Conor McGoey wasn’t allowed to watch TV when he was growing up in Thunder Bay—and while he wasn’t thrilled about it as a kid, it meant that he and his three siblings spent a lot of time being creative and yes, playing board games. Now, as a dad of three kids ages 3, 6 and 7, board games get a lot of play in his own house too. So when he was sidelined by surgery and couldn’t go to work at his custom timber frame business, he started sketching out his own board game idea with a marker and a pizza box.
Summit is the result. After a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise funds last summer, enlisting Thunder Bay artist Jordan Danielsson to move the project past the pizza box stage, testing with Thunder Bay families and game nights at local businesses, the game is now available for sale online and in Thunder Bay stores. It’s had an enthusiastic reception from board game podcasters, writers and conferences.
What’s it about? “It’s a mountaineering board game, where you’re trying to survive all the different twists and turns,” says Conor. You work together to overcome the mountain, deal with obstacles and make it through the expedition. “It can be played competitively by hard-core gamers, or cooperatively with a seven-year-old.” For red-tape reasons, the age range on the box is listed as 14 and up, but Conor has played the game with his six- and seven-year-olds without trouble. When you’re playing with younger kids, everyone can see the cards and reads them together to figure out strategy and tactics.
Something that sets Summit apart is its unique scoring system, called the Karma Track. “You can play the game nice or you can play mean, but how you play affects the game. Nice gets you points, but if you’re too nice you might get beaten,” Conor explains. “It regulates the game and prevents people from being overpowered.” He has a few more game ideas cooking away too, and the next one to be released is a cops-and-robbers dice game called Vault Assault, which Conor describes as "super-quick, family-friendly, for two to four players and can be played in 10 or 20 minutes.”
Love board games? Conor totally gets the appeal. “Laughing and playing with each other, looking ‘em in the eye and teasing a bit: that’s the best,” he says. “It’s about social interaction rather than screen time.”
More info www.insideupgames.com