The pandemic has thrust a spike into some social groups while bringing others closer together. Those tight-knit groups that decided to plague up together are always on the lookout for new entertainment opportunities. Let’s face it, our current cards have all been played. But I found a gem in the indie game company Breaking Games that specializes in board games that won’t leave you bored.
I own some Breaking Games products, which are all top-notch, but more on that next week. But for now, I recently had the privilege of asking some questions of the CEO Shari Spiro:
What would you say are the greatest benefit of gathering around a board or table instead of a controller?
Personally, I love the real-time, in-your-face interaction with other people. Playing a board game, especially with people you have never met before, provides immediate insight into their personality and creates a relationship that does not build with small talk. By playing tabletop games with people we know (or don’t), we establish a completely new way of relating to and communicating with them – many times, deepening and strengthening your relationship.
Are those benefits still possible over Discord or Zoom?
With our development of Sparkle Kingdom – at the beginning of the pandemic – we were able to gather as a group and still play the game we all enjoyed. Sparkle Kingdom is a read and write version of Sparkle Kitty. Though of course, it is not the same as sitting at a table together, when you crave human interaction and companionship, it is a great way to play a competitive and fun game with a group. It’s certainly more fun than a Zoom meeting!
It might be like choosing your children, but do you have a favorite game?
I do – but for different reasons. Word games, I love Letter Tycoon and our new game, ADJITATION. Light strategy, Rise of Tribes never fails, and for deep strategy, Dwellings of Eldervale – that game sold out almost immediately! Party games, I love MIXTAPE (for music lovers), Suddenly Drunk (Adults ONLY!), and Cards Against Humanity. For kids, they really enjoy playing POOP The Game (the BEST name for a kid’s game!) and STRIPES.
One of Shari Spiro’s favorite games – Letter Tycoon!
Do you have any tips for those looking to select a game on how to choose which is right for them?
Think about who you will be playing with, their skill level at deciphering rules, and everyone’s preferred level of strategic play and genre. There’s literally something for everyone at Breaking Games – family, adult, strategy, puzzle, edutainment, brainteasers, and so much more.
You put your company focus on creatives and developers over companies, which seems like a win-win. If someone has a game they would like to pitch, what do they need to have ready before they come to you?
They need to already have all of the mechanics fully tested and a well-written, intuitive rule book. They should have completed dozens – if not hundreds – of blind playtests using their rule book to determine if it is effective, makes sense, and that the game is entertaining and has replayability.
Finding the perfect balance within a game of fun and functionality is important, do you have any tips for those in the creative realm to hone their skills?
Test, test, and test more – with different groups, different ages, different demographics. Study games that are successful, play them, and analyze them. Pay close attention to their rule books, components, and theming. Choose a level of difficulty in creating your mechanics that matches your audience. Find an interesting new theme with a unique angle and build your mechanics on that. Then, you got it, test some more!
If not, what are you looking for in a game? What catches your eye?
I look for clever gameplay and truly GREAT mechanics with a stellar end game! Something unique in a theme and well-drawn exciting graphics. I am always looking for the next big hit in any genre!