52 Family Game Nights: Tiger Stripes

Tiger Stripes has a long background story, but I’m going to tell you a short-ish version:

Many years ago my husband designed a board game. He made it himself and sold it online. Someone who worked at a game company bought a copy. Then that game company asked him to let them help redesign it and release it again.

That’s the quick version of how his first board game came to be and how my husband became a full fledged Game Designer.

One thing that happened while my husband was learning the game design business (which is now one of his side jobs in addition to teaching and working for our church): our oldest daughter designed a game of her own.

family game night tiger stripesFamily Game Night #21: Tiger Stripes

In 2011 our then-nine year old daughter designed a game about tigers earning their stripes. She was partially inspired by Kipling’s Just So Stories, myths about how animals ended up with their characteristics that make them unique.

She invented a game where tigers started out as plainer cats who had to earn their stripes by going into the world, hunting for food and for jewels. Because, of course they hunted for jewels.

young tiger stripes designerMy game design husband helped her refine the gameplay a bit, and helped her graphic design. And then she spent $500 of her own money to produce this little cardboard game. She sold enough to friends and family to break even. In those days she included a handwritten thank you note on each invoice and a little hand drawn tiger, too. (The above picture is when the first shipment arrived at our house)tiger stripes square ad

Tiger Stripes Gets a Makeover

One thing my husband does in his game design work is pitch numerous games to various game companies. So one year he pitched multiple games to the company Game Salute. They decided to pick up several of his designs and, in the process, took a chance on our daughter’s game as well.

They refined the rules a bit more and hired a fantastic artist.

And then we waited. For years.

Seriously, it took years from the time this company had her sign a contract, to the nail-biting Kickstarter campaign (where we were begging anyone we remotely knew, online or in real life, to PLEASE support our daughter’s project), to the final delivery of the Tiger Stripes game.

Tiger Stripes on Amazon!

So, here we are in August 2016 and, more than five years after we started, Tiger Stripes is now available directly from Game Salute and also on Amazon! The company didn’t order a very large print run, so I have no idea how long the game will be available. It would be exciting if it sold out and they commissioned a new print run, but I honestly don’t know if that will happen or not.

tiger stripes designerA Game for Kids, By a Kid

The Tiger Stripes inventor, now that she is almost 15, probably would not like to be referred to as a kid. But she was a kid when she came up with the initial idea, so we’ll go with that. If you’re interested in seeing some of the early history of Tiger Stripes you might take a peek at some old posts on my husband’s blog:

This was, overall, a great experience for our daughter. And it also helped her figure out that designing board games is NOT what she wants to do with her life. {wink}

tiger stripes boards and cardsHow to play Tiger Stripes:

There are three decks of cards. If you’re playing with young children just use the Stalk and Explore decks. If you’re playing older kids you can add in the Adventure deck as a twist. The Stalk deck is how you add stripes to your tiger. Each tiger is also a puzzle and the pieces fit in as you earn your stripes.

Since it took so long to come to life, there are a few things our Game Designer would change now. The rules say that the Adventure cards are one option when you’re drawing on your turn, but we now suggest passing out just two or three of them per player at the beginning of the game if you want to use them.

tiger stripes puzzlesHow to win Tiger Stripes:

You need the most points. The game ends when someone’s tiger is complete, but that is not necessarily the winner of the game. The jewel cards are points, some adventure cards earn you points, and if you didn’t complete your tiger you lose points. So there’s a bit of math involved to find the winner.

Another rule variation for young players could be to just use the Stalk deck and try to earn stripes the fastest. We find that young children enjoy “filling” the tiger and they can be confused if they do that first but don’t win the game.

Summary of Tiger Stripes:

Number of Players: 2-4

Recommended Ages: 5+

Reading Required: Minimal.

It’s been a long journey, but we’re excited now to share Tiger Stripes with the world. We are thrilled with how the final product turned out, and we’re especially fond of Felicia Cano’s art.

And if you were one of the Kickstarter supporters who helped bring this game to life: Thank you! We know it took a long time to get your copy of Tiger Stripes, but we’re very, very thankful for your help and support and we hope your family is enjoying the game.

To celebrate the release of Tiger Stripes, Isabel is giving away one copy! (Shipping is on us to the lower 48 states of the US only. Our apologies to any overseas readers, but game designing is not a way to become fabulously wealthy.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. Tony Miller says

    My top 3 board games of all time are:
    Android: Netrunner
    Sentinels of the Multiverse

  2. Chris Schreiber says

    My favorite games are Adel Verpflichtet (Hoity Toity), Agricola, and T.I.M.E Stories.

    • I’ll play Agricola but only if we give my husband a deficit to start (like making him play two players and keep his lowest score). ;)

  3. My favorite board game is Qwirkle. I know it isn’t a board game, but it’s the game my kids most often will get me to play :)

    Congratulations on your game!

  4. How very exciting!

    My favorite board game is “Seven Wonders” – but I generally only get to play it when I travel to see my family and can con the rest into playing. They like to play games but balk if I get too enthusiastic about one (that they’re less familiar with.) Sigh.

    I’m wishing my children l were a little older so we could play this one right away – it’ll be a while before my toddler and infant are ready. But there’s always nieces and nephews right?

  5. My favorite board games so far are Domion, Above and Below, and King of Tokyo.

  6. My favorite board game is Settlers of Catan.

  7. My favorite game is munchkin. We have the deluxe so that’s a board game right?

  8. My favorite board game is Clue.

    • I have some fun childhood memories of playing Clue. Wonder if that contributed to my love of British mystery fiction…

  9. My favorite game to play with my daughter is Evolution. She likes to draw the critters she makes in the game.
    Personally, I think my favorite game is still Keyflower.

  10. Probably either Balderdash or Blokus! I can’t wait until my boys are old enough to play some of my favorites with us :) Right now, we mostly just play Candy Land and Hi Ho Cherry-o. Your daughter’s game looks like a great one that would grow with my kids!

    • Blokus is a great thinking game! It’s funny that you mention Candy Land and such. When Isabel was younger she specifically mentioned that kids need more good games to play after they’re tired of Candy Land, so she created her own. :)

  11. Our current favorite is Labrynth. This game looks so fun!

  12. Wow! Congrats to Isabel & your family! What an accomplishment:)
    My favorite board game is Scattegories.

    • Thanks, Amy! I love to play Scattergories too. (Although my husband and I end up cancelling each other out a lot of times. I guess when you know someone long enough you really do start thinking alike.)

  13. Carcassone!

    Only because it’s the first I thought of in our rather extensive list.

  14. Takenoko and TTR

  15. This would be a great game to play while doing a unit study on jungles. How cool that your daughter invented this game!