Aug. 25, 2022

How ‘Exploding Kittens’ Became a Netflix Show

From card game to a multi-platform entertainment brand


Nora chats with Elan Lee, game designer and the cofounder and CEO of Exploding Kittens, a card game that became the #1 most-backed project in Kickstarter history, and has sold over 11 million games. Elan talks about creating the game with cofounder Matt Inman, creator of The Oatmeal, and how they turned a single piece of intellectual property—a game about cats exploding—into a multiplatform entertainment brand. For more info on our presenting sponsor, check out realvision.com/businesscasual

 

Host: Nora Ali

Producers: Bella Hutchins, Olivia Meade   

Video Editor: Sebastian Vega

Production, Mixing & Sound Design: Daniel Markus

Music: Daniel Markus & Breakmaster Cylinder

Fact Checker: Kate Brandt 

Senior Producer: Katherine Milsop

VP, Head of Multimedia: Sarah Singer 

 

Full transcripts for all Business Casual episodes available at https://businesscasual.fm

Transcript

Nora Ali: From Morning Brew, this is Business Casual, bringing you conversations with people you know, and some you may not know yet, to make business less intimidating. Because money talks, but it does not have to be dull. I'm your host, Nora Ali. Now let's get down to business.

When our guest today, game designer Elan Lee, set out to create a new card game, he knew that it had to do two things. One, it had to be easy to learn. I agree. I will never be the person to read and translate lengthy instructions to my friends. No thank you. And number two, the game should not be entertaining in itself. Instead, the game should make the people you're playing with entertaining. Essentially, he loves making games where you don't have to think too hard, and you get to laugh with your friends and learn quirky things about them.

It was with this in mind that he and cofounder Matt Inman, who was also the creator of The Oatmeal, launched Exploding Kittens into the world. That's a card game that became the #1 most-backed project in Kickstarter history, and has since sold over 11 million games. Not bad, considering that they planned to raise $10,000 to make a game, and ended up raising $9 million and started a whole company called Exploding Kittens. If you've never played it before, don't worry. We explain it in the episode.

Elan describes the game as Russian Roulette with a deck of cards, but this episode and the company isn't just about the game anymore. Exploding Kittens is now a multiplatform entertainment company, which includes a new partnership with Netflix for a mobile game, and even an animated series in a first-of-its-kind deal. And that's alongside the creators of shows like The Office, Silicon Valley, and King of the Hill. According to recent reporting in The Guardian, the global market for playing cards and board games is expected to grow to nearly $22 billion by 2025. That's an annual growth rate of nearly 9%, and Exploding Kittens is taking advantage of this growth.

We'll hear how a single piece of intellectual property, a game about cats exploding, turned into an entertainment brand with maybe even its own theme park in the future. If you have a nugget of a creative idea and want to explode it into something huge, this episode is for you. The process from idea to empire is fascinating. That is next, after the break. Elan, hello. Welcome to Business Casual.

Elan Lee: Thank you for having me.

Nora Ali: I'm prepared. I brought my Exploding Kittens game.

Elan Lee: Great.

Nora Ali: I've owned it for some time. I played it a lot, actually, during the pandemic, so that was great to have.

Elan Lee: I love to hear that. That's so rad.

Nora Ali: Before we get into the game itself, I'd love to start with a little icebreaker. It's called Professional Pet Peeves. So if you could wave a magic wand and get rid of just a thing that happens at work, a thing people do or don't do that annoys you, what would you get rid of? What's your professional pet peeve?

Elan Lee: Oh, it's such an easy, obvious answer. Lack of context. Everyone I know, both personal and professional and myself included, suffers from this problem. Whenever someone wants to tell you something, whenever anyone's got a meeting with me, they ask questions assuming that I already have all the context, assuming that...they're like talking to themselves, they sort of start halfway through the conversation. I need to know, wait, what are we actually talking about? Which project? What day, what region? I just need all the context. And if everyone could just assume that the first question out of my mouth, after you ask a question, is going to be, can you give me some more context, please, then we could skip the whole first five minutes of every meeting. It would be so nice. That's my pet peeve right there.

