Friday, March 12, 2010

Son of a biscuit farmer

Spent my Friday evening playing a game called Quelf and laughing my ass off. Not only was their a Biscuit Farmer, but also Queen Spatula, Super Ninja Monkey and The Dude. This game had us acting out what a cowboy riding an ostrich might do if he found a beached whale, giving compliments in a malfunctioning robot voice and laughing until we couldn't breathe.

I wanted to keep my facts straight and as I was researching the character names before listing them here, I found this little tidbit about the creators of the game. Wanted to say thanks to these three for letting laughter take over and creating a game that had us all in tears.

A few years back three friends in California worked through a whole lot of pain to try and get a pet project of theirs off the ground. Jeremy Fifer and Robb Earnest had known each other since childhood. Jeremy was a husband and father of two and Robb was a TV and Film writer who had worked on (among other things) South Park. Together with an old college buddy of Robb's, Matthew Rivaldi, they were in the middle of creating a board game that they thought would make all other board games obsolete.

The big secret? It was funny... really, really, really funny, from start to finish. Every aspect burst with imagination and silly insanity. It was simple to play, the background story was rich, the characters were vibrant and the tasks that needed completion in order to win were both straight forward and yet twisted enough that they would cause pause in even the most competitive game player. It was the game that they had always wanted to play and had never found, the one they were sure would be pulled out at every party and never collect dust.

Then things stopped being funny. Fifer came down with skin cancer that spread to the lymph nodes under his arms. Rivaldi's fiance, Heidi, contracted breast cancer and ended up in the hospital. Laughter was in short supply and yet there they were, centering their lives around creating a game that was based solely on laughter. From her hospital bed, Heidi shared with them what energy she had and encouraged them to Quelf, a term that Fifer had used back in his college days and could mean anything from a short bark of laughter to something that was odd or bizarre.

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