Give & Take
Bringing back the magic of Pachisi style roll and move, combining luck and strategy, for a game that is easy, quick, and FUN to play!
Give & Take
Bringing back the magic of Pachisi style roll and move, combining luck and strategy, for a game that is easy, quick, and FUN to play!
I've been out of work for quite some time now. In my neck of the woods, there aren't many opportunities available that are a good fit for me and offer a decent salary. So while I've been searching for a new job, I've also been focusing on my own initiatives, working to soon to launch a software package that I've designed to help run small business (and also working on the honey-do lists as well). The time at home has afforded the opportunity to spend some extra time with my three children, Leighton (6), Kalina (6), and Ehren (10), and they provide me with a joy (and stress) that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. Being a dad has been the most wonderful experience in my life, and no matter my current situation I am happy and thankful for everything that I have been blessed with.
Recently, my son Leighton came to me and said "Dad, let's make a board game!", to which I said OK. I had never made a board game before, but I thought it would be a great project we could do together, and he's a very creative kid who loves coloring and drawing. Being only 6 years old, I needed to begin with the basics, so I asked him "what do you want the object of the game to be? What do you have to do in the game?". Those questions might have been too tough for him, but he did give it some thought (I just couldn't get a comprehensive answer). So I decided to start with a little easier question. "Leighton, what shape do you want to use for the game board?" A Triangle, he said. Great! We had our first step of success, and we were well on our way (or so I thought). Soon after, he was well on his way to the living room to watch Pokemon videos with his big brother.
I've never been a quitter! In fact, I'm the exact opposite - I believe that I can do or accomplish anything, and this board game was going to be no different. Of course I had other pressing priorities, but I didn't want to let my little boy down (and I knew he'd be back to check on the status, numerous times).
I started thinking about all the games I used to play when I was a child. There were so many that I enjoyed, but I always liked the board game called "Sorry". It was easy to play, just roll and move, easy to learn, quick, enjoyable, and re-playable. My brothers and I (and the parents) played countless times. But the game still did get mundane rather quickly. There really wasn't much variety to the game - it's the luck of the dice roll, putting your opponents back to start, and getting home. But "Sorry' has staying power, even in today's saturated game market, and I believe it is because the qualities that make it attractive follow an important rule - The KISS rule: Keep It Simple Stupid!
This was my epiphany moment, and the birth of my new board game.
My game (well, my son's game) was going to have all the same qualities - It would be easy to learn, roll and move, easy to play, fun and enjoyable, and re-playable. But it was also going to have the one thing that was missing from my childhood version - an element of STRATEGY! Our game was not just going to be about luck of the roll, though it would still be the primary element. After much thought and mental play, I came up with some ideas and a plan.
I spent the next 4 hours drawing the game board on an old piece of cardboard, cutting the game pieces from wine bottle corks, coloring the game board with crayons, and developing the rule set (I felt like a kid again). I wanted this game to be ready by dinner, and I was cutting it close. But alas, before the dinner plates were set down, the game was finished and waiting to be tested.
Now if we could just get through the dinner in a reasonable amount of time, we could test play the game before bath and bed time (let's just say I have some picky procrastinating eaters and dinner is not always the most enjoyable of occasions). So I used the game as an incentive, and my kids ate rather quickly, and we were off to test our creation.
We had to tweak a few rules as we began playing (and then developed more rules and ideas as well), but the first round of the game was actually a lot of fun. The kids wanted to play again, so we did. And we played again, and again, and again, and again!
The next day we played again, repeatedly Wow! The kids were really enjoying it. My wife and her mother also played, and they really enjoyed it and had fun. The rules were now great, but the game play was almost perfect! The wins were never lopsided. It seems that every game was always close, and the strategy element made it exciting, especially near the end of the game. One thing that stood out to me was that no one was complaining when they lost. They were actually happy because the finishes were always neck-n-neck, and I think they began to realize that once the strategy element was gone, luck was all that was left. I've played my share of games where someone left the table crying because they lost...but it just wasn't happening here...not even once! It was a give and take, which perchance became the formal name of the game.
Soon, my son was bringing "Give & Take" to his friends house and teaching them how to play, and teaching their friends. The tablets and computers were sitting idle while the kids were sitting around the table playing on an old piece of crayon colored cardboard with cut up cork pieces, laughing and enjoying themselves.
I think this made me the most happy because getting their faces away from the digital screens is a constant battle. Now on game night, "Give & Take" is the first game my kids ask for (and we have tons of other board games). It has become our go-to game, and has taken on longevity of its own. To me this was a true sign of success and has motivated me to take this game to a larger audience.
