The card game we couldn't make (and then someone else did)

Thanks! :slight_smile: Unfortunately I won’t be able to make it to Gen Con. I’d love to chat though! Feel free to hit me up by email (ewen AT neko-machi DOT com) or on the social media thing of your choice.

The weird thing is you can have an idea for a screenplay, lets say, and actually write it, and shop it around to some studios, and get some favorable coverage here and there, and not get it produced. Then over time other films can come out that contain more and more elements of what used to be unique in your work (because sooner or later other people will independently think of them) and little by little your story and the universe it inhabits gets attributed to other, later people. That happened to, um, a friend of mine.

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Oblig. XKCD.

Huh, is CAH really that much more popular than Apples to Apples? My impression was that A2A was (inexplicably) the breakout hit, and CAH was merely picking up slack in the space A2A opened up.

I sometimes wonder what John Kovalic’s rate is for drawing a single apple. If he wrangled a cut of the take instead of a flat fee, it could be the most lucrative apple drawing ever.

The best product ideas are the one that you have developed to solve a problem and then you say “Hey other people might like this too.” Posers talk about “vision” because they don’t have vision.

This is a great article. I learned a lot about some things I know nothing about. Thanks!

You know, really everyone isn’t into slash. I know it must seen that way from inside the community but mundanes often find it disturbing, weird & creepy, I think.

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I think the real innovation was realizing that party games can be made by companies that don’t sell toys to children. What makes CAH so much fun is that it is categorically not for kids. It is for adults. The only joy out of Apples to Apples for anyone past puberty is trying to make kid safe words sound vulgar. CAH just cuts out the kid crap and gives adults what they want; a bunch of vulgar things to yell at each other while they are halfway to drunk.

Hell, I think the entire gaming renaissance we have seen in the past decade has come about as people started making games for adults that are not stogey Avalon Hill war games. That isn’t to suggest that this didn’t always exist to some degree, but between the awareness that adults can play board games and that you can make board games for adults, we have seen a real surge in board game sales even when one might think that Internet and TV choices should be killing the old medium.

Personally, I think that board gaming has a very bright future. A lot of people are still stuck thinking that “board games” mean Monopoly and Risk. Pull out Monopoly or Risk at a board game meetup, and someone is likely to slap you. As more and more people come into the fold and realize that board games are fucking awesome and not that Hasbro crap you grew up, more people will dive in. It is a good thing for all. I know a game of Battlestar Galactica, Eldritch Horror, or Chaos in the Old World, while technically adult games would have sucked me right up. People don’t give young folks enough credit for having a little maturity.

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Oh, and while on the topic of Cards Against Humanity: Yes, that game gets stale pretty quick. If you are at that point when someone suggests you bring out some CAH and you groan, let me give you a pro-tip. Turn Cards Against Humanity into Charades Against Humanity. Just make whoever’s turn it is try and act out the card they are holding. You can squeeze a few more entertaining plays out of CAH that way.

I am a mundane and I find slash disturbing, weird, and a little creepy - or at least, I find slash fans to be all of those things. The thing itself is filed mostly under ‘harmless’ in my brain, but for whatever reason the few people I know that are into it are like way too far. There doesn’t appear ot be a middle ground, but I suppose that’s just due to the stigma around any sort of porn.

Speaking as an IP lawyer, yes, they’re right, you were too scared and ill-advised. It probably arose from a combination of chilling effects due to actual actions by rightsholders and the internet equivalent of campfire stories – “Once, there was a man who owned some mice. He posted on Tumblr that he called one of them Mickey, and DISNEY LAWYERS TOOK HIS HOME!!!” As I’ve practiced, I’ve come to believe that trademark is the most elegant and equitable of the IP forms, and patent and copyright would be well-served by adopting some of its attributes.

I recently played Slash and it is indeed enjoyable fun. Having read this article though I note with amusement that we all agreed it was mis-named. For the same reason. And indeed we reckoned it should have been called OTP :wink:

I would say that Apples to Apples is more popular overall, but it’s popular in a very mainstream kind of way. Mattel publishes it, and it shows up in places like Target nearly as much as Monopoly. (A friend of mine who played it before the Mattel version complains it’s been watered down; make of that what you will.) Design-wise CAH is pretty much an Apples to Apples variant, but I do think that CAH has been influential with a lot of people who in turn made things of their own. There are certainly a lot more fan-made CAH cards than A2A cards, for example, not to mention the whole new games that have come out of its influence. Basically although its fanbase is objectively smaller, it has managed to inspire much more intense enthusiasm and foster a lot more creativity in turn.

Well, on the positive side, the authors are very likely wealthier than they’d have been if they’d spent the money to make and sell the game.

Making games needs non-monetary rewards, because for the vast majority, it’s either money losing or pays way less than minimum wage.

Luckily it is fun.

just so you know, the game is called slash but it doesn’t have to be slash when you play. We chose the name slash over things like 'Ship or OTP because it illustrates the breadth of possible pairings we envisioned and to let people who knew about fanfic know that their ideas of what a good pairing are are welcome here.

Plus slash is just a cooler word

I think this sort of makes my point. I have had one girlfriend who wrote the stuff, one who admitted liking to read it, & several friends who read or write it. I am thus familiar with “ship” as a transitive verb. But I have no idea what “OTP” means. You assume too much.

You know what also works amazingly well? CAH tarot readings. A simple Celtic Cross tarot spread, laid out with CAH cards: hours of party entertainment.


That is brilliant.

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