Archive for the ‘Featured Projects’ Category.

How and why I made a party game in a pandemic.

My new game, TBH, has now reached its minimum funding goal on Kickstarter!

We’re working on stretch goals now, to make the game even bigger and better. The campaign runs through the end of April, and I hope you’ll check it out!

If you visit the page, you’ll see my face halfway down, hosting a “How to Play TBH” video that I shot in my living room.

But otherwise, the campaign is run by a company called Cut. (I mean, truthfully it’s run by me behind the scenes, but I’m doing it for Cut.)

How and why I made a party game in a pandemic.

I started working on this game back in the summer of 2020. Cut is a YouTube channel, and they have a series called Lineup that’s all about guessing things about strangers.

I’ve been working with Cut for a while now, advising on their development of a merchandise arm, and TBH the game actually came out of a pitch for a Lineup episode.

It was sparked by the idea of having not just one guesser, but rather, having all the participants guess on each other.

How and why I made a party game in a pandemic.

From there, we started playtesting a serious version of the game, all about moral dilemmas. One player would pose a dilemma, and there would be conversation as everyone tried to figure out how the others would answer.

But… There’s a mechanic where the player gets to draw two prompt cards (“Dilemmas”), and then chooses which one to ask the group.

What we noticed rapidly was that players reliably chose the weirder option.

So, we decided to make the game weird.

How and why I made a party game in a pandemic.

The game works like this:

• One player draws the card and poses the dilemma to the group. They are the Dilemma Boss.

• The other players all ask clarifying questions about the dilemma. This is the fun part — where the Dilemma Boss gets to make up whatever answers they want.

• Once everyone’s satisfied that they know enough to answer the question, they secretly answer YES or NO for themselves.

• Everyone then guesses how the other players answered. You score points for guessing right!

(Here’s me saying all this in video form too.)

The scoring and guessing is fun, but the real joy is the questions, answers, and the group storytelling that results from it.

Every group takes the dilemmas in different directions. In-jokes are developed. Surprises occur.

In a time when we have been seeking new forms of connection — tired of the same old “how’s it going for you” conversations — it turns out we actually have lots to talk about, if we just start making stuff up.

And yet, somehow, by doing so, we find that the game uncovers real truth and honest conversations. It’s something of a magic trick.

And it’s really, really fun. We’ve been playing this game basically nonstop for months now, as we’ve been testing the prompts. It’s fun every single time.

I’ve been fortunate to assemble a crack team of creative superheroes to help with this game:

• Co-creator Nate Weisman, formerly of Funko games
• Graphic designer Alexandria Ferri Land
• Project manager & writer Sara McHenry
• Videographer & writer Zachary Sigelko
• Writers Maddie Downes, Lisa Wallen, Grace Freud, Daniel O’Connell, Billie Bullock, & Trin Garritano

You may or may not know those names, but rest assured they are a rogue’s gallery of greats. I couldn’t (wouldn’t!) do this by myself, and I sure haven’t this time.

If you like the weirdness of Wondermark, then I recommend checking out TBH.

Kickstarter copies of the game will be shipping out later this summer (just in time for party season to return, we hope), but also, we have an online version you can play via video chat right now! There’s a link to that on the Kickstarter page (look for “Play it Now”).

I’ll have even more on TBH soon. But here’s an account from Trin, one of the writers, which I loved to read:

I remember going to my first TBH writers meeting and thinking, “David Malki hand-picked the most interesting, talented weirdos from the internet to make a party game and somehow I am also here.”

And then after a while I realized on top of that, they’re also thoughtful and kind.

Thoughtfulness is uncommon in party games. I do not feel comfortable subjecting my friends to most of them.

We are making the game that we’d like to exist already. Quite frankly, it should exist already and I am offended that we have to do it ourselves.

Everybody on the team is fascinating.

Sara’s a kettlebell enthusiast who makes sweet comics about her cat, and has probably written your favorite Clickhole piece.

Grace is a powerful cryptid from an unknown realm.

I don’t know what Maddie’s deal is, but she should be in charge of all television.

