News: April 29, 2011 - The Journal Record

By April Wilkerson
April is a reporter in Oklahoma City. Contact her at 278-2849.
Posted: 06:42 PM Friday, April 29, 2011
Published in The Journal Record

Return of the board game: Norman startup scores success with ScrumBrawl

Vic Moyer and Tarek Dina with their new game ScrumBrawl.
Photo: Maike Sabolich

NORMAN – In today’s world of Internet-based entertainment, the board game is not dead.

In fact, it’s seeing something of a comeback, and a Norman startup company hopes to be part of the resurgence.

VicTim Games LLC recently received the first shipment of its new board game, ScrumBrawl. The game has been several years in the making, and its shrink-wrapped arrival has its developers excited about its acceptance.

“There’s been a renaissance in board gaming – I think people enjoy the social interaction with real people as opposed to being online,” said Tim Bugher, co-founder of VicTim Games. “And with families, if they’re playing a board game, they’re not watching TV. I think that’s a draw. And it’s a lot better than playing Xbox online and hearing a voice-filtered 12-year-old cutting you down all the time.”

Bugher and Vic Moyer are the brains behind the game concept. They discovered their mutual love of board games years ago when they worked for the same company. A “get to know you” employee gathering revealed their shared interest, and they eventually began brainstorming game ideas.

ScrumBrawl’s development waxed and waned over the years as the team worked at other full-time jobs and raised families. But they never could quite let go of the desire to create their own board game, and the effort finally kicked into high gear.

The object of ScrumBrawl is to score three goals by moving orb tokens into a portal. To do so, players control fantasy creatures – 50 in all – whose characteristics determine how they interact. Players also battle each other’s creatures to keep them from scoring. At one point, the game was much more elaborate than its final version, but play testers told VicTim Games that the concept was too unwieldy. Feedback from potential players was crucial in fine-tuning the game, Moyer said.

“When you play it, no two games are ever the same,” Moyer said. “That’s one of the things that is a sign of a good game – the replayability. The game lasts 30 to 45 minutes, so you can play multiple games in a night, whereas a lot of board games take five or six hours to play. That’s a turnoff for a lot of players. The game also has a lot of twists and turns. You may think you’re in a perfect position to score and win, and it totally gets turned on its head. It’s a strategy game, but there are elements of luck that are also humorous.”

Several of the ScrumBrawl developers also work at Levant Technologies in Norman, and their website and design skills came in handy for the board game. The illustration of the fantasy creatures and other elements was done by Jason Brodmerkel. Tarek Dina, president of Levant Technologies, provided the financing. Another partner, Adrian Simmons, was Oklahoma City, recently was brought on board for his marketing skills.

Moyer said ScrumBrawl represents an $18,000 investment, including its manufacturing and shipping, but its hours of work are uncountable. The game retails for $39.95, and early sales look promising. The company’s initial shipment was for 1,500 games.

“If they sell well, and it seems like they’re going to, we’ll be able to order our second shipment,” he said.

VicTim Games plans to market ScrumBrawl through board gaming conventions, popular review sites like Board Game Geek and gaming catalogs like Alliance. The game also is available locally in Norman at Atomic Pop and through the company’s website, Games also have been ordered from people in Europe, where board gaming is even stronger than in the United States, Bugher said.

Moyer said the VicTim Games partners have another board game concept almost ready for development, and a couple of more seed ideas are being considered.

“We’d like to do more games,” he said. “A lot of it depends on how well this is received and if we’re able to turn a profit. We’ll probably try one more for sure now that we understand the process better.”

Dina, who invested in the project and helped facilitate its development, said he feels good about the game’s potential, as well as spinoff merchandise and possibly a video version of the game.

“I’ve got big hopes for it,” Dina said. “The feedback has been positive, which confirms what I’ve thought of the game. When we play it, we still have a lot of fun after all this time of playing it. But we have to make sure it will hold in the market before we expand into other areas.”

Site by Levant Technologies