I'm a teacher, I love board games, and this project combined my two passions! My high school, Austin Prep, granted me a summer sabbatical to integrate game design into our curriculum. My art teacher colleague Heather Scott and I teamed up, taking design courses and building our own game through The Game Crafter as a proof of concept. We commissioned some of her best art students to illustrate the game, and we're so proud of how it came out!
We've now integrated game design into our courses, with my Middle School Digital Storytelling classes pitching games to Heather's High School Graphic Design courses to create, and our freshman history teachers have crafted a game design midterm project. We figured, why not give people the chance to own the game that started it all!
In One Hit Wonder, you are a musical artist, and you have a music world to take over. You've got to meet the right people. You've got to manage egos. You've got to practice, practice, practice. Become the music. Sabotage competing bands. Sing, shred, flirt... whatever it takes to get yourself a gig at The Ultiplex, the greatest concert venue in the land. Because that's where it happens. That's where a bum who can string together a couple of chords can transcend time, transcend space, and become a...
Don't let us tell you it's awesome. Check out this review by Dan Yocom and the great people over at Everything Board Games.
How to Play
You are an artist.
Each turn, you gain inspiration points (the number at the top right of the artist), which are used as currency within the game. You then get three actions to write songs, practice songs, recruit bandmates, boost or sabotage bandmate egos, draw lifestyle cards, chill, or play a gig.
To win the game, you need to play successful gigs at the game's three venues: the dive bar Midnightly, the hipster cafe The Artful Baboon, and The Ultiplex--the stadium of the musical gods. To play a gig, you need songs.
To play a song, you roll a 12-sided die. A song can be played "Good," or with higher rolls, it can be played "Sick." Each venue requires a certain number of "Sick" songs to be performed. Songs require your band to be able to play certain instruments: Keyboard, Drums, and Guitar. Most artists can play one instrument, but to be able to play bigger songs, you'll need bandmates.
Every Crosby needs a Stills, Nash, and (sometimes) Young. Bandmates give you the instruments to play harder songs, the inspiration to drive through the hardest crowds, and often some bonuses, too. But the chemistry of a band is a fragile thing. Your bandmates have Ego Scores, the higher they are, the more likely your bandmates are to leave you. You'll need to boost the egos of your bandmates to ensure they don't leave you to start a solo career, or worse, join an opponent who has sabotaged you!
You're now ready to play! For more rules details, check out this PDF of the game's official rules.
The game consists of:
- An 18"x18" gorgeous Quad-Fold Game Board
- 8 Jumbo Artist Cards
- 4 Jumbo Rules Cards
- 118 Token Punchouts (including inspiration points, remix tokens, special artist ability tokens, and the "panda mascot" token)
- 89 Unique Poker-sized Cards (including 20 bandmate cards, 30 lifestyle cards, 36 song cards, and 3 bonus cards)
- An 8-page rulebook
A few years ago, I attended the concert of one of my best friends, Mark, a guitarist, singer and songwriter. I told him he needed more original merch, something indie and weird to give him more street cred. I said I would make the “Mark Gilday Jr Board Game.” We laughed and called it a night, and over the next few weeks, I began drafting a few ideas.
I’m the furthest thing from a rock star, instead a video production teacher who loves music, its quirky lyrics and quirkier artists singing them. The teaching came in handy. My school, Austin Prep, offers summer sabbatical grants to teachers wishing to pursue their passions and explore ways to bring them into the classroom. I believe game design sits at a wonderful intersection of so many fields—art, storytelling, math, design—and I was fortunate enough to receive one of the grants. I teamed up with our awesome art teacher, Heather Scott, and we dove into online courses on game design and illustration, redesigning the curricula of our courses to feature a game design project. Along the way and supported by the school, we worked on our own game to work out the kinks of design, using The Game Crafter to print prototypes (and eventually the final version). We had multiple drawing sessions with some of Heather’s top art students, commissioning their artwork in the perfect culminating project of her Illustration course.
It had a wonderfully positive impact on our curriculum, too. The students in my middle school Digital Storytelling courses pitched games to students in her high school Graphic Design classes, bringing their own designs to life. That project has now trickled down to our freshman history curriculum, in which all of our freshman students design their own historical-themed games to prove their understanding of the past.
It’s been three years since I pitched the “Mark Gilday Jr” board game to my best friend, and a year and a half since we received that summer sabbatical. It turns out that making a board game is a lot more work than I thought! But I’m so proud of the product, and I have had so much fun working with my friends, colleagues, and students in such a unique way. Heather produced brilliant digital designs, students like Laura and Mackenzie and Arianna and Bridget (and many others!) astounded me with their illustrations of my bizarre characters, and so many friends (and colleagues!) had the patience to sit down with a half-baked game to give me feedback. I even got to collaborate with my incredibly talented cousin, Slumberwood web comic designer Mary Taylor (@wishpetal), who is willing to make some custom art if you back our premium tier!
I hope you have as much fun playing as we did making it. We're ready to have a good time throughout the campaign, posting a Spotify playlist for each of the game's eight artists, and some other fun Easter eggs. You can follow our @OneHitWonderGame Instagram page or Facebook page to keep up and we'll of course update here too!
Risks and challenges
Our game has been designed through The Game Crafter, a great service that made the dream of designing a professional product possible for us! We're eight iterations deep, and are feeling great about the product. I've got a couple of small typos to revise and one final look-over, then I'll use their Bulk Fulfillment services to ship the game out. I'm a teacher first, but will provide the best support I can--and knock on wood, you won't need any!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)