Wichita 6-year-old’s card game is bow-wowing gamers
WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A year ago, Chloe Pritchett was 5, and as part of a home school lesson on medieval times, she and her mom, Libby, played the kid-friendly card game “Sleeping Queens.”
Chloe loved the game, but she really loved the story of the game’s inventor — a 6-year-old New Jersey girl named Miranda Evarts.
“She said, ‘If a 6-year-old girl can create a game, I can too,’” remembers her father, Jeff.
The next night, he came home from work and found Chloe busy scratching away on a pad of sticky notes. About 50 of them were spread out all over the living room floor, all covered with drawings of puppies and whistles and balls and stars.
She’d invented a game, she told her dad.
A year later, Chloe is 6, and her card game, called “Oopsy Poopsy” is catching on among the community of people who have had a chance to play it.
It has the potential to become as big a hit as “Sleeping Queens,” says Jeff — a teacher who has uncovered his inner entrepreneur since the day he came home and found all those sticky notes.
The Wichita Eagle reports that the Pritchett family is in the middle of a Kickstarter campaign which, if successful, will allow them to have enough copies of the game printed to get it out in the market in earnest. Their goal is $18,500, and they have until Sept. 21 to raise it.
If they make it, everyone who contributed at least $20 will get a copy of the game with instructions, and the Pritchetts can make the game widely available. If they don’t, they won’t be able to print any more games, and “Oopsy Poopsy” will become a fun memory for Chloe, who in the last few weeks has made the rounds of local television and radio stations promoting her invention.
“She loves it,” Jeff Pritchett said of his daughter. “She’s like, ’I can’t believe it’s a real game and people are going to play it.”
“Oopsy Poopsy” is described on its website as “a puppy-hoarding, squirrel-chasing, poop-scooping card game.”
Between two and five people can play, and they draw cards on their turn with the goal of being the first to match up five puppies with their coordinating collars. All the while, other players try to distract the puppies and foil their competitors’ efforts.
Every now and then, players get to shout, “Oopsy Poopsy!” That’s Chloe’s favorite part.
Chloe came up with the basic idea for the game, and her dad helped her finesse it. He had her draw the characters that would decorate each card, and the two played the game over and over, making adjustments until it “played right.”
After that, Jeff ordered a package of blank game cards and printed up a deck. At the time, he was teaching at Southeast High School, and he got a large group of teachers in the lounge addicted to playing it on breaks.
“We played it probably two to five times every day for two and a half months,” he said.
The family started taking the deck wherever they went, playing it with random strangers at The Donut Whole or teaching people at church how to play. They took the game to the Wichita Mini Maker’s Fair, where people can test their inventions on the masses. They even did a presentation about the game at 1 Million Cups, a networking organization for entrepreneurs.
Everyone who played “Oopsy Poopsy” wanted a copy. Eventually, Jeff had 100 decks made using a company in China, and they all sold out.
Jeff began to research copyright law and game manufacturing, and he taught himself how to use social media and build a website But he needed to figure out how to get more decks made, and he wanted to do it using a U.S. company. He found one in Battle Creek, Michigan, and figured out how much it would take to make 3,000 decks, enough to where he could start selling them.
People are having a hard time understanding that for now, the Pritchetts don’t have any more games printed that they can sell. They also don’t understand, Jeff said, that if they donate and the Kickstarter fails, their donation will be canceled and they won’t lose any money.
He’s hopeful it won’t fail, though. And the reaction people have to the game makes him think “Oopsy Poopsy” has what it takes to eventually go nationwide.
The secret, he said, is that it was invented in the mind of a kid, and people from 6 to 106 who play it all end up loving it — and wanting a copy of it.
“It’s just crazy,” Jeff said. “I don’t even know how this happened.”
Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com