Friday, April 8, 2011

Building Your Faux●Cabulary!

Growing up, my favorite episodes of Sesame Street always involved visiting some sort of factory--shiny new crayons rolling down conveyor belts and dropping neatly into bright yellow boxes and molten batches of lipstick being stirred as the red and pink pigments are swirled in. The process of turning raw materials into products that I could hold, use, and even love was entrancing. Like behind the scenes shots from your favorite movie, seeing your favorite items being created can give you a connection to those products you can't get other ways. For that reason, I was really excited this morning when I opened my email to find pictures of our newest game Faux●Cabulary being created! These pictures are more assembly part of the process than production, but I think they are fun to see none-the-less. I hope you enjoy the mini tour!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Behind the Game

By Matt Nuccio

The origin of Faux●Cabulary goes back to a party that my wife (then girlfriend) and I had back in 2006. Unfortunately, I don't recall the party or what sparked the inspiration—I guess it was a rough night—I just remember waking up with a name that I wanted to build a game around. That name was not Faux●Cabulary (which would come later) but, "What the Bluff?" I had what I thought was a funny name and I wanted to create a solid party game around it.

The first version of What the Bluff? was a card game. The game included ‘fake word’ cards and players bluffed their made-up definitions for these words. I spent a year showing it around the industry to great reaction, just no takers. I received a laundry list of reasons why people weren’t interested-- too many card games on the market, word games don't make good party games, the name was possibly offensive. So, I moved onto the next project and then the next. I had forgotten about the game all together.

Then, sometime around 2009, two things happened that brought What the Bluff? back to life. The first was I met Al Waller, the owner of Out of the Box Publishing. The second was the creation of another game I did called "A Bee C Match Game" (Endless Games). When I meet Al, I immediately took to him and his team. I knew they had a keen sense of how to sell a party game—just look at their track record! I wanted to publish a game with Out of the Box. I went back to the studio and dug up a few concepts including What the Bluff? I play tested all of my old concepts again and found that What the Bluff? did not stand out the way I remembered it. I found the card game aspect to be too traditional-- yawn! I wanted to create something that didn't just play well, but felt different in your hands, too. This is where A Bee C Match Game came in. I had spent the previous year building a children's spelling game with letter dice. My testing showed that people loved the dice aspect. So, I ditched the cards and added dice for creating the fake words. I tested the game all over the country-- with friends, family, friends of family . . . whoever would play it!

I presented the game to Al in October of 2009 at the Dallas Toy Preview. He immediately liked the game, but we felt it needed some polishing. Al took a copy of the game back to Out of the Box and played it with his team. With feedback from Out of the Box and my play test groups, I simplified the game by prewriting all the definitions and reversed the rules so that one person read the definitions and the other players came up with the fake words.

We reconvened that February at the New York Toy Fair. This time, my cousin Chris and I met with the entire Out of the Box team for a few rounds of the new and improved What the Bluff?-- The game was a smash hit. A few weeks later we had a deal in place.

Over the next few months my team and Out of the Box continually tested and fine-tuned the content. Some of the content was toned down (the original was a bit racier) and some of the dud word-parts and definitions were rewritten or replaced with better ones. The hardest part was the name. I always loved What the Bluff?, but the game had changed so much since its inception that it was no longer relevant. My team and I spent months going back and forth with Out of the Box with new name suggestions. There were hundreds of names thrown around; ultimately we all decided on Faux●Cabulary. It fit the game perfectly—Faux (pronounced Fo) from the French, meaning fake, and Cabulary from the word vocabulary. From there, my team and I did the artwork for the box and cards.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The United Americas of Eurasica

Check out this fun email we got from some totally excellent OTB gamers!

Hello OTB!

My daughter Vicky and I (Ginny) play a lot of your games, especially the 10 Days series. Like many, we have combined the games for longer trips and really had a lot of fun playing all 4 - 40 Days in the United States of Eurasiaca. Later, I saw that you posted your own rules for 20/30/40 Days on your site.

Now that the Americas is out, we have expanded our game to 50 Days in the United Americas of Eurasiaca! I have included a couple of pics below.

Set up is you pick 10 cards from each game, then toss the rest in a big bowl. You mix the 50 cards that you picked, then randomly place your cards starting with the top row, left to right, then the next row, left to right, until all rows are filled. Use 4 or 5 discard piles instead of 3.

Same play as the regular games but the draw pile is just too big! So instead you pick from the bowl! You can use cars, boats and planes interchangably, i.e., you can use any yellow plane to go between any two yellow countries all over the world. You can also use cars for games that dont usually have cars.
You must have at least 7 cards from each game set to win.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Interview with John Kovalic

John Kovalic, world famous game artist and cartoonist, sits down with us and discusses his past, his passions and his future.


