Hopwood Games

Where you will find the ideas and creations of the award winning designer Andy Hopwood

Laugh, Think & Swear

Andy Hopwood

Andy Hopwood explores some of the nuances of his latest game, Daring Dustbunnies, and how it makes players laugh, think and swear in equal measure.

Daring Dustbunnies is a game that features push-your-luck card play and hidden identities set in a world beneath the sofa as delightful creatures dare the dangers of the vacuum cleaner. Closest (without being sucked up the tube) at the end of the round wins gold!

“There are moments in games when you cannot help but let yourself go. Laughing, thinking and swearing is why I play games, it helps me to relax, especially if I can do them all at once. So when I design games I look for the mechanics that inspire those moments and then try to pack them into a box with the ideal components and rules.”

landscape game pic.jpg


So how does Daring Dustbunnies do this?

Laugh - The dustbunnies are creatures invented by me and given form by the artistic talents of Lloyd Ash Pyne, they live under the sofa and watch our TV’s. Each has a special characteristic but they all create a sense of mischief. When the owner of the house gets the vacuum out it’s competition time! They magically animate balls of fluff and dare to get as close as they can without being sucked in. It’s delightful, it’s cheerful, and it makes you smile. Additionally, one of the core mechanics of the game is hidden identities. There is an inherent tension that goes with this, and tension leads to relief or disaster. In the relative safety of a game setting both of these usually manifest themselves as laughter. Tricking other players, or being tricked, is simply hilarious.

Think - Don’t be fooled by the charming artwork and vibrant colour scheme. Every turn you find yourself making meaningful decisions and I am a firm believer that it is simple choices with complex consequences that make good games great. In every single game I have witnessed of Daring Dustbunnies people have made sub-optimal choices based on what their hidden identity is. To the trained eye these choices become flags and they can then be subverted to throw people off the scent. The subtle mis-directions required make this a very socially intelligent game which will reward the smarter player and punish those that depend on blind luck, although blind luck can work just often enough to make it a tempting prospect.

Swear - I said earlier that tension is often resolved by laughter, but tension also comes hand in hand with frustration, and it inspires calculation and manipulation. When you have that tiger by the tail and you are desperately trying to figure out the best way to extricate yourself the challenge can be the most enjoyable part of any game. This is when you hear players’ howls of frustration, groans of realisation or other such unintentional noises. These are some of my favourite moments, when I feel I have done my job as a designer.

So for me, and for my 300+ playtesters, Daring Dustbunnies has ticked the boxes to make it as a great game, in the words of Mike Barnes from Who Dares Rolls, “It’s an engine designed for fun”.

Take a look at the kickstarter page here - www.kickstarter.com/projects/hopwoodgames/daring-dustbunnies-the-board-game


It's really happening

Andy Hopwood
DDBoD-TwigletLAP1703-card.png

Monday 1st July

Coming to Kickstarter!

Yes! Monday 1st July 2019 - That is when Daring Dustbunnies goes live on Kickstarter. I have no idea what to expect as it’s my first time doing this. I am very excited to have come this far though after ten years of making my own games. Finally I have been able to embark on a project that is ambitious enough to engage the services of professionals like the excellent Lloyd Ash Pyne and Nate Brett.

I know the game works. I know it looks good. I know that over 400 people have played it and like it. So now I step into the unknown world of kickstarter. I’ve checked and double checked, I have also assumed that I’ve probably missed a few details, but the big stuff is all in place. Manufacturer, fulfillment and distribution are all covered by trusted, proven businesses.

So all that remains is to push the button on Monday and hope that enough people know about it all to make it a success. If you are reading this and want to help in the smallest but most significant way, please share this with friends and family. If you like the sound of a game that makes people laugh, think and swear as they push their luck with hidden identities all set in a world of creatures living under the sofa, isn’t that worth telling other people about?

The Kickstarter preview is right here - https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/hopwoodgames/daring-dustbunnies-the-board-game?ref=bii8i3&token=869073cc

Let’s hope that 2019 is the year of the bunny!

Save the Date!

Andy Hopwood
facebook cover page.jpg

So the UK Games Expo was wonderful as always. A Massive thank you to the organisers, their team, the volunteers and all the visitors and other exhibitors. It really is a special time, it also happens to occur around my birthday which makes it a great present, so thanks for that too.

I have now set a date for the kickstarter for Daring Dustbunnies, it’s June 20th! Write that down.

Daring Dustbunnies is: “An engine designed for fun”, “It’s like smooth peanut butter”, “11 out of 10”!

At the expo I spoke with the manufacturer and the fulfilment team and distributor. So now that a lot of the nuts and bolts are in place I can more confidently say that my plans are as follows.