Nora Ali: Beautiful. Assume zero knowledge. Start with the context. Start from the beginning. It can be quick. And then you can get to your point. Very good advice, Elan. I love that. Okay. Let's get to the context around Exploding Kittens. Let's start from scratch for those who have never played it before. How would you describe, in very simple terms, game play for this very strange but enjoyable game?

Elan Lee: This game is Russian Roulette with a deck of cards. So in the deck, there's some bad cards. The bullets in the gun, the cards you don't want, those are the Exploding Kittens. They will explode. You don't want them to explode, or you're dead and out of the game. We're going to take those bad cards, the kittens, shuffle them into the deck, put the deck in the middle of the table. Everyone's going to take turns drawing cards one at a time. If you draw a kitten, you're dead and out of the game. Don't do that. You don't want the kitten.

All the other cards in the game help you avoid drawing the exploding kitten. One card might let you skip your turn. One card might let you peek at the card before you draw it. One card might let you shuffle the whole deck before you take anything at all. Everything in the game is designed to help you avoid drawing the exploding kitten, making somebody else draw it instead of you, outlasting them, and eventually winning the game.

Nora Ali: That was a beautiful description. I love games that are easy to describe, because I'm not the kind of person who likes to sit through very complicated instructions. And it says on here, it says two minutes to learn, 15 minutes to play, which I think is part of the reason why I was playing it during the pandemic, because I wanted to get away from screens. And I also wanted something that was easy. And I know that was part of the impetus for you even creating the game in the first place. You used to work in the world of video games, but you wanted to create something that was less screen-forward. So bring me back to when you had the idea, why you had the idea. How did Exploding Kittens come to be?

Elan Lee: I also hate complicated games. I hate taking forever to learn a game. I hate when you open a new game and someone's got to spend an hour reading the instructions and then explain it to the rest of us. So I wanted to design a game. The games I always love are the ones that do two things. One is, really easy to learn because you immediately understand the core mechanic. And two is, the game should not be entertaining. The game should make the people you're playing with entertaining. So as I described that interaction with Exploding Kittens, drawing those cards, remember I was talking about all those cards that are going to help you avoid drawing the exploding kitten. Every one of them creates an interaction between you and another player. So that's the interaction part. Like I said, hey, you can skip your turn. Well, by skipping your turn, you're forcing somebody else to go. I said you can peek at a card. Well now, if you skip your turn, now you know what the next person is going to draw. You can have a conversation about that. Goad them into maybe taking it or not taking it. Everything about the game is to make the other players entertaining, because the game should just be the tool set for you all to entertain each other. 

But where did that come from? I was sitting around. A friend of mine, Shane Small, came up with this initial idea for just an app. He thought Russian Roulette on an app would be really interesting. And we sat down and started playing around with it for a while and decided hey, this would be a really fun card game. We partnered up with my friend Matthew Inman, who created and does The Oatmeal, one of the world's most famous online comics.

He looked at it and asked if he could partner as well, because he was like, "This is a brilliant game. It's so smart. It's so fun. But you have no theme." We were calling it Bomb Squad at the time, because you were defusing a bomb. And he's like, "Of course you're scared of bombs. Everybody's scared of bombs. How boring is that? Instead, what if you were scared of cute, adorable little fuzzy kittens, and let's call the game Exploding Kittens instead?" And the three of us just shook hands and said, let's go build this thing. Two weeks later, we put it up on Kickstarter and we're trying to raise $10,000, raised about nine million instead and started a company.

Nora Ali: That's a pretty short time span, from idea to putting on a Kickstarter, only a couple weeks, which sometimes people will over-research, overkill the development of something before putting it out in the world. So why did you all decide to go that quickly to a crowdfunding platform?

Elan Lee: None of us are perfectionists. I really believe...I'm going to mess up the quote, but it's something like, "Perfect is the enemy of good." And good is just fine. We played the game a bunch over those two weeks. We knew it was really, really fun. Matt designed every single one of the cards, all the characters on the cards. Every one I looked at, I started laughing. And so we thought, okay, this is good enough. Let's put this thing up on Kickstarter and just see what happens. All we have to do is sell a few hundred copies and we'll make our $10,000. So the stakes were really low. We all just kind of said, let's do it. And so we did. It was really that simple. We absolutely did not overthink it. And I think that was part of why it was so successful.

