What is Pups?
Pups is a fun and vibrant card game currently seeking funding on Kickstarter. Designer Charlie Bink describes it as “a classic trick-taking game where you must lead your dog pack to victory through cunning play and gutsy bidding.” It will be independently published through Bink’s own publishing house, Bink Ink LLC. The art for the game is done by the talented David Jackson.
We had a chance to chat with Charlie Bink about Pups, how he got started, and the advice he has for fledgling game designers.
WOTN: Tell us about yourself as a game creator. How did you get started creating board and card games?
CB: I’ve done it kind of as a hobby for most of my life, and then I started getting into it more seriously when I started working as an artist and designer for Eagle-Gryphon games. I kinda started more in from the art end, and I was helping with development, and that kinda got me more interested in producing and publishing.
WOTN: What have you done with Eagle-Gryphon Games?
CB: I worked on a couple different titles for them. Botswana was one of them. Desperados is another one. I also helped develop one of their Railways of the World expansions. A little of this and that.
WOTN: What makes Pups unique?
CB: Kinda my approach with Pups was really just to make a beautiful and approachable game. One of earliest games I ever played was a trick-taking game called Trump. I noticed the rules were kinda a mashup of house rules over the years from my family. I wanted to take that and pretty it up, so it wasn’t a deck of 54 cards. I played with some different mechanics, just trying to make something fun, and loveable.
WOTN: As of this interview, you have more than quadrupled your initial funding goal. How does that feel?
CB: Feels good! I’m surprised. The funding goal was based off sort of the total money I would need to raise for the project. We had already raised some with pre-funding before that. I was confident it could fund, I just didn’t know it would do as well as it did – I guess it really resonated with people, which is good.
I’m really happy that it’s funded. It’s still going on for a while – it’s probably going to start going into that dip in the middle where there’s kind of a long stretch – but I’m hoping that as we go through it we hit some more stretch goals, and we’ll have some fun new stuff to announce.
WOTN: How has this experience differed from your first game, Trekking the National Parks?
CB: Trekking, the first game I did, I had never done a Kickstarter before, never done the manufacturing of a whole game from start to finish. With this one I knew the whole process, I knew what to expect when it was time, like if it did fund and then I was going to start producing the game. I had a little more confidence this time in getting it out.
WOTN: What advice do you have for new game designers?
CB: Playtest a lot – as much as you can, with a lot of different people if you can. It’s one of those parts of the jobs that seems easy, but takes a lot of persistence. Be really aware of your audience, and how they feel about it – step outside yourself.
You can get your own copy of Pups by visiting the Kickstarter page here. Funding continues until August 15th, and the game is expected to ship to backers in December.