As my most faithful readers will already know, there is a story in The Completely Inappropriate Tales of Gandersnitch the Goblin that features a cast of odd characters sitting in a parlor playing a card game. That card game is called Hogswallow.
What most of my readers do not know however, is that it has always been my intent to create this game in physical form. Originally, we had hoped to package it with the kickstarter for the Gandersnitch book, but we realized that would be a bad idea for many reasons. So we waited.
The wait is over! The game has been created.
The art is done and the mechanics work. I have tested it around the dining room table with family and friends, online with trusted confidants, and at several convention events with absolute strangers. The response has been incredible! People like the game, and they want to buy it! So now, we are getting ready to sell it. We will launch a kickstarter at some point in the near future, once we have all the numbers and manufacturing details worked out.
I have lots of friends in the games industry, and they are guiding us towards companies that can produce the game in the quality and feel we desire. Right now, I am waiting on bids from various companies and exploring packaging options. Wheeee! Fun…
But first, before all that happens, I want to let you all know about the game. What it is, how it plays, and why it is totally awesome for folks of any age! I am counting on you all to be my first line of excitement when we do launch the kickstarter. I am going to need you folks to be out there spreading the word on social media and helping us hit out goal.
So, what in the heck is Hogswallow anyways?
Hogswallow is a free-form storytelling game that is suitable for all ages. It is a bardic game played by master storytellers in the highest of faerie courts, but is also a casual game played by the lowest of hobs in the most questionable of pubs. The secret to its universal appeal lies in the artistic simplicity of the Hogswallow deck itself.
Based on ancient Trollish fortune telling glyphs, the symbols on the cards can be interpreted in many different ways. Like a primitive arcane Rorschach test, each player in each story will see the card differently and use it as they wish to shape the ongoing narrative. Every game is different! Every game is fun!
There are two versions of Hogswallow played amongst the fae. High Hogswallow entails collaborative storytelling, with each player adding a card, and thus a story element to what has gone before. The winner is the one who brings the entire story to a satisfactory close, as determined by the other storytellers in the game. This version plays a lot like the spectator sport of Elf Chess, seen often at faerie festivals hosted in mortal realms, but is a more mythic format that can easily be played atop a table instead of taking up an entire battlefield.
Here is a very short video that shows some of the cards and the basics of play for a High Hogswallow game.
Low Hogswallow, the version seen in The Last Meeting of the Homeless Hearth Society, is a different affair all together. In this version, the players attempt to create the most impressive story (or story element) from just the cards in their own hand. This often leads to a rousing debate on the merits of particular patterns, arguments involving another player’s mother, and ultimately a vote on the winning hand. Playing for coin, the next round of drinks, or bragging rights is highly encouraged.
Lastly, if you really want to tweak the nose of your gypsy friends, the cards can be used in their traditional manner as a Trollish fortune telling device. It goes without saying though, that a fortune given by trolls is not always the most pleasant thing.
There you have it! Our game in a nutshell. Stay tuned for details regarding the kickstarter launch and how to get your hands on a copy! We will be moving forward very, very soon.