At Kids Table Board Gaming, we approach each new title we publish with a lot of love and excitement. That is especially true for Creature Comforts. From the very first pitch, by designer Roberta Taylor, it was clear this game was different. We talked with Taylor about the inspiration behind Creature Comforts and the challenges she faced during the design process.
“The inspiration for Creature Comforts came in a long and roundabout way. A number of years ago I lived in very remote Indigenous community on the northwest coast of British Columbia. A lot of the people there still followed the rhythms of the seasons, harvesting cockles or cedar bark during short windows in spring or fall, fishing when the fish ran, and feasting in the dark of winter, and that's so far from how most of our lives are structured. I have always said I should be a bear who naps most of the winter, but seeing people living more in tune with the seasons was a real glimpse into something most of us have never had a chance to experience. And so the core of the game was always the seasons,” Taylor explained.
“Initially I wanted to set the game in that coastal village, but that's not my story to tell. So the project sat on a shelf for several years. When I picked it up again, I had recently been intrigued by articles I kept stumbling over talking about cozy games. (The word cozy in this context refers to a game that evokes the fantasy of safety, abundance, and softness). So from that it was easy to find a theme that worked with the mechanics and the coziness. After all, what is cozier than curling up in a rocking chair in front of a roaring fire to read a good book during a snowstorm? Or softer than a family of bunnies?”
Like many projects, Creature Comforts was developed on and off over several years. Taylor worked on other games in the interim, but always found herself returning to this design.
“It has been simmering for a decade- life has a way of interrupting, and much of that time the game rested on a shelf. I have learned to not be afraid of letting a design rest until an idea comes to me, or life slows down and I have time to focus on it,” she recalls.
“Once I settled on the theme, I am sure that every story I read as a child or later read to my children, influenced the design. As a very small child, I greatly enjoyed the stories of Little Bear with art by Maurice Sendak, as well as stories like The Borrowers, and my kids read Redwall obsessively and talked endlessly about their favourite parts, which were always the descriptions of feasts with roasted nuts and parsnip soups and blackberries... I am sure that all of these stories were somewhere in the back of my mind as I developed the theme.”
Whenever a creator entrusts their vision to a publisher, the goal is to make the final product resemble their original idea. There are always changes and improvements as the development process continues, but KTBG always strives to produce games that are a collaboration between designer, publisher, and artist.
“This game came together quite nicely once I learned enough about game design to know how to use the mechanics that interested me in a way that told the story I wanted to tell. There was of course lots of testing and balancing, and some initial false starts, but there were no moments of soul-crushing frustration when working on Creature Comforts,” says Taylor.
For the art, KTBG partnered with Shawna J.C. Tenney, who they had worked with in the past on the insect collection game, Bugs on Rugs.
“I am in love with Shawna's work on this game. I can't even pick a favourite creature, they're all so perfect (although the skunk is pretty awesome). She did such a great job capturing so much personality and so much mood- the light in the art is beautiful, there are so many charming details. Looking at the art for this game, I can tell that she really understood what type of story I wanted it to tell.”
We are so excited to help bring this game to life. It introduces essential gaming building blocks, such as worker placement, resource management, and set collection. The mechanics, art, and story of the game create a fun, puzzling, non-combative play experience.
Creature Comforts is coming to Kickstarter on November 17.
Read Creature Comforts: Spring Comes to Maple Valley here.
Read Creature Comforts: The Squirrel Days of Summer here.
Read Creature Comforts: Everything Falls into Place here.
Sign up for a Creature Comforts launch day reminder here.