Kaity, Tim, Katie, and Jess at IndieCade

Hello CUDO Plays blog readers, it’s your buddy Jess! Kaity, Katie, Tim, and I went to IndieCade this past weekend to talk about CUDO Plays and I’m here to give you the full recap. 

For those of you who don’t know, IndieCade is an international festival of independent games that takes place each fall in sunny Los Angeles, California. While the majority of the games selected for the festival are video games, there are tabletop games present and some games that defy categorization. There are also talks, and we gave one! We spoke about how to make a board game community, using our experience running CUDO Plays for four seasons, going on five. It was great to meet fellow board gamers on the West Coast, especially those creating their own communities around designing games. 

We were able to submit our CUDO Plays talk to IndieCade because Katie and I submitted a game to IndieCade, Windup War! Alas, Windup War was not selected for the show, but submitting a game this year also allowed us to show the game to Game Tasting. What is Game Tasting you might ask? Well, think about wine tasting. Now instead of wine, replace it with games. That’s it! We were able to show Windup War for two hours in the Game Tasting area surrounded by other awesome games. We made some new friends and also sold a few copies of Windup War while we were at it. 🙂

Several CUDO Plays games have made it into past IndieCades – Heifer Heist, The Most Dangerous Game, and DemocraSea! Another game from Katie and I, Pitch Fight, was also selected last year! IndieCade gives time to showcase tabletop games, and as Heifer Heist was a finalist, we had a table for that whole weekend to show and demo the game! This can be particularly useful during the right time – many games choose to run Kickstarters during IndieCade so they can use the time to advertise. For instance, Someone Has Died was running a Kickstarter at the time, and Visitor in Blackwood Grove had just wrapped up their campaign. For Katie and I, we were able to get the word out about Heifer Heist, Pitch Fight, and now Windup War during IndieCades!

Visitor in Blackwood Grove

There were some great games this year (but there are every year)! I especially enjoyed the installation-type games Busy Work and Fear Sphere. Fear Sphere was an augmented reality escape room for two players – one player is inside an inflated sphere where they can only see what their flashlight projects onto the inside walls, the other player guiding them from the outside with a map. They are pushed onward by the threat of an encroaching Darkness (capital D for extra spooky) – escape before the Darkness catches up with you! I played this with Kaity but alas she was consumed by the Darkness. I’m sure that’s how she wanted to go.

Busy Work is a work simulator for four players – be the Most Productive Worker by smashing your keyboard as fast as possible, answering emails and taking calls! My wrists hurt from constantly mashing the keys for two minutes straight and Katie eventually was crowned most productive and got a raise. I find this result unfair as I clearly answered the most phone calls, but you know, it’s cool. I still get that 3% bonus at the end of the year, right? Anyway, the game takes place in literal cubicles, outfitted with office supplies and little notes to yourself (“don’t forget to pack a lunch!”). The emails and instant message replies you mash out are full of corporate-speak and office frustration – it felt almost like I was really doing Real Business.

While I love attending IndieCade, I would like to see more innovative tabletop games and more board games in general being showcased. I’ve only been to two IndieCades before, I definitely didn’t see as many tabletop games this year. There wasn’t a specific tabletop gaming area for 2017, and it seems like the emphasis on board games was scaled back. I think this should only encourage us to make more games, innovative or otherwise, and submit them to IndieCade. Let’s show them what we got!

It’s always inspiring to see what games are out there. I hope I’ll see your game at IndieCade next year!