Dysfunctional Families Card Game
A party card game for 3-10 players with a touch of adult-rowdiness as you say funny things and collect arsonists, cannibals, and more!
Dysfunctional Families is a memory-based card game for 3 to 10 players similar to Go Fish! but with a touch of adult-rowdiness as you collect families of mad scientists, arsonists, cannibals, and more -- while dealing with additional characters such as social workers and psychics that can interact and change the flow of the game. You want to gather as much information as you can about your opponent’s cards while revealing as little as possible about your own hand.
This is my project update video from July 7, 2016 which shows people playing the game for the first time and has notes explaining how the game works:
To learn more about the game, you can scroll down to see images of all the cards and the rules. The rules are quick and easy -- they fit on three playing cards.
The Final Judgement : Game Review
"Dysfunctional Families is a nice, light little game that works best if you and your friends are just as dysfunctional as the families in the game. It’s guaranteed to make you laugh a lot if you are playing it with the right kind of people and can be played until well late into the night because of its simple core mechanics. If you and your weird / rough / rowdy / dysfunctional friends are looking for a few good laughs while downing some beers on a Saturday night, Dysfunctional Families will guarantee a good time!"
Here is a video of people playing the game for the first time:
If you want to playtest the game right now, a basic black-and-white print-and-play version is given to all backers OR you can get it for free by going to the igpay.com website and signing up for the email list.
another gameplay video with a different group of people:
I (Eric) am here on Kickstarter because I want to raise enough funds to do a large printing of Dysfunctional Families. To fulfill this Kickstarter, I need to raise enough to be able to print and ship 100 decks, however, ideally I would be able to fund printing much more than that so that I can “kickstart” my games company and start selling the game for real on amazon.
There’s no “big company” here. It’s all just me. That’s why your help and support is so important. I need you to support me by being an early purchaser of the game and also need your support in letting your friends know about this game.
The making of Dysfunctional Families:
When I started researching card games, I discovered that the history of playing cards themselves is quite fascinating. Long before the current “52 cards in 4 suits Ace through King plus 2 Jokers” standard decks, there were all kinds of unique decks of cards.
One game from the 1800’s was called Happy Families, and I saw that and immediately thought of the name Dysfunctional Families. The original Happy Families game had rather grotesque looking family members, and it made me think that I could do Dysfunctional Families using my own (rather unique) art style.
Traditional Happy Families games relied on the tried and true professions: butcher, baker, candlestick maker, etc. I felt that the game needed a more modern twist and so instead used family professions such as mad scientists, cannibals, and stand-up comics. While creating the basic outline of the game, I realized some of the things that I could add to the original game and thus the “Power People” cards were created -- non-family members who could influence the course of the game such as the Psychic and the Parole Officer.
For my first Kickstarter project, I wanted to follow Jamey Stegmaier’s advice and run a “humble” project. Dysfunctional Families is a relatively easy project to produce: It is a total of 54 printed poker-size playing cards in a standard card tuck box. I created all the artwork myself so that I didn’t have to rely on any outside artist. I did all the graphic design work myself so that I didn’t have to rely on any outside designer. I am using MakePlayingCards as the printer since they:
- Have good printing quality
- Have rapid delivery times
- Have good pricing
- AND they did a good job printing my demo decks
To print the game at a reasonable price, I need to print at least 100 decks at once. That allows me the economies of scale I require to get the game into print and into your hands. That is a modest goal, and one that I am confident that together we can achieve.
Of course, ideally I would like to raise enough money to print a lot more than that, and to that end I’m going to do everything I can to keep this entire Kickstarter campaign lively and interesting. There will be regular updates that will be both entertaining and educational and probably some goodies as well.
What is the Thank You card I will be mailing you?
I will draw a Thank You stick figure for you on an index card (this is how I did all the artwork for the game) and mail it to you so that you will have your very own custom piece of Eric Shefferman art to cherish as you will. I hope you will be delighted with it.
How valuable is this? Only time will tell.
Tell me about the Dysfunctional Families game. What’s in the tuck box?
- 40 family cards - 4 for each the 10 families in the game
- 11 power people cards
- 3 cards with instructions
A total of 54 poker-size playing cards featuring the artwork of Eric Shefferman, lovingly tucked into... a tuck box!
Just Because You Haven’t Heard Of Me Doesn’t Mean I’m Not Famous!
