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Rexburg father manufactures new card game

November 27, 2018

REXBURG — Adam Jacobs, a Rexburg resident and graduate of Brigham Young University Idaho has partnered with Thomas Scott, owner of Kaiback Camp Games and MissionShoe in Sugar City, to manufacture a new card game “Babble On.”

“We saw the potential in it. So we got it built here in the states and so far it has been very successful,” Scott said.

Scott says that they saw potential with ‘Babble On’ because the audiences that can play are so diverse. He says that Kaiback Camp Games tries to focus on small games that are travel ready. This game was what they were looking for because of its size and again it’s variety of audiences. Scott said that children can play it and focus on smaller words or older adults and teens can come up with larger more complex words or use words that are fun or even “inappropriate”, much like other games have started to do.

“You can make any sorts of words,” Scott said.

Jacobs says he first created the game when he was in college.

“I created Babble-on for a school project in late 2014,” Jacobs said. “The instructions for the class assignment, at BYU-Idaho, was to just come up with a design I think for a brochure and I thought you know what? I think I’ll go beyond a brochure and make like a card game.”

He says it took about six months of designing and prototype production. When it was finished, he printed it out and played it with some school friends who were writers for the university’s newspaper, Scroll.

“And then it sat there, nothing, under my bed in a bag,” Jacobs said. “At one point I almost had to throw it away because we were cleaning out and I decided, ‘No! I’ll keep it.’ And then I met Thomas Scott who worked for Mission Shoe...and he mentioned he was putting out some cards games as a branch of his company and he said he had two but needed a third and I mentioned that I had one so I decided to jump on it. I brought my prototype over, he played it and loved it and he’s been my business partner ever since.”

The rules are pretty simple and can be adapted for different situations and groups.

The pack of cards are color coated. Green is the easiest difficulty, then Blue, then Yellow and then Orange is the hardest. Each card also has letters on it and teams have to come up with words that have those letters in them. Players divide into teams and then one team will pick out a card for their opponents and that opposing team has to say as many words as they can.

For example, a green card may have the letters “CR.” Players will have to guess a word or name of a place, but not a person, that has those letters side by side somewhere in it. For example for “CR” a player might guess crate, cranberries, crab, cradle, etc.

“There is a point system, Green cards are worth five points per word,” Jacobs said. “Blues are worth ten points, Yellows are worth 15 points and Orange is over 20. The point is to be the first to hit 500 points.”

Jacob says that one time he played it with his family and in no time they reached 900 points and didn’t realize it.

Players don’t have to write the words down; all you need is some kind of timer or clock and the cards.

“There are lots of different ways to play,” Jacobs said. “It’s kinda just what you want to do. Within each card pack, there’s a set of instructions like one or two ways how to play. In the future as we continue to develop and market this game we’ll have more ways to play.”

Jacobs says that the game could be used to educate children in school in a positive and fun way.

“You can just shout it out, this is great for any educational opportunities too,” Jacobs said. “These could be in classrooms, they could be used to reinforce their vocabulary. We say ages ten and up but you can go below that if you want.”

The game got its name from the iconic noises people make when they try to think of new words. And a play-on-words for the famous Tower of Babel, the Christian idea that explains why people speak different languages.

“When you’re playing the game you kind of start making sounds like ‘ah-ih-uhh-an-uhh’ and you’re babbling — ‘Babble On,’” Jacobs said.

So what about the games look, how did he come up with it?

“I was learning about colors and the trend for design at the time was ultra modern and simple, and that’s not me,” Jacobs said.

The passion of making a game helped him overcome his struggle with the design and allowed him to become more invested in the game. It also allowed him to get a good grade on the project and come up with a design he was proud of.

“I think one key part of it is that it is super simple to play and there are so many different ways to play it,” Jacobs said. “It’s not something where you’re locked into the same mode. It’s also something that caters to a variety of audiences. It’s not like, no offense to Rook fans, but to me I played Rook with my grandma and that’s it. I’m not gonna pull out rook at any other time. ‘Babble On’ is something I can play with anybody I want, anytime.”

Jacobs says the game fits in his pocket and can be played on long trips with family, on an airplane and really anywhere else on the go. He says it’s also great for dates and “get to know you” situations.

Adam says the price of the playing cards go down the bigger bulk order the manufacturer makes. Over time as the game gets more popular, they’ll have to order bigger shipments and as the price to manufacture will go down, the savings could be used to expand the game.

“We might use those savings to create a different version of the game,” Jacobs said. “Where it comes in a box and for example there are way more options than ‘TH’ and ‘CRA’ there are so many more options than that on these cards. The english language is massive and there are other languages as well that have potential too. So we’ll probably use those profits and savings down the road to manufacture other sets, maybe with larger tin boxes that will cover other aspects of the game. Maybe there’s a ‘Babble-On’ but it’s a topical version where you have to come up with words but they have to do with cats or something.”

He said that when the game became available, he shared it on Facebook. Jacobs says that it wasn’t just his family who said they would play his game.

“I had some people that I’ve kept in touch with over the years but I haven’t talked to them since high school,” Jacobs said. “And they were like ‘oh this looks great! I ordered a copy,’ and that was really cool. Like they know me but they haven’t seen me in 15 years and they’re totally willing to just buy into it right away. And that was kinda special.”

The game has a five-star review on Amazon and after a week, at least 20 copies were already sold.

And it’s not the only new card game that Kaiback is selling. Another game is called “ak•rô•nym.”

Four years ago it did really well and they went into full commercial production. And the game, Scott says is simple. It’s also a game that plays with words.

“So if you have ‘department store’ and you have H, C, M, you can go anywhere in the spectrum,” Scott said. “You’re playing for the audience so if you’re playing with a bunch of straight lace grandmothers than it’s Harold’s Center of Mercantile, and you’re like ‘aww that’s cute.’ Whereas if you’re sitting down with a bunch of you know buddies and then it’s I don’t know.”

Scott and Jacobs mentioned other games.

“Harley’s Crap market,” Jacobs said.

“Yeah,” Scott replied.

Scott says that this game could be used for fart jokes, drinking games, family fun, anything. He says the scalability of games is important for travel.

“I think about when I play Apples-to-Apples with my kids. They have a good time but they don’t know who Marilyn Monroe is. And so now my six year old is just picking things out of nowhere and every once in a while he picks out one that’s gold, right?”

Both games are available for purchase now on Amazon.

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