There are times that you just know fate has a hand in things. Like I swear fate pushed the toy/game industry on me. There’s no way I would have pursued it on my own, and yet due to some events beyond my control here I am writing game reviews while taking a break from game inventing!
From the sound of it, the game In A Pickle ended up being invented as a result from a little push by fate too. As told by one of the inventors, Colleen McCarthy-Evans, this is how she and Joyce
Johnson came up with the idea for their Gamewright hit:
“After we met at an Adult Education Class on game design, taught by Keith Meyers and Michael Stern, Joyce and I began tossing some game ideas around together. We were intrigued by one concept in particular, that had players wearing big silly hats and balancing objects on them. We both had other careers then, and all our precious design time was devoted to developing this game, along with a space-themed board game. Meanwhile, Keith Meyers was on his way to Nuremberg, and offered to represent us with any games we were ready to pitch to game companies. When we showed him the wacky hat game prototype (which was going to be a challenge to fit in a suitcase) he said something polite like, “Uh, didn’t you mention you had an idea for a nice little card game, where players are making sets of objects that can fit inside each other?” We temporarily abandoned the game that wouldn’t fit in Keith’s suitcase, and began to work on the card game idea we had all but forgotten, and called it “A Penguin in the Closet.” While it was not a ‘fit’ for the companies Keith showed it to in Germany, Joyce and I continued to develop and test the game, and eventually sent it off to Gamewright.”
It’s a great story and I love how it’s the little things in life – like a lack of space in a suitcase – that alter our directions! Also check out the photo of an early prototype to the right.
As for the game, it’s all about what fits in what. It’s like the suitcase story all over again – only more outlandish! Could you fit a giraffe in a taxi? What about money in a test tube? Granted – you may not want to DO either of these, but that’s not the game. It’s could you, if you wanted to? So this leaves a large space for hilarity and also player interpretation, which may cause some problems. A teacher friend of mine played it with her gifted high school freshman and it was like WWIII was going to start. They had their laptops out trying to prove each other’s moves impossible; it was a “train wreck.” So a word of caution, In A Pickle can be a lot of fun – when you’re not playing with the über competitive set.
And a note: this year Joyce and Colleen have another Gamewright game coming out called Sounds Like a Plan, which is all about giving wacky advice.
In A Pickle Stats:
~$11 at Amazon and some specialty retailers
Ages 10 and up