(Photo by Tyler Waldman)
Campfire card games last September sparked an idea for Bryan Bamford.
The Brinkbit cofounder wanted to bring the random mayhem and fun of a card-based party game to mobile and now he and two friends have put out their first game, “Playing Favorites,” now in beta but available for free on Google Play and the iTunes App Store.
Brinkbit, a resident of the Emerging Technology Centers’ Highlandtown incubator, will be showing the game during Artscape’s Gamescape exhibit this weekend at the former home of the Single Carrot Theatre (1727 N. Charles St.) in Station North.
“We’re really excited to get the feedback from a bunch of people at Artscape,” said Bamford, who cofounded Brinkbit last year with friends Evan Fuller and Justin Livi.
This is the trio’s first proper game. The others listed on the startup’s website are Bamford’s earlier side-projects from his time as a student at the Maryland Institute College of Art, where he graduated this year, he said.
“Playing Favorites” works like a social, more-eapproachable Cards Against Humanity or Apples to Apples with a trading card aspect thrown in. Users play a phrase with as many modifiers as they desire to complete a sentence. The game uses a grammar engine to intelligently place the modifiers before a particular word in the phrase.
The cards are drawn from pop culture, current events and even Baltimore landmarks and icons like Camden Yards. Users can buy booster packs through the app, which is ad-supported, though buying a high-tier pack can make the ads go away.
Users can also make custom decks for playing with particular groups.
“We want people playing this all day everyday, so you can mix up the responses,” Bamford said.
Some of the responses people have to fill in the blanks are so mixed up, the founders never saw them coming.
“We were really excited to see that you could make those kinds of combos,” Fuller said. “We don’t use the most offensive stuff in our promotional materials, but it’s this transgressive thing of ‘I’m not sure if I’m supposed to say this, but I can.'”
The developers have posted the more family-friendly of these serendipitous plays on the app’s Facebook page. These include “A popular gang initiation has members violently balancing the budget” and “I love crashing a Communist party.”
Bamford said the next beta version of the app will launch in two to three weeks, though anyone can download the current version. In the plans down the road are “seasons” of new booster packs. But right now, Bamford and Fuller said, the focus is on meeting with potential partners and gearing up for Gamescape. Fuller said he feels the party-friendly nature of the game will play well with the festival crowd.
“I think the game will show really well,” he said.