Nora Ali: I think that's good advice. Don't overthink. Put it out there, get feedback, see what people think. And then you can iterate from there.

Elan Lee: What's the worst that could happen, right?

Nora Ali: Exactly. And this crowdfunding route, it's not just about the funding. It's about building that community as well, and building that fan base. We actually talked to the CEO of Indiegogo recently, which is obviously one of the OG crowdfunding platforms like Kickstarter. And she said entrepreneurs will often turn to crowdfunding when big institutions don't understand or get the concept that they're trying to build. And they'd rather find that sort of niche audience who has specific interests and wants to support that founder's idea. And she's even said that there's this big appetite for niche tabletop games. And there is this big community around that specifically. So did you go to Kickstarter for that community? And it sounds like you found it very quickly.

Elan Lee: The way that I always like to phrase it is, if you go to crowdfunding, don't go there for the funding, go there for the crowd. And it's so important. We knew that we didn't need much money. And even once we raised a few million dollars on Kickstarter, we knew it wasn't about the money. We knew it was about the crowd. The only way a new project is going to be successful is if you have a whole lot of people who love it and tell their friends about it. We knew that was the secret ingredient to launching a company, to launching a game. And so everything we did on Kickstarter, everything we did in crowdfunding, was about that crowd. We had contests, we hosted parties. We sent people pizza, and we have a character in our game called Tacocat, which is my favorite character.

Nora Ali: We love Tacocat.

Elan Lee: He is a palindrome, right? Tacocat backwards and forwards, same word. So we put out to the community, we said, "Hey, you know what, a normal crowdfunding campaign would say, if we raise a million dollars, we'll upgrade the game for everybody." We're like, "No, we're going to upgrade the game for everybody if you send us pictures of a real taco cat." And they did, they dressed their cats up as tacos and sent us pictures. And that's why we upgraded the game. And we just kept creating new challenges, not because we wanted to see pictures of taco cats, but because we wanted to build that crowd, and we knew that empowering them and showing them how important they are to us is actually the secret to starting a new company.

Nora Ali: And you're building the brand because it's a weird game and you guys are kind of weird, quirky people. So you're showing that with your marketing and community-building tactics. I think that's so cool. So you raised nearly $9 million, way above what your goal was. What do you do with that money? How do you decide where $9 million gets allocated, when that clearly was not part of the plan?

Elan Lee: We got all these emails at the time from people saying, "Hey, do you want to buy a house? Do you want to come in on this timeshare for this resort?" All these people saying, here's how you can spend the money. The reality is we spent the money on the company. More than half of that went into just manufacturing. Another few million went into shipping, all those things. We decided that every time you open the box for the game, the box would meow. That stupid joke. Yeah, seriously. That is the world's dumbest joke. And that cost us a million dollars, just on and on and on the price tag went. But again, it was an investment. We spent almost all of that money on building the community, on saying, "Hey, you believed in us. We are going to ship you the best, most charming, amazing thing we possibly can, because we believe that this is the beginning of the relationship, not the end of it."

Nora Ali: And clearly it was very much the beginning of a long relationship, because now there's 20 games under the Exploding Kittens umbrella. How did that happen? How did you decide, what are the other games that we need? How much did you use your feedback or player feedback in creating those games as well?

Elan Lee: There's two places that games come from. One is we invent a bunch of games internally. We've got a great design team and we sit around and we just come up with game ideas and we share them and we test them and we decide, do we want to push these things forward or not? And then the other is we have this amazing network of inventors who come to us with game ideas, and we decide which of those we want to make. We have a very good friend of the studio, a guy named Brian Spence, who came to us with a game called Flaming Mangoes. And his idea was, what if we played cards and dodgeball at the same time? Yeah. Right. So he basically said, everybody gives me that reaction. They're like, what are you talking about? But I looked at it and fell in love. I was like, this is so smart. It's so funny. We tested it in the studio and people were falling out of their chairs laughing so hard. So we took it, we rethemed it. The game was eventually called Throw Throw Burrito, and Throw Throw Burrito is half dodgeball, half card game. And most months it now outsells Exploding Kittens. It is one of the biggest-selling games in the world, because our good friend Brian said, "I think we could work together on this." So we love relationships like that. It's so much fun.