The Art & Scribbles of Eric Shefferman Volume I
Ever since I was a little kid, I have loved pens and paper and books. I could (and still can) spend hours amusing myself with some pens and paper. In high school, I used to carry a set of magic markers with me and would spend almost every class drawing stuff instead of paying attention. (I mostly got straight A’s, so teachers weren’t inclined to mess with my “methods.”)
Yet, somehow, my artistic skills never rose above a certain level...
This book collects the artwork of Dysfunctional Families -- both the production artwork and some of the raw concept sketches (yes, I have artwork that looks even rougher than the final artwork) -- as well as artwork of mine from high school and college.
It is a whimsical, full-of-color, 7"x10" 64 pages; and it is going to be a very limited edition, printed on demand. If you are at all of the mind that I might actually be someone famous, then you’ll want to grab this up right away. Along with any cocktail napkins I doodle on!
I will be signing each book so that you’ll have my signature in case you want to forge any checks from me.
What are the Custom Power People cards?
I will draw a stick-figure of you based on a photo you provide (at my skill level, of course) and make you into a Power Person card!
You will receive the original artwork AND your game card, which will be printed by MakePlayingCards just like the other cards in the rest of the game so that you can impress your friends that you are actually IN the game.
Your name will go on the top of the card in red (just like the titles on the other Power People cards) and you can choose one of the powers below as your special power:
- X-ray vision
- Shout loudly
- Peek around corners
- Computer hacking
- Fly like a bird
- Sing like an angel
- I just know!
- Women’s intuition
- Loud whisperer
- Personal space invader
- Social awkwardness
- Master of the obvious
- 20/20 hindsight
Regarding shipping outside of the USA
A trend that I have been seeing on Kickstarter is that more and more card designers are writing specifically about how expensive it has become to ship a deck of cards outside of the USA.
I am no exception. I feel bad about the high shipping fees, but I am not able to do any better at this point.
I hope that the kickstarter will go well and that I will be able to follow through on my long-term plan to have the game available via amazon and perhaps that will be a way to better serve people outside of the USA.
I am going to do the best I can with this, but these things need to be kept in mind:
- Kickstarter funding that goes towards shipping seems to increase the number funding dollars I have raised, but much of that money gets handed over to the Post Office instead of going towards the goal (printing a large quantity of decks of Dysfunctional Families).
- I have no idea what VAT or other taxes my foreign backers will be expected to pay when their package arrives.
I attended RPI (Rensselaer) and spent a lot of time there using the Calcomp plotter on the mainframe to produce giant Spirographs. I left school and started programming video games on the original Nintendo home system. Since then my life has always revolved around some combination of computers and art.
As my life becomes more and more electronic and virtual, I find that I appreciate low-tech things more and more, especially things that can be enjoyed while hanging out in person with friends. Hence my desire to start a card game business.
About the game
Here is a video demonstration of how a turn works:
If you would like to ask me anything, you can do so in lots of ways:
- On Kickstarter via the Ask A Question button at the bottom of this page.
- If you are a backer you can leave a comment in the Comments section of this Kickstarter campaign.
- You can find me on Twitter as @igpaygames
- You can find me on Facebook at
The biggest thing you can do to support Dysfunctional Families is to PLEDGE RIGHT NOW to get a copy of your own!
I would also appreciate it if you "like" Dysfunctional Families The Game on Facebook. And of course, you can tell any of your friends who might enjoy Dysfunctional Families to come here and check it out!
Thank you for your support!
- Eric Shefferman
Risks and challenges
As I stated above, this is a “humble” project. I have done eveything I can to simplify the production process and test it.
I’ve already produced the art and printed the cards with MakePlayingCards, so I do not expect any surprises on the printing production side.
I will be hand-drawing each of the thank you index cards that get mailed to each backer. (It is possible that so many of you will back me that my hand will fall off, but to achieve having that many fans it is a risk I am willing to take.)
As soon as Kickstarter releases the funds to me (roughly 2 weeks after the campaign ends), I will be able to start the printing process with MakePlayingCards. MakePlayingCards seems to reliably deliver in roughly 2 weeks. Which means that by mid-August I expect to be in full envelope-stuffing mode, packing and mailing decks of Dysfunctional Families to you!
Postal delivery can then add a day - or weeks - depending on the whims of the postal fairy.
I have factored in some extra time by pushing the expected delivery to October 2016 in case any of the steps runs into a slowdown, but I expect to be able to deliver the game before that.
You can read some of my thoughts on running a Kickstarter here:
- (28 days)