain or extra cheese slice from an authentic New York pizza place!

 

Grab New York Slice for only $15 during September when you’re a Wolfpack Member AND gain early access to long out of print set of promo specials! Click here to purchase New York Slice! Click here to purchase the promo specials! Promo pack will be available for non-Wolfpack Members purchases beginning October 1st. 




Lindsay Schlesser
Lindsay Schlesser

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