A great man once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around for a while, you could miss it.” well we’ve just had chance to stop and so we thought we’d share something…

Last Tuesday we posted out the last of our WordStacker™ prototypes to another interested party. As we put the box into the jiffy bag it occurred to us that it had come a long way from the handmade prototypes we’d played with several months ago.

Anna developed the game using marker pens and blank playing cards as they’re easy to make and alter, and playtested, re-drafted, and finalised to within an inch of its life. Without really thinking at all about what it might finally look like, the mechanics of the game got tested… oh yes they got tested.

We covered a wide range of concepts from a ‘French Café’ aesthetic, to a ‘Paint Splat’ themed card deck. Unsurprisingly, we moved on. The design for the cards needed structure, design architecture that allowed the game to flow without interruption.

The Letter cards needed a clear, easy to read font, have letters in the corners, ‘POP’ when laid out next to each other. We built a whole raft of criteria.

The Action cards took much longer. Consisting of a number of Score cards, each of which has its own points value and ‘action’ and Advantage cards with their own instructions, but no score value, we had to build the same depth of definition for the design as the Letter cards, arguably even more so.

We renamed some of the Score card which were more in line with the game, ‘anagram’ became ‘mix-up’ for example. We produced icons for each of the Advantage cards which typified the feel of the action. This made the game feel more accessible and quicker to grasp.

Once we’d made those top-level decisions and settled on a brief, we just got on with it. There’s something to be said for just getting in the 1961 Ferrari GT California and just going for it!

So the game gradually came into being, from blank cards and marker pens, to professionally printed prototypes and boxes. All in all it was a great process.

Each development, even those decisions to abandon an idea and try something else, felt like a step in the right direction

Seems like the folks we’ve been showing the game to agree with us.