The creators of the hit game Exploding Kittens announced last year that were starting work on a new game, Bears vs. Babies. The developers – Elan Lee and Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal – went to Kickstarter for funding, just as they had with Exploding Kittens a year prior. Following upon that game’s success, support for the new game was enormous, and on an original Kickstarter project seeking $10,000 in funding, the game raised a whopping $3,215,679 from more than 85,000 backers.
In January, the game put out an open call for people who wanted to host a playtest of the game in its early stages. These playtests were meant to help provide feedback to hone and refine the gameplay and help improve flow and consistency so that the finished product could be more refined, polished and ready to amaze the tens of thousands of backers. A group of gamers at Mainstreethost, a local internet marketing company, made a submission video and got selected, and late last month held an open playtest event.
The Game in a Nutshell
Of course, it helps to first understand how the game itself is actually played. At the core the game revolves around two groups of cards in the deck: the creature cards, which are built using humorously illustrated heads, torsos, legs, arms and even equipment appendages, and the attacking Babies. All of the creatures and babies are assigned to one of three types – land, sea or air – with the object of the game being to create creatures of each of these types capable of defeating the impending baby armies. The person whose creature army has slain the most attacking babies at the end of the game, wins!
The Big Event
On Feb. 25, roughly 25 people – from children to adults – showed up to Mainstreethost’s lunchroom at high noon to do battle with Bears and Babies. With four decks available to play, groups of four were set up and paired with tables to read through the rules – an integral playtesting step in its own right – play a practice round, and get to seeing how well the game did in this early incarnation.
Right away, it was clear to see that people were enjoying not only the game play, but the artwork. Inman and The Oatmeal are known for a very distinctive animation style and voice, and that translated well to the crowd in attendance. The hiccups were fairly minor, and many were addressed in the initial rounds of playtests held around the world in the two weeks prior to the Buffalo event, including questions about whether a “Baby Owl” creature head was a creature or a baby card. There were also some additional advanced rule variants playtested to give the game extra dimension and depth.
Some gameplay elements, such as drawing a card that provokes the attacking army that must be played – even if drawn in the first turn – showed obvious areas for improvement, but the Bears vs. Babies team has taken the more than 500 responses and is hard at work putting the finishing touches on the game ahead of release. Check out some of the photos of the event below!
The finalized version of the game is expected to be out later this year to the Kickstarter backers – including a NSFW edition, just as with Exploding Kittens. While not currently available for purchase, if you missed out before, you can sign up on the Bears vs. Babies site to get on the mailing list to buy an edition once they become available.