At the 2016 Global Game Jam I worked with an amazing team to create Gift Swap, a family-friendly multiplayer puzzle. Players throw each other parties, with the host of each party receiving gifts from the rest of the group. Everyone must work together to get the right gifts to the right people.
The touchstone of Gift Swap‘s design was that it was meant for a family audience. Everything about it, from theme to art to its cooperative play, was meant to be kid-friendly. Of course, we wanted Gift Swap to be fun for parents, too! We therefore kept Gift Swap simple enough to be played by those new to games, while making sure there was strategic depth for tabletop veterans to explore.
Game jams always challenge designers to create under pressure. We dealt with the severe time constraint by generating lots of ideas and getting them to the table quickly. Rapid iteration guided by constant playtesting helped us create a polished game in a single weekend.
Gift Swap was nominated for Best Tabletop Game at the NYU Game Center jam site, one of the largest in the world!
You can find the rules for Gift Swap, along with more images, here.