Billie has an actual degree in computer science from a reputable institution, but decided to make jokes for a living instead.

So we have this crack team of Internet Goofs at your disposal. And our only goal is to make it as easy as possible for you to be hilarious.

We write a little seed of a story that, under your care, will one day grow into the most messed-up topiary. And I think that’s beautiful.

Essentially, your friends cast you in the starring role of a pocket universe, and then attempt to guess what exactly you would do next. That’s the beauty, and also the psychic horror, of the Reveal phase.

Truth or Drink [Cut’s last game] is a game about the embarrassing stuff you’ve done in your past.

But TBH is about who you are.

[ KICKSTARTER NOW FUNDING THROUGH APRIL 30 ]

I made a new game. It’s called TBH.

I’ve spent the past six months making a new party game.

[ IT’S ON KICKSTARTER RIGHT NOW ]

I said a bit more about it on Twitter too, starting here.

(And on Patreon.)

I made a new game. It's called TBH.

I made a new game. It's called TBH.

2018 Wondermark Calendars — shipping now!

Pleased to announce that this week we’re finishing shipping all outstanding orders for the 2018 Wondermark Calendars!

Thanks to everyone who’s snagged a copy; if you don’t have yours in hand yet, you will have it very soon.

And because I launched it later than usual this year, we still have some copies available! The last few dozen of the limited run.

If you haven’t already claimed one, you can place an order right now and we’ll ship it without delay!

2018 Wondermark Calendars -- shipping now!

Here’s what the finished, printed thing looks like:

2018 Wondermark Calendars -- shipping now!

There are a lot of pages and they all have delightful illustrations on them!

This year, the calendar is the Santarelli & Sons Expert Thingsmiths’ Catalog of Contraptions, filled with strange devices and impractical contrivances to solve your everyday problems.

Let Edouardo Santarelli and his competent sons Drachma and Leopolt show you their peculiar wares, all year long.

2018 Wondermark Calendars -- shipping now!

“But David,” I hear you saying, “it’s already 2018! It’s MULTIPLE DAYS INTO 2018! Don’t calendars go bad if you don’t open them right at the start of the year? Isn’t part of that calendar NOW UNUSABLE, with days that have past into the black mist of eternity and already been utterly forgotten by me and anyone else who might look at this calendar??”

How right you are! That is why I am willing to credit you the value of ONE FULL 2018 WEEK with your purchase of a 2018 calendar.

Simply use discount code ITSJANUARY at checkout, and you will be given a discount of 1/52 off the price of the calendar.

2018 Wondermark Calendars -- shipping now!

Any calendar stand you have from any previous Wondermark calendar will also work with this year’s cards! You only need the refill cards.

BUT, as you can see in the pictures, we have a new stand design this year! You can get one of them if you choose; we have modified the base design this year to better match the theme of the 2018 calendar.

An optional upgrade if you like!

2018 Wondermark Calendars -- shipping now!

Every individual copy of the calendar is signed and numbered by me:

2018 Wondermark Calendars -- shipping now!

And of course every order ships with a unique Wondermark Cast Card! This one features Mr Santarelli himself – and if you are a calendar patron of 5 years or more, simply mention so at checkout and we’ll include a special Calendar Ace card as well.

2018 Wondermark Calendars -- shipping now!

That is all! I just wanted to share these nice pictures with you.

Again, thanks very much if you’ve already ordered yours and there’s still a little bit of time if you haven’t! I’ll probably shut up about this in a week or so.

2018 Wondermark Calendars -- shipping now!

Wall Buddies Chessboard Upgrades!

Here’s a little update on our Chessboard Wall Buddies! (Just one of the eight different designs available in our Kickstarter project.) Update: The campaign is over! Thanks everyone!

Thanks to a suggestion by my good friend Joey Comeau, for a small extra charge we can now CUSTOMIZE the position of the pieces to your preference:

Wall Buddies Chessboard Upgrades!

So, if you want to commemorate a famous or personally significant game, or would like to construct a mate puzzle, or just want to make some weird arrangement, we can now make that for you!

