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Actor Liam McIntyre discusses his tabletop game Monster Lab with Tomorrow DailyLiam McIntyre ("Spartacus," "The Flash") sits down to chat with Jeff and Ashley, and also explains how Nathan Fillion was part of the origin story for his first official tabletop game.
[MUSIC] Welcome back to the show. You may know our guest from The Flash. But what you might not know is he's also really into board games. And video games. He's one of us, everybody. He's one of us. One of us. One of us. Liam McIntyre, thanks for being here man. Good to be here, thanks man, thank you so much. It's very exciting. Yes, I am one of us. [LAUGH] Yeah no, before this we were just talking about board games and Computer games and Apple versus Mac and all this other stuff. We will be talking about all of that stuff. Let's talk a little bit first about what you're up to. You were in Spartacus. Yes, I did Spartacus. That was amazing and kind of changed my life and gave me a career and then I got to be in the Flash, which being a big nerd is about the coolest thing in the world. Pretty great. Is it as great as one would guess?>> Yes Yeah? So much. Even better. There was moment, I love this, this is my favorite story ever, where I basically had to blow up a police station. And so they rigged everything to explode and stuff, cuz I've got weather wizard powers. Yeah, yeah. Using wind and stuff. But it's, so you do it, and you, something like clench your fists It all explodes. It's filmed and so you do it and you God! Then you go and you go behind like can I see what it looks like? Like a second it went on and I can see me go boom. Bang. [LAUGH] I don't have his powers. It took hundreds of people to make this happen. For a second The magic of television. I don't want to alarm you but I may have super powers. I love it. Well, don't make him angry. No, not here. Not the hulk. Different character. Tell them to totally blow up the studio. Tell him to blow it up. I'm going to be watching your face the entire interview, just open hands please. There, there. Hands on the table. Yeah, I get that a lot. But now you're designing your own tabletop game. Yeah, because I don't like being bored. Which I love. Yeah, no, that's also amazing, I was sitting at a convention with [UNKNOWN] and we were gonna have dinner later on but he had a line for four hours. [CROSSTALK] He does. He's pretty popular. So I was like wow, this is gonna take a while. Hm, I'll make a game. So that started off as a silly- As you do, right? As you do, right? Yeah. I love it. I just have an extra free time while waiting for Nathan Silian to get done signing autographs for people. [LAUGH] Isn't that insane? [LAUGH] It's the best. That's the best. It's a great [INAUDIBLE] for your game, though. [LAUGH] I love that it has an [INAUDIBLE] When we finally make it. It's this thing called Monster Lab that we ended up making, and it started off as a different game, actually, but it evolved over ten months. I got an amazing illustrator called Cris Olansamuelle. She's from Spain and just incredible, and Yeah it's like a game where you play a mad scientist and you put together monster parts into the equation to kill the monsters and then [UNKNOWN] your opponents and [UNKNOWN] it's really fun. So lets get through that process of making a game. Yeah. Because you sit down and you're Hanging out with Nathan Fillion. And then you go, I wanna make a game. You- The only way they get made. No other game's made unless you're hanging out with Nathan Fillion. That's how Monopoly got made. Yeah, right? I don't know if anybody knows that, but Monopoly- Parker Brothers were like, Mr. Fillion, what do you think? I'm thinking about properties. [LAUGH] So you are somebody that plays a lot of board games, yeah? Yeah, yeah, yeah. What's your favorite board game of all time? [UNKNOWN] favorite movie [CROSSTALK] At the moment this [UNKNOWN], which is, it's a game where you build ridiculous castles or castles, depending on which country you're from. And it's just fun because you're always feeling like you're kind of in the game, which is, to me, really important. I hate that Hide games should go. Monopoly for example is a really awesome games but then in some point I guess, the more game you play, you realize, if I get going to the street. I am done, yeah. The point is, yeah [CROSSTALK] You don't have it. Yeah you don't have it. No, I am saying is, it's the beginning. It's a story, it's an introductory game. The game that everyone can play. But you sort of tear it apart, you're like, wait