What if you could have a collection of incredibly fun games that fit in your pocket — to play with anyone, anytime? That’s the question Chris Handy, a local game designer, asked when he launched his new project Pack O Game™ out of Turlock.
"My game workshop is above the Dust Bowl, and these concepts came from there," said Handy, "Launching from Turlock out to the world today."
Over the last year, Handy has developed nearly 20 games the size of a pack of gum in his workshop above the Dust Bowl. The cards are each one by three inches. This unique card size combines three common strategy game components: the playing card, the tile, the token. Together with a sheet of rules, each of the components fit neatly into a tiny tuck box that can be taken anywhere, anytime.
There are four games to initially choose from, not counting those to be released when stretch goals are hit. The first four games are HUE, TKO, GEM and FLY:
- HUE is a clever and intermediate level game which requires the player to build up sections of color.
- TKO is a two-player boxing game where each boxer has their own strengths and players must gain points against their opponent.
- GEM is a tense auction game for two to four players. Players earn a point for each jewel and can earn bonus points for getting multiple jewels of the same type.
- FLY is a set-collecting dexterity game where players must drop the fly swatter each turn and swat flies with the same colors or symbols. In the end, flies count for one point each — but only if there are at least three or more of the same type.
The four games listed above are included in the first three levels of pledges. $6 gets pledgers one game of their choice, $12 gets them two and $18 gives the option of three. The $24 set includes all four games, plus any of the unlocked stretch goals for free and a $44 pledger gets all that with an added Pack O Game™ Carrying Case. Those who pledge $100 or more can receive “Handy-made” prototypes signed by the designer.
To get these games off the ground, Handy has launched a Kickstarter campaign. Since the campaign was launched a month ago, Handy has successfully raised $30,000, the campaign’s goal.
Handy has been designing games for fifteen years, with several titles available for purchase including Long Shot (Z-Man Games) and Clinque Terre (Rio Grande Games). Handy even launched an online retail store with a focus on "gateway" games.
Gateway games are essentially games that introduce someone to board games and encourage curiosity about the grander Board and Card Games community. Examples of gateway games are Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne. The website, GatePlay Games, can be found at gateplay.com. GatePlay Games also has a physical store located in Hilmar which hosts multiple game nights spanning from board games to RPGs to figurine painting.
"Since my office is downtown, we play test the games at the local restaurants a lot," said Handy. "The workshop has been in the Mercantile Building for over 4 years. I'm the one that's been up there the longest."
For those who still want to fund the project, there are a few days left— and a number of rewarding stretch goals, including the release of several other games like TAJ, a colorful voting game where players become ancient rug collectors fighting to display their rugs in the Taj Mahal or LIE, a game where the last liar standing wins. $36,000 will see the release of BUS, and there only need to be a couple hundred more “POD”-level pledges before SHH will be released.
“Speaking as a gamer, I've seen these games impact my own gaming habits and playing opportunities in a way that no other game has,” Handy says on his Kickstarter page. “I think these games fill an important void for gamers and for non-gamers, and I’m really excited to bring them to market.”
For more information, or to back Handy’s game, visit packogame.com. You can also keep up to date on his numerous other endeavors at perplext.com.