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Cleveland-made boxing board game ‘Welterweights’ looks like champ

August 21, 2018

Cleveland-made boxing board game ‘Welterweights’ looks like champ

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Board game designer Joshua Gardner and artist Abbi Cali have teamed up for a one-two punch of a board game, “Welterweights.”

The boxing-themed card game allows two players to fight against each other with a combination of slow and fast punches, dealt with two decks of cards representing the left and right hands. The game is being produced under local board game company Spontaneously Combustible Games.

The theme behind “Welterweights” was a natural choice for Gardner, who grew up watching boxing with his family and playing “Punch-Out!!,” a popular NES video game, when he was a kid.

And creating a board game was right up Gardner’s alley. Gardner works at Tabletop board game café in Ohio City and teaches customers how to play more than a thousand different games offered at the business.

The expert picked up on game mechanics from his experiences playing and teaching games. Currently, he’s working on a handful of original board game ideas, and he’s active in Ultimate Team-Up board game play test events in Northeast Ohio.

“Welterweights” was a more straightforward idea, he said.

“I had really liked the idea of having two separate decks to have to draw cards from. That’s not something I’ve seen in a lot of games,” he said. “If you’re drawing from two decks, one is set to the left and one is to the right ... I thought, what can you do with your right and left hand? I have always been a fan of boxing. That just seemed like it flowed naturally from there.”

The game works in a similar way to boxing itself – players aim to knock the other person out, or to win rounds. Each card has a speed and a power assigned to it, which can land either a fast punch or a powerful punch. Players can give damage to each other, in the form of a “Dazed” card – and if you get too many of those, you get knocked out. Once there are three knockouts, the game is over. If you don’t get knocked out, the player with the most points after three rounds wins.

The artwork for “Welterweights” was done by local artist Abby Cali, who helped fine-tune some of the game’s mechanics as well. With help from Ultimate Team-Up play testing events, its mechanics were worked out in about a year, and the game is now ready for production.

Gardner launched a Kickstarter campaign for “Welterweights” on Aug. 20, and it reached its goal of $1,500 in an hour and a half.

Currently, “Welterweights” has over $2,300 of support on Kickstarter, and it still has 27 days left in the campaign.

The Kickstarter campaign was used as a preorder for “Welterweights” to fund printing costs. The game is still available for backing, and backers can receive a print-and-play copy for a $5 pledge, or a boxed copy of the game for a $19 pledge.

The active board game community was helpful for the bubbling success of “Welterweights,” Gardner said.

“There is a very growing and vibrant community of board game developers in Northeast Ohio,” he said. “If anybody has game ideas, we’re always looking to help people out. Everybody’s really cool in the community trying to help people out.”

Check out “Welterweight’s” Kickstarter page.

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