Our hot new game Scallywags has been flying off the shelves, so we thought it was time you meet its passionate inventor, Chevee Dodd! Chevee is an avid gamer that has put his hobby to work making some fun and silly games – check out what he had to say!
What inspired you to create the game Scallywags?
I was on a trip with my family to Ocean City, MD. This was my oldest daughter’s first trip to see the ocean and it was very special to her. While on vacation, I found a copy of Treasure Island in the lobby of the hotel and read the whole book in a single day. Being around the ocean and reading about pirates had me thinking about treasure and how I could incorporate that into a game. Scallywags was born a few days later!
Have you invented other games?
I have many game designs in various stages of completion but Scallywags is my only published game to date. Other games I have designed are available for printing so that they can be constructed at home and I have a few that I am getting ready to show to publishers.
What are your top five favorite games that are on the market? Do you have favorite Gamewright games?
Acquire is my favorite game of all time and has been on the market since 1962! I really enjoy heavier hobby games like Settlers of Catan or Stone Age. Ticket to Ride, and plain old Dominoes are high on my list as well and more recently, my family has enjoyed Castle Panic. It’s a neat little co-operative game that the whole family can enjoy. Gamewright’s Forbidden Island is high on the families list as well because the co-operative nature of these games gives us a chance to interact and it allows me the opportunity to teach them strategy and help them rationalize why certain plays may be more beneficial.
If you were to give advice to others on how to invent a game, what would it be?
My advice is always to just go for it! It may seem like a daunting task to come up with a set of rules and components, but it does not have to be complex. I start my designs by writing on the backs of business cards or index cards and try things out. The only way to know if your game will be good or not is to just try it. Through experience, you will find game mechanics that work well for you and others that don’t and it becomes easier. Failed designs are part of the process, so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work! Just remember why the design didn’t work for you and try not to repeat those same mistakes. I have piles and piles of failed designs but I have tried to learn a lesson from each and every one of them.
Do you have any more games in the works that you can talk about?
Absolutely! I actually have a website completely devoted to talking about game design. Sometimes I think I enjoy talking about games and game design more than playing them! I’m on Twitter constantly discussing game projects and ideas. There’s a great community of designers out there that love to offer up suggestions. It’s a very rewarding experience!
Recently I’ve been working on a dice game for my girls. They titled it “Princess Fairy Rainbow Unicorn Dice” but I just call it Princess Dice. My daughters helped me pick the symbols and colors and it has been a really fun family project.
I’ve also got a zombie themed card game that I have been working on for most of this year, and more recently, a card game that attempts to recreate the action of old 8-bit video games.
Finally, last week I released a printable expansion for Scallywags which replaces the deck of cards with 2 dice. My three year old daughter inspired the creation because she wants to play “Daddy’s game” but can’t read the cards. So we created a way for her to play!
Why do you think playing card, board and dice games (i.e. games without plugs or batteries) is important?
I enjoy the social interaction more with table games than electronic games. With my children, it teaches them life skills that most people never consider when they think about games. For instance, they learn about patience when they must wait for their turn and they also learn about the future consequences or benefits of their actions.
I have a great group of friends that have met every Wednesday evening for many years to play board games. For us, it is all about spending time together. We get to challenge each other creatively and strategically, but we also get to talk about life and enjoy our friendship. Playing video games doesn’t provide the same level of interaction because the game requires so much attention.
What makes Scallywags different than other games on the market? Why will families enjoy playing it?
Scallywags is a light-hearted pirate game that encourages players to act and talk like pirates. The coins are a unique mechanic that also add great toy value to the game and kids love to play with them. The game play offers many “take that” moments without being mean. I know many players don’t like games where they are directly battling their opponents, but Scallywags feels different because of the silliness of the cards.