Jewel Quest Solitaire II is in the running for Best Card, Board & Mahjong Game of 2007 at the upcoming Zeeby Awards. We chatted with the game’s lead developer, Dwain Theobald, about what makes Jewel Quest Solitaire II special and why it deserves to get your vote.

Can you give us insights or fun facts about the development of this game?

The design of Jewel Quest Solitaire II definitely went through an evolutionary process. It isn’t the game that was initially designed. Our designer play tested as the product developed and he brainstormed new rule sets. The game mechanics were then implemented and further changed by the input of the whole development team.

What evolved was a solitaire game that would take the familiarity of matching identical cards to one that provided a few additional goals and rules to impact the flow of the game. This added gameplay created a whole new level of depth that we hadn’t anticipated, one that allowed us to get very creative with the layouts and integration with the jewel board.

What makes Jewel Quest Solitaire II special, and why should people vote for it?

While the original Jewel Quest Solitaire was the first game to bring together the fun of a Solitaire card game with that of a Jewel Quest match-3 game, Jewel Quest Solitaire II gave the player, through skilled card play, even greater control over the outcome of the Jewel Quest match-3 game. This made for a game that is simple to play, but has great depth once a player understands all of the strategy nuances. You also get a great adventure story, beautiful art, and splendid music as a bonus.

Besides your own games of course, what other games impressed you in 2007?

The PlayStation 3 version of flOw caught my attention with its unique style.

If you win a Zeeby, how do you plan to celebrate (aside for going to Disneyworld, of course)?

I plan to work on another great game. I’m generally humble, but I might be forced to brag a bit too.

Any final words for your fans?

Make sure to save the double echo wild cards for when you are ready to fill three consecutive jewel board spaces. And, of course, have fun!

Click here to vote for you favorite casual games of 2007.