What is Rampunctious?

Rampunctious is a game about making the worst possible pun. The idea is to make your friends cringe and maybe die a little bit inside. It’s a really simple social party game for 4+ players.

Anyone can pick it up and go, but all the humor and fun is based on what the players come up with themselves, so there’s limitless replayability.

Why the worst possible pun?

Is there any such thing as a good pun?

I think all puns are amazing, but I found out from making this game that the sign of a really good pun is everyone glares at you and won’t let you talk again.

Mechanically, how does it work?

Every round there’s a pundit, who is like a judge.

They have a hand of five topic cards – normal things like cats and dogs and trees. And they draw a weird scenario card from the deck. They play that down with one of the topic cards in their hand and everyone else has to try and make puns putting the two of them together.

Whoever makes the pundit’s favorite pun wins the round, and it keeps going around until the first person gets to 20 points.

What is the cringe card?

That’s for when somebody makes a pun that is so bad that everyone is like, “No, you’re never allowed to talk to me again.”

They’re democratically given by the group and they count as an extra point.

Is this good or bad for the player?

It means you made the absolute worst pun that anyone could do. So it’s success for the game but shame for life.

Win points – lose friends.

What’s the genesis of Rampunctious?

It was probably about two and a half years ago now. I’d been doing video games for years and then I started looking into trying to make a tabletop game, and I kept coming up with these really tragic things.

  Interview: Mark Taylor of Last One In

I was like, I know this is a terrible idea, but I’m going to prototype it and somehow it will become less terrible. Then I thought, “What’s the thing that I always like? What do I always like doing?”

And that’s making really bad puns.

What’s the development process been like?

When I started off, I just started off with a lot of different cards and saying, “I hope this works.” After the first two playtests I had to change the rules quite a bit, but after that it all seemed to work. Then it was a lot of content changing afterwards.

The main thing is trying to make sure you don’t add in too many rules, or make it too complex. Party games are made to appeal to lots of different audiences, and non-gamer specific audiences. They can get scared at a lot of rules really quickly.

You say, “Oh there’s only like three mechanics here.” But that’s two too many for non-gamers.

Where did the original content come from?

Myself and my friend John went into a cafe one day and we had way too much coffee and we sat in the corner giggling and saying really stupid phrases and scenarios, writing down the ones that were the funniest.

Can you tell me about Fool Them Once?

It’s a small Twine game about impostor syndrome. Coding-wise it’s really simple, although admittedly I’m coming from a C++ background, so relatively simple for me might not be for other people.

In the game, you get the option of having different responses for people praising you or asking you to give a talk, do those type of things. You play four different people – the first three are wanted to come to this conference, and the fourth is the person organizing the conference.

I find that when people get asked to do talks or come and participate in something they’re like, “Oh no, they can’t have meant me, I can’t be good enough.”

  Interview: Jack Darwid of JackD Games

But you wouldn’t be asked if you weren’t good enough. You wouldn’t be asked if the person wasn’t really interested in you!

So it’s just showing the different sides – how you might feel and how the person might feel to that.

What’s Bragging Rites?

It’s our new game, which has just gotten past the “Is this worth it?” stage.

It’s another party game, but a bit more complex. Everybody is a criminal, and you’re all together in this pub in a news report comes on. It says, like, the Mona Lisa was stolen from The Louvre! Everyone at the table wants to get bragging rights for this so everyone says, “Oh yeah, I’m the person who did that.”

As the story goes on, different evidence comes up, and you have to try to justify this evidence within your stories. So you’ll get one piece of evidence, like a block of cheese, so you have to explain how you stole the Mona Lisa and why there’s a block of cheese left at the scene.

After everyone has done that, another piece of evidence is revealed. There’s a block of cheese and also three yellow shoe laces. Why are there three yellow shoe laces? There’s four pieces of evidence and then whoever has the most believable story wins.

We’re hoping to get the first proper pass at the content and art done in the next month and a half. And then maybe bring it to Kickstarter for February-ish, but that’s a very big ish.

How did you cross from digital games to tabletop?

When I went to college, I did computer game development and I’d never really played a tabletop game ever. Then I started working for games companies and game middleware companies. I really wanted to make games, but it would wreck my head after a really long day at work – I didn’t want to look at a computer again.

  Interview: Alex Rowntree of Animal Ailments

Then, three and a half years ago, I started playing tabletop games and it was like, “Oh I can do the game thing without the computer thing? This is amazing!”

Can you remember the gateway game?

There’s this game developer retreat we do in Ireland. We get loads of computer game developers and put them in a hostel in the middle of nowhere.

You’re not allowed to bring a computer and so everyone plays board games. My friends were like, “Here – board games!”

I can’t remember what it was, but probably something way too complicated for someone playing their first board game.

What’s happening with Rampunctious now?

We Kickstarted that in March and it’s just finished being produced at our factories.

Right now it’s on a boat sailing to Dublin. The ETA is the start of October, and then we’re going to fulfill the Kickstarter stuff and hopefully get it into a few shops.

I can’t wait to actually see the physical games, and see so many of them – it just doesn’t seem real until you actually get them.

Any advice for anyone thinking about a game like this? Did you realize you’d be spending two and a half years with Rampunctious?

I thought it was going to be a little bit shorter than that.

I’d say, just test a lot of ideas and keep playing around with the until you find something you find interesting enough to stick with – because you’re going to be doing this for a very long time.

Unless you really like the idea, you’re not going to stick with it.

What should folks do if they’re interested in picking up a copy?

You can get it at FickleGames.com and you can follow along via Twitter.

We’re going to be fulfilling all the Kickstarter stuff in probably the second week of October. If you want it at the same time as the backers, just order it before then!