2015 Children’s Game Print and Play Design Contest

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‘The Garden Game’–not an actual game. Photo by Chris Hansen.

Chris Hansen is running another contest on BoardGameGeek: the first Children’s Game Print and Play Design Contest. This is a great chance to not only try out a wide variety of games with your kids but possibly make your own.

Hansen’s Solo Print and Play Contest recently ended, and hot on the heels of that contest, he has launched a new contest aimed squarely at parents and their kids. Even though the entry deadline is not until November 1, 2015, there are already 28 submissions, 18 of which have components ready for playing and feedback. I can’t wait to start printing some of these games to try out with my son. I’ll be trying to cover as many of the games as are appropriate for him.

Unlike a normal game contest, many of the game categories are based on skill-level of your child–Coloring Book components, Dexterity games, various reading levels, etc. This also means that there are likely to be at least some games for just about any child, regardless of age. There is even a category for games designed by or with a child!

I did a small follow-up interview with Hansen about his new contest to help kick it off.

What inspired you to do a Children’s Game Contest?
My daughter and I love to play games together. While it is great to spend time with my daughter by playing games such as Candyland, those types of games aren’t particularly interesting for adults. Many games designed for young players rely largely on random chance, which I think is boring even for kids. I wanted to find some children’s games that included actual decisions that were simple enough for children but still provide an enjoyable experiences for the parents. Since I have experience running online game design contests, I decided to go that route to hopefully inspire designers to create games like that.
Have you been surprised at the turnout for making kids games?
The response has been incredible. I think there was obviously a lot of interest in creating better games for children and design contests can be great catalysts for designers to work ideas into finished products. There has already been 20 games entered with 10 more being actively worked on. I expect several more by the end of the month.

Last year I asked designers to submit logos for the Solitaire Contest. There were excellent logos submitted but only a few people participated. I recently made a similar request for the Children’s Contest, and the response has been much greater. I’m thrilled to see this level of excitement from the gaming community.

Draft Artwork by Hansen (left) and his daughter (right) for ‘Tastes of Siege.’ Copyright 2015 Chris Hansen.
I know you are working on a game to submit. Are you making the game yourself, or are you eliciting help from your daughters?
I’m entering a game called Tastes of Siege. It is inspired by a game series called States of Siege which is published by Victory Point Games. The game is designed to help children try new food (enchanted food is attacking your village so you must eat to survive). My daughter is helping with the play testing but not with the actual design. Right now the game features no artwork but my daughter is helping me paint some of the pictures for a future version of the cards.

My daughter has been excited enough by the contest to try to create her own game. She is working on a very simple game in which players try to find pictures of puppies and dogs that are hidden under cards. She gets distracted from making the cards pretty easily so I don’t know if it will ever be finished, but it has been a lot of fun to work on these projects with her regardless.

Anything else you’d like our readers to know about the contest?
Unlike most other contests, there is no grand prize for the best game of the contest. I’ve divided this contest into three groups roughly based on reading level and each will get its own prize. I figured that games for three and four-year-olds would be too different from games for six and seven-year-olds to be judged fairly against each other.

While most of the entries are by adults, I’ve also created a special prize for the best game designed by or with children. This way, children not only get lots of cool new games to play, but they can also participate and show off their creativity! It’s a ton of fun to design games with your kids, so I hope lots more people will participate in that.

I highly recommend checking out the contest if you’re looking for games to play with your kids that aren’t the traditional, licensed fare. I also recommend submitting your own game if you have ideas kicking around in your head! The contest community is very supportive and inclusive and will welcome you with open arms. And if you and your family want to make a game together, even better!

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