A few weeks ago, a store owner told us about a customer who bought a copy of Castle Panic for her son Jared for Christmas. Jared had played the game at a friend’s house and was so taken with the game that he had created his own version to tide himself over until Christmas. Jared put together some Lego walls and towers, cut out his own Monster tokens and cards, and even drew his own foldable board. The result was pretty awesome.
This makes us happy on so many levels. First off, we love games. That’s why we make them. To see somebody else love OUR game that much, just . . . well, there aren’t really words for it. We love that our game inspired this kind of passion in Jared, and we’re hoping he has as much fun once he opens the real game as he did making his own version. On a personal note, this makes me grin because it reminds me of how I got started as a game designer. I remember making my own cut-out version of Stratego and experimenting with new pieces when I was a kid. It’s a short leap from recreating someone else’s game to creating your very own, and it’s a really creative adventure.
Speaking of game design, another reason Jared’s handmade set makes me grin is that it bears a distinct likeness to the prototypes I created for the real Castle Panic.
The original board was a hastily sketched color pencil drawing on newsprint. That wasn’t sturdy enough, so I glued that to a chunk of a cardboard box. In fact, the very first board was on the back of a pizza box, since it was the only section of cardboard I could find that was large enough!
This version was actually later in development, since at this point we had established the triangle shape for the Monster tokens. In this playtest set, the towers were just wooden cubes, but the walls were actually constructed (by hand) out of doll-house bricks and drywall joint compound.
The cards lacked a finished quality at this stage, but they certainly worked just fine. These were printed and cut out many times as we adjusted the type and number of cards as well as the language.
So Jared, we’re really glad you like Castle Panic so much, and we hope you have a great Christmas. Thanks for sharing your awesome homemade set with us, and keep up the good work. You never know where it may lead you.