During the pandemic, we have all faced our fair share of boredom. Many places have been closed to support efforts to keep the community safe, which has forced people to find ways to stay busy. Olympian Cody Slosson and his son Rylan discovered the perfect way to keep themselves entertained during the shutdown: creating their very own board game called Savage Kingdom. The game has become a huge hit among friends and family.
The Slossons have always been big into board games, and with winter and the quarantine, they really wanted a fun project for the holidays. Cody grew up playing Dungeons & Dragons with his own father and fondly remembers bonding over the game. Dungeons & Dragons was and still is rather complex for young kids, but Cody wanted to be able to share elements of it with his own son. “I wanted to bring the characters and some of the functions of that game into a simpler game for younger ages,” Cody says. Together, Cody and Rylan created a game that could be enjoyed by all ages and still provide the same strategy and challenge.
Savage Kingdom is a turn-based game with two opposing sides trying to take out each other’s army. “It’s a mix between Chess and Dungeons & Dragons where you navigate miniature figures across different terrain in order to defeat your enemy in battle,” Cody says. The game also features cards that change your characters’ abilities, and dice that add an element of chance.
Cody and Rylan have spent countless hours playing the game and testing out different options to make it more fun for players. “The first run through took too long,” Cody recalls. “We had to balance good cards with bad cards, because if it is not balanced then the game can go on too long.” They now have it configured so that each game takes between 1-2 hours, and with the versatility, each game is completely different from the last.
The figures and terrain can come from a variety of table-top games so you can customize your battlefield however you like. Cody and Rylan originally picked out some terrain from Dungeons & Dragons, but found that it would be kind of expensive for the whole game. “Instead, we went to the aquarium section of PetSmart,” Cody shares. “You could get terrarium terrain like stone and rocks and it is super cheap.” The Slossons also went to craft stores like Michael’s for cuttable grass, wood, and other materials to make their battlefield unique. The battlefield can be as big or small as you want and can be reconfigured with each new game, so the options are truly endless.
With such customizable options and versatility, people really get to use their imaginations, which is what Cody wanted to instill in his son. Cody runs his own marketing business called Digital Advantage and is constantly thinking outside the box to succeed. “I have seen success off of imagination and putting it to work,” he says. “I wanted to teach my son to be bold enough to work on an idea from beginning to end and put it out into the world for others to enjoy.”
Sharing this experience with Rylan has given his son a new outlook on the possibilities that come from creative thinking, all while building lifelong memories along the way. “I will always remember the time we made a board game together,” Rylan says.
Cody has been so proud of Rylan’s creative contributions to the project. He decided to share their work on Facebook, and the response was overwhelmingly positive. His Facebook was flooded with comments from friends and family wanting to play the game, with some even asking for signed copies. Rylan has been astounded by the impact their creation has made. “It was so surprising when my dad was telling me that people wanted to buy it,” he says. “It is exciting that other people like it too.”
“People were commenting that they wanted to buy the game, which is why we put together a Kickstarter,” Cody says. The Kickstarter campaign will help bring Savage Kingdom to life. Cody has found a source to produce the game, complete with the board pieces, cards, and 3D printed characters all designed by Cody and Rylan. Those who make donations will have the chance to receive the first version of the finalized game and behind the scenes updates on the progress of the project. With so many options and simple yet challenging gameplay, Savage Kingdom will surely be a family favorite on game nights for years to come.