2018 IDEA Sandbox Boot Camp - Mad Stax' (Board Game)

By Carson Deveau

Mad Stax’ a board game created by Keegan Campbell, Paul Guardia, and Taylor Roe and is a collaborative building game that requires players to work together in order to make the tallest tower possible. The game requires players to build their tower using unique patterns while under difficult circumstances.

The inspiration behind the idea came after the trio played a variety of games at the Board Room Café a couple of weeks ago.

“After playing a bunch of different styles of games, we knew that we wanted our game to be collaborative, have something to do with building, but most importantly we wanted it to be simple enough so that anyone could play and have fun with it,” said Guardia, a second year design student at NSCAD University.

In the following days, the trio began spit-balling ideas for how to incorporate all of those aspects into their board game. It all came together when Campbell, a graduating mechanical engineer student at Dalhousie, came up with a game called “Flood-Tower” where players had to build unique patterns using Jenga-like pieces. The group used this core concept, combined with a game Guardia thought of where players would be blindfolded while building something, and quickly found themselves with their board game idea. After that, the trio began working on the design of the game, and what theme it should have, which proved to be one of the most difficult parts of the entire process.

“It was probably the toughest part, just because there was so many different directions would could’ve gone in, and it was hard to narrow it down to one,” said Roe, a second year engineering student at Dalhousie.

Eventually, the trio decided to make their game 90’s themed and design the game pieces and box to reflect that.

“Everyone seems to love everything from the 90’s, so we wanted our game to be tied in to that nostalgia because if were ever going to take it to market, we think it would be a good selling point,” said Campbell.

As they finished their board game and gave a final presentation about it to the rest of the IDEA sandbox participants and instructors on Thursday, the trio said the overall process and experience of creating, design and prototyping a new product was a rewarding one for a number of different reasons.

For Guardia, he said that this helped him understand of little better about how to properly appeal to a target audience of a product.

“It was eye-opening to realize that the target audience you think you’re building your product for is not actually the audience that will be buying it, like this board game for example; It’s a children’s game so I assumed I would be trying to appeal to young kids, but actually it’s the parents of those young kids who I need to be trying to connect with because they are the ones actually buying the game.”

For Roe, she said the project made her realize that you can’t overlook the small parts that help contribute to the overall project.

“Our biggest struggle came with our instructions, and the terminology we used to. A lot of people whenever they tested our game at first had a hard time understanding how to play, and because of this didn’t have fun playing. Having something that small, but still impacts the overall product that dramatically is something I didn’t think of.”

And for Campbell, he said this project made him realize how crucial effective communication is between group members whenever you are all working towards a common goal.

“If you can’t get on the same page and figure out what we are working towards, the it just isn’t going to work.” 

From left to right: Keegan Campbell, Taylor Roe, & Paul Guardia

From left to right: Keegan Campbell, Taylor Roe, & Paul Guardia