Stitches came to our attention in early August and immediately caught our eye. A Seasonally appropriate game involving monsters, grunting, and colorful artwork, Stitches’ is launching its Kickstarter today. We had the opportunity not only to demo the game, but to interview Doug Brinbury and Jason Rankin of Norwester Games, the game’s creators, and pick their brains about this card game of monstrous proportions.
Stitches is a fairly easy game to jump into, even if their are a lot of stages in each turn.
Each player takes the role of an outcast thesis project monster, thrown into to the dark woods surrounding Frankenstate University. Its up to you to find better body parts (or rip them off of the other players) to attack the Abomination living in the woods that “does not care for conventional body placement”.
Players can do this alone, or work cooperatively to defeat this “boss monster”. However, there’s a language barrier in play. Communication between players can only be done in grunts, growls gestures, and word players have collected. All players start with one word, and gain more words by attacking other players (because conflict in the best linguistic exchange obviously). Once two monsters know they same word, there’s an opportunity for cooperation against the abomination.
Combat is all resolved in a straightforward rock-paper-scissors format that is easy to understand, and very clearly indicated on each head, arm and leg in the parts deck. If you have enough rocks, papers, or scissors total on you monster to defeat a part of another monster, you can knock it off of their body and attach it to your own, leaving them headless, armless or legless.
While you’re squabiling amongst yourselves or looking for better parts, the Abomination grows every turn, until it attacks or you attack. You can do this alone, or recruit help from other monsters as long as you have a word in common. Your goal is to knock every piece off of the Abomination and thus win victory as an individual or a team.
Stitches is such a fantastically fun game to play because it embraces its own contrasting mechanics: by combining the opportunity for cooperation with the hurdle of limited communication it creates a consistently hilarious push and pull that never feels frustrating, particularly thanks to easy to understand visuals and rules put right on the cards and playing pieces.
In playing the demo version of Stitches provided by Norwester, two things really stood out that made the game a special experience: the language barrier mechanic and the semi-cooperative nature of the game. I wondered what role these elements had in the greater designs of the game, and if they had always been part of the game, or something that appeared in later iterations. Luckily, I had a chance to reach out an ask Doug and Jason about these elements, as well as their story as independent game designer.
Our thanks to both Jason and Doug for taking the time to talk to us.
Norwester games is looking to raise $11,000 dollars by November 16th in their Kickstarter campaign. If you’d like more information about the game or the people behind it, please checkout the game’s Crowd Funding page.