Why we absolutely love Fabulous Beasts

Posted on Tue 26 Jan 2016
Fabulous Beasts

Today marks the launch of a crowd funding campaign for an entirely new kind of digital and physical game called Fabulous Beasts, and we wanted to share with you a bit about how Watershed has supported its development, how you can come and have a play, and invite you to get involved.

Fabulous Beasts is a table-top game for one to four players, who take turns to add gorgeously crafted little creature pieces to a balancing tower. Your tablet/phone magically connects to the game with an app which automatically keeps score and features some beautiful animations of the world you are making. The aim? To make the most fabulous world you can before your tower collapses.

Designing compelling, accessible games and getting them out to an audience is really hard and therefore often remains the preserve of publishers and toy companies with HUGE budgets, who are pretty risk averse.

We believe that the development of accessible, engaging, useful digital products needs artists, researchers and independent companies in the mix too, so Watershed supported Fabulous Beasts through REACT Play Sandbox funding – which gave six companies and academics grants 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 Fabulous Beasts) 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. Alex Fleetwood, founder of Sensible Object, wrote a great article about the need for flexible support when you are making new things over on Medium.

Even though it isn’t in the shops yet, Fabulous Beasts has already won awards around the world and was one of the Guardian’s top picks for games that will be realised in 2016. It’s hugely fun, suitable for all ages and best explained by the ace Kickstarter video:

Today Sensible Object have launched their Kickstarter campaign, which means you can support the next stage of development for as little as £1 (and pre-order a copy of the game).

Watershed have of course ordered our own copy of the game already – and are delighted we have a fully working prototype here in the building – which we would love you to come and play with (for free of course). The REACT and Sensible Object teams will be in the Café/Bar at the following times for anyone who fancies trying it out:

  • Fri 29 Jan 10:00-18:00
  • Fri 5 Feb 10:00-18:00
  • Fri 12 Feb 17:00-18:00

Come and help us make the world a little bit more fabulous.

Fabulous Beasts and Play Sandbox were supported through REACT (Research and Enterprise in Arts and Creative Technology), which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and is a collaboration between UWE Bristol (the University of the West of England)Watershed and the Universities of BathBristolCardiff and Exeter.