a minute, this is not as good as it sounds on the surface. So yeah, to me it's really important to make a game that you always feel like your part of the whole time, you can always influence. Did you start with the theme, or did you start with the mechanics? Honestly, it started with the mechanic. Which was based on a game called 31, which I thought my wife's parents made but apparently it's just a game that's been around for like hundreds of years But it- It was a regular deck of cards? Yeah, it's just a stack of regular cards, and you're trying to get three cards of the same suit worth the most points. So if you get an ace and a king and a queen, you've got 31 and you're probably gonna win. But the trick is, it's kind of like, well, I've got 24. Are you likely to have more than 24 points? I'm gonna knock. And then you put your cards down, everyone else gets a turn, and then you find out It's a simple game. And so then I was like but I like the free and combining stuff so from that very abstract idea I was like well I like monsters [INAUDIBLE] Would you say that you frankenstiened this game together? I should have you on my marketing team. Yeah straight. It's just me at the moment. Us too. Weird. So weird. Same marketing team. But I think it was the exact same marketing team. Hey, I might be doing marketing the whole time [INAUDIBLE] [LAUGH] [LAUGH] But, right, you just gotta do it. Tread the pavement, that's the word. But yeah, so in turn, it was like Penguins for a while because I was like, what's cute? Penguins, they're fun. I was like, penguins, I don't know. My wife liked it. She said that's cute. Right. Yeah. But they [INAUDIBLE] Like my fish, it has a big head. Big guns and stuff, right? Sure. It was called [UNKNOWN] [LAUGHS} No, it's like In cool monsters that seemed right, like Frankensteiny things like that and you put them together. And then that was fun, it was just like building monsters, which was just like a mix and match game, which we still sort of have for kids and stuff which is gonna be sort of a sub rule for the kids. Cool, sure. Just like a simplified game. But and then yeah, then it was like, well how do you make it engaging? So building the monsters is fun. And people were always like, so do they fight? And I was like, what? No, no. [LAUGH] Should they fight? They're all, yeah they should fight. They should definitely fight. They should, they should definitely fight, so- What's the point of making monsters if they're not gonna fight? Yeah. I know, and I was like, cuz that sounds complicated. [LAUGH] That seems like a lot of Rules that I can think of. Nathan Fillion, when is your next convention. Yeah, I know. So that I can wait around. I have to sit down and be inspired by your awesomeness. But, yeah, so then I spent like three months going, then this happens, so that sucks. And then this This happens! No, that also sucks. And then, so I've sort of worked it down, and then dice got involved, and I was like, does it make it too nerdy, not nerdy enough? And yeah, so then it was all probability matrices and stuff, which- Rad. Was where the game stopped being fun to make, but started being more fun to play. Right, right. Right. It was cool, and then over a bunch of months you sort of Workshop it until it's in a place where you're like, this is, I mean, I'm still like tinkering with some of the balance of it like I guess you do with any game. But it's fun now. It's actually fun, which is cool. So, you got your friends to play it with you? Like relentlessly. I'm so sorry. And they like it. They're And just being nice to you. I know, well that was the thing. There was a point where I was like, I"m just gonna make you play this game until you hate it. And then once some friends started going well can we come around and play the game. And I was like no, no, no, you And we've played it a bunch, you don't have to do that. They're like, no, no, can we, like, instead of doing this other thing, can we play the game? And I was like, for real? Like you would choose to, and so then after that- That's when you know there's something there, there's something- Yeah. A kernel of vegetable there. It was nice, and then everyone I found. I remember we played one amazing game which I wish I'd have filmed so I could put it on the Kickstarter thing. But where it came down you had to roll. Basically you had to roll a six. It was like [INAUDIBLE] and they had argument about probabilities. They're like it's guaranteed. And I'm not no no it's not. it's definitely not. It's definitely not. Right? Thank you. If Will Wheaton is playing