Our trip to the World Boardgaming Championships in July was not only the first international MetaCheckers tournament.
It was also the debut of the complete version of MetaCheckers at a major event. In our previous convention appearances, MetaCheckers had been played on standard tournament chessboards. While players still got a taste of the game, it was unsatisfying to only be able to sell the checkers and dice.
Selling tournament chessboards would be too expensive, and they also didn’t fit well with the MetaCheckers motif. MetaCheckers is not chess or checkers. It is a unique fusion of the games. It deserved its own look. Its own utility. The players I talked to wanted something portable, easy-to-carry and affordable.
Having boards printed and packaged in game boxes would also drive up the cost. But I gave it a try anyway. The result looked good, but I winced at the sticker shock. The boxes and boards could double the price.
At the Hudson Valley Comic Con in May, someone mentioned he usually carried his game pieces in a bandana so he could play anywhere. This prompted me to start experimenting with various cloth versions. With my limited sewing abilities, I made prototypes with iron-on patterns to created a zippered pouch.
Another thought was just to use snaps or cords to tie it all together.
Finally, I just went with the simple bandana approach. I found a company that screenprints custom images on bandanas in bulk. So, I sent them an order.
I got this, and was very pleased:
Yes! Simple, portable and affordable. A unique look that sets the game apart from chess and checkers. This is what MetaCheckers is all about.
Then it was a matter of the packaging. The cloth boards just barely fit inside the bag with the checkers and dice, but it was too tight a fit to make it user-friendly. After some advice and trial-and-error, we came up with a system of wrapping the cloth boards around the checkers bag and holding the whole thing together with a paper band.
So, it came out looking like this:
The response at WBC was very positive. People liked the unique, fun game that was low-cost and came in a Xmas “stocking stuffer” size. Yes, some customers were already looking ahead for holiday presents.
The game is now available on Amazon and local stores in the Elmira area. Now that we have a good format and the game passed its first major audition, we will be expanding to more stores and vendors soon. Keep an eye out for MetaCheckers near you!