50x50 Challenge #44: Create a Board/Card Game
Updated: Jan 14
I wasn't even into my teens when I started making up my own games, including entire board games made out of loose-leaf paper glued to cardboard boxes I found around the house. Sometimes, I would scribble out full 2-D levels of my make-belief video games on sheets of paper, inspired by Alex Kidd, Wonder Boy, and the Super Mario Bros. One time, I even used a large piece of plywood to construct my own home version of the Plinko game from The Price Is Right. What can I say...I was kind of a weird kid.
You can purchase your own copy of The Fame Name Game for $57.99 USD + shipping HERE!
So you can imagine how excited I was when I discovered that there are actual companies out there that will print and publish pretty much anything you can come up with, in terms of card, dice, and board games. The one I came across first was called The Game Crafter, which is based out of Madison, Wisconsin.
I already had an idea in my head about the kind of game I wanted to create, which was a celebrity trivia-type card game meant for teens and adults. It would essentially be a large deck of cards with a box and a set of instructions. While a notepad and pen were also necessary to keep score, I decided to just use my own from home, or perhaps a notes app in my phone.
I started coming up with the questions for my trivia cards, while also designing the back of the cards, the instructions pull-out, and the box itself. I also came up with a name for the game: The Fame Name Game. Lame, I know, but it rhymes!
This summer, after weeks of coming up with the content and design of The Fame Name Game, I sent off the graphics and dimensions to The Game Crafter, and then sat back and waited. They are backlogged and so it took about a month before the game was printed and shipped to me. Shipping was a bit longer than I expected, due to the package coming from the United States, but it arrived before schedule anyways.
The game looked great, although - due in large part to shipping - it set me back nearly $100 Canadian for the prototype. I played it with some of my family and friends and they all seemed to really enjoy the game, even before I told them I had made it myself, so that's a good sign! However, I made it for fun and mostly to play with friends and family, so I don't know how much I will try to pursue getting it published/printed on a larger scale. We'll see.
How to Play!
There are actually two different ways to play THE FAME NAME GAME, which are listed below. But first, let’s go over some quick questions you might have about THE FAME NAME GAME…
How Many Players? At least 2 players are needed to play, though the more the merrier! It is best played with at least 4 people, though 6-8 is ideal.
Who Can Play? Ages 16+ are recommended, as there are some clues that mention things like murder, suicide, and sex. There is no explicit language or imagery, however.
What Do I Need to Play? Just a way to keep score, whether that is a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or a simple pen & pad.
Who Wins? The person with the most points at the end of the game is the winner. It depends on the group how many rounds they would like to play, or to set a points limit. For a group of 6-8 players, we recommend the first person to 20-25 points, or going about 10 rounds.
METHOD #1: “Solo Guessing Method”
The group will decide whether to leave the cards in the box and simply retrieve them from the front, or scatter the entire deck facedown across a tabletop or floor to allow people to choose from anywhere on the pile. Before the game begins, the group must determine who will be the permanent SCOREKEEPER. The SCOREKEEPER must keep an accumulated total of each player’s points on something like a laptop, tablet, smartphone, or a simple notepad.
The youngest person in the group will be the first card READER. The person to the left of the READER will be the GUESSER, and must select a card (without turning it over) and hand it to the READER, who will then look over the card and determine whether or not they think the GUESSER will know the name of the person on the card once given the clues. If the READER is correct in their guess, they get one point. If not, no points are awarded to the READER.
For the record, the GUESSER must say the famous person’s full name, although there are some exceptions for some celebrities who are best known by stage names, such as Judy Sheindlin (a.k.a. “Judge Judy”), Phil McGraw (a.k.a. “Dr. Phil”), and Dwayne Johnson (a.k.a. “The Rock”). It is up to the group to determine if the GUESSER’s pronunciation is acceptable or not.
The READER will then read aloud the statement from the 3-POINT CLUE (the hardest of the 3 clues). The GUESSER has just one guess at who the famous person is according to that clue. If they guess correctly, they are awarded 3 points. If they are incorrect, the READER moves on to read the statement from the 2-POINT CLUE. The same GUESSER then has one guess at who the famous person is based on these first 2 clues. If they are correct this time, they are awarded 2 points. If they are incorrect, the READER will move on to read aloud the final 1-POINT CLUE (the easiest of the 3 clues). The same GUESSER has one more guess at who the famous person is based on these clues. If they are correct, they are awarded just 1 point.
If they are wrong, the person to the GUESSER’s left will have one guess at who the famous person is based on the 3 clues. If they are correct, they are awarded 1 point (3 points for the “GOLDEN CARDS”). If they are incorrect, it continues on to the next person until it reaches the READER. If no one at the table was able to guess who the person was correctly in that first round, the READER reveals the answer and then places the card at the back of the pile or in a “discard pile.” If someone does answer correctly, however, whomever did so will keep the card in front of them until the end of the game.
By the way, there are 14 “GOLDEN CARDS” in the deck as well, featuring lesser-known celebrities, or someone who may be only widely known within a particular fanbase. These 14 cards are worth more points (between 5 and 3 points) than the other 336 cards in the deck. However, they are also harder to guess!
Once the round has been completed, the next READER is the person to the current READER’s left, and the next GUESSER is the person to the new READER’s left; and so on. The group determines how long the game will go on; at the end of the game, the person with the most points is the WINNER. If there is a TIE, whomever has accumulated the most cards in front of them is the winner. If there is still a tie, then the group is free to have a tiebreaker round in which the person with the lowest score in the group will read aloud one of the unused cards; the first of the highest-scoring players to guess correctly will be determined the winner of the game.
METHOD #2: “Group Shoutout Method”
Once again, the group determines if they will simply select cards from the front of the box or scatter the entire deck facedown on a tabletop or floor, as well as whom will serve as SCOREKEEPER. The oldest person in the group will be the first READER, and will select any card from the deck. They must not show the face of the card to anyone as they read the 3-POINT BOX aloud. The first person in the group to correctly shout out the answer (the name of the famous person on the card) will be the winner of 3 points and that card. If no one guesses correctly within about 10 seconds, then the READER goes onto the 2-POINT BOX, and so on.
If no one guesses the name correctly after all 3 clues have been read, then the card goes into the back of the box or in a separate “discard pile.” The person to the READER’s left will be the next READER. The group determines how many rounds they will play before the person with the most points is crowned the winner. If there is a tie, the same rules from the “Solo Guess Method” apply.