Interview with LaniDoodle — Transcript

Birthday Live Chat

Interview with the Community Conductor winner of 2022


Date and time: 16 February, 18:00 CET

Host: Rowena — Lead Community Operations


  • Simon (Salix) – Product Manager;
  • Daniel (Saphirus) – Tech Lead;
  • LaniDoodle – Community Conductor of 2022

Transcript written by: Yaenara — Community Management Team Lead

Live listeners: ~140


Rowena: To keep it very short because you know, I assume that the winner itself is very excited already, I’m going to post the goodie first which will show you who it is and I’m going to do this now.

Also, kudos to our Marketing Art Team, who created this for you guys, because it is amazing! They created this for everyone. I have a link where you can download the original version of it.

It’s a poster! (Download the poster here) You can print it out up to A3 format and hang it wherever you want.

I think it’s absolutely amazing and, of course, now you all know LaniDoodle won!


[Rowena sharing another voucher in the community]

Rowena: All right, well let’s start with the interview with Lani. Congratulations! How does this feel?

LaniDoodle: It’s emotional. Thank you, I’m honoured!

Rowena: Cool! Well, how about you tell us a bit about yourself? You don’t need to share anything you’re not comfortable with, of course, but maybe there are some things about you that you would like to share with the community about yourself, so they get an idea of who you are.

Click to open Answer

LaniDoodle: Okay, my name is Lani, otherwise known as LaniDoodle. I live in the US, in the state of Virginia. Other than being addicted to the Rail Nation, I have a handmade craft business and I’m currently working on my PhD at Harvard in Computer science.

Rowena: Cool. Sounds very smart, so good luck with that! How long have you been playing Rail Nation?

Click to open Answer

LaniDoodle: Christmas Eve of this year will be seven years.

Rowena: And now comes the follow-up question, which I already know has a very cute story to it, but I’m sure everybody else will want to hear it too: How did you find your way into this game?

Click to open Answer

LaniDoodle: First, a friend of a friend had once told me they had opened a diner. A restaurant eating place, and they did it out of a rail car. They told me to look it up. The guy’s name was Nathan and I didn’t know the name of the restaurant. So, I googled it: “railcar restaurant Nathan” and Google gave me Rail Nation, so I was like “What is this? Okay, let’s try to play this game!” 

I opened it up, and I had no clue what was going on.

I saw the train, saw all these little buildings, and said “Oh, how cute!” So, here’s the grain building, I guess I buy seeds, I plant them, I grow grain and then I carry them on this little train. But I spent all my money so I couldn’t buy the little seeds, you know, I’m just like… I had no clue. Then I saw cows and I said “Oh maybe I can pick the cows up, put them on the train, take them somewhere”? Nothing! I just thought “What in the world?” I had no clue, so I just shut the game off…

About six months or a year later, I heard my husband hollering and screaming at his monitor.

So, I went out and I said: “What in the world, who are you hollering at?”

He said, “This team, these people, oh my God!” And he said a whole lot of words that I can’t repeat. I just laughed and walked away.

Then, it was a few weeks later, I said: (you know, we were going somewhere) «Let’s go, we gotta go.”

He says: “I can’t, I’m in the middle of an endgame.”

I said: “Well, end it and let’s go!”

And he said: “No, it’s gonna be about two days”.

So, I just kind of rolled my eyes and said: “No, forget this”.

Then I saw him on the computer, and I said: “Who’s account is that? That’s not your name, who is that?”

He says: “Oh I’m sitting.

I said: “Did you hack somebody’s account? You can’t do that.”

He says: “No, no, I’m sitting. It’s on this Rail Nation game.”

And I said: “Okay, but you’re gonna go to prison and I’m not gonna know you!” 

And then he says: “You know what, you need to come on Discord, you need to meet my team, my friends, you need to play this game!”

And I said: “Well, I guess if I want to spend time with you, I’d  better.”

So, I went online, and I said I’m just gonna watch. And they’re like, no you can’t watch, you have to join the team, go into a game and play. So, I did, I joined the team, the Discord and they helped me through the game, and they taught me. They were the best teachers ever!