it's all ones. Yeah it's. All about the ones. Sorry Will. Sorry. If she wins, she wins. But the rolls, Will's rolls are never never there. A couple of weeks ago, I played my first of x wing table top game. And the guy I was playing against, it was all hits. I was like, it's not even fun, I can't learn when everything you do beats me. It was like boom, I'm sorry man. It's like playing Battleship with a psychic. [LAUGH] It's not fair. I've never done that, that's wild. [LAUGH] Yeah, no it's a. It's a wise, don't, it's a good advise. I'm not gonna start now. Yeah. I'm not going to start. It does sound like a bad idea. It does. That [INAUDIBLE]. So from start to finish, how long did it take to develop the game to where it is now? I guess it's going onto a year. Okay. Yeah, which is kinda not as long as I thought it would be. I know some games you can like pick up at three months and they work and Some games take a lifetime but I'd played a lot of games so that informed how, it made it easier to make decisions where I was like, well I wanna put this in the game. Would that be fun? What have I done? I've played that game, it's kinda got it. I didn't like the way it did that, so I'll take that bit but not that bit. So you could actually kind of Put together different bits of rules, try them out, quickly in your head almost, cuz you've played all these other- Cuz you've played so many other games, right, yeah, of course. You've had so many different mechanics. And then you're like, well micromechanic's different, cuz it's got the three parts, and then how does that, but there were bits where you'd find out that that was kinda like Munchkin, but then there was a point like It was a lot of destroying cards, but then it was comparatively too hard to build monsters and really easy to destroy them, so you had to change the balance of that or the powers. Sounds like a fascinating process. It really is. It's funny that out of all of my friends now, because at the same time, I was like, that's a good idea, no no focus on this one. So, I have four other games that I now want to make and my friends are like, we should make that game [SOUND] The Kickstarter's not even over yet. It hadn't even started at the time. Yeah, so let's talk about your Kickstarter. So you can jump over onto Kickstarter and go to Monster Lab, that's the name of the game. Can we say the name of the game? I think we did. Monster Lab, yeah, [CROSSTALK]. Monster Lab, and it's already past it goal, so you're in stretch goals now. Yeah, we're in stretch goals, we're getting cool stuff for people, it's great. And you've got more than 20 days left, so that's pretty good. It funded in a day. It was amazing. Like it was this day where I'd had all these auditions, cuz it's pilot season for actors, so I had all these auditions. And it was like just the craziest thing. So I'd be like going into an audition and be like, my God, that's great. No Okay, I still feel good about it. I've got this stuff, I don't need you. I'm sure all the other actors there were doing the exact same thing. Building games between like. We're all, look at our Kickstarters, we're amazing. Next time we- Specific type, board game designer slash hunk. [LAUGH] Aussie. No wonder I didn't get the job. Yeah, yeah. Australian board game hunk. That's going to be the name on my business card. >. Hey man, its a niche. Own it. You can own that above the Hemsworth. That's something that you can say is not Something [UNKNOWN]. You're four are you. Yeah, sure, but I mean, how many board games you've made. Exactly right. Really, you've made three? [LAUGH] Like yeah, here's Chris Hemsworth, he's like I've made seventy board games. [LAUGH] I hate you. Break a lot. My grandfather was Milton Bradley. [LAUGH] Milton Bradley Headwood. [LAUGH] So we've got, you still have 22 days to go on this new Kickstarter. Yeah. So you. Onward and upward. Sky's the limit. So if people want to play the game, obviously they can get the game through the Kickstarter, are you going to be able to buy the game. Yeah. You didn't kick it out. No, that's it. There's nothing [INAUDIBLE] [CROSSTALK] I mean that happens. We've reached the target where we're gonna print a bunch, so we'll put it up on Amazon and then see if all the game designers, game sellers or resellers wanna get involved. Awesome. Yeah, it's exciting times now. I guess the first part of the kickstarter, you go is it gonna work? So I don't want to make too many plans. And now that it's working pretty well, which is great, we're getting to a point where now we want to see what's possible. So