Nora Ali: What are you throwing at people in this game?

Elan Lee: Squishy foam burritos, of course.

Nora Ali: Okay, great. Wonderful. We're going to take a very quick break; more with Elan when we come back. Elan, you started talking a little bit about your interesting marketing and community-building tactics. What I want to learn about a little bit more is in February of this year, to promote this game called Hand-to-Hand Wombat, you sold a number of crazy outrageous items for a dollar. And that included things like a custom-built tiny home. What the heck? What was that? And did it work for your purposes?

Elan Lee: It worked so well. So the idea was every time we go back to Kickstarter, again, we're trying to build the crowd. We're trying to build that community and we have to outdo ourselves from the last time. We need some new gimmicks, some new way to get people's attention. And so this time, the thought was, all right, everything on Kickstarter, every time you back a project on Kickstarter, you're always basically paying increasing prices for better and better things. You want the game, it cost $20. You want the game plus the carrying case, that's $40. The deluxe kit is $100, etcetera.

So we thought, all right, Kickstarter has two really interesting tools. One is, they let you set any price you want. And two is, they let you set any quantity you want. So we just thought it would be really funny if in addition to buy the game, buy the deluxe game, $20, $40, what if there was another tier that showed up every once in a while, without warning, that was insane. A new car, $1, and just limited to quantity of one. So we did that, and someone got a car for a dollar, and we thought—

Nora Ali: Oh my gosh.

Elan Lee: Let's give away, I don't know, a house. So we gave away a house for a dollar. And then we found some fossilized dinosaur poop, and we made a museum showcase around it. We gave away that for a dollar. The whole thing was just like, look at the page, refresh the page a bunch. Talk to your friends about the page. Insane stuff is going to happen here. Because again, this is the beginning of the relationship with us. Not the end. We're just going to have fun. This is just a party and everybody's invited.

Nora Ali: Where does one find fossilized dinosaur poop?

Elan Lee: eBay.

Nora Ali: Okay. That makes sense. So these interesting tactics, you've got the Kickstarter. You also have a growing social community, I think around 6 million followers across social platforms, including a very active Reddit account. So there's clearly a lot of time and effort that's put into the social media strategy and the presence. And there's clever memes and illustrations, people sharing tactics around how to play the games. Where did that strategy come from? Who is running these social accounts, and what is the goal on these social platforms for the games?

Elan Lee: The goal of all of them is, well, they're all working under this premise. One is, we think we're entertaining and we like sharing that. So we'll just post a bunch of zany, wacky stuff. But if we can get you to be our friend that way, then the theory is we're making games for you. And you know what kind of games you like more than we do. So the more stuff we can share, the earlier we can show you a game, the earlier we can show you instructions, how-to-play videos, the components, the earlier we can recruit you into our testing teams, the better those games will be, because it's this incredible resource of people who want these things to be as good as possible. Hey, that's exactly what we want. So let's work together, and it's very much win-win.

Nora Ali: You mentioned testing teams and I want to learn more about that, but I guess more broadly, your approach to feedback from the community, because I know you take it very seriously. You're responding yourself to people's comments, oftentimes. So how does that work? What is your process for collecting feedback and having actual users test out games?

Elan Lee: I think there's a few methods that we use. One is, we just watch everything. I personally watch Reddit a lot. We have teams watching our Kickstarter community pages. There's literally hundreds of thousands of comments on our Kickstarter page. And we literally read every single one of them. So one strategy is just show them that we're listening, that when they post something, we want to have those conversations because the products will get better.

Then the second one is we have this program called the Kitty Test Pilots, and anybody can sign up. We put an application form up on our site, ExplodingKittens.com. And when you go there, you can become a Kitty Test Pilot. All that we ask is like, look, we're going to send you games for free and you can keep the games and you're going to see them before anybody else in the world. But what we need from you is you have to give us feedback. We really need to know what's broken. We really need to know how to make the games better. The whole point of this thing is we want to work with you. If you want to make these games better, we need your help.

Nora Ali: Awesome. We're going to take another quick break. More with Elan when we return. Okay, Elan, let's talk about the next generation of Exploding Kittens, and that includes Netflix. So you have a mobile game and I opened it up on my Netflix app. There's a separate app I have to download to get to the mobile version of the game. So I still haven't done that yet, but there's also a series in the works. How did that come to be? Did Netflix approach you? And what's the broader plan with partnering with someone like Netflix?

