There’s a new board game on the shelf at Blue Bunny Books & Toys in Dedham Square.
Created by Dedham resident Dave Wilkinson, the store will host a game launch party for Castles of Caladale on Saturday.
Published in March, the tile-laying game is set in a fantasy world where all of the castles have been dismantled by a powerful spell, the components mixed up and scattered. Players must attempt to rebuild their castles turn by turn, and the one who can assemble the largest and most complete one wins the game. It can be played by up to four players at once, and is suitable for those 8 years of age and over. Playing time is about 30 minutes.
Wilkinson, an engineer by trade and a resident of Dedham since 2004, first noticed a board game renaissance of sorts in 2010 when friends invited him and his family over to play. His father taught him and his brothers how to play various card games as children, and his mother introduced him to fantasy books, and with that combination in the back of his mind, the seed of a new board game was born. When his father passed away in 2011, he decided that the money he left him would be well spent to make such a game a reality.
“I’ve always been interested in designing things, and I realized this was something I could create,” said Wilkinson. “My goal was to develop a board game that was for families to play together and was a light hearted fantasy.”
From there, his three sons and their love of building castles out of blocks helped him come up with the idea for Castles of Caladale, and Oregon-based artist Erin Koehler brought his ideas to life in pictures in 2012. The next step was the most daunting as he started to shop the prototype at various game festivals and fairs.
The result was a lot of interest, but few concrete offers.
“After six or nine months, all the ‘maybe’s’ I had had turned into ‘no’s’,” Wilkinson said. “But then one [publisher] I had met called me out of the blue and said he was interested.”
Scott Gaeta started San Diego-based Renegade Games in 2015 and with his buy-in, it was clear that Wilkinson’s optimism had begun to pay off. Next, the pair, along with a production team, began creating rules, pawns and box art and added them to the tile art that Wilkinson already commissioned.
Fast forward to early 2017 and with the help of Blue Bunny, Wilkinson is introducing Castles of Caladale to his Dedham neighbors.
“It’s amazing … there were lots of ups and downs, but it’s so great to see people enjoy playing it with their families,” he said. “And I wanted my kids to see me push through the setbacks and see the whole process through.”
Since publication, the game has received many positive reviews, as well as the Dice Tower Seal of Approval. While Wilkinson isn’t quitting his day job as an engineer, the board game bug has definitely bitten him.
“I’m pretty hooked … I’ve got five or six other games I’m working on, some are…