yeah, after the kickstart it will still be available. You won't get this cool Stretch goals of like cards, like whether the artist will make you a monster individually so. Wow, cool. Sweet. [CROSSTALK] So there's like limited edition stuff and like- [UNKNOWN] gotta be a two-headed monster. Yeah. That would be really fun. Really fun. [LAUGH] [LAUGH] And yeah, so there's like limited edition series cards inspired by the Flash, inspired by Spartacus and stuff for fans. Cool! Fun, fun. Yeah, so those will only be on Kickstarter, but the actual game will be available elsewhere [INAUDIBLE]. Sure, so I think your story can be really inspiring to people- I hope so! Who are Board game enthusiasts who have an idea for a game and are thinking to themselves, gosh, I really wish I could put this together, but I, maybe they're a little bit afraid or intimidated by the process. You're describing me right now. I'm sorry, Jeff, okay. But that's like the idea is for anyone. It came down to the fact that I always had created ideas as a kid, and it was like There was no real platform to communicate them. But now if you're serious about it, and you build an idea from the ground up, and you have some idea of how to get that into people's heads with a marketing strategy of some kind, there's formats where you can go, hey, I've got this cool idea. Anyone else like the idea? Right. And that's so exciting, beyond just board games. Board games are cool cuz they're contained things. But There's that Squatty Potty thing which sounds amazing. Yeah. Yeah, but all kinds of crazy ideas that are actually pretty good. If you have the drive to do it, you can achieve them now, which is kind of amazing. Well I think that it's that That last 10%, right? You get 90% of the way there, you have this great idea, and that last 10% is so hard now, like you said. Yeah, yeah. Iterate on it, finish it, and make sure it's actually good. Yeah. Market it, right. Yeah. And just get it out. Yeah, it's so, it's so easy, I know once I mean, being an actor, lots of people that have written scripts and have never done anything. Right. And it's not like you can sort of kickstart a script exactly, but it's It's the same mentality of going I've got this good idea and it's so close to being able to be made, and if I just do this one more thing, if I actually just push myself a little further, you can make it. Like I've got a card game, even if it doesn't go any further than Kickstarter, you made a card game. This is incredible. For me it's- And strangers you don't know want to give you their money to play it, which is really neat. It's just nice to know that people are excited by it. And that you But just to be able to create is such a cool gift. You know? Such a cool vibe. So how hight would the [UNKNOWN] have to be to create Monster Lab in virtual reality? Yeah. If it was like 100 thousand I was gonna do like an app, so maybe $2 million, who knows. Two million, okay. Pick a number, I literally have no idea, but-. 20 days. That would be so awesome to do VR like board gaming and stuff like that. You have to make $100,000 a day for the next 22 days. That's all. I think it's doable. But you're going to get the Tomorrow Daily bumped, so, get ready. So you're going to get threes of people back here. [LAUGH] an extreme, maybe four people backing this thing. There could be. So you have more ideas you're going to keep designing? Yeah, Yeah. I mean this has just been such a fun experience. Stressful but it's been really fun. You know, so hey why not right? Yeah. It just seems fun, but I'll get this one done first and we'll see where we're at Very very cool man. Who's your favorite monster in the book. THere's like a rainbow unicorn that poops rainbows. [CROSSTALK] monster. Well kind of. Yeah, actually, yeah you're right, that actually would be a good point. Yeah, that was true. [UNKNOWN] beautiful poop. [LAUGH] But, A dangerous radioactive, maybe. Yeah, there's dangerous radioactive, and there's a Catzilla that breathes fire. Yeah, there's a dancing goblin that lives in the hot tub. It's good. It's all mental. [LAUGH] It's all Crazy. Great. I like that even, if you ever did an expansion for it, you could reach out to artists like The Oatmeal, or to make those sort of special cards that kind of monsters from their own kind of- They will, so yeah, well, they did that amazing Thing that was exploiting kittens [CROSSTALK] I mean, and so fun. And so much fun, right? Yeah, and there's a really good one called from Cyanide and Happiness right now. Yeah, they're doing that and they're cross-funding