They had all the patience in the world with me. And that began my journey. Seven years later I chair my own team. Now I have my own association and the same guys are still supporting me, still teaching me and they’re in my team!

So that’s how that got started.

Rowena: Awesome!  I knew this story was great and I can see that all the listeners are think it was’s a really awesome story too.

[Rowena sharing another voucher in the community]

Rowena: What do you like best about playing Rail Nation?

Click to open Answer

LaniDoodle: I would have to say one of the best things would be the people that I’ve met. I used to travel the world internationally at my formal job, and meeting people that live in places that I visited has been awesome. Learning the language is learning the customs.

And besides the people, it’s a brilliant game! Brilliantly designed and it’s always changing; you never get bored. I mean, once you think you’ve got everything figured out, the next thing you know there are more features, there are changes. I’m still trying to figure out the trains from the last change.

It’s exciting, and I can’t wait to see what comes in the future. But yeah, it’s never boring.

Rowena:  I’m just at the beginning of this journey, but you know what happened to me the other night?

Click to open Answer

Rowena: I woke up at three AM because I had to pee and I looked at my phone and I was like “Oh I could actually, you know, log in really quick.” [Laughing] I logged in at three AM! I don’t think I did much.I probably watched one ad or something and then I fell asleep again. But I was like, I’ve been playing for four days and I’m already hooked. It’s terrible!

Rowena: Then we have another question: I already asked you how you felt about winning, but what does winning mean to you? It’s a different thing, right?

Click to open Answer

LaniDoodle: It means that people appreciate what I try to do every day, and I think being appreciated is one of the best things in the world. You can make someone feel appreciated and that’s what it makes me feel. Because, you know, anybody in this game can do anything that I do.

It’s not a superpower or anything like that, but it’s just that you strive to do that. You just help people and be there for people. “If you can’t see the light, be the light” — that’s what I always say. It’s just being kind. Knowing that it comes back to you, it’s the best feeling in the world.

Rowena: Well, I’m great you get to feel it! I mean I feel it’s well deserved. I haven’t been here for that long, but I’ve heard only good things about you and when we were telling people internally who had won, I only heard things like “Really cool, she deserves this, she’s such a good person”. So yeah, congratulations again!

Rowena: So, I’ve figured out that you are also a Moderator and an Ambassador. What is your favourite thing about being part of those teams?

Click to open Answer

LaniDoodle: Helping people, and being able to answer questions. The ambassador program — Really, I love that program. I loved the way it was set up, that the players were involved and picking out the bugs that they wanted fixed and we went and gathered information and we got to meet with the devs.

It’s a well thought out program and it was working, and I love doing that. And I loved that from the beginning it’s been me, Naike and Yansi. They’re like the best two people in the world and we’ve worked together, they have my back. I can go to them if I have a question or it’s like “Do you know this?”. They’re very knowledgeable and they’re just really special to me, both of them.

As far as the moderator goes, you know, that’s challenging.  I guess it’s gonna be even more challenging at times, but it’s all about how you talk to people, how you make them feel and… I love people. I’m a people person.

So, both roles, I’m honoured to have both. Every day I try to help the team that we work with and make them proud too.

Rowena: Well, that’s a nice thing to say. I was part of a volunteer team for a very long time as well. So, I really get where you’re coming from. It is very rewarding, to be able to help on the game you love so much and, and just be part of it somehow. Right?

So yeah, if anybody here ever thinks about becoming a moderator, go talk to your Community Manager, we are always happy to have people help.

What do you think about the poster, are you going to hang it on your wall? I mean, it has your name on it after all.

Click to open Answer

LaniDoodle: Oh yeah, it’s definitely going right in here in my craft room/office so I can see it all the time. It’s beautiful, it really is! And it’s funny because I collect posters. I collect old movie posters, like old horror movie posters. Yes, it’s awesome!

Rowena: This is to honour you, it’s to honour all the people that won, during the months. I’m glad to hear that you like it.

[Rowena sharing another code in the community]

Rowena: Is there anything that you always wanted to say to your fellow players?

