We are counting down the days until we launch our brand-new family card game Quirk! The aim of the game is to collect the most ‘Quirks’, which are sets of three cards with matching characters. There are 26 ‘Quirks’ to collect that feature whacky and wonderful characters such as ninjas, sloths, dragons and superheroes. Players must embrace their silly side and do their best impression of a character in order to ask for it from an opponent’s hand.
To get everyone excited for the launch on Monday 8th June, we have interviewed the creator, Emma May, to give you some information about how the game was developed and where she got her inspiration from.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
A: My name is Emma May and I am an Illustrator plus Product Developer and Founder of Emmerse Studios Ltd. I created the card game Quirk! which is now licensed to Gibsons and I’m the process of creating a spin-off with the Mischief Monster character that appears in the new Quirk! Game; illustrating the character for comic strips and children’s book.
Q: Why did you choose to become an illustrator?
A: I remember when I was really young watching my Dad draw silly cartoons on a notepad and it inspired me to want to draw. When I was growing up, I absolutely loved Beano and Dennis the Menace, collected all the annuals and naturally my character drawing style now has thick black outlines and block colours too.
Q: What inspired you to create Quirk!? And can you tell us a bit about the journey you have been on?
In 2012, I was freelancing as an Artist but wanted to develop my own projects. I started with a book called 365 Days of Getting into Character, after my friend was looking for an audio book full of daily positivity but what she ended up getting was a 2 hour seminar. The book I created featured characters for you to become every day, suggestions would be silly or reinforce positivity and everything brought you more confidence and courage in yourself.
One of the suggestions was to act like a pirate for an entire day and I had a friend try this out who came back to me to say it was too hard to do. So naturally, I turned the book into a drinking game called Cards with Character. A lot of the artwork from the original Quirk! game came from that game in 2013. I kickstarted it and briefly made it into an app for Google Play in 2014 before removing it from the store and pursuing other goals.
5 years later; I picked up the games concept again after people were telling me to bring it out at Christmas. I sat down with my sister in January 2017 and we worked out what would work and what wouldn’t and decided to base the game on Go Fish. I knew the concept worked, when my Nan who was visiting at the time, almost fell off of her chair from laughing! My intention for the original game was to make people laugh, so if the game accomplished that, even in a small way, it was worth pursuing.
A lot of credit has to go to my sister for helping me work out the base mechanics at the start too, she even came up with the name! From there, I went to work revamping the game, creating additional artwork and testing the concept. Since then it’s developed into the game that 12,000 people own today from its humble beginnings and now being redeveloped for the Gibsons launch!
I went through a lot of trials and tribulations to get the game to market commercially on my own before I started collaborating with Gibsons, but it’s a story for another time! All I can say is it’s taken a lot of courage to keep showing up to make sure it got to where it needed to be!
Q: What is your favourite Quirk! character?
My all time favourite character in Quirk! is the Dragon. When I drew that character I fell in love with it straight away. My second favourite is the Unicorn because I believe the Dragon and Unicorn are friends in the Quirk! universe; but they are always really cheeky to one another. They are also my favourite because by the time I got to illustrating Quirk! Legends; the game had challenged me to develop my art style into the artwork you see today in the new game!
Q: Why did you choose to work with Gibsons?
When I pitched the game to Emily at the UK Games Expo 2019, there was a really nice collaborative synergy from the very first conversation. It was really important for me to find the right partner to take Quirk! forward and look after the heart of the brand.
Gibsons are a people-first company, that’s an extraordinary quality and something we both share. We want to make great games for families and we’re very connected with the people that play our games right through to the supply chain too. It’s all about looking after people whether that’s by playing our products or interacting with us in business and that’s what makes this a superb partnership.
Q: What changes have been made to your original Quirk! game to turn it into the ultimate version you are launching with Gibsons?
Okay, so the games are pretty much identical in terms of play; so it’s still the Quirk! game we’ve come to grow and love. You’re still going to be acting out characters to try and win them from other players, stealing and defending Quirks. The changes we’ve included help to improve your experience of the game and add a tonne more fun and mischief!
First of all we’ve changed the card style; we have included symbols that represent each card type for example; character, steal, defend & stop cards. The cards are still differentiated by colour but the symbols allow for further accessibility if you are colour impaired. We’ve also removed all words from the cards to increase accessibility worldwide.
The new game includes 112 cards; which means you get two packs of Quirk! in one game to mix and match with and we’ve created a system to help you separate the decks if you want to play a normal 15 to 30 min game. One set contains easier characters and the other more challenging characters. We’ve added a few new characters, lowered the number of skip and steal cards and introduced Mischief Cards to the core deck. The Mischief Cards can be added as advance play; they allow events to affect the group and activate immediately on pick up and also features the wonderful Mischief Monster!
Skip cards have changed entirely, they are now called stop cards and are used directly against character cards, meaning you can stop a player mid-turn from asking for a character. It’s a strategic card to use, if your opponent has something you wanted to ask them for and you didn’t want to give yours away first!
Visually, every aspect of the game has been improved, even down the quality of the cards for shuffle-ability. We’ve taken every effort to create a game that is easy to learn, accessible and a lot of fun for people of all ages. I’m very excited to see the game once it’s here and you’re very right in calling it the ultimate version of Quirk!
Q: What advice would you give those who are looking to develop their own game?
Don’t be disheartened by criticism. Listen to your potential customers; but be selective with suggestions. You have to match a synergy between your vision of the game you’re creating and the experience your audience will have of the game. Creative expression and commercial success is a fine balance.
Try not to hold on to your ideas too tightly, you should be prepared to trash ideas that don’t work even if you love them. We’ve all heard the term ‘kill your darlings’ it’s one thing knowing it and it’s another thing to do it. The latter takes courage and can lead to a better development by expanding your mindset to new possibilities beyond