BUCKHANNON — The premise behind Rumpus is simple. A player chooses another player to fight. The other players place bets, and the fighter who plays the best set of cards wins the round.
Rumpus is a brand new card game from the creative mind of Buckhannon resident Ethan Butler.
Butler joined forces with Nate Snyder and Jon Hayes to form Hot Cardigan Games, a tabletop game publishing company.
“I’ve always been a fan of tabletop games and board games and any games really, so I thought I would try my hand at it,” he said.
Butler said a tabletop game is an umbrella term that encompasses board games and card games, which have made a resurgence in popularity in recent years.
A graphic designer in his day job, Butler said his love of games pulled him into game design.
“I started designing board games about two years ago,” he said. “This has been a fairly long time in the making. I’ve got probably 12 games designed.”
Hot Cardigan Games decided on Rumpus for its first game release for several reasons.
“It’s designed to be something that could be played in cafes, restaurants and bars and is a fairly inexpensive one for people to buy and inexpensive for us to produce,” he said.
Butler met Snyder while he was a professor at West Virginia Wesleyan College. The two became friends and Butler would bounce ideas off of him.
Snyder connected Butler with Hayes, who owns Comic Paradise Plus in Fairmont and Morgantown.
Hayes had connections with other publishers who might be interested in collaborating on board games.
But the group decided to combine its resources and get into the board game publishing business.
Hot Cardigan Games has launched a Kickstarter Campaign with the goal to raise $8,000 in 30 days to manufacture Rumpus. With 28 days left, the campaign has $526 dollars raised and 24 backers.
Something Butler feels is important to the game design process is the testing phase.
“I think play testing is very, very important,” Butler said. “If you release a game out there and there’s something that doesn’t work about it or makes it less fun to play, then that reflects on your company.”
So, Rumpus has been through a few different versions with no major changes but some revisions to streamline the game playing process.
Also important to the test phase process is a healthy mix of friends and strangers to give feedback, and so far Butler said the response has been very positive.
“I don’t think I would have launched it without knowing that people were pretty happy with it,” he said.
Although the game says for ages 10 and up, Butler said a 6-year-old was able to explain how to play. Three to five players can play with one deck and an average game takes about 20 minutes .
Even Butler’s grandparents weighed in on the game, playing a test round.
Rumpus’ name was also a product of the creative brainstorming the Hot Cardigan Games founders underwent.
“We wanted something that was one word and that encapsulated the nature of the game,” he said.
“It has a vintage 1920s theme to it,” Butler said. “The theme is getting into fights and getting rowdy, although it involves picking other players to get in hypothetical fist fights with, and not actual fighting.”
The early 20th century theme carried through into the game promotion as well.
“We filmed a video as an advertisement in a basement bar,” he said. “Morgantown Brewing Company has a speakeasy and it was very period appropriate, so we were lucky to enough to have connections there to be able to use it.”
The trio’s creative juices have come together in a variety of ways, including the company name.
“We were thinking of ways that we could stand out when we were at conventions promoting the games,” he said. “We thought it would be funny if we wore cardigans with our logo because we thought that was out there and nobody does that.”
So when the naming process came along, they searched for words that would come together but not necessarily mean anything. Hot Cardigan Games fits that description.
The cardigan idea stuck.
For this weekend’s West Virginia PopCon, the founders of Hot Cardigan Games will be sporting purple cardigans with the logo.
Butler said they will be promoting Rumpus and its Kickstarter fundraising campaign at the event. The sixth annual West Virginia Popular Culture and Comic Book Convention will be held Saturday, Aug. 26 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 27 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 500 Mylan Park Lane.
To learn more about Rumpus and stay on top of future games, like Hot Cardigan Games on Facebook, follow @hotcard on Twitter or @hotcardigan on Instagram.