This week we’d like to introduce to you one of our new games for this year that is making a splash – Mermaid Beach! This ocean-themed card game is invented by Emily Ehlers, who was eight years old when she created the game. Now twelve, she is the second kid to invent a Gamewright game (Sleeping Queens was invented by 6-year-old Miranda Evarts). Emily’s own adventures on the sea inspired her to create the game, and here we have the inside scoop on how she came up with the idea, what her future as a game inventor may hold, and why she thinks games are an important part of life!
What inspired you to create the card game Mermaid Beach? “When I was 8, my family took a year-long sailing trip. My mom, dad, two brothers and I lived on a 42-foot sailboat. We spent several weeks sailing around Cape Cod at the start of our trip. That is where I got the idea. Because we were always on the water or in the water, I started thinking about what if mermaids were real? What would they be like and what would they do for fun? Also, we had a lot of time being on a boat, and I liked the idea of using some of it to make a new game instead of just playing the ones we already had. It was my idea to make the game about mermaids and shell collecting, but everyone in my family helped with ideas for how the game would work. My brothers Jake and Drew helped me make cards so we could play and test out the game. My mom and dad played lots of rounds with us and helped us work out the kinks.”
What’s your favorite character in the game? “Betsy Bubbles. I like her bestbecause she is the first mermaid that got transformed from my drawings into an actual card in the game. I like that she looks sassy and has a shell phone!”
Have you invented other games? “Not yet, but I would like to.”
What are your top five favorite games that are on the market? Do you have favorite Gamewright games? “My favorite games are Wig-Out, Sleeping Queens, In A Pickle, Apples to Apples and Life. My family has a lot of Gamewright games and we like them all, but especially Wig-Out, Sleeping Queens, In A Pickle, and the Scrambled States Game. We buy these games as birthday presents for friends a lot, too.”
If you were to give advice to other kids (or adults!) on how to invent a game, what would it be? “My advice would be to play a lot of games because helps you see how others games work, what you like and what other people like, and what types of games different companies make. Also, don’t be afraid to try out your ideas because you might be surprised how well it works or how much people like it.”
Do you have any more games in the works that you can talk about? “My brother Jake and I are working on a game about growing a vegetable garden. Right now, it is a little bit like Pit and a little bit like Left-Right-Center, but different too. Lots of people where we live in Portland, Oregon, grow their own food and shop at farmers’ markets, and we thought it would be fun to make a card game that would make vegetables fun and exciting.”
Why do you think playing card, board and dice games (i.e. games without
plugs or batteries) is important? “When we lived on a boat, we didn’t always have electrical power, so playing card games was a really great way to spend time. But even now that we live on land again, it’s good to get away from things like TV, computers and video games to get your mind flowing.”
What do you want to be when you grow up? “I really like to draw and design things, so I would like to be a fashion designer.”
What grade are you in school? “6th grade.”
How old are you? “I am 12.”
Do you have a favorite subject in school? “Art!”
Since Mermaid Beach is such a great summer game, we will be giving away a copy to one lucky reader! Comment on this post with the name of your favorite beach, and we’ll randomly select a winner. You have until midnight (EST) on Monday, July 25th to enter. I’ll announce the winner on Tuesday, July 26th. Good luck!!