Hello. I’m Denny Weston, a game designer and entrepreneur from Charlottesville, Virginia. One of the elements I love about board games is fantasy. Several years ago, Small World was my introduction into the gaming world, and I love the different fantasy races with unique powers that Small World provides. On the other hand, I also love the outdoors. I love a good barbeque. I love a picnic at the park. When outdoors with friends and family, we often found ourselves wanting to play some sort of lawn game. The selection of lawn games from kubb, to bocce, to cornhole (though great in their own right) are abstract and contain little interaction in game play. We wanted a lawn game with fantasy and a storyline. A lawn game with special abilities and cool characters where alliances or deals are forged. So, five years ago, I created Kingdoms Lawn Game.
Kingdoms Lawn Game is a competitive family-friendly game that combines elements of fantasy with a new variant of lawn bowling. Each player controls a kingdom with its own unique identity, color, symbol and special ability. Players will attempt to conquer one another by knocking down each other’s blocks (known as castles) by throwing balls (known as armies) behind a designated line (known as the battle line). The last player with castles standing is declared the victor.
The fantasy aspects of Kingdoms Lawn Game creates a real-time story. First, players can personify their kingdom by acting out its characteristics or even wearing the occasional cosplay outfit. Second, the special ability of each kingdom is not only unique, but is intricately connected to its identity. For instance, The Kingdom “Relic” represented by the scorpion symbol has the following characteristics: rugged, disciplined and versatile. Relic’s special ability “Mastery” allows for a versatile throwing motion (overhand, underhand and sidearm) when throwing blocks and balls, while the other kingdoms are restricted to only an underhand throwing motion. The custom designed symbols and colors of each kingdom also add to the story and allow players to easily recognize each other.
Because I come from a big family, I wanted to design a game where everyone could play. Therefore, I created four kingdoms (Ember, Monarch, Saber, Rune) in the first set to be released this summer through Kickstarter. There will be two additional sets that will be released at a later date for a total of twelve kingdoms. You can play the game where each player controls a kingdom or play as teams of 2-4 players for each kingdom. With one set, this allows for a player count of 16 players (playing as teams). If all three sets are used, the player count would be 48 players (playing as teams).
Just as important as a high player count is player interaction. In a game of Kingdoms Lawn Game, alliances are often formed, broken and formed again between kingdoms. Trash talk and friendly banter are exchanged. Unlike games of kubb, horseshoes and cornhole where players are isolated on opposite ends of the playing field; Kingdoms Lawn Game has all players together in one area which increases communication between players.
Most people who want to play a lawn game, don’t want to comb over endless pages of rules and instructions. Families with small children need a game that their kids can easily grasp. I spent five years refining the game: play-testing, play-testing and play-testing until we had a game that contains only a few instructions and rules where kids as young as six have played and won. Though simple, there is a high degree of strategy for gamers and adults which begins with the throwing/placement of the castles. Players toss their castles into the field of play called “The Realm” attempting to land them in opportune locations: behind objects or opponent’s castles, back corners of the playing field, etc. (this ensures a different set-up each game). There are also tough strategic decisions of which kingdoms and castles to attack and which kingdoms to make as allies.
The process to take Kingdoms Lawn Game from an idea to a ready-for-market product has been both challenging and rewarding. I’ve spent the last two years searching and screening dozens of manufacturers. After the last two years, I have built a solid relationship and tons of proto-type samples to show for it. Now, I am working hard to create a Kingdoms Lawn Game community to bring more exposure to the game in preparation for our Kickstarter campaign this summer. I am writing articles for magazines, blogs and newspapers and will be attending several gaming conventions/festivals in the coming months. I have reached out to a local brewery where Kingdoms Lawn Game has now become a weekly event. Please join our community by visiting our website to subscribe to our mailing list or follow us on Facebook.
I hope to meet you soon in the outdoors. Cheers!