STAC by Simple Design Publishing

stac logo

Hey everyone, I’m aware that this isn’t the timing of my regular weekly blog post, but this is something I feel deserves to be posted. And the earlier I could get it posted, the better. So this post is what little bit of publicity I could bring to light for a game that I think could really turn out to be quite an excellent little pocket game. What game is that? The game is called STAC. How is it played? Let’s get into that shall we?

Rather than trying to get a point across on a game that I haven’t had a chance to play quite yet, I will let you hear about how the game is played from the developer of the game, Daniel Isom. This is his personal description of the game:
       Stac is an abstract game played on a 5×5 grid. Each player has one pawn that they will use to build and claim stacks as well has block their opponent from doing the same. The goal is to be the first player to claim 4 three-high stacks or be the player with the most stacks when no further moves can be made.
I haven’t yet had a chance to play it, but believe me, as soon as I do, I will most certainly be playing it. You may be asking why I am putting up this post then if I haven’t had a chance to play, and it’s in the middle of the week between regular posts. Well here’s why. Because I am the writer of this blog and I’ve decided that I want to put this up while there is still a Kickstarter campaign active and this could potentially make a difference in the support of the campaign.
This post is an interview with the developer of STAC, Daniel Isom that I have conducted via email over the last couple of days. (I’m really bad at transitioning right now sorry!)
Page: Where did you come up with the concept for STAC?
Daniel: Well I had just started designing games when I stumbled across the design contests on Board Game Geek and found the 2014 2 Player Print and Play design contest. I saw that there was a Best Abstract Game category and since I love abstract games, I decided that’s the category I wanted to enter a design for.
Page:Is STAC an acronym for anything? Or is it just a unique design for the game?
Daniel: It’s not an acronym, although I have created some acronyms while finding places to advertise the game so as to not blatantly post the name of the game where it isn’t right to do so. For example I have said “I won’t Share The Actual Campaign link” in a few places to see if anyone picks up on it. But in all actuality, it is a unique design for the game because the logo is vertical where the S is colored blue land the T, A, and C are all black. This represents a claimed stack by the blue player, just like in the game.
Page: What is your favourite part of developing a new game?
Daniel: Playtesting with someone unfamiliar with the game immediately comes to mind. I love to get different people’s perspectives on how a game plays, it’s theme (if applicable), and what they’d do to improve it. Which is why I’ve enjoyed collaborating with another designer on a different project called Wicked Pizza. Having that second set of eyes and different mind set does wonders for game design in my opinion.
Page: What are some of the hurdles you encountered while developing this game if any?
Daniel: While designing the game, everything came together pretty quickly and once I won the Best Abstract Game category in the 2014 2 Player Print and Play Design Contest, I knew I had something really good. Where I’ve run into hurdles was finding a publishing partner. Pure abstracts like STAC are a hard sell and there are only a few companies who publish them. A part of me always wanted to publish this design myself just the way it is, in a bag printed on both sides, so I’m kind of glad things didn’t work out elsewhere.
Page: Do you have anything in the works as a follow up from Simple Design Publishing?
Daniel: Indeed there is, as I previously mentioned, I am collaborating with another designer on a game called Wicked Pizza. This was another design contest game but it had changed drastically from it’s original form that was comprised of only 18 cards(contest rules) which included the rules. A brief summary of Wicked Pizza: In the modern world of edible witchcraft, pizzas have replaced the standard brews as the food of choice. In this tile laying style card game, players race to collect the 20 pizza scoring tokens by completing as many pizzas as possible. But beware the ingredients’ “wicked” special abilities and spell cards that will create havoc if they become activated. When the final scoring token is taken, the game ends and the scores are tallied. Jeremy Peet, the co-designer, and I are nearly done with the game. It is currently in the blind playtesting phase and we’ve gotten a lot of great feedback. The plan is to bring it to Kickstarter in the fall if all goes well before then.
Page: Where can people go to find out more about Simple Designs Publishing and STAC?
Daniel: I try to be all over the place as best I can but the best places to find out more about SDP and STAC would my or by visiting Board Game Geek and searching for either of those. SDP has a Facebook page that get’s updated daily to biweekly depending on what’s going on: and I’m also on Twitter using the handle @Simpledesignpub.
Page: With limited contents in the game and a drawstring bag rather than a box, is it easy to throw in your pocket or purse and pull out quickly while waiting for dinner or drinks while you’re out?
Daniel: Absolutely, having the game be portable was one of the key design points I wanted to have if I was publishing it myself. The bag is small enough to fit in a regular front pocket of a pair of pants so it’ll fit just about anywhere. I like that it’s small enough to bring to a restaurant, in the car, or on a train and can be cleaned up quickly. I recently brought to to the hospital where my wife and I played it on the little rolling table next to her bed while we waited for our son to be born. And another nice feature is that the bag can be washed if something spills on it and the wooden pieces are easily cleaned as well.
Page: At what point in coming up with the game, did you stop to take a look at it and realize you were really onto a great game?
Daniel: Good question, I would have to say the first time I taught it to someone who knew nothing about it. The rules are incredibly simple so teaching them only takes a minute or so. After we played a game and my opponent asked to play again…twice, I knew I really had something with STAC.
Page: What do you believe will make your Kickstarter Campaign a successful one?
Daniel: A combination of a low funding goal and the unique packaging idea I am using. I’m taking a risk bringing an abstract to Kickstarter because they historically haven’t done well but I’m hoping those two things will lead to the project funding.
Page: Where can people go to help your venture in making your game a reality?
Daniel: Straight to the Kickstarter campaign page:
And with that, the interview was concluded. I am hoping that having posted this interview with Daniel, that the fairly low Kickstarter goal can be met. This looks to be quite an entertaining game, and who doesn’t love the satisfaction of helping a successful campaign? Something that really hit home with me and made me want to help even more, is something he wrote to me in one of our emails back and forth during the process of the interview:
” This project isn’t about making money, it’s about bringing a game that people will enjoy to the market.”
There are games out there that use money to help fund trips to give their games more exposure and things of that nature, which is definitely a great idea and way to get your game out there, but Daniels outlook on getting this game started is to set a low goal that is absolutely attainable, with an easy to play game, and just get it into the hands of the backers who want it. I hope that this post can make a difference in getting the goal met. Hopefully this interview can push some who are questioning whether to back over the edge and convince them it’s a great idea. So get over to the kickstarter page and help get a great looking abstract game on the market! Even if you don’t decide to back, send the kickstarter link to your friends who enjoy games and lets make this a reality!

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