Three Weddings and a Baby

21 February 2019 | 18 Comments

When I started designing games in elementary school–and even when I started publishing games in 2012–I never imagined that strangers would use my games to propose to their future spouses.

But they have. Several of them. I love engagement stories, so even though I haven’t been engaged myself, I’ve been honored to play a small role in several proposals (and I’ve observed several others).

All of these stories have something in common: People have used cards from our games to surprise people they care about during pivotal moments of their lives. I think that is truly amazing. I’m sure many other game companies have stories like these, and it’s one of the reasons I love this industry.

The first that I’m aware of is one I learned about after it happened. The full story is here, and the Viticulture card Mark used to propose to his fiance is here:

I was so amazed that someone would do this that I later incorporated a Fiance card–with Mark’s permission–into the Moor Visitors expansion:

In 2017, I was contacted by a woman named Rebekah who was preparing to propose to her boyfriend using Scythe. I privately shared the encounter card frame with her, and she added her own art and text. I then connected her with Andrew at Print & Play Games to print the card.

Rebekah later shared the story in the Scythe Facebook group, and she let me share it on BGG as well. Here’a  photo of the card she created:

Last year I also worked with someone in a similar capacity to help them propose, but they didn’t end up sharing the proposal publicly, so I won’t go into details here (I think it was successful, though).

The latest story was another first: Someone used their copy of Wingspan to announce that they’re having a baby. They shared this card (created on their own) in the Wingspan Facebook group:

These stories make me wonder a few things:

  • Other than proposals and baby announcements, what are other announcements that people like to make a bit deal about?
  • As a publisher, what can I do to better facilitate these special announcements? I looked into working with DriveThruCards, but they don’t offer several card sizes we commonly use, and the cardstock is rarely a perfect match. For now I think I’m going to ask one of our graphic designers to create user-friendly templates of a few different types of cards. People will need to print them at home and sleeve them next to a real card to hide a surprise, but that’s not too difficult. [Update: These card frames are now available for download and customization.]
  • How do companies in other industries facilitate special surprises like these?

Update: Here are some more!

Have you ever used a board game or other product to make an announcement?

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18 Comments on “Three Weddings and a Baby

  1. I have one question. Is there a certain software needed to design own bird cards? I would like to create cards with birds from my country for my own use. Unfortunately I have no Facebook so I cannot join the group. Thank you very much in advance for your help.

  2. Oh wow the card I made is there in the update! I wish I had seen this article beforehand, I would have asked for the template! As it was I used the best image I could find online (the sandpiper I’m holding in the card at the end of the article) and print it at home. I thought about asking but didn’t want to be a bother. It’s so awesome to see how this company goes above and beyond for its fans!!!

  3. My fiancé and I use Settlers of Catan to simultaneously announce our engagement and propose to our best friend that he be our officiant. For a reason no one remembers, our three-player games of Catan are sacred and even come with rituals that have developed over the years. It was the perfect occasion for our announcement/proposal. We printed a custom development card on thick glossy card stock. It had a picture of a wedding I found on the web that pretty closely matched the art style of the rest of the cards.

    It read: “Reveal this card to become the officiant at Mike and Grace’s wedding. 1 victory point.”

    He looked at it, calmly said yes, and then asked for his REAL development card. Then of course we all laughed and hugged. It was a great moment. The funny part was, to make sure he drew it we had to put it on top of the deck and then neither of us could buy development cards until he did. The first third of that game was really tense as we excitedly WAITED for him to buy it. I don’t remember who actually won that game. The extra victory point was real though. He earned it.

  4. As far as encouraging this behavior, I think that making template files available online as well as setting clear boundaries are important.

    I don’t think that you can predict all of the many ways that someone might want to use these assets. But as long as your clear, most people should get it. For example, I’m guessing that you would be opposed to a company using the files to sell Scythe themed greeting cards, but that most any personal use would be okay. There will be possibly murky areas, such as if I wanted to use your assets to create a business card. Though you could call out specific rules for some of these areas.

    Next, I would give more visibility to some of the cards that people have made. It’s great that people share it on facebook, but that is a limited audience. If you had a tab on the top of your website – Create, that had links to the assets needed to produce your own cards as well as a gallery of some well done examples. There are probably a lot of people who wouldn’t know where to begin to create their own cards, if you had someone make a youtube video tutorial for how to create your own simple card, it would make it far more accessible.

    Lastly, I think that you already do a lot to encourage fan creativity. I think it is awesome that you have published several titles like my little scythe and the wind gambit, that were fan originated.

  5. I’m afraid this could go the other way. Be careful if the HR guy comes around with some ‘special cards’ for your lunch time game at the same time there are rumor of downsizing. :)

  6. This is soooo cool! I love stories like these. I honestly think it’s really cool that you want to help make more announcements like these happen. I don’t feel like a lot of publishers would be making templates for the gamers to print to make their own cards. I really love your stake in the community. It’s really cool how much you care about the gamers out there!

  7. We had a backer of our 2nd Kickstarter campaign reach out after he and his girlfriend had been enjoying their Gloomhaven campaign so much.

    As his girlfriend was approaching retirement for her character…we helped him stuff a sealed-dummy character box for the class she was unlocking with a cyphered proposal. They managed to time it perfectly during their groups Christmas Party session.

    As she decoded the unexpected message he dropped to a knee behind her and had a ring ready to go. (She said YES!)

    So neat being asked to participate in such important moments in our players lives! Always love helping when we can.

  8. We told our best friends we were pregnant via Gloomhaven. We were in the middle of the campaign and we just taped something to the back of a road card. So when they turned it over it just said “Allyson is pregnant!” It went surprisingly well, they were completely caught off guard.

  9. Announcements/surprises: Proposal, Prom-posal, god-parents, engagement, expecting, gender reveal, adoption

    Other: Party invitations (birthday, new house, special celebrations), custom wedding/party favors,

  10. I’m honored to say that I know at least 2 weddings that have used our Halfsies Dice as wedding favors and table arrangements, and at least one more that included our dice in the BRIDE’S BOUQUET!

    It is awe-inspiring and humbling to be part of something like that.

  11. I love the imagination people went for trying to propose or announce something along with their passion for the games that you have established.
    I have to appreciate the content that you produce and these people can’t help but reflect that.

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