The Cardboard Republic Interview the Bamboozle Brothers about Orphan Black: The Card Game

CarboardRepA cool new audio interview just popped up from Cardboard Republic with Sen and I being the interviewees! We talk mostly about our new Orphan Black game, how we came to be the designers of it and the entire design process. We also touch on our ‘famous’ MVP philosophy that we have always followed and recommend to others wanting to succeed at game design. Check it out here (our bit starts at 20:18).

-Jay Cormier

Orphan Black: The Card Game is Dice Tower Approved!

orphanblackcoverWell this is certainly some good news! Tom Vasel from the Dice Tower has just posted his overview of the rules as well as his thoughts on our new game, Orphan Black: The Card Game…and (spoiler)…he liked it!!! It’s Dice Tower approved!

Some things I liked specifically were:

“The game offers a unique experience that you won’t find in any other game.”

“I’m sure if you enjoy Orphan Black you’re going to enjoy it, but even if you don’t it’s an entertaining game.”

Thanks Tom for the kind words!

-Jay Cormier

Orphan Black: The Card Game in the News!

orphanblackcoverWe’re excited to see our newest game, Orphan Black: The Card Game is getting noticed out in the world. First up we have an interview by David Lowry of Club Fantasci doing a video interview of Sen and Jay (though Jay’s camera wasn’t working!).

Then we have a written article in the Fanshawe newspaper (where Sen is a professor) about how Orphan Black came to be! We’re hoping to see more reviews pop up soon as well. Let us know if you’ve played it and what your thoughts are on the game.


2016: The year of the Bamboozle Brothers

Wow, 2016 is going to be a huge year for the Bamboozle Brothers! Not only have I moved down from Full Time to Part Time at my ‘day job’ so that I can focus more time on game design, but Sen and I have in excess of 10 new games coming out this year! Holy crap!! That will bring our grand total to over 18 games by Sen and I. We’re very excited about each of these games, and wanted to give you a little morsel of each one, in no particular order:

  1. Orphan Black from IDW Games – this one just came out! It’s our first released game based on a license (but not the last for this year!). A social deduction game based on the cult TV show.
  2. Junk Art from Pretzel Games – so excited for this! It’s the second game in the Pretzel line of games (where the first one was the immediately likeable game, Flick Em Up). This one is a block balancing game that has tons of variety in it!
  3. Godzilla from Toy Vault – another license! This one is a card game for 2 players with each player playing as a kaiju trying to defeat the other one.
  4. Godfather from IDW Games – there’s a Godfather game from IDW coming out very soon that’s not by us – but the next one is! The subtitle is A New Don, and it’s a dice rolling and area majority game. I really like it and it really feels like a new take on both mechanics.
  5. Powers from IDW Games – this one is based on the Brian Michael Bendis comic about a detective agency solving crimes committed by people who have super powers. The game is like a beefed up version of Scotland Yard where one player plays the villain and the rest are the detectives trying to catch him.
  6. Pop Goes the Weasel / Monkey Mania from R&R Games – not sure what the final title will be for this game yet. It’s a family game about chasing monkeys around a tree, trying to get more bananas while avoiding the weasel! Happy to have designed a game that is more of a family game!
  7. Top Secret game by Top Secret publisher – not announced yet – a city building game! We love tile laying games!! This one has very low down time.
  8. Rock, Paper, Wizards by Gamelyn Games (co-designed by Josh Cappel) – a social game about making hand gestures and attacking the other players.
  9. Clunatics by Breaking Games – This is a cool party game that involves giving players super tiny clues that, by themselves mean nothing, but when combined with a few of these mini-clues, will hopefully get people to guess the answer!
  10. Untitled game by Top Secret publisher – not announced yet – but a party game that requires the use of an app. It’s pretty clever, if I do say so myself!
  11. Top Secret game by Top Secret publisher – not announced yet – but it’s a quick reaction zombie game that can be used with an app – or without. I like that the game has an arc/story to it even though it’s a quick reaction game!
  12. Top Secret game by Top Secret publisher – not announced – not even signed yet – just verbally…a quick reaction animal game that’s great for the entire family – but also scales in difficulty if just adults want to play.

To top it all off, we’re working with a couple of comic book creators on some games based on their comics! I’m super excited about these three projects because I’m a fan of each of them!

So it’s going to be an exciting year! Some of these might get bumped into next year, but regardless, get ready for a lot more game-related Facebook posts soon from both of us! :-)

-Jay Cormier

Dice Tower recommends But Wait There’s More…again!

butwaitboxThe Dice Tower has showered some love on our quirky party game, But Wait There’s More before, and now they’re at it again! In their latest podcast, Eric Summerer takes his turn in praising our game. Some key highlights I enjoyed:

“The cards [in But Wait There’s More] give you a much better starting off point than say, Snake Oil.”

“You aren’t hampered by Thinker’s Block in the heat of the moment.”

“This worked better with my family than Snake Oil”

“It’s one that I will be bringing out a lot more often.”

You can listen to the entire podcast here, or jump to 15:45 to hear his comments about But Wait There’s More! Thanks Eric!


-Jay Cormier

Orphan Black game finally arrives!


