Do you think it is possible for 18 kids aged 7 to 9 y.o. to create a card game in only 3 hours? No? Last spring we got this incredible chance to be invited by Annie, an elementary school teacher in Montreal, Canada to lead a Game Creation Workshop with her students. I will tell you how it went!
A little background about Galasoft Games first
It all started on a rainy day during our 2010 vacation in Quebec’s Laurentians area, Canada. My youngest daughter, she was 5 y.o. at the time, was playing alone with ordinary playing cards: flipping them, talking to the Queen, you know that kind of stuff. Then she came to me saying: « Daddy, come and play with me, I invented a game! »
Later on, We looked and found a great print on demand service and community in The Game Crafter. Since 2010, we have created 47 titles! We went to ComicCon Montreal 2014, GenCon Indianapolis, 2018 to name a few. You can find our games here (in $US and shipping seperately) or here (in $CDN and shipping included).
It was a dream than became reality! (full story)
The Game Crafter : A great community
The Game Crafter offers game designers an easy-to-use system to make a board game, card game, or custom playing cards. Free templates, instructions, videos, and proofing tools are available to help people create quality products.
A game creation workshop with Annie’s Class
Marie-France, a long time friend of mine talked about us to her son’s teacher. She was thrilled about the idea. So we prepared a workshop for them. The goal: Create a game in less than 3 hours with 18 kids!
We arrived while the kids were in Physical Eductation. Good! This gave us time to prepare and talked to Annie. When the children came back, the were very excited about creating their own game!
Amelie and I presented ourselves, how we started to make games, etc. Then I introduced one word to them: « PROTOTYPE ».
We split the class in 3 groups of 6, each group supervised by Annie, Marie-France and Amélie. I would hop and go between the groups.
Breaking the ice
First, each group had to find a team’s name. Then, I asked them to find a theme. After a couple of minutes of brain STORMING, they went for: « Monsters », « Animals » and … « Hunters and Sausages »! This promised to be very intersting!
On the tables, I had placed game pieces, blank cards for them to play with and stimulate their imagination. However, the clock was ticking so I had to go back to basics. I ask each of them to use some blank poker cards and draw elements of their theme.
It was recess. At that point, Annie was kind of discouraged. I reassured her. To me, everything was still chaotics but well under control.
Game mechanic and constraints
Kids have a lot of imagination and i mean a LOT! As much as we like them to think outside of the box, some times we must put constraints and this game had to fit in a tuck box!
In an simply amazing effort of team work and collaboration, we used the white board and took 30 minutes to draw the basics mechanics of the game within the constraints of 54 poker cards. So it would go like this:
- 16 monsters with a force of 1 to 4
- 16 animals with a hunger of 1 to 4
- 16 sausages with a value of 1 to 4
- 4 hunters (to be the actual players)
- 2 cards to write down the rules
- A player draws a card and play a card on the pile
- The player would colled the pile if the number is higher or equals AND if
- Monsters eat animals
- Animals eat sausages
- Sausages fear the monsters
- Otherwise, the player must play a card of the same type, if the player can not, discard a card.
The first trial was high on emotion. Four player were chosen and played a demo game. All went good and the kids were super happy!
But it was not over, we had to find a title to the game! We brainstormed again and voted. It would be:
« La chasse aux saucissons »
So we left a home work: to draw on a letter size paper a 16 full color monsters, animals and sausage (with personnality) + 4 hunters.
TGC templates and complete rule writing
One I got the drawings, I did the legwork of preparing the rest of the arts and writing the complete rules.
I will try to make a « deluxe » version with Jumbo cards, rulebook and custom punchout standees for hunter. Annie is thinking of a crowdfunding project. We will keep you inform!
Thank you Tavis (from TGC), Amélie, Marie-France, Annie and all your munchkins for all your hard work on this!