The Making of a Board Game: Two Local Creators Talk 'Adorable to Horrible'

Erik Flesher and Kirk Wyckoff have always wanted to make a board game. They grew up as self-avowed total nerds, slinging 12-sided dice and reveling in Monty Python sketches. They still do that, but now they've achieved one of their big goals with the impending release of Adorable to Horrible

The board game — 2-4 players, ages 18+ — combines the dark edge of Cards Against Humanity with the simple gameplay and color of, say, Candy Land. Cute characters plagued by vice and chicanery move around a board that funnels them closer to "the Void." Players draw cards that describe horrific actions and advance the cheery characters closer to their swirling demise. (For example, one card reads: "Droppin' Off The Kids: Unicorn cuts the brake lines while all jacked up on meth, then giggles like a schoolgirl as they plunge to their death." That one's particularly sinister; the character moves four spaces closer to the Void.)

Plus, there's a "drinking game" element already blended into the gameplay. Get boozed up and send wide-eyed bunnies to certain doom, laughing all the way. Flesher says the brainstorming process — coming up with the rhyming couplets that advance the gameplay — was a wildly fun exercise.

In creating the game, he and Wyckoff realized that there's now a great strength in tapping into niche humor and unique thematic material. 

"In the old days, if you wanted to make a game, you would basically have to do it all on your own and take it to a Hasbro, and they would 99 percent of the time just say, 'No thank you, we make our own games.' And they only make a game or two a year, and it's pretty safe and general like a Monopoly or a Sorry — something they've done forever," Flesher says. "Now, with crowdsourcing, you can do a very specialized, very customized game with any kind of theme and just put it out there."

The game will arrive on Kickstarter on May 17.

We've written before about the boom in local "board game cafes." In many ways, we're in the midst of a golden age of board games — sales increased 10 percent last year, totaling nearly $1.5 billion worldwide. Flesher and Wyckoff's timing here is auspicious; remember that Tabletop, Ohio City's board game cafe, came together as a Kickstarter project itself not too long ago.

Check out this review of Adorable to Horrible, which will give you a more up-close sense of how the game works and what everything looks like. (The art is awesome.) 

About The Author

Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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