After playing "Give & Take" many times to ensure that it plays perfectly, I spent the next few weeks working on my computer, drawing out a professional looking game board, refining the rules, and sourcing the game pieces, packaging, and printing services (I even bought orange dice for my son as it is his favorite color). Mission accomplished! "Give & Take" turned out beautifully I sent the artwork to a printer so that I could have some professional looking game boards to give to my family and friends to play, and also to be able to send some prototypes to prospects.
I created a simple logo, but I realized that it really needed an artists touch.. I invited my friend Ben to lunch, who is a very talented cartoonist/artist. He and I played the game over lunch (of which he remarked that our game was actually a lot of fun to play...kudos), and I asked him if he could help me to develop a catchy logo and artwork for the packaging, to which he graciously said yes. If you ever need a top notch freelance graphic designer, contact Ben Precup on LinkedIn. The Logo is complete, and shown on the top of the page, and also in the artwork below.
So now that I had all the elements in place, I began looking for ways to get our game out into the public. I researched and read for weeks on how to bring a board game to market,. The pitfalls were numerous, the costs were significant, and success stories seemed to be far outnumbered by stories of defeat. Reality hit me like a sledgehammer. The odds were severely stacked against me, and the direction looked like an almost impossible uphill climb. I courted publishers to no avail (most wouldn't even reply to my email). I knew I could never go it alone without a publisher or some substantial funds. I'm unemployed and just making ends meet, so needles to say I was a little deflated. At this point, I conceded to myself that "Give & Take" would probably remain our own private family game and always hold a special meaning to us (and I was perfectly OK with that).
But hey, I already said that I'm not a quitter! And then I thought about the crowd funding approach. Could Kickstarter be a way to help me launch a new direction in life? Well, I guess were about to find out!
If you've read this far, then let me tell you about the game so that you can decide if you would like to help in our endeavor.
- The game is ideal for ages 6+
- The game is designed for 2 or 3 players. I felt that 4 or more players makes the game too long, and the game board too congested. It is much easier for 3 people to play sitting around the end of a table (as most tables are rectangular in shape). This reduces the need to stretch over a table (especially for the little ones with shorter arms) and prevents pieces from getting frequently knocked over.
- Game play time is approximately 15 to 30 minutes, which is great for kids who tend to have shorter attention spans. It's also great for parents who can get in a quick game and spend some time with their children, and still get back to their busy lives. To make it even quicker, you could choose to play with only 3 pawns, instead of the included 4.
- The game board is 18" x 18" and folds down to 9" x 9", so the box is small and stores easily (9.5" x 9.5" x 2"). The game contents include 12 Pawns (4 Green, 4 Red, 4 Blue), 2 Six-Sided numbered Die, and 140 Yellow Chips.
- The rules, actions, and options are all printed on the face of the game board, so there is no instruction book to lose, which also makes for quick rule verification. An artwork image of the game board design is shown below (with the new logo). The prototype image shown above still contains the old Logo. The Box illustration artwork is also complete and shown below.
- The first player to race all of their pawns to their finish spaces wins.
- To begin the game each player rolls 1 die. The player with the highest number takes the first turn. In the event of a tie roll, tying players re-roll the die until the highest number is rolled.
- The player may roll the dice only 1 time unless receiving or purchasing an extra turn. The player must roll both die simultaneously during their turn unless there is only 1 space remaining for the player to move which then the player may roll only 1 die.
- The player may purchase only 1 option per turn prior to rolling the dice. The player may not purchase an option during an extra turn. Options cannot be used on any pawns that are in the start or finish zone.
- The player may move 1 pawn an amount of spaces equal to the total roll of the dice. If the player rolls a double (the same number on both die) the player has the option to move 2 pawns an equal amount of spaces matching the total roll of the dice. If the player rolls a double 6 the player receives an extra turn.
- Each landing space on the game board is color coded. Landing on a space requires the player to fulfill the associated action listed on the right side of the game board.
- The player may jump over but not land on a space occupied by their own pawn.
- The player may land on a space occupied by an opponents pawn. The opponents pawn is moved backwards to the next unoccupied space and the opponent must fulfill the associated action based on the color of the space to which they were moved.
LANDING SPACE ACTIONS:
- Green, Blue, or Red space - The player gives 3 chips to the opponent of the landing space color. If the player does not have 3 chips to pay, the player cannot land on the space. The player loses their turn if unable to move. If a player was moved backwards onto the space by an opponent and does not have 3 chips to pay, the player is moved backwards again to the next unoccupied space of their own color.
- Purple space - The player takes 1 chip from the bank and 1 chip from each opponent. If an opponent does not have a chip to take, the player may move 1 of the opponents pawns backwards to the next unoccupied space of the opponents own color.
- Yellow space - The player rolls 1 die and takes a matching amount of chips from the bank. If the player rolls a 6 the player receives an extra turn.
- Yellow Star space - The player takes 6 chips from the bank and may move 1 pawn of each opponent backwards to the next unoccupied space of the opponents own color.