Kickstarter from June 20th to July 20th - Hopefully successful (with your help :-))

Get the finishing touches made to the final product by end of August

Start printing in September

Get the games to the fulfilment team in November

Kickstarter backers get their game before Christmas

Then the shops get theirs in January

Daring Dustbunnies is: “Entertaining, novel and even losing was fun.”

I am planning to put everything in the standard game. Any stretch goals I reach in kickstarter are going to be spent on upgrading the quality of the components. So if we fund normally then you will get a good product with everything in it, if we do well you’ll get a product with super thick card and maybe some shiny spot varnish. I’m not a fan of holding back extra characters etc.. so they’ll all be there come what may.

Daring Dustbunnies is: "well balanced push your luck game, with just a soupcon of take that"

There have been a few videos featuring the game now and I have to say thank you to the people at Gaming Knights, Who Dares Rolls and First Player Marker for supporting this early on. The links are below and don’t forget to like and subscribe if you enjoy what they do.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfdL_zIdG0Q (Gaming Knights)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekdR_fiCLos (First Player Marker - Family reviewers)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pk8nF1gsGsE (Who dares Rolls - warning occasional naughty words)

As a whimsical aside my favourite quotes over the last month have been:

“Hopwood games go up to 11”

My stand at the expo was an “island of innocent joy”

“500 Chihuahuas pulling a sled”

“ Plural Quids” and “Are you planning to use it?”

Those responsible for these comments know who they are.

Preparing for the Expo

Shows & EventsAndy HopwoodComment
It’s Zen time with Mystic Misha from Daring Dustbunnies

It’s Zen time with Mystic Misha from Daring Dustbunnies

It’s time to find that inner zen as we gallop towards the biggest weekend of my gaming year.

The UK Games Expo is my main annual event. You’ll find the Hopwood Games stand in Hall 1 near the Playtest area.

The Expo have a rather excellent system of numbering. I am stand 1-295 which means I am in hall 1, in aisle 2, and 95 metres from the front of the hall. Pretty clever stuff and another example of the organisers using common sense to make a great event easier to attend.

So what will I have with me this time?

The Very Nearly Completely Perfect Prototype of Daring Dustbunnies

This is what I’ll be concentrating on this time as I really am about to launch my kickstarter. I know it’s been a while but it does mean that kickstarter backers will be getting the finished article. The characters have been roadtested, the rules are super tight, and the gameplay dynamics proven to work time after time. I have a manufacturer and fulfilment agent in place and reviews on the way. It’s an exciting and nervous time for me but I mostly want to make sure I do a good job of this for the backers sake.

Copies of Mijnlieff

It is available on my new website now and as I am using squarespace to design it, the website is no longer such a terrible place to be. I’ll be making sure that I have some copies for the expo come what may.

Flipside

For those people who didn’t get a copy of Flipside last year you’ll be able to get this from me at the expo. Since last year we had a rather lovely review by none other than Mr Tom Vasel, and Match got the dicetower seal of approval! Hooray! You can see the review right here - Flipside Review

New design in the Pipeline

I have been working on a new design for a year or two now. A simple piratical game of sharing out the booty. It’s going well and is super quick to play. So if you see me out and about at the expo - I probably have a deck of booty in my pocket ready to whip out and play at a moments notice.

Daring Dustbunnies

Kickstarter, Daring DustbunniesAndy Hopwood

For the last two years I have been working on a game that combines pushing your luck and hidden identity. As is always the case multiple playtesting sessions have moulded it into what I hope is the finished article.

In Daring Dustbunnies you will be racing across the carpet towards a vacuum cleaner. You have a hand of cards that you use to move balls of fluff. Your fate is connected to one of the fluffballs each round (there are three rounds in all). If your fluffball is nearest to the vacuum cleaner when someone goes up the tube - you will win a gold medal. However if your fluffball is the one to be sucked up, you get nothing!

The fluffballs race across room tiles (the number varies with player count) and each room features two or three spaces which trigger special actions. There are five double sided room boards in the game and you only use a maximum of four rooms in a random order each round. So there a many different combinations of racetrack. Each character has an ability unique to them and you also collect charms that let you “tweak” the rules as you play.

What all of this means is that the game becomes very dynamic and playing just one card from your hand can trigger a chain of multiple events that affect the game significantly.

You’ll get a fate card at the beginning of each round and spend your time trying to mislead your opponents whilst also guessing what colour they might be. The consequences to being discovered are naturally that you are more likely to be put into the vacuum. There’s plenty of misdirection and deduction in the game, and lots of opportunities for both.

I am hoping the game will be on kickstarter by the time the UK Games Expo arrives in late May 2019. Kickstarter means I can have a more ambitious project which has included an artist in the form of Lloyd Ash Pyne and the support of Nate Brett in graphic design. With the right amount of support I hope to be able to create quality components to a game that I know works really well.

bernard+plain.jpg

Bernard the Beard

Working out his next move in Daring Dustbunnies