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Svarog's Den - Board Games

Designer Diary: When the Apocalypse Turned into Socks

by Montse Mkd

In the beginning, there was a sock.

Apocalipsocks was born in the most obvious and stupid way imaginable: by matching socks. Sometimes I ask my brain to trick me and turn the most boring everyday tasks into games to make them less boring. In an effort to gamify the ginormous mountain of socks that I had to match — so that I wouldn’t hang myself with one in despair — an idea came to me: Hey! What if this were a board game?

At the time I was obsessed with Happy Salmon. I thought it was a brilliant idea and an incredibly fun game. It probably took the designer three minutes to design it, the same amount of time it takes to learn how to play it and how long it lasts. What a product! Also, Happy Salmon is fun for the person playing AND for the person watching. Add to that the cute packaging, and you have a winner.

From the beginning, the idea for Apocalipsocks was to make something similar. However, a couple of weaknesses needed to be addressed first: the duration of the game (which was extremely short), and shy people having less of a chance to win than more explosive players.

The Story of the Chosen Sock

Apocalipsocks tries to turn something we all do every day into a fun game and add a layer of mystery because everyone loses socks in the washing machine. Those socks are disappearing in space-time, and nobody seems too worried about it, but it’s actually a first-order paranormal phenomenon, a reptilian secret that’s better kept hidden, so we’ll leave it at that…for now — yet it still keeps me up at night. Does it happen to you, too? I knew I wasn’t alone. You’re my sock bro.

That said, let’s get down to business. My goal was to create an inexpensive game that you could play with family, friends, or even grandma, and that everyone could enjoy with a couple of rules and a bit of rock and roll. That’s all Apocalipsocks wants to be!

To get there, I made a prototype and did some testing. The basic game worked beautifully from the get-go. Rummaging through a pile of cards like a crazy person and trying to find pairs that match was a lot of fun in itself — but then I started thinking about the effects.

Be Strong in the Sock and in its Mighty Power

We wanted the socks’ effects to somehow relate to the washing machine metaverse, so we started thinking and trying crazy ideas. We had to discard a few after testing them, such as blowing the cards like a hurricane or making a whirlwind out of the central pile of cards. We even thought of one where you had to hide a card in your socks!

We did some testing with a number of players to find the funniest ones, and the publishing team helped us set them in stone. In the end, we came up with a funny selection that is easy to remember, is entertaining to play, and creates quite a show on the table!

Another thing we felt was crucial to the game was to make the illustration clear and attractive. The socks had to be fun, but also they had to have colors that could be easily mistaken for one another. Luckily, TCG Factory suggested Michel Verdú, who did an excellent job and took the game to a whole new level. He also gave us a fantastic cover that fits perfectly and represents what Apocalipsocks is all about.

Seeing strangers play your first board game is an incredible feeling, especially when it’s a title like Apocalipsocks, a party game that’s all about having fun and laughing. What could be better than seeing a family of strangers having the time of their lives with something you created? I can only hope that Apocalipsocks will have that effect on many tables around the world. These socks are ready to PARTY!

Montse MKD

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