- Split dice (5 chips) - The player has the option, but is not required, to move 2 pawns. The pawns can only move an amount of spaces equal to the number rolled on each die. The dice total can not be divided.
- Skip a turn (10 chips) - The player may choose 1 opponent to skip a turn.
- Extra turn (10 chips) - The player can roll the dice and move again.
- Swap position (15 chips) - The player may choose 1 opponents pawn and swap its position with their own pawn.
- Return to start (25 chips) - The player may move 1 opponents pawn back to the start X
.There are different strategy angles to the game, such as:
- Taking the shortcuts near the corners to get your pawn to your finish spaces quicker, instead of taking the longer corner route to attempt to collect the 6 chips and move your opponents backwards. The more chips you collect, the more options you can purchase.
- Landing on opponents to push them back to a strategic color, preferably to gain chips for yourself (and force your opponent to lose chips), but at the same time prevent your other opponent from also collecting more chips. With three players, the game board becomes more congested, so landing on an opponent may sometimes push them back 2, 3, or more spaces to the next unoccupied space, which may not always work in your favor.
- Making an opponent skip a turn or opting for an extra turn. Either option may offer and advantage or disadvantage based on the current status and positions of your opponents.
- Swapping a pawn to speed you to your finish.
- Purchasing the split dice option in the finish zone to take advantage of the smaller numbers for easier landing, which can become costly quickly and eat into your bigger purchase options.
- Opponents may opt to work together to stop another opponent by combining coins, however this strategy can be dangerous as colluding opponents may find themselves battling each other for the win.
Amassing the chips can be difficult, as just when you have collected enough chips to purchase your desired option, an opponent takes away some of your chips leaving you short handed. Even in the finish zones there are opportunities to take chips.
Each player will develop their own strategy, and most of the time the chips are used near the finale of the game to gain advantage over your opponents and win the game.
This game is really a lot of fun to play, and replay, for both kids and adults. I know that you will enjoy it too.
Our endeavor is to create a business that will be strongly focused on the Give, and not just the Take. My first year goal is to give away 1000 copies of "Give & Take" to institutions such as libraries, hospitals, schools, shelters, and other community centers, so that kids (and adults) can freely enjoy the simple hands-on interactive fun that is often passed over for television, computers, tablets, phones, and other digital mediums. If successful, this giving goal will increase every year, and will remain a foundation for the business.
My goal is to also keep "Give & Take" very affordable, at less than $10 each, so that many families can enjoy this game, and make it a go-to choice for gift giving. To accomplish this, I need to produce a substantial quantity, so I am setting our Kickstarter goal at $20,000.
These goals are lofty and challenging but I believe they can be accomplished with the support of the Kickstarter community. So what do you think? Do you feel that our Kickstarter project is worthy of your support? If so, then we want to say Thank You, and challenge you to take a share pack reward (2, 5, or 10 quantity) and give away copies of the game to your friends, to family, and to places where kids and adults can enjoy the simple fun and interaction of board gaming. I hope that you will also tell others about this project so that we can reach our goal!
If this project is not quite for you, then I still want to say Thank You for taking your time to check it out.
Have a merry Christmas, a joyous holiday season, and I hope that by this time next year, "Give & Take" will be under many Christmas trees and in many children's centers around the country.
Matt Niehues, and Family!
Risks and challenges
I believe the biggest challenge in making "Give & Take" a success is sustaining a comprehensive and affordable Marketing plan.
It's difficult to make yourself stand out among the crowd in today's interconnected and equally accessible web environment. It takes a lot of money and time; so focusing on creative and affordable advertising will be the primary initiative. I will use a sizable portion of the Kickstarter proceeds to fund a strategic and conservative advertising campaign, primarily from a social perspective. I have also aligned with a manufacturer to produce the games, and will procure some initial stock. All sales dollars will be re-invested in the company.
I have the domain name "GiveAndTakeBoardGame.com" reserved for the future website. I have also registered the "Give & Take" Trademark with the USPTO, and filed copyrights of the game board line drawings and artwork.
I have an existing LLC, and have a strong background and exposure to all aspects of running a small business. I have personally developed an ERP/MRP/CRM system from the ground up for the previous company I worked for, which is still in use today to run the entire company (now a multi-million dollar company, acquired by a billion dollar company). I have worked as Director of Purchasing and Director of IT. I have a diverse background in product development, material sourcing, vendor relations, manufacturing, inventory management, bill of material creation and cost accounting, shipping and receiving, invoicing, and other essential business functions. I also have a solid background in technology, servers, software, networking, graphic and web design.
I have set my Kickstarter goal high, as I do not want to put a half-hearted effort into this endeavor. It will require substantial funding to ensure its success. If I am able to reach or surpass my funding goals, I believe I can make this product a household name. I have many associates who I have worked with in the past that would welcome the opportunity to join my team and create something big.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)