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Silo: From Board Game to Video Game

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.

For more information on Red Raider Studios click here. Also, check out their Kickstarter campaign. There’s only 4 days left!

[Photos: Red Raider Studios]


About Nina Perez (1391 Articles)
Nina Perez is the founder of Project Fandom. She is also the author of a YA series of books, "The Twin Prophecies," and a collection of essays titled, "Blog It Out, B*tch." Her latest books, a contemporary romance 6-book series titled Sharing Space, are now available on for Kindle download. She has a degree in journalism, works in social media, lives in Portland, Oregon, and loves Idris Elba. When not watching massive amounts of British television or writing, she is sketching plans to build her very own TARDIS. She watches more television than anyone you know and she's totally fine with that.

18 Comments on Silo: From Board Game to Video Game

  1. Love! I love math, even when I’m not very good at it.

  2. I support anything that can improve the people’s ability to math. We are a society in desperate need of improvement.

    • Agreed. I think this would be very addictive, in a good way.

    • Thank you Nina for this awesome piece and to your readers for their great feedback. John, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out American students are struggling in the math department and it is our underlying wish to get them hooked on learning, via our games. Hopefully that leads to a new generation of engineers, scientists and teachers, who are inspired by it. The good thing, is that math is universal, across the globe, so we hope to inspire the passion within all kids. For adults, it becomes apparent right away, that the more you play and exercise your brain, the better it works. For many, it will be like riding a bicycle.

      • I use math when I play music, when I cook, and when I’m trying to do something crafty. I use it to excercise my brain and think this is a great application that I know I will enjoy and look forward to sharing with my girls. My contribution is in – it’s not much and I wish I could do more. Hope you have fantastic success!

        • It doesn’t matter if you contribute $1 or $1000, we’re thrilled that you even thought to contribute. We are riding a wave, that I hope gets large enough to carry us home. Thank you.

      • Marc, if things like this had existed when I was in school, I may not have grown up thinking math was just something I wasn’t good at.

  3. My son attends a charter school here in Silicon Valley with an emphasis on science and math. I’ll be telling everyone about this game. This would be wonderful for after school clubs, even.

    • Nanea, this is how we’re going to be successful. Spreading the word is so vitally important to an organization with nearly zero dollars, but rather time, effort and smarts invested to date. Thank you.

  4. Okay, totally coming out of the nerd closet with this one, but at home, I play a simplified version this game with my kid, who’s 8. I started when he was in kindergarten, so the only operator we had was counting/addition…and now we’re up to add/subtract/multiply/divide. So long story short, I look forward to spending many hours playing this on FB or my iPhone, and I just pledged on Kickstarter. 🙂

    • COME ON, JULIE!!!! We’re all here for hugs, as you come out of the nerd closet. I have a 6 year old, who has been playing the board game version of this since she was 4.5, specifically with the same rules as you. Silo Jr is going to be rated for 4-8, so it looks like we’re right in line. Thank you for your contribution. I’m on cloud 9 right now.

  5. This is super-duper brilliant. I played a solo version of this with Yahtzee dice and LEGO when I was a kid, so seeing this in a fully-formed and rule-moderated version is AWESOME. I kickstarted this today (albeit with a note to the developers expressing my dismay over pandering to the information-theft, er, Facebook version first). Thanks for the link!!

    • Mark, thank you for the comments, your contribution and the giggles. The plan, from day 1, was to be iOS first, but then our internal prototype was developed in a way, that made conversion to Facebook easy and efficient, which is huge for a developer working nights and weekends on this. Funding gets us that much closer to making this our full-time lives. On top of that, I have decided that I have let my friends inundate me with game-related posts and requests, via Facebook, that it’s high time I return the favor. 😉

  6. Priscilla Maynard-Correia // August 2, 2012 at 1:42 pm //

    The USA is so far behind other countries in math skills that “Silo” is a welcome format to help rid us of the problem. Instead of aimlessly playing with cows or gems on fb, kids, and adults, can use this to learn from a beginners’ standpoint or improve their skill level. Good luck, Marc and Red Raider Studios…I have donated to the cause.

  7. We gave Tumble Rumble, the board game version to our nephew’s girls who are in elementary school in Maine. They had been playing about a month when he received a call from their school. It was one of their math teachers asking what he had been doing with them to improve their math skills so much, so quickly. He told her they had been playing Tumble Rumble, a math game created by his aunt and uncle. In a day or 2 he received another call. This time it was the principal. He asked Bill to bring the game in for him to see, which he did. When he saw it, he asked Bill to leave it for a while, which he did. It was passed from one room to another until all the classes had played it. His youngest daughter was so excited when it got to her room because she got to show everyone how to play it. At the end of the evaluation the principal called Bill and said it was one of the best teaching tools he had ever seen. It is! Please help Marc get over this hurdle. Tell all your friends on facebook, twitter, linkedin, etc. So far 99 people have donated with 5 hours left to go. Help show America we care about our kids and want them to be as well educated as they can, even if we have to do it ourselves!

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