Click to open Answer

LaniDoodle: I’d like to thank everyone that has helped me along the way, that has taught me, given me tips and tricks and, you know — “integration, integration, integration!”. That’s one thing that took me the longest time to figure out and, just, you know, just being given a helpful hand. And even, the top players, because I’m really big on messaging. I don’t even have to know you; if I see you’re doing something cool and I want to figure out how you did it, I’m gonna message you! I’ve messaged people, especially people that are not from my city and if you’re taking majorities, I’m going to message you and ask you if you’re lost.

I’ll also message you and say we, The Misfits, keep a pet in a lagoon over there and it’s also right across from a graveyard.

I like to joke around, and I just love meeting people. So, whenever you’re out and we cross game worlds say hi. You never know, we might help each other out from now on.

Rowena: Every time I join a game world, the first thing I’m going to do is write into every town and ask if you’re there to help me with things. [laughing]

LaniDoodle: Sure, come on. I think it’s all about competing. I love good competition. I love competing and, yeah, it’s aggravating, you know, when you get teams in there and they’re just taking everything.

I messaged people and I’m like “Why are you doing that? Why are you taking all these majorities?”

And they’re like “Well, you know, I’m just using the features of the game.” And I said, “Okay, okay, I got you.” So that’s when I tell them about the little monster in the lagoon and, and the graveyard and they’re like “Why are you telling me that? That’s kind of scary.” I said I’m just using the features in the game. [laughing]

It’s how you handle a circumstance, you know, and when people get hot and heated, you just kind of joke around with them and get them laughing and go back to competing. Life’s too short to holler and scream and be mad at each other. It’s a game. [laughing]

Rowena:  Well true, true. Then again, I think we’ve all learned this also from Julien and the last voice chat, there is nothing like the experience of being yelled at about a game.

LaniDoodle: I was the one yelling at Julien when he was on my team.

Rowena: Yes, he probably deserved it. Taking the majority of others.

LaniDoodle: And I said: “You can’t do that; you can’t just take the majority of the team that’s helping us.!”

And he says: “Well, where can I go and take it?

I said: “You can’t. Well, of course, you can, you can do whatever you want.

But yeah, I was the one that hollered at him.

Rowena: Well, I like you a little better now, just because I know that you yelled at Julien. [Laughing]

[Rowena sharing another voucher with the community]

Rowena: But because we were talking about you know, this game being family, bringing people together, yelling at them… that’s what happens in families, right? Showing love to each other, helping each other out.

This is all really in the spirit of this Valentine’s event that we created for you guys, where you should write a little love message to your favourite person in the game and they reply. All you must do after that is post screenshots of that message on Discord in their correct channel. It is in the event section and it’s called #valentines-event-2023. It is very convenient there.

You can win cool and big prizes for both people who are joining. So, I suggest you go ahead and take a look, it’s really not that difficult and we would love to see your love messages.

All right, well, I think we’ve kind of come to an end. I am really honoured to be here, honoured to see that 140 people joined.! Really, really cool. Thank you for being here!

Simon, Saphirus, Lani, do you have anything you want to say or you’re just going to be like “Thank you, bye!” and leave because that’s what I usually do in meetings? [laughing]


Simon: The only thing I have left to say is to thank you also for moderating this year. It was a really cool event and I’m glad that I was able to join!

Rowena: Thank you for being here. It was nice having you!

Saphirus: it was fun to be here and maybe we will see or hear from each other again soonish!

Rowena: Yeah, I mean this is not the last one and we only have so many members in the team, right?

So, I’ll have to invite you again at some point if I want to or not. But also, to you: Thank you very much for taking the time and answering some questions!

Lani, do you want to say goodbye to our players? And then I guess we are all going to leave and find some dinner, breakfast or lunch depending on where you live.

LaniDoodle: Thank you all, every one of you! All the players that I played with, that I haven’t played with, and I’m gonna play with — because sooner or later I’ll be with everybody at some point.

I just want to again, thank everybody and Happy Hauling!

Rowena: Cool, well, again, thank you also for joining!

For those that were wondering, yes, Lani is going to get the 3D-printed train that was shown a year ago. Unfortunately, it’s not 100% finished yet, which is why we cannot show a photo right now. But I’m sure I’m going to take some photos before I send it over to her, so you’ll get to see it.

I wish everybody a lovely evening! Thank you very much for being here.