Sen and I were asked awhile ago if we could make a social deduction game based on the Orphan Black license by IDW Games. We were honoured to be asked to do so as we were both fans of the show.

The first few versions of the game just didn’t work. For the longest time we just kind of thought that a social deduction game that involves clones should be about the players trying to figure out which clone is which. This allowed players to play the part of one of the clones, which we also thought was important.

After about 9 or 10 alpha prototypes (alpha meaning starting almost from scratch and changing the game enough that it’s entirely a different game), we realized that it wasn’t working. We also realized that the show isn’t about clones trying to figure out who’s who…at all! Once in awhile one clone will get dressed up as another clone – but that’s about it!

So we changed gears and figured out that the game had to be about control of the clones. In the show there are 3 factions that want control (or freedom) of the clones: The Black (they just want freedom), Neolutionist (they want to control clones) and Proletheans (they want to kill clones) – over-simplifying, but it worked as a foundation for our design.

So now we have players playing as one of these factions, and trying to coerce the clones to come to their faction – but trying to do it without others knowing which faction you were in! Now THIS is feeling more like an Orphan Black episode!!

We got through the alpha phase and made our way through the beta phase, tweaking and balancing various abilities and rules. We were even able to add in many of the non-clone characters into the game as well. So fans of the show will be able to play with Fee, Delphine, Paul and more.

So now the game is out! We’re seeing stores post online that it’s in stock all over the place – and that’s exciting! We’re looking forward to our first game based on an license to be played by fans of the license! Please let us know your thoughts – or let us know where you’ve seen the game for sale!!

I’ve seen it in my local game store here in Vancouver – at Magic Stronghold. I saw The Uncommons in NYC post that they just got it in stock. It should be popping up everywhere!

To tide you over, you can listen to the CloneCast podcast where they play the game with some stars from the show! Pretty cool – too bad it’s only audio!!

-Jay Cormier



Write it Down: The secret to solving your creative roadblocks

write-it-down-orlando-espinosa1One of the biggest benefits of designing with a partner who doesn’t live in the same city as you is that we are constantly writing things down on our private forum. It could be to communicate new ideas or to let the other person know how our playtest session went last night. But the actual act of writing it down has such huge benefits for the creative process.

I recently started to see if I could design some games on my own. Whaaaa? Scandal in the board game industry? No, it’s just that my free time to design is more than Sen’s so I felt like I could handle working on a few of my own designs as well! Sen and I will always work together on games – no worries!

The challenge I faced was that since I didn’t have to communicate my playtest session to anyone else, I didn’t bother to write it down. This has proven to be a big mistake! I have found that as much as I think that I will remember everything they’re telling me during a playtest, I do not. So step one of writing it down is writing notes during your playtest. We’ve talked about the importance about this before but it seems that I thought I was above that and didn’t need to write it down…ahem. I do.

The second step of writing it down is writing down your thoughts on what to do next. This can often be daunting but it’s so vital. Often ideas get stuck in our head and we don’t want to spit them out until they’re perfect – which means that they stay up there for a long time – possibly forever. We have to get these ideas onto the page or onto the screen so that we can see them and react to them. I often treat this part of writing like a conversation with my future self. I type out actual questions like “Should money and points just be the same thing?” I put the word ‘maybe’ before a lot of points because I’m not confident enough with my ideas. I imagine someday that I’ll drop that and realize that everything is a maybe and therefore it’s redundant.

Every time I have a game stuck at a creative roadblock, I start to think about it and I can’t quite figure out what to do next. I think about the game during my free time and sometimes I come up with an idea – but the frequency of solutions is very low. Every time I start to write it down and make notes about my ideas, I always start to come up with solutions. It weird that I sometimes still forget how powerful it is to write it down.

Writing it down isn’t just to help you with your memory. Game design (and other creative endeavours, I’m sure) is a complicated beast that has so many moving parts. It’s almost impossible to keep them all in your head – with each of the parts still moving. Writing it down lets you see how things relate to each other. It gives you a different perspective and it makes it easier for your brain to make connections.

Some good tips to help you start writing that might solve your game design challenges:

  • Ask yourself questions – don’t just ask them in your head – write or type them out!
  • List all the possible variables that can be affected
  • Identify the fun parts and the parts that are the least fun

Whatever you do, just start writing! It’s an integral part of the design process.

-Jay Cormier

Akrotiri breaks into the top 1000 board games of all time!

Akro-rankingsAccording to Boardgamegeek, which allows its users to rate the games they play on a scale from 0 to 10 – and then takes all the ratings and ranks all 79,000+ board games, Akrotiri has entered the top 1000! This is only our second game to enter the top 1000, with Belfort currently sitting at 217. The more people that rate the game on boardgamegeek, the better it can rank (assuming people like it of course!).

AkroCurrently, 580 people have rated the game and have given Akrotiri a 7.4 average. To put that in perspective, the number 1 game on Boardgamegeek has an 8.2 average.

Based on the current rating average it has, there’s a chance it can get a lot closer to where Belfort is right now! It’s exciting and hopefully won’t be our last top 1000 game! Thanks to everyone who’s played our games and have rated them!

-Jay Cormier