Otherwise, if one orders the Chess Buddy without specifying, we’ll send the 1.e4 position pictured at top.

To specify a custom position, pledge for any tier and add $10.02 to whatever your pledge amount would otherwise be. The ten dollars covers the extra work for customization and the .02 is a way to help us tell at a glance which orders should be the custom ones. We will send an email asking about the custom instructions before we ship the order!

Some possible custom positions might be:

  • a final position from a famous game, such as the IMMORTAL GAME or the EVERGREEN GAME;
  • a surprising position worth contemplating and marveling over, such as one from Fischer-Spassky 1972;
  • Humanity’s Last Stand — a position before Kasparov’s first loss to Deep Blue;
  • a dramatic position in which EVERY PAWN has been promoted, to inspire heart attacks in viewers;
  • a diagrammatic representation of a real-life conflict such as the Battle of Agincourt, in which a series of knights face off against many pawns;
  • a bucolic peacetime scene, in which pawns keep patrol around scattered rooks;
  • a diorama of the G20 summit, full of intermingled kings and queens;
  • a monastery crammed with 64 bishops;
  • your sweetie’s initials spelled out in rooks;
  • or, of course, The Proletariat Revolution Reaches The Stables:

Wall Buddies Chessboard Upgrades!

Any legal or illegal position or combination of pieces is possible. $10.02 added to any base pledge amount lets us know you’d like a custom layout! (And for more than one custom chessboard, add the extra $10.02 for each, natch).

[ WALL BUDDIES – Funding now through November 30 ]

Announcing the monthly Cast Card Subscription!

what a card !!!

I’ve made some new Wondermark Cast Cards!

These little commemorative plaques are neat mementos of events or moments in Wondermark history.

Folks who’ve gotten the 2016 Wondermark Calendar, or were a part of the Multi-Purpose Cards Kickstarter, have already begun seeding their collection of Wondermark Cast Cards.

And..so have a handful of my top Patreon supporters! I decided I would make a brand new one, and send it to my top supporters for the month of January. A little surprise thank-you, for the folks who’ve contributed over $20 so far.

(They’re all getting the lady in the green dress, at right in the photo above. She’s Mirabelle O’Denneghy, from Wondermark #1056. It looks like her organs haven’t exploded quite yet — bully for her!)

Today, I’m pleased to announce that I’ll be making the Cast Card rewards a monthly tradition — a new way to reward folks who want to support Wondermark and the other things I do.

I’ve added a new tier on Patreon that is the monthly Cast Card subscription.

If you’re not familiar with Patreon, it’s like tossing some change in the tip jar when you get a coffee. Lots of people giving 25¢ or $1 or $2 each month can add up to make a real difference in the life of an artist. It’ll allow me to make more fun stuff, like these cards for instance! Which I think are pretty fun.

So, if you’d like to toss in a few cents or a buck, by all means, please do! I’m grateful beyond words.

BUT, if you would like to go PREMIUM LEVEL, and receive a beautiful handmade item in your hands every single month, now there is this:

it's a fun thing for nice people

Every single month, I will send my patreonauts at this tier level a brand new monthly Cast Card, which will be exclusive to Patreon.

It’s like the world’s smallest LootCrate! (The shipping cost is included; there’s no extra charge to have one sent to you anywhere in the world.)

To make it fair, I’ll make the official count at the end of each month (when the pledges for that month are processed). So, the time is NOW to jump on board for the inaugural February offering!

Here’s this February’s card — good ol’ Bean MacBean, from Wondermark episode #1125, the “bean juice” comic! All his vital stats are on the back, of course.

Announcing the monthly Cast Card Subscription!

Moving forward, there will be other ways to get other Cast Cards, too.

Most will be included free with various projects, or awarded for various things…In fact, soon I’ll talk about how you may already be a Library Ace. I’ll say only this for now: get your Wondermark books off the shelf, and make sure there’s film in your camera or whatever!

Until then, thanks a million for your support on Patreon, and please don’t delay if you want to claim a copy of the February card!

Wondermark Monthly Cast Card Subscription : Sign up now to get February’s card!