What is 12 Days, you ask? It’s a Christmas-themed trick-taking card game, like hearts or spades. And wow, the art is gorgeous. When I talked to Boyan Radakovich, the creative director for the game and owner of Gamesmith, the game publishing company responsible for this game, he said they went for a very art-nouveau feel. To me, it looks like the stained glass windows in churches, which is very Christmas-y.
Boyan says when James Ernest (creator of Cheapass Games) and Mike Selinker (President of Lone Shark Games), the creators of the game, came to him with the idea, he jumped on it. Not only did he like the concept of the game, but Boyan said he’d never seen a game quite like it. What’s more, Boyan explained that there’s something called a “seasonality” in tabletop games, meaning a lot of game sales peak around the holidays and Christmas. Many people see that as a bad thing, but Boyan thought, “Why not make a Christmas game?” which would capitalize on seasonality, making it a good thing instead of a bad thing.
To him, it was the perfect holiday game. The game play is fun, easy, quick, and only costs $15, which makes it an affordable gift for the holidays. On top of that, the size of the game is small, which makes it the perfect stocking stuffer.
What makes the game awesome is that it’s not just a holiday game. People might get it for the holidays, but they end up playing it all year. What’s more, because the game is themed, quick, and easy to learn, it attracts people who aren’t gamers. It’s the perfect gateway game that you can use to get your other friends who aren’t into board games to play with you.
So once Boyan took on the project, he knew that he wanted Echo Chernik to do the art for it. From the moment he told her about the project, she was on board. Her passion totally shows in the detail and beauty of each of the cards. Though Boyan loves all the art, his favorites are the two turtle doves and the nine ladies dancing. Check out this video of all of the cards!
After the art was finished, they launched the Kickstarter. Then once it was funded, they turned around, and in just a month and a half made sure that all of the copies were printed, finished, and delivered by December. Woah. For a game to be printed that quickly is madness. And Boyan sure put in a ridiculous amount of overtime to do it – while he was in Amsterdam, no less!
And now that it’s in stores, it’s flying off the shelves. That rate of sale will only be heightened, I’m sure, after it’s featured on an upcoming episode of TableTop. What’s TableTop? Oh, only a YouTube Series hosted by Wil Wheaton on the Geek and Sundry channel, which was created by Geek Icon Felicia Day. No big deal.
Boyan is actually the associate producer on TableTop, so when Wil told him that he wanted to play 12 Days on the show, Boyan was hesitant, because he felt it was a conflict of interest. Wil basically told Boyan to shove it, and since Wil is the boss, they played 12 Days on the show.
“Honestly I treated it like any other game, because that’s the only thing that’s fair. It was more Wil pushing it, because he’s super supportive of me and it’s awesome…I guess I will feel different when I watch it. On set, I’m entirely too busy to be swooning. I think when I go to my local game store and they are doing holiday promotions and they have 12 Days, then I will feel better. I might cry a little bit on Thursday watching it with the fans.”
The entire TableTop episode will be holiday themed, and it will air Thursday, December 12th.
So, where can you buy it? Well, Boyan suggests you go to your local game store to get it, because supporting local game stores is awesome. But if you can’t find it there, you can always go to Drive Through Cards. There, you can download the PDF and print your own cards for free, or you can pay them $12 and they will print the cards for you. Or you can go on Amazon or Walmart and buy them for a little bit more money.
Check out our other awesome holiday content as NBF celebrates the joy of being a geek during present season!