Elan Lee: Once the game got popular enough, we started to attract the attention of just some Hollywood powerhouses, Peter Chernin, who's an absolute legend in Hollywood. I've listed his credits, but the easy answer is anything you've ever seen and loved, I'm pretty sure he was involved in it somehow, if you look at the credits. He came to us, he has an investment group called TCG, and he asked if he could invest in our company, which was so flattering. So we started working with him. And then my favorite story about Peter Chernin is he said, "Okay, we really ought to make an Exploding Kittens TV show. If you could have your dream people working on this, your dream producers, who would they be?" And Matt and I both looked at each other and in unison said, well, we are in love with the people who make The Office, with the people who make Beavis and Butthead. If you can get that for us, if you can get that caliber of people, that would be incredible. So Peter said, "Okay, let me think about that." And the next day he called us up and said, can you come to my house? We have to have a meeting. And we went there and sitting on his living room couch were Greg Daniels and Mike Judge, who are the people behind all of those things. Just insane, insane. And they looked at us and they said, "Very nice to meet you. Peter tells us you've got this killer property and that we need to get involved. So can you please pitch us?" And so we did on the spot, and they both signed up.

So suddenly we had a TV show, an animated show called Exploding Kittens. And the executive producers were Greg Daniels, Mike Judge, and Peter Chernin. And everyone just lined up at that point. Netflix was the platform we were most in love with. And so we started working with them immediately. And now we've got a show in heavy production. It's coming along. It's really hard work, but the show will be out next year.

Nora Ali: That is incredible. Did you have to do a lot of explaining as to what Exploding Kittens is, or was it well-known enough that they sort of got it right away, in the concept of a show around it?

Elan Lee: We have this incredible luxury that people have heard our game and they've played it with their kids. And most people that we talk to have said, "My kid loves that game. I can't believe I get to talk to you." And that's the best marketing in the world, because they're hearing it from inside their homes and from people that they want to impress: their own kids. So it's this really amazing thing. One of my favorite experiences with this company so far...I was traveling somewhere. I was in the airport, and travel right now is really hard. Flights are getting delayed and canceled like crazy. And I was in this terminal and the flight got canceled. It was the last flight out and everybody was grumpy. Everyone was just in the worst mood, because there were no other flights and we were all stuck there for six hours.

So everyone's in a terrible mood except for this one group of kids sitting on the floor in a circle, just laughing. And I couldn't help myself. I went over and looked over their shoulders and they're playing Exploding Kittens. And it was the most incredible experience, because it was this ocean of grumpy. And then these kids just having the times of their lives. And I just thought, we've transcended marketing. We've hit the tipping point. People have heard of this game. People are using it as their go-to source for joy. And again, not because the game is entertaining, because it's a tool set where they can entertain each other.

Nora Ali: And to this idea of entertainment, I feel like the streamers and networks are looking more and more to IP like yours because for various reasons, streamers are having their own struggles right now. There's consolidation, subscriber losses, market confusion even, all of that. But what power do you think brands like Exploding Kittens have now? Is IP like yours going to be that secret sauce, where there is this already built-in loyalty, the brand recognition. Is this a way, you think, for these other entertainers, the streamers and TV networks, to get ahead?

Elan Lee: The challenge that most streamers have, that anybody who wants to build an entertainment platform has, is how do you get into people's homes? How do you make a movie, a TV show, a property, anything, a clip that people are going to invite in? And I look at the Marvel model. They spent years, decades building the cheapest thing they could do: comic books. Comic books are really easy. You can try a million of them. If they succeed, great. If they fail, whatever, move on to the next one. And once they established that audience, once enough people invited them into their homes, then, what is it, 50 years later, they can move on to movies, because you want to know, what do those characters sound like? What world do they live in? What does it look like when they move? But they had to go through that step process, right? 

Board games have a very, very similar opportunity. And our company, Exploding Kittens, has a really similar opportunity where we did the cheap thing. It's very inexpensive to make games, but so many people have invited us into their homes. And now they're starting to ask that next question. What do these characters sound like? What world do they live in? How do I find out? And that's really the opportunity for us is to say, okay, step one, check. Let's move on to step two.

