As a kid, I loved board games. Some of my fondest memories include playing Life, Clue, and Monopoly with my cousins and siblings. That love didn’t die as I got older. Instead, it grew and I now have an extensive board game collection to show for it. We’ve spent whole weekends playing board games as a family and my favorites are ones in which we have fun, and the kids also learn. We’re also a gaming family. We game hard. I don’t buy that video games keep kids from connecting with each other and their parents, or that it rots their brains. Sure, if you allow them to play video games continuously and alone, without ensuring they’re educational (or at the very least, appropriate), you may have a problem. But there are many family games available that make it just as easy to bond over the console as you would the kitchen table. So, I was intrigued when I read about the Kickstarter campaign for Red Raider Studio‘s Silo.
Silo is a board game that mixes strategy with math. The goal is to move five balls through two silos. Each silo has six levels represented by numbers. To move your ball to the next level, and closer to the end, you must roll five dice and then use the numbers you rolled to formulate a mathematic equation that equals the number of your next level. If you do so within the time limit, you can move your ball to that level. Your opponent has the same numbers on their silos. The first person to move their five balls through the silos wins.
That’s nerdtastic, right?! You never play the same game twice as the numbers change from board to board. I love that you’re flexing your math muscle, and if you’re not that great at math *cough like me cough*, it helps you get better! Have a look at the video game prototype:
The fundraising campaign is to turn this board game into a video game available for Facebook, iOS, Android, Windows 8, and Kindle. The developers even have a kids version in the works, Silo Jr. They’ve currently raised more than $4,800 towards their $25,000 goal.
To find out more on the origins of Silo and what they hope to accomplish with their campaign, I spoke with Red Raider Studios founder, Marc Girolimetti.
NP: Who came up with the idea for Silo?
MG: My parents (Mom and Stepfather) created it. Like all games that they create, they plop it front of friends and family, play, and soak in a ton of feedback. I saw Silo (which they called Tumble Rumble) early on and instantly made the connection from physical, tactile, game to software.
NP: Where did they get the idea for this particular game? What was used in the board game prototype?
MG: We’ve always had in-house/homemade board games, but 14 years ago they decided to modify some of them, with the intention of bringing them to market. They kept the momentum going by creating more and more. I don’t live near them, so every visit seemed to involved a new game. The early prototype is exactly what you see in the picture (below), the hand-crafted wooden game.
NP: Why math?
MG: We played a lot of games, when I was young, many of them involving dice. An in-house game, reminiscent of Parcheesi, Yahtzee, etc and so the early games mimicked those mechanics. Then, one day, they decided you could do more with dice and game mechanics, thus the math equations.
NP: Why not leave it as a board game or do you plan to produce both?
MG: The original plan was to hit the market as board games. The problem is the start-up costs, when manufacturing is included, are astronomical and it made no sense. They tried contacting Hasbro, to serve as a publisher, but they never gave them the time of day, so they started selling them at craft and education fairs. On a small scale it was successful, but it’s their dream to see the masses embrace their games and software is that path. If we’re successful, I’m certain there will be a lot of requests to produce the board game, which we are planning for.
NP: What are your plans after the Kickstarter campaign?
MG: Regardless of Kickstarter being successful or not, we will complete the Facebook version and enter the market. Our goal is to accelerate the process and quickly be on iOS, Android, Windows 8, and Kindle. Not only is this a perfect family-oriented game, but it’s designed to be a game for train commuters and airline travelers, which is why we built the 1-player vs. CPU option. When connected online, players will be able to challenge each other, which really fires up the competitive spirit.
[Photos: Red Raider Studios]