that, right? Yeah, it's up to like $2 million, it looks so funny though. Maybe they'll have a VR version. Yeah, totally, cuz that's a thing now, right? Yeah. Yeah we were talking about it today and you know apps was the first way of taking table top and bringing it kind of to a wider [CROSSTALK] and now evidently we're getting VR so you don't have to have a friend you can be in virtual reality You don't have to have friends anymore [CROSSTALK] It was the one pre-requisite It's so convenient. [INAUDIBLE] Or far away friends I gotta say though I still love just the tactile nature of board games Yeah. Yeah, that's the tricky part, that's the one thing that's hard about VR is feeling stuff, you know, you will be like " wall!" you know that's tricky but So we had Jeff try on something called the tesla suit which is a haptic feedback full body suit. Ho ho ho, how was it? It electrocute's you in little specific ways when you touch things in virtual reality. It. Like the Bruce Lee ab thing. It was a lot like that. Exactly, almost exactly that. Yeah, yeah. And it definitely was an experience. Yeah, really, is it like the kind of experience that you. I got to turn the dial, so it was really. Shocking me. It That's horrible. And not in the usual verbal way. Horrifying, indeed. [LAUGHS] Wow. It's so fun. So it's like a torture device. For me it was great. Like in the Simpsons with like, where they're holding that thing where they're like they can electrocute each other. [UNKNOWN] Yeah, right. Dr. Marvin Monroe. [LAUGHS] But, I don't know, like, it's, I feel like they'll need some kind of non-tactile way of expressing the [UNKNOWN]. I'd love to see a VR board game that Kind of, I guess it's one of, there may be some way of making a game that's, not like Settlers of Catan, but something where you could be in the world, as opposed to sitting in a virtual chair, playing a virtual game. Well like AR, your game would be amazing. You build a monster with cards, and then he stands up and walks around. HoloLens. HoloLens is the best. Yeah. My God, cuz I was so excited about VR. And VR was one of those things that I tried and I was like yeah, this is gonna be good. This is gonna be really fun. Whereas going into it, I was like, this is amazing. And then playing it, I was like, this is not amazing, but it is awesome. So it's like- Yeah, it's getting there. Yeah, it's more like, except I played a flight simulator which was incredible. But it was still unnerving, cuz I was like What's happening around me in the real world? Right, we talk about that a lot. Like the vibe now has that front facing camera that if someone passes in front of you, you'll see a little outline of their body as they pass. So that you know no one's not gonna scare you while you have a headset on. Helpful. Yeah it's a trust game. But the hollow lens, which I got to try day three was just like I went in going eh, I mean good luck. What is this going to be, help me Obi Wan you're my only hope? What is this stuff gonna be? Yeah. But it was amazing. You did the Halo? The Halo thing, which was just, I was like. It was just a too limited field of view. You feel the vision, yeah. [CROSSTALK] At the moment, I didn't mind that as much. Obviously it's like first gen but. It's like looking in a little window. I didn't, cuz given that I expected it to suck. I was kinda like. Pleasantly surprised. Yeah, it was like, well I mean yeah, that's annoying but the fact that it's happening. [LAUGH] Yeah, the fact that it works. Right. And I get that it might be weird to have myopic vision that's But you can't see beyond that little frame. Yeah. Mm-hm. I'm sure that won't be permanent. Yeah, I'm sure they'll expand in time, or you hope so. One hopes. One hopes. But the fact that even in that one frame, all that stuff was possible, I was like, why didn't Just a thing on the desk, and- You're getting your load out ready- Yeah and when you looked at different parts of it, it tracked your eye movement. So it would be like you're looking here, here's information about that part of the ship. And I was like this, the potential of that technology. And it's so- Just walking down the hallway and getting waypoints- That was the best. That was cool. What is even happening? Yeah! I was like this is real! This is actually, there's a thing! Look, my God! Very immersive, because you're not If there's not a separation between you and reality cuz you're just in it. You're living. Which is cool. So yeah, that kind of board game. I'd love to play that kind of board game. That could be So interesting, just yeah. Hollow [UNKNOWN] Yeah, like [UNKNOWN] where you pop up and you have characters in the board and they fight each other. You put down a little hearthstone, the summoning stone and then all the sudden the whole board kind of unfolds in front of you. There was a Playstation Eye game, Eye of the Beholder. They tried something like that but it was on a screen. Yeah, I remember that. You can do We can already do that stuff and even the 3DS has those little cards that you look through the 3DS and it'll stand up. That's right, yeah. So that'll happen. I guess yeah, and what is it, like kind of like is it Skylanders or something like that, not exactly but you've got like, or Disney's Infinity. Yeah, yeah. Little figures where you can play. Yeah or amibos, it's kinda like you just have to have a little chip and it would then do the rest Well that's the next step right? Is that your toys all have a personality cuz you have them on goggles. Yeah, yeah. I'm ready. Let's do it. [LAUGH] Let's get in that. Just like, I'm in. Sign me up. So right now beyond the board game. Yeah. Real briefly So you're, you've done Flash. Yeah where can people keep up with you? There's some exciting news coming out soon that I can't talk about yet, but it's really soon, so- You can tell us after the show- Still no. [LAUGH] Not even then. But it's gonna be really, I am unbelievably excited about it. Just for the kind of guy I am. It's gonna be cool, so I hate to leave a tease like that. But it's really exciting. it gives people a reason to follow you on Twitter. Right? That's all it was for. You are a great, your own marketing team. If you contribute to his Kickstarter page, he'll tell you the secret. Yes, totally. [LAUGH] We haven't discussed that. I'm trying to be your marketing guy! You're doing great. You're doing great. Excellent Not doing an excellent job. Yeah, its just onto him, great job. Maybe not an accurate job, but a great job. The truth is, But you've been on a bunch of other stuff. I caught you this morning on What Just Went Live Today. You were talking about Trailers, I think. And You mean like [UNKNOWN] and stuff like that? On Legends and Layers, and stuff like that? Yeah. There's been, later on today, I'm gonna be doing a play through, which is exciting. What do you think, I think Smash Games, I think it is. But it's, yeah, it's gonna be cool. Right. Yeah, it's been awesome. There's been a lot of interest and I've been having a lot of fun. What are you playing right now? Well I have a board game night every Thursday, so that's kind of convenient, so I think tonight we're gonna play. I haven't really played the X Wing tabletop game yet, but it looks really fun. So I'm gonna try it. Yeah, only two players, but yeah. Yeah, it's tough finding a game that has, say, more than four players that you can play. Right. But That's true. Yeah but you've got to get on Pandemic legacy. Right. Well .>> Yeah I heard so many good things. I just saw a risk legacy as well. Yeah. Pandemic is better. [INAUDIBLE] It's cool. Yeah. Risk legacy is very good. [INAUDIBLE] Yeah but then I was like marketing genius. Like because you are like what are you playing? [INAUDIBLE]. Right. Yeah. right. But you play it 12 times though in the same box. True. and it evolves just to make it [INAUDIBLE] That's a good idea. Such a good idea. Well I would check it out. Cool man. [CROSSTALK] Well, thanks for being here. Yeah, thank you so much. Where can we find you on twitter because I know your twitter handle is not just Liam McIntyre. And I wish it was but apparently there are other people who really wanted to be Liam McIntyre that decided to get there first. No, right? No, it's at Liam underscore J underscore McIntyre. That's not too bad. It's not terrible. We will also tweet it out from Tomorrow Daily. So if you go to our Tomorrow Daily Twitter account today and you see it, so you'll see Liam's Twitter handle. And you can click on it and all that stuff. Yeah, genius, technology. You can check out the Kickstarter. Again, it's Monster Lab. Yeah. Gonna build some monsters with some cards. And then destroy things and fight with other monsters. Pretty cool. [CROSSTALK] Sounds like a real win to me. I don't know. There's no downside. There's no true downside here. Everybody wants to be a mad scientist on the inside. [LAUGH] You can check that out, and then, of course, you can always watch your television, because I'm sure this gentleman will be popping up on it. [UNKNOWN] But don't turn away from this. Whatever screen you're watching us on because we have more Tomorrow Daily coming right up.