Nora Ali: What does an Exploding Kitten sound like?

Elan Lee: Oh, you're going to have to wait till next year to find out. It's so good, though. I promise you'll be so happy with the answer.

Nora Ali: Oh my gosh. I can't wait. You're right. I have these curiosities now because I've played the game. I know about Tacocat and all the different characters and I want to know what their personalities are and what they sound like. So I think that's a really good lesson, is there are cheap ways to get people interested in something, and then you can create it into this larger empire. So what is your blue sky scenario for Exploding Kittens? What are some other facets of entertainment that you'd like to tackle? Is it more games? Is it a feature film around Exploding Kittens? What is the big dream for Exploding Kittens?

Elan Lee: The easy answer is I really want to make a theme park, a ride at a theme park. That would be so much fun. Just that full end-to-end experience. Like, let me control all of your senses for two minutes. I guarantee you'll have a great time. I would love that. But the more subtle one and the more realistic one that we started to do, is we now have the mechanism to bring games into the world. We've got really good designers and really amazing artists and manufacturing and distribution and retail relationships. And I have zero interest in hoarding that. I really want to use that as a tool set to help other people with amazing ideas to bring their games into the world. And finding those right relationships is complicated, but we've started exploring that, like Throw Throw Burrito. We've started to make those resources available to other people, and the results have just made me so, so happy.

Nora Ali: I can't wait for the theme park, personally. I'll be the first one there.

Elan Lee: I'm working on it, yeah.

Nora Ali: That's awesome. Well, relatedly, we have a fun segment for you, and it's called Shoot Your Shot. This is where you tell me your moonshot idea, your biggest dream, your wildest ambition. You've laid it out for Exploding Kittens. So it could be personal. It could be beyond Exploding Kittens. It is your chance now, Elan, to shoot your shot.

Elan Lee: Wow. What a cool question. I have 4,000 answers to this, but I'm going to tell you the one that I was actually just thinking about this week, and actually put pen to paper to try to figure out if this is possible. I spent a lot of time in coffee shops in shared workspaces. I really like working amongst others, and especially coffee shops. They're just a fun place for me to get a lot of work done. And I look around and so many other people are working on their projects as well. The person working on their screenplay, the person working on their business plan. I would love to create a space where not only are we sharing the work environment, but we're sharing each other's successes. When somebody succeeds in that space, when they sell their screenplay, when they finish their business plan, when they get their first round of funding, that entire place should erupt in celebration because we should be a community that supports each other. I've never seen that before, and there's a lot of logistic issues with that, but I really want to build a space where not only we're working together, but we celebrate each other's successes together.

Nora Ali: So WeWork, but not the Adam Neumann version of WeWork, where it's more celebratory coworking spaces.

Elan Lee: That's right. That's right. That's right. Because not only is it fun to celebrate others, but no, you want to be the next person, so you're going to work even harder. Because you know you've got these fans just rooting for you to succeed.

Nora Ali: Ah, that's amazing. I love that. Okay, well, speaking of games, we're doing a special edition of This or That, and it's games edition. This or That, very easy. You pick the one that you like the most. All right. So we're going to start with the mainstream favorites. This or that, Settlers of Catan or Ticket to Ride? Your own personal preference.

Elan Lee: Those are both such good games. I'm going to go with a tiny, tiny, Catan.

Nora Ali: Really.

Elan Lee: Just barely, only because the entertainment value of Catan for me is the trading, because I'm so in love with that idea that players should entertain other players, and that trading aspect there is so good.

Nora Ali: And I feel like almost everyone knows how to play. It's like the go-to game for people who dabble in board games. So I think you can skip the instructions and just get right into it. So I agree with you on that one. Okay, next up. The classics: checkers or chess?

Elan Lee: I suck at chess, so I'm going with checkers. It's only because I'm not smart enough to play. It's all my own family.

Nora Ali: You make games. I'm sure you're way more...

Elan Lee: I know. I'm embarrassed. I can't believe I'm saying this out loud. I suck at chess.

Nora Ali: It might be time for you to watch Queen's Gambit. Did you watch Queen's Gambit?

