Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Hello, Mom’s Choice readers! We’re delighted to be able to speak with Roberta Taylor, the creator of a new board game titled Creature Comforts. This nature-themed family game provides fun for both adults and children (ages 8 and up) as they take steps to prepare their “burrow” for the upcoming winter.
MCA: Hi Roberta, thanks so much for joining us! Your Creature Comforts game shows the importance of making good choices—and because it’s not overly competitive, it sounds like a truly cozy, enjoyable game. Why don’t we start the interview by you telling us a bit about yourself?
I am a full time freelance game designer living in Edmonton, Alberta. I love spending time with friends and family playing all sorts of games—I grew up playing Scrabble with my mom and Crokinole with my dad, and I have such special memories from those games. I also love reading, baking, gardening, cycling, and knitting—I guess I really don’t sit still well!
MCA: Tell us about the creation of your company.
Kids Table Board Gaming (KTBG) was founded by Helaina Cappel to create a line of games that both adults and kids could enjoy playing together. Partnering with her husband, Josh, they designed a number of hit games including Foodfighters and Haunt the House. Now, after eight years, KTBG boasts a library of 12 different titles featuring everything from digging up dinosaur bones and exploring sunken wrecks to growing a magical garden.
The goal of KTBG is to find the sweet spot of accessible rules and interesting decisions to make throughout the game. Our games are colourful, fun, and exciting! We can’t wait to share some all-new adventures in the coming year!
MCA: What needs were you trying to fill when you created the Creature Comforts board game?
Creature Comforts was created specifically to be a cozy game. I knew that the same aesthetic and design principles that were being used in cozy video games could really work in a board game. I really love games that bring people together, not just in proximity, but that leave space for really gentle, wholesome play together, while still being competitive, and that’s what I wanted for this game.
MCA: What age groups was Creature Comforts designed for?
I designed this to be a family game, which in my mind is a game designed so that families can play together, with kids playing alongside the adults. Kids 8 and up can join in a game of Creature Comforts with a bit of guidance, and KTBG includes helpful suggestions for simplifying game play to make it really grow well with your family.
MCA: Tell us about the research that went behind the product’s unique features, and describe these features.
The main research that I did was to really understand what makes a game cozy, and that shines through the entire design. Shawna Tenney’s art really draws players into the feeling of coziness, and the mechanics themselves were also designed to evoke those feelings. For example, resources in the game are really abundant, and players share locations rather than blocking others.
Also, the game is set in an imaginary place in Algonquin Park in Ontario, Canada, so all of the animals featured in Creature Comforts can be found in that park. It was really fun learning about those critters and choosing which ones to include.
MCA: Would you say your game has particular importance for participants?
I think that this game has importance because it is a perfect setting for creating positive memories with family and friends.
MCA: What kind of feedback have you gotten about Creature Comforts?
Initially a lot of folks shared how much the theme resonated with them, which is delightful. And now that it’s been on people’s shelves for a while, I’ve been hearing how for many the game is a family favourite. A common thread among those comments is that a partner/child/friend who didn’t like playing games has come to love Creature Comforts—and now joins in game days more readily. This makes me so very happy!
MCA: The game sounds wonderfully inclusive. What is next for you and your product line?
We are really excited for two upcoming KTBG family games in 2023. Diced Veggies was designed by 11-year-old cousins Jory and Rowan Cappel, with help from dad and uncle Josh. Collect ingredient dice like mushrooms, onions, and carrots to complete scrumptious recipes for valuable points. This delicious family dice game will be in retail later this year.
In Wasabi: A Game of Raw Skill, you play sushi chefs trying to complete intricate dishes like Maguro, The Wreck Raider, and Squid Salad Sandwich. Prepare your recipes in style and you can earn extra Wasabi cubes for end game points. Use power cards like Chop, Snake, and Stack to give you an advantage. The chef that has completed the most valuable dishes by the end of the dinner rush wins! Look for Wasabi: A Game of Raw Skill on Kickstarter later this year.
MCA: Your new games sound wonderful—please keep us posted on their release!
You can learn more about Roberta Taylor and her award-winning game, Creature Comforts, by visiting her MCA Shop pages.