It was actually a bit of a coincidence - or rather, a series of coincidences. I used to be an editorial cartoonist for the local (Madison, WI) newspaper. Steve Jackson, at Steve Jackson Games saw an editorial cartoon I had done, and asked me if I wanted to illustrate their comic feature "Murphy's Rules." I'd been a gamer since I discovered hobby games in the 1970s, so I leaped at the chance.

This led to a few illustrations on a game of theirs that Out of the Box founder Mark Osterhaus collected and played. He met up with me, and had me sign some cards for him at a local (Madison, WI) convention. When Out of the Box was actually started, Mark asked me to be a co-founder and co-owner of the company. The rest, as they say, is history!


Honestly, right now, I'm not sure. I stopped counting after it reached 100 games and game supplements. My best guess is it's around 125, at the moment. But I need to look back through my files. It's a lot, though.


I love games! I'm an across-the-board (pun intended) gamer. I do everything from party, board and card games to historical miniatures and collectible card games. And of course, I create the "gamer" comic book and comic strip "Dork Tower."

The bitter irony, though, is that as I've worked on more and more games, I've less time for actual gaming! On the flip side, though, one of the great things about being part of Out of the Box is that there are games we're working on that I literally can not WAIT to get that I can have my own copy to play.


OK...THAT is a great question, and a hard one to answer. My "favorite game" is usually the one that I'm working on at the moment. There's an upcoming game called "Can of Words" I'm truly excited to start work on...and I've had a ton of fun creating the bugs for "Bug Out," a great new OTB game for 2011. I loved the characters in the game "Gold Digger" - there are some terrible puns in them thar cards! The "10 Days" series is always a blast, because it's so different from most of the other illustrations I do. But I have to say - I still have a very fond place in my heart for the old Apple from "Apples to Apples"...


I *just* finished the last of 36 different bugs for "Bug Out," and I'm coming up with some characters for Out of the Box's "Word on the Street." That's proved an enormously popular game, and it's one of my very favorites. But I've definitely been thinking about "Can of Words": that will be some VERY different packaging for an Out of the Box game, and I'm really anxious to get started on it. It'll be amazing!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Congratulations to Team Mike, winners of the Giant Word on the Street National Championship!

After a grueling day of match after match, Team Mike eeked out a win against the Dudkiewicz Family in the National Championship of the Giant Word on the Street.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Winners from the Word on the Street Party Case

Thanks to everyone who entered the Word on the Street Party Case Contest! This month we had an overwhelming request for us to post the winners names and answers, so we are obliging. Here you go!

"Something that a Person Plays"
The following letters are one lane from your side of the board. You already have 4 letters off the board. Can you get 4 more letters off the board to win the game?
Entries may only be one word in length, proper names and plurals are allowed only where appropriate to the category.
The 10 entries using the most designated letters will win a copy of Word on the Street Party Case. If there is a tie, winners will be chosen randomly from the tied entries.

Randy, CA- Clarinet
Patrick, WI- Moonstruck
Michael, IL- Instrument
Tim, IL- Clarinet
Pat, WI- Racketball
Christine, OK- Clarinet
Raymond, WI- Moonstruck
Arthur, CA- Instrumental
Jonathan, OR- Clarinet
Doug, MA- Racketball

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Join the Slow Entertainment Revolution!

Lately I’ve been feeling like I’m always just trying to get somewhere. I rush from one place to the next, not stopping to think about the pieces of my life, and if I am taking full advantage of each moment. I think it is a product of our culture. I work at home, so I spend most of my time face to face with a computer monitor, not seeing my coworkers more than about five times a year. In the evenings, I’m often too exhausted to do anything but sit in front of the television. I’ve recently decided that I need to slow things down. Appreciate those things that make me truly happy and start taking advantage of all that life offers.

That is why I have decided to join the Slow Entertainment Movement (okay, so it is more of a concept than a movement at this point, but we can dream, right?). The name is coined off of the ‘Slow Food Movement’; an Italian organization dedicated more mindful eating (also known as the opposite of fast food). Slow entertainment is the type of entertainment that challenges you mentally and/ or physically, allows you to become fully involved in the entertainment process and, helps you create long-term connections with other people, basically, active entertainment rather than passive. Yes, just like slow food, this will probably take more time and more effort on the front end, but the long- and short-term rewards will make it worth it. In fact, there are a lot of parallels between food and entertainment. They can both strongly affect your emotional health, they both offer opportunities to connect with other people and they have both changed dramatically in the last fifty years in this country.

Taking time for more meaningful entertainment experiences, doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming, in fact, some of the more simple things I am doing allow me and my friends to interject more of our personalities in to the experience. Play a game, join a sports team, go on a walk, take a class, these are all simple ideas that leave me more invigorated and more connected. You will also notice that there are other benefits to entertainment choices like these—they are cheaper, they are better for the environment and they exercise either your body or your mind.

This isn’t to say that I will never watch another TV show or play on YouTube, but I will be more mindful of the time and costs when I do. I don’t know about you, despite the bit of extra work, I would take a homemade picnic and board game over a bag of fast food and a sitcom re-run any night!