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Wordpool: simple conversational card game for anyone

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The Cards


The past year I’ve been designing a card game myself called Wordpool. Though there’s not much to the game rules, the simplicity, versatility, age-range, and fun I had play testing it was enough to convince me it was worth pursuing as far as possible.

If you'd like to hear about the process so far, I can answer any questions you have, and I’m looking for suggestions and feedback too. My case study is perhaps one of the most simple you can find, but even the most simple processes in game design and marketing turn out to be long and winding. And even though the crowdfunding campaign is already launched, it’s certainly still flexible enough to take your revisions into account.

The game contains over 280 cards: 4 copies of the suggested rules, and a boatload of words with accompanying illustrations. To play, you just take turns picking whatever word you have that best matches the one on the discard pile, and at any point someone else can risk a challenge to your word if they think theirs is better related. If they win, you take yours back. If you win, they take theirs plus 2 more from the draw pile. Whoever runs out of cards first wins, and challenges are settled by vote.

Check it out by searching “wordpool” on Kickstarter, and lend me your thoughts!


Well, you're not asking for

Well, you're not asking for feedback because it's too late for that, and you're new, so I'll take this as a "please buy my game" post..

Basically a streamlined version of Apples to Apples.. that has some appeal.

Unintentional apple pun, but I'm leaving it in.

I'm a little surprised that there would be enough overlap in the words.. I'd think the chances that I have no good match are pretty high, so I'd get challenged regularly. Maybe not, with the penalty, though obviously this assumes that everyone is equally friendly. In A2A the cards are anonymous. Would I down-vote my wife? Maybe not.

If you WERE asking for feedback, I'd say price it at $24 and include free shipping, or if not, charge $3 across the board. Unnecessarily complicated, and there's no way it's costing you $1 to pack and ship something, unless you have a source for both free boxes and unpaid labor :)

You say ages 6+. Have you play-tested it with 6-year-olds? My 5yo daughter can play apples to apples, but I think the homophone thing might be lost on her.

Well, you’re right that I’m

Well, you’re right that I’m also asking looking for more backers (I can’t really change the shipping functions at this point), but I can also change details as I go and provide my perspective on stuff. I think of it as a win-win :1
For example, I’m thinking of replacing some of the copies of the rules set to have alternate rules instead. Also, if the campaign doesn’t reach it’s goal, feedback can help with whatever I decide to try next.

Shipping to those places isn’t really $1 (though it’s still pretty low). I got to that number because the manufacturer CustomedCards offered shipping too, and $20 factored in printing and shipping costs through them already. The extra shipping I included was the difference between CustomedCards’ quotes and SendFromChina’s.

Yeah, the problem with too many challenges is the reason I couldn’t really push the #players past 6 with these rules. After that, the probability of having a decent card by luck became too low.

The voting thing does remove anonymity, which has varied results for different people, but generally occasional allegiances seem minimal and are worth the increased participation. I think the designated judge idea in A2A can get a bit slow and boring. ...oh, a peel...

I tested with age 7 lowest and it went alright: enthusiastic and could read all the words, but didn’t really get when it was his turn. From that I took a look at average reading levels by age and just went with my gut in the end.

Thanks for checking it out, BTW. I see you’re in a campaign of your own! Did you do anything special so people could find Heroes & Treasure advertising-wise? At a glance I see the site at least is much more polished.

Oh, my other piece of

Oh, my other piece of too-late advice is that you're probably not selling 500 copies. You really want your KS price to be enough to PRINT 500 copies, which I assume is less than $10k, since I can make 500 of my full board game for about that. Then you sell 150 or whatever it is, print 500, and figure out what to do with the other 350 :)

owengall wrote:Thanks for

owengall wrote:

Thanks for checking it out, BTW. I see you’re in a campaign of your own! Did you do anything special so people could find Heroes & Treasure advertising-wise? At a glance I see the site at least is much more polished.

One thing I did was polish the heck out of it :) I also have a paid artist who does all the art stuff for me. I didn't really like paying for things like Kickstarter titles (which have little value to me other than on the KS page), but it seemed worthwhile. I learned how to use GIMP so I could do my own KS page, mostly.. so the artist made me some parchment graphics, and I added the other stuff (for example). I had a sketch, an inked version, and a full version of a character and I made up a combination graphic. Etc.

For advertising, well, I paid for advertising. That's part of it. In particular, I set up a landing page with a contest for a free copy of the game, to help collect email addresses. Then I made a Facebook page and ran paid ads.. got about 100 Facebook followers and 250-300 emails out of that campaign. (

My artist is well known for a particular web comic (, and that was worth another 300-350 email signups.

I suspect most of the conversions from my email list were Erfworld folks. The creators of Erfworld also were very generous in helping to promote the project.

If you follow that Erfworld link right now, you'll see the first "article" is one about my game, promoted by the creators.

I started that about 2 months ahead of the launch date I'd chosen.

I've continued the FB outreach, and I added a stretch goal for FB likes on my page (thanks to some advice from questccg here), and now I'm at about 220.

When I started the project, I didn't realize I'd need that much up-front legwork. If I hadn't done all that, I would've had no chance at success.

I've played a game like this,

I've played a game like this, called Bring it back to Bangtan (a Korean pop group), where someone says a random word and you have to figure out how to make it relate to the group. It could essentially be done for any subject though. For example, relate the word sponge tot he band Coldplay. Welp they have a song called yellow with the lyric " And it was all yellow". You know what else is all yellow? A sponge.

Thing is, we play this game without cards. So a huge challenge you have is making your game worth it to buy. I know the KS passed unsuccessfully, so I'm hoping this helps with your revisions before you launch again.

- I would get rid of the art. You probably won't be able to illustrate and capture all the meanings of one word on your card. Even if you could, you're eliminating creativity by handing players the answer. And if you tried only showing one illustration, players who half-read the rules would decide that the words only have one meaning. That or they would struggle to think of other meanings because they would focus on the image.

- I would add point values to the card, or some extra rule or mechanic to give your game an added layer that makes it worth purchasing. Maybe each card has a letter at the bottom, and at the end of the game you try to make as many words or the longest word possible? Maybe it's number values, and the highest total wins? Maybe it's colors or symbols, and you're doing set collection for additional points during endgame?

edit: I briefly checked your FB and it looks like you're going to use suites, which should be cool. I recommend focusing on playtesting and spending 6 months to a year just letting people know about your game and going to different cons. I think this game is one which would have better traction with non hobbyists and casual gamers, so just online promotion and running a KS probably won't bring the amount of traffic you need to fund. I hope this was a little helpful, and good luck with your game!

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