Can you give us a “Tale of the Tape” for your game? The title, genre, playtime, age ranges, etc.

Camp Pinetop is a hand management, card drafting game for 1-5 players. It’s appropriate for players 8 and up, with play time around 60-75 minutes (although prior experience and smaller player counts will cut that down).

What is the elevator pitch?

You are the leader of a group of campers who are exploring the wilderness. Along the way, you will need to collect achievement patches, which will give your scouts special abilities and allow them to level up to the highest rank (Badger), which is how you ultimately win.

When is your Kickstarter going live?

Camp Pinetop went live Tuesday, September 24, 2019 and runs to October 18, 2019. Check out the Kickstarter here!

Where are you in production/development? How close are you to complete?

The base game is all done, and we are working some add-ons and a few extra fun things for the Kickstarter.

Are there any other games that you think are comparable to your game?

There are some parallels to other games, but I cannot say there’s a great, singular comparison to it.

You’re a game designer. You could have made any game you wanted. Why did you make THIS game? 

I had to! The idea of collecting patches was too exciting of an idea for me to pass up. The theme is just something I’m personally invested in as well. I’ve been an avid hiker my whole life, love the outdoors, went to summer camps as a kid and worked at them as an adult.

What was your design process like?

I would try a few different things, move onto another design for a while, then come back to it. Since the theme came first, the mechanics tested out had to relate to some aspect of outdoor adventuring and stay interesting. For instance, I experimented with the idea that the more equipment you had while hiking adversely impacted the speed at which you could travel. That early idea did not made it into the final but was something I explored early on.

What is the number one reason why a family MUST purchase this game?

Camp Pinetop hits the sweet spot of being easily learned and understood, but contains lot of depth and options in what strategies can be pursue. You can play it as an opportunist, just earning the patches that are easiest for you to get based on your position and the cards you have – or you can pursue a strategy of getting all of your campers on the map fast and getting them in advantageous spots. Or you can stick with a single camper, focus on the patch abilities that let you be nimble and mobile.

Honestly, when I set out to design Camp Pinetop, making a game for kids was not the focus. I prioritized making a game that I wanted to play. I also noticed it appealed to a wide age range. So I made sure to make it accessible to the people who kept coming by my table, whether they were in elementary school or retired.

How long has this game been in development?

The game in its current form has been in development for 3 years. But I have been playing around with the theme for probably 5 years now.

What obstacles did you encounter making this game?

What is clever and interesting mechanically vs. what is actually fun. I mentioned earlier the idea of travelling faster with less equipment vs travelling slower with more equipment. There was a pick-up-and-deliver aspect of the game very early on that I really liked. Unfortunately, it wasn’t fun when I tested it out, and so it had to be cut. I think a lot of designers struggle with this on a regular basis. But that’s a game that could be fun in another context, with that struggle at the center of it, just not in this one.

What did your first prototype look like?

I have a tupperware container of scraps of paper and wooden tokens of those early attempts, and I try very hard to not invest too much time in the final look in the early stages. Rather, just focusing on clear graphic design and maybe a fun table display for events. I do not always succeed in that restraint. At the midway point I started exploring different styles in the prototypes before settling on the final look.

Why did you get into making games?

I loved board games as a kid. My sister introduced me to a couple of more modern board games as an adult, and it sparked something in my brain. I started working up ideas for my own games immediately. The thought never really occurred to me before that, even though I’ve done a lot creatively up the that point. I’m very engaged by the balance of right-brain and left-brain tasks that are needed.

What other information do you want us to know about you, your company, and/or your game?

You can find more about me on my website and get in touch with me through Twitter: @stephenbdavies

Talon Strikes Studios is the publisher that is helping me develop it and bring it to Kickstarter:

You can find them on Twitter: @TalonStrikes

By Linda Wrobel

Managing Editor: Board Games Mother, Educator, and Board Game Editor.

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