Local duo creates unconventional card game
TRENTON BURTON, CONTRIBUTOR
A local duo has created a card game called Surplus of Popes, but creating a surplus of popularity hasn’t been easy.
“It’s definitely a challenge to get people to pay attention to it,” said Will O’Donnell, who created the game with Bart Rucinski.
“When [people] hear ‘locally designed,’ they’re cautious. They don’t have high hopes,” said O’Donnell. Even his friends lacked faith, but after playing with them for the first time, they had a confession.
“[They said] ‘we were just going to be polite to you but this was actually really fun,’” said O’Donnell, laughing.
In the game, every player is a pope trying to have the best life story. Players draw cards and gain “pride points,” which indicate the player did something good, and “shame points,” which indicate the player did something bad. At the end of the game, the number of shame points is subtracted from the number of pride points and the player with the most pride points wins.
There are also special event cards that affect other cards, and some cards challenge players to gain extra points by creating a new mixed drink or making up a dance.
At first, some Catholics are skeptical about the game, said O’Donnell.
“If you’re Catholic and you encounter the word ‘pope,’ it’s going to have resonance,” he said. “But after getting to know the game, everyone’s been okay with it.”
“We don’t go out of our way to offend anyone,” added Rucinski, the co-creator.
The duo started using the Pope in their material to differentiate themselves from other artists at conventions, says O’Donnell. Instead of just drawing superheroes, they would draw any character fighting the Pope.
“The Pope was just always in our minds. It’s a funny word,” said O’Donnell.
While it hasn’t been easy to create, the game has gotten nothing but positive feedback, said Rucinski.
“We’ve never gone to an event where it’s bombed,” O’Donnell added.
The duo said they’re surprised how positively it’s been received.
“I kind of wish we had more examples of negative feedback,” said Rucinski, laughing.
They haven’t received any constructive criticism in months, as they worked out most of the game’s sins in early tests with Rucinski’s brother.
With the beta testing finished, O’Donnell and Rucinski launched an Indiegogo
campaign for the Surplus of Popes on Mar. 2. The campaign’s incentives include adding a permanent backer’s likeness to the game box and cards.