A new game born in the city hits stores
An exciting new kind of digital and physical game, developed in Bristol with help from Watershed, Bath university researchers and a group of local 8-12 year olds, has hit the shelves of John Lewis and Harrods in time for Christmas!
Beasts of Balance (which was originally called Fabulous Beasts but the name had to change due to potential confusion over a big movie with a similar name!) is a table top game for one to five players (anyone – young, old, gamer, non-gamer!), who take turns to add gorgeously crafted creature pieces to a balancing tower.
It uses innovative technology (a combination of Bluetooth and NFC) to connect the game to an app on your tablet/phone to create beautiful worlds and discover more and more fabulous beasts. The aim? To build the biggest tower, discover as many creatures as possible and create the highest scoring world that you can before your tower collapses.
Designing compelling, accessible games and getting them out there to an audience is really hard and therefore remains the preserve of publishers and toy companies with HUGE budgets, who are pretty risk averse.
Clare Reddington, Watershed’s Creative Director, says:
“Here at Watershed we believe that the development of accessible, engaging, useful digital products needs artists, researchers and independent companies in the mix too. REACT was a great example of this kind of collaboration as it was led by UWE Bristol and also featured Universities of Bristol, Bath, Exeter and Cardiff.
“REACT supported Beasts of Balance from the beginning: the game was supported through Play Sandbox funding, which gave six companies and academics grants to collaborate together to explore new products for 8 -12 year olds.”
“The young coaches we worked with (who also chose which projects we would fund) absolutely loved the idea, so we supported Sensible Object (the company behind Beasts of Balance) and a team from University of Bath to undertake research and development, prototype the technology and design of the game, visit games festivals across the world and thoroughly test their idea. We’re so excited to welcome the end result to Bristol!”
After a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign back in January raising £168,260 from 2,224 backers the game is now available to buy all around the world – and naturally, Bristol has the highest concentration of Beasts of Balance owners anywhere!
We at Watershed of course have our own copy – and we would love you to come and play with it (for free of course). We’ll be in the Café/Bar from 13:00 – 17:00 on Mon 19 Dec to show anyone who fancies a little bit of Beasts of Balance fun. Bring the whole family – some of the young people we worked with to help develop it will be there too!
Want to bring Beasts of Balance home in time for Christmas? You can buy your own copy for £69 from beastsofbalance.com and in John Lewis.