Being a "Dadsigner"
Father’s Day is coming up soon and this year Breaking Games wants to showcase two designers that worked with their kids to create some of our best selling, and possibly most "Dad" of our games.
Meet our "Dadsigners":
Blaise Sewell is a game designer who lives in sunny San Diego, California. He has designed games for years with his son, Emery Sewell. In 2014, they set out to create a simple game together, one that would be fun and uncomplicated, and created POOP: The Game.
NEWS! He also has new Breaking Games in the works! Snack n Stack, a push your luck dexterity game, scheduled for 2021.
Manny Vega is a game designing dad living in Los Angeles, CA. He has worked on many video games you probably never played and a few tabletop games you should. Together with his daughter Violet Vega, these two introverts came up with a game intended to get people comfortable with being silly in front of each other. This game became the Ultra Giggle Monster known as Sparkle*Kitty.
NEWS! He recently released a FREE new "Flip'n'Write" Sparkle*Kingdom that is worth checking out! He ALSO has new Breaking Games in the works! Shadow*Kitty, and we can't wait to get our hands on more of the Sparkle*Kitty Universe!
Ideas come from some of the most unique places:
From sharing a laugh, to being a guiding light, one of the things that comes with being a dad is an endless source of inspiration.
Where did the ideas for your games come from?
Blaise: POOP: The Game started as a joke idea that quickly got out of control. As soon as we figured out that we could clog the toilet and flush the toilet, we knew we had something magical. But mostly, I wanted to make a game my son, Emery, would enjoy. We both liked poop jokes so this was an “engine for poop jokes” more than anything.
Manny: My daughter Violet was having a hard time fitting in at school. She loved dressing like a rainbow, but also playing rough and tough with the boys. The problem was that the boys kept saying that she couldn't play with them because she was a girl, and the girls said she was too rough. My wife always pointed out that they were intimidated by her because she was fearless and adorable. I remember her coming home one day completely upset because her guy friends were playing Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and they said she had to be April. She insisted that she was Michelangelo, and well, things got heated.
Being the geek that I am, I had her google Venus de Milo, and there she was, a badass female turtle. We printed out the picture and the story, and she took it to school. In the end, she told them they were wrong, and she insisted on being Michelangelo anyways, because that is Violet. After that, I was inspired to make a game that incorporated her silliness & creativity, and I had some ideas for characters (one of which being Princess Violet herself) that would break the mold like she has always done.
Being a father to a kid like Violet, I had an idea about a game that involved yelling out gibberish printed on the cards and being the first to slap the pile. It was pure chaos and fun for the kids, but it needed some refinement. The real breakthrough came when I added two cards into the discard pile and then things started to click. Snuggle*Panda, Giggle*Chickn', Tickle*Monster, Sparkle*Kitty...
"Dadsigners" working with their "Kidlaborators":
When designing games, it is important to listen to your audience. When it's your own kids, they are more than players, they help shape the game. Who better to collaborate with than your pint-sized peers?
What contributions did Emery and Violet add to your designs?
Emery actually introduced the Wild cards to the game which is now my favorite part of POOP: The Game! I noticed he'd make a fart sound when he played cards and flushing sounds when the toilet flushed and I had an “aha moment” and knew that had to be included.
Aside from being the inspiration, Violet playtested with me all the time. It was pretty great to have her enthusiasm to keep me going. She really helped me figure out what was too complicated, and was never afraid to tell me when something was not fun. The Dark Magic cards were mostly her idea, she insisted that three words would be funnier, but I couldn't figure out exactly how to make it work. She persisted, and eventually we figured it out :)
So the next time you hear a "Perfect Trumpet Fart",
you have Violet and Emery to thank!
The "Dadvantage" in designing games.
As kids grow, so does the skill of the "dadsigner". The lessons learned along the way enrich both the dad/kid relationship, as well as future game designs.
How has being a dad made you a better game designer?
Being a dad put me in the unique position to design games for kids! Not only were my kids the first playtesters but they contributed so much to the inspiration of my games. I have another game coming out next year inspired by my daughter's love of restaurants. (Snack n Stack)
Making games for families, or just simplifying games for beginners, has become one of my goals as a game designer. I grew up with ridiculously drawn out games like Axis & Allies or Diplomacy that took days to truly finish. People with kids will tell you, you have to be clever with your time, or you will never complete anything. I think my brain is just hard wired to seek out the simplest most elegant solution to a problem, and if that means I can entertain the kids for 30 minutes while the pizza is being delivered, all the better!
At the end of the day, being a dad is all about family.
And a great time to be a dad is certainly Father's Day!
Around this time of year, you both must get pretty introspective. What is your favorite Father's Day moment?
My favorite Father's Day moment is probably from about 5 years ago. We had all the dads, grandparents, and kids play one big game of Wiffle ball. It was a blast even if it left a few of the old dudes sore the next day.
My wife and the kids always make it special, and there have been some amazing cards. More recently though both Violet and Oliver have really gotten into baking together, and I have become the eater of said baked treats, which is pretty freakin' great. It's just nice to have us all hanging out together and eating all the stuff made with love... and tons of sprinkles.
Hey we love our dadsigners too, and want to wish them a happy and safe Father's Day!
Need a Gift Idea for Fathers day?
POOP: The Game and Sparkle*Kitty are just two of our "5 Perfect Gift Ideas For Father's Day"! Save 20% on all games until Father's Day is over, plus enjoy free shipping on orders $20 or more. Use the discount code DAD2020BG.
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