The Upsides and Downsides to Easter Eggs

13 April 2020 | 4 Comments

Recently I was watching animated Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame for the first time. Early in the movie, Megan exclaimed, “Wait, go back a few seconds–that’s Belle!” Sure enough, the star of Beauty and the Beast appears on the streets of Paris for a moment during an overhead shot.

Personally, I love Easter Eggs like that. Disney, Pixar, and Marvel movies have quite a few of them, and sometimes they appear in other forms of media as well. I’ve seen them in television shows, tabletop games, digital games, and elsewhere.

So I put a few little Easter Eggs in Viticulture back in 2012, including the St. Louis Arch in the name of the game. From then on, I encouraged artists to include a variety of Easter Eggs in our products. The Arch and my cats are the most common, as well as nods to our other games, and artists sometimes include other Easter Eggs that are meaningful to them.

Since Easter was yesterday, I thought I’d share the various Easter Eggs featuring my cats across any of our games that feature them. Before I do that, though, here are a few pros and cons to incorporating Easter Eggs into your products:

Pros

  • It provides a fun treasure hunt for fans, something to do when they have extra time to look closely at the art.
  • It offers that feeling of being “in the know” without excluding anyone who doesn’t get the reference.
  • It’s silly fun! Most forms of media exist to entertain, and Easter Eggs show that the people behind the media are having fun too.

Cons

  • It can break theme, worldbuilding, and immersion.
  • Sometimes it just doesn’t work (my cats don’t appear in Wingspan, for example).
  • Not all illustrators are okay with such disruptions in their artistic freedom.
  • Sometimes I just forget to add them!

Overall, when used in ways that don’t disrupt theme or artistic integrity, I think Easter Eggs are worth including in games. What do you think? Are their upsides or downsides I didn’t list here?

Below are all appearances of my cats, Biddy and Walter, in our games. I can’t find an appearance in Viticulture or its expansions and I know they’re not in Wingspan.

Biddy doesn’t actually appear on this market tile in Euphoria even though he’s in the original art. I didn’t think it made sense to have him so close to a bonfire, so artist Jacqui Davis removed him.

 

One of the most difficult places to spot my cats is in Between Two Cities. They are very very tiny on one of the house tiles that Beth Sobel illustrated.

 

Jakub Rozalski was kind to include both cats (foreground and midground) on this Scythe encounter card.
The cat cafe building in Charterstone seemed like the perfect place for Gong Studios to insert Biddy and Walter.

 

Both cats appear on this quest card in My Little Scythe thanks to artist Katie Khau.

 

The kittenry room in Between Two Castles–which has the most Easter Eggs of all of our games–features my cats, the co-designers’ cats, and my co-founder’s cat. And maybe Morten’s too? Agnieszka Dabrowiecka illustrated this tile.

 

Andrew Bosley was on board for a variety of Easter Eggs in Tapestry, most of which are on tapestry cards and territory tiles.

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4 Comments on “The Upsides and Downsides to Easter Eggs

  1. How strange – I’ve literally just played my first ever game of Viticulture (Essential ed) and as I was packing it away, I started to look for any Easter eggs on the board and/or cards. I couldn’t find any. So then the internet took me to this blog post!

    I’ve seen many Easter Eggs in Scythe. They’re fun and quite small. But once you’ve seen them, they’re hard not to see again.
    I notice there’s a strange mouse or possum in the Kittenry too πŸ€”

  2. Hmm. Although I never expected that your cats would show up as Easter eggs in Wingspan, it never stopped me from wondering if there are other Easter eggs in the game that I had missed though. πŸ€” Care to drop a hint? 😁

      1. The bird-on-white-background art doesn’t leave a lot of room for Easter eggs, though we did include a fair number of egg eggs.

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