Make Something Edmonton

Introducing the World's Smallest Sports Games

After 15 years with BioWare, YEG's high-flying local video game studio, I've struck out on my own to launch Famous Games Co. This new game studio's a little different, though - while you could describe my new designs as "multiplayer sports minigames for the casual/mobile/social market," that only tells half the story. What's the other half? Well these World's Smallest Sports Games are 100% analog. Yup, I'm talking vintage-inspired, two-player card games that are so tiny, they're actually smaller than that iPhone you're carrying around.

I must be crazy, right? Digital is where all the cool kids are at. Well I've been there and done that and what I've found is that, in the midst of this wild digital Twitterverse, people still crave personal connections, they still crave face time (of the lowercase variety). They carve out space for coffee with an old friend, lunch with a colleague, a romantic dinner with their spouse. They go camping together, they seek out tropical beaches, they gather in bars and on couches and in stadiums to watch the big game. As as that YEG winter closes in, they gather around fireplaces and hung stockings, they share drinks over Auld Lang Syne, they lace up their skates, they make small talk with the mechanic who just put on their winter tires for another year. It's who we are, it's what we do, and I believe good ol' analog card games can be an integral and beautiful part of that experience.

Thankfully, I'm not alone. I'm a member of the Game Artisans of Canada's Edmonton chapter, a group of local board and card game designers who get together every couple of weeks to help test each others' work. Longstanding St. Albert game retailer, Mission: Fun and Games, expanded into a magical new building a couple of years ago. YEG's POGOB board game meetup has grown to over 100 players gathering in public spaces and each other's homes to play games on a weekly basis. Last year, they launched GOBFest, a well-run local game convention. And then there's the Table Top Cafe, opening soon on 75th Street, where you'll be able to sip lattes, listen to great music, and play games from their library of over 300 titles. Board and card games aren't just a growing trend - they've become a social movement. And that's really the key - they're social. Like best friends kind of social, not Facebook friends kind of social. And with my World's Smallest Sports Games, I'm hoping to build a high-quality homegrown brand that YEG can be proud of and players the world over can enjoy.

How You Can Help

Think I'm onto a good thing? Well, to help this tiny little idea take off, I'm looking for shout-outs from 20 local bloggers right here in Edmonton. Explore my website to get a better feel of what I'm up to and then get creative. Reminisce about the board and card games you used to play as a kid, talk about that trusty deck of playing cards you keep in cabin for a rainy day, tell the story about great-aunt Tillie and her bridge group, add my games to your Top 10 holiday stocking stuffer list, wax philosophical about sports and the dating scene, write a review of one of the places, events, or organizations I list in the paragraph above, offer up a play-by-play of your all-time favourite game in the whole wide world, blog about the parallels and differences between digital games and analog ones, talk about how you wish people gave your kids something other than candy for Halloween. Whatever it is that you're writing about, toss in a thoughtful, relevant link to the site and then drop me a note on Make Something Edmonton to tell me all about it.


Having fun,

Rob Bartel, founder
Famous Games Co.
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

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