This game initially was Michael’s emotion project for the CTIN 488 Game Design Workshop class and was initially designed to make the players feel stressed. The original inspiration were Dungeons and Dragons players stacking dice when they were bored and the palpable tension that the players felt when they got to the last dice on top. From this initial point spawned a game where players had to stack Jenga blocks to grow “trees” of a certain height. Players enjoyed the creativity and personalization they could have while growing and because of this, Michael wanted to maintain that feeling when it came to the final.
Gamecrafter obviously didn’t sell readily available wooden blocks so something had to change from his original game concept. Michael still wanted the game to be about nature and took inspiration from growing bonsai trees. The solution then was to use hexagonal cards and slot them together to still get the sense of growing. When making prototypes, Michael cut out over 200 of these hexagons as we continued to iterate and improve on our prototypes. It started from small hexagons cut out of 3”x5” cards, then low quality card stock, then thick watercolor paper, and now the black core cardstock that you can see with the video and pictures provided.