Interview Oct 13, 2013

Nick & Nicole Fink have produced a great game for married couples to keep the romance going. It’s on Kickstarter now with less than 24 hours to go (as of this post) and has easily funded. Nicole stopped and took a few moments to answer our questions.

GDC: Give us an overview of your game and how it’s played.

Nicole: Marital Bliss is a card game for couples designed to be played throughout day-to-day life over the course of several days. At the start of each round, each person draws mission cards to complete in secret before the end of the round. Most missions require you to complete everyday tasks like take out the garbage or wink at your spouse. Whoever has the most points from completed missions at the end of a round will win a reward card.

GDC: What innovative mechanic or creative idea distinguishes your game from others?

Nicole: This game, unlike most games, is played throughout life. We have applied gamification techniques to the things that you know you should do in your relationship but are often either neglected or done begrudgingly. The intent is to add an element of fun and competition to your day-to-day life.

GDC: Tell us about the spark or inspiration for this game.

Nicole: A few years ago, Nick gave me a “Command the Husband” card for a gift for my birthday as a joke. That sparked our competitive spirits and we started trying to find ways to earn the next Command the Husband or Command the Wife card and the game had begun!

GDC: Let’s talk about the design process. Tell us a bit about the iterations the game has gone through and the refinements you’ve made along the way.

Nicole: This game has been in development for a few years and the mission/reward concept has been the foundation the entire time. We started out by creating a set of cards to use ourselves to see if the concept could work as a game. Once we proved that successful, we went through many revisions of the rules. After each update, we would play another round. After we were happy with the way it played, we invited play testers to try it out. Their feedback was valuable in proving that there is a market for this and that it has interest beyond just us. One key component that has gone through some change is the strategy cards. Mixed in with the mission cards, there are strategy cards designed to give each player an extra boost in some way. It was challenging to make them relevant and identify at what point they could be played. After several iterations, I think we have made them a successful element of the game.

GDC: What has been your biggest challenge in designing this game?

Nicole: Time has really been a challenge for us. We both work full time and there have been many nights and weekends where we just did not have the extra time to spend working on this game. At some point within the past year, we decided that we wanted to make this a priority and see it through to production. That decision has really paid off, we have had a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund our initial print order and we are almost production ready. Nick’s in the basement working on the final layout and design of the game right now, as a matter of fact.

GDC: Let’s shift gears and talk about you. How did you get into game design?

Nicole: We both enjoy playing games. Nick prefer’s video games and my interests are more in board games. So, this project is a great fit both of our interests. We have also always been interested in starting our own business and this has been a great opportunity to go through that process.

GDC: Tell us a little bit about yourselves. family? work? other interests?

Nicole: We have been married for almost 5 years and are about to have our first baby in November (about a week before our game will be shipped from the printer. Good timing, right?). Nick’s day job is in software marketing and I work in software implementation. When we are not working at our day jobs or designing our game, we both enjoy skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer.

GDC: Anyone you’d like to give a shout out to? (playtesters, design mentors, your friendly local game store, etc.)

Nicole: We would like to give a special shout out to our playtesters and want to say thank you for your feedback! We would also like to thank Richard Bliss of The Game Whisperer who has been a great mentor to us as we have gone through the Kickstarter process.

GDC: Tell us how (and where) we can find you (social networks, BGG username, website, cons you plan to attend).

Nicole: You can find us at www.MaritalBlissGame.com as well as Facebook, search for Marital Bliss, Cards for Couples. And through October 12 check us out on Kickstarter if you are interested in pre-ordering your copy of Marital Bliss. It makes a great Christmas present as well!

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