Elan Lee: I did watch it. It was so inspiring. I went to the store to buy chess after Queen's Gambit and of course they're sold out, because everyone in the world had that same damned thought.

Nora Ali: Well, hopefully that happens when the Exploding Kittens series comes out and Exploding Kittens...sold out. Exactly. All right. Next up is physical games: charades or Twister?

Elan Lee: Charades. Oh, I love charades. Obsessed with charades, but again, all my answers are going to be the same theme. Show me a game where players are entertaining other players.

Nora Ali: Yes. Okay. Next up is party games: Apples to Apples, or Cards Against Humanity?

Elan Lee: Cards Against Humanity, obsessed with Cards Against Humanity. Yeah, it's just permission to be a slightly more raunchy version of myself that I really embrace. Because I just don't have the guts to do that on my own. So yeah, Cards Against Humanity as a tool set is so nice.

Nora Ali: And it makes you learn about other people too. New facets of your friends.

Elan Lee: Yes. If you ever want a special treat, play Cards Against Humanity, but shuffle in Apples to Apples' Disney edition. So you'll have a card that will say like, what's Princess Jasmine's favorite thing to bring to a picnic? And now you've got the Cards Against Humanity answers, which I won't say out loud, but it's so much fun. It's so much fun.

Nora Ali: Wait, I'm literally writing this down. Disney edition Apples to Apples plus Cards Against Humanity. Okay. I'm going to have a whole party themed around that.

Elan Lee: You're welcome.

Nora Ali: Thank you. All right. Last category is Nora's faves, my faves. Galaxy Trucker or Seven Wonders? I don't know if you've played them, but those have been my two faves.

Elan Lee: I have.

Nora Ali: You have. Okay.

Elan Lee: I'm going to go with Seven Wonders.

Nora Ali: Okay.

Elan Lee: Oh, I'm going to backtrack right now? No, I'm sticking with it. I know, Galaxy Trucker is so fun. Ohhh, it would be so lame for me to say it's a tie. So I'm going to stick with it. I'm going to go with...Yeah. Yeah. I'm going to change my mind every few seconds. And I'm going to suppress it.

Nora Ali: You're going to think about it after this interview's over. So the reason I love Galaxy Trucker is because I'd never played it before. And I went to Penny Arcade Expo, big board game convention, and I played it until I...I'm a very sleepy person. So for me to stay up until 4:00am playing it among the nerds was just life-changing. I loved it so much.

Elan Lee: All right, screw it. You win. Galaxy Trucker. Changing my answer. Final answer. Galaxy Trucker.

Nora Ali: And for our listeners, you're building spaceships on a board and you're getting exploded by meteors and there's alien invasions. And you just have to have your ship survive in space.

Elan Lee: 4:00am.

Nora Ali: Yeah.

Elan Lee: 4:00am—well done.

Nora Ali: It was great. Oh, thank you so much. There was no alcohol involved. It was just me.

Elan Lee: Astounding.

Nora Ali: Just living my best life at the board game convention.

Elan Lee: Good for you.

Nora Ali: Thank you.

Elan Lee: Good for you.

Nora Ali: Well, I've kept you for too long, because this has been too fun, Elan. Thank you so much for joining us on Business Casual. And for playing games with us too. This was great. Thank you a lot.

Elan Lee: My pleasure. Thank you so much for having me.

Nora Ali: This is Business Casual and I'm Nora Ali. You can follow me on Twitter @NoraKAli. And I would love to hear from you. If you have ideas for episodes, comments, thoughts on episodes you loved, even fun segment ideas, feel free to shoot me a DM and I will do my very best to respond. You can also reach the BC team by emailing businesscasual@morningbrew.com, or call us. The number is (862) 295-1135. If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe to Business Casual on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen. And if you like the show, please leave us a rating and a review. It really, really helps us. Business Casual is produced by Katherine Milsop and Bella Hutchins, with special production help on this episode from Olivia Meade. Additional production, sound design, and mixing by Daniel Markus. Kate Brandt is our fact checker. Sarah Singer is our VP of multimedia. Music in this episode from Daniel Markus and The Mysterious Breakmaster Cylinder. Thanks for listening to Business Casual. I'm Nora Ali. Keep it business, and keep it casual.