Nonserious Games aims to offer ways of having engaged fun for multiple age-groups. Engaged fun balances seriousness, the element of chance and strategy. Keeping in tone with their motto, they have released their first board game, Blackpool. A strategy and racing game, it is an engaging play or kids and grownups alike. With its unique dice play, charm and curse cards, and a very interesting piggybacking technique, the game is sure to hold its audience till the very end.
Our correspondent, Mitali Singh, interviewed the pioneers of Nonserious Games, and the creators of Blackpool, Prayas Abhinav and Priyamvada Gaur. We got an insight into their design process, their motivation, and their hopes from this project.
Q. How did you come up with the concept for Blackpool?
Prayas: This game is a commentary on our times. Media culture sucks you in, especially if your natural inclinations are not to live a very public or social life.
Priyamvada: We set out to make an escape game in a way that there’s a balance between a cooperative game and competitive game. At that time, I was reading about blackholes and mythological whirlpools. And whirlpools felt like an appropriate analogy for getting stuck or being sucked into something undesirable.
Prayas: Yes in Blackpool, the whirlpool represents this culture.
Priyamvada: We have tried to tie the two ideas together in this game.
Q. What do you think is the most enjoyable part of your game?
Prayas: The most enjoyable part of the game is piggybacking for me. It tells the story of the people who sometimes try to latch-on to each other and use others to grow personally. The latching-on process naturally acts like a drag on the other person. This entire dynamic is represented in piggybacking.
Priyamvada: For me the mechanism of Whiteforce – Blackforce is the most enjoyable where Whiteforce represents one’s own efforts and destiny and Blackforce is the power of the undesired. It also reduces the value of chance in the game.
Q. What makes your game unique/What will make your game stand out in the market?
Prayas: One unique aspect of Blackpool is how it balances the meaningful and playful. There are hardly any original made-in-India games which one can find on e-commerce or physical gaming shops.
Priyamvada: There are many game designers in the country. But it is so hard to find a board or card game that people around you are playing, which was created and designed in India by an Indian game design studio.
Prayas: We are hoping that the concept of ‘engaged fun’ that the game pioneers in India will resonate with the players too and stand out in the market.
Q. What was the biggest challenge you faced while designing Blackpool?
Prayas: Producing the game economically in a limited quantity was a huge challenge. Lucky for us, we met Hitesh Vinayak, our production partner, through a friend and he made it happen!
Priyamvada: At the design stage there were numerous challenges, but they only made the game better. There was one major challenge. We wanted to bring some form of resistance to dice-based play in the game. But we wanted to do so in a way that it doesn’t add more work of remembering details for the players. That is how we came up with Blackforce and Whiteforce. Because of this process, its my favorite element of the game.
Q. How close is the final product to your original idea?
Prayas: Very different!
Priyamvada: Because the idea itself grew and shaped along the way during the initial part of the design process. But it’s still pretty close to our final form.
Q. How was your experience with playtesting, and how much did that help?
Prayas: We did most of our playtesting while designing. Priyamvada can comment more on that.
Priyamvada: Yes, sure. The design phase play testing was extremely helpful. Some ideas can be very exciting and fresh at first, but it’s only after you play it out for a period of time that you can make a fair judgement. Similarly, many things work, but they play out a little boring, even irritating at times. So playtest during development helped us make the calls of what to keep and what to leave out.
Q. What do you aim to achieve with the game?
Prayas: We want to prototype the possibility of putting a homegrown game in the Indian market. We still have to see how many people we can reach.
Priyamvada: I think that for a small studio like ours to create a game and put it out in the market without any external support is quite an achievement. And we want to put many more games out. If Blackpool can test the waters for us, help us know where and what changes we need to make to our strategies, that will be great.
A game made with pure joy can only spread it further. Designed to engage, Blackpool is a satisfactory play that will make you think and enjoy all at the same time. Check out the game at https://nonseriousgames.com/blackpool/ and buy it now!