There’s a new board game out there that’s unlike anything else you have ever played. It’s called Wookery, and it’s the brainchild of Jim Davis, who, along with fellow festival-goer Tom Burke, decided that the world was ready for a game revolving around the world of… festivals! No, not art festivals, or chicken wing festivals, I’m talking about destination-specific music festivals that are often times located in the middle of the woods.
First of all, if you’re going to play Wookery, then you should probably know what a wook is. Burke explained to me that a wook is regarded as a typically large, hairy male festival goer – the name was coined as an homage to Chewbacca from Star Wars. As for the premise of the board game, here’s the storyline:
Uncle Wook has gotten a little too spun and missed his ride home from the festival. Gather a search party to explore the festival grounds and help Uncle Wook collect Wonky Cards to send him back to the land of Wonkytown. Will you help re-open Uncle Wook’s third eye and guide his spiritual journey to Elderwook status?
Now I’m not your typical festival-goer, but this game intrigues me nonetheless. I sat down with Burke earlier today to check out the game first hand, and I must say that I was immediately impressed with the quality of the product, including the design and the storytelling. What could have been a ragtag concept is exceptionally professional.
“We created the game for ourselves,” explained Burke, whose day job is manager for DJ Notixx. “We created this game loosely based on some other games, along with some original concepts, and before we knew it we sold 300 of them. The early version was made with corrugated signboard – it was completely homemade, but people loved it. After selling the original game, we reached out to a lawyer who advised us on copyrights and licensing… and eight months later we had a professional prototype. Everything that could have gone wrong during the production process did go wrong. At one point, I actually thought that we would never make it, or that the final product wouldn’t be up to our standards. But in the end, it turned out better than we could have ever hoped. I’ll never forget that day that I first saw it – the game was sitting in my passenger seat, and I couldn’t help but sit there clapping.”
Be sure to look for some nuggets and Easter Eggs within the game. For example, Davis and Burke who can both be found (Where’s Waldo style) right on the board enjoying festival activities.
As I examined the game, while Burke talked about the various production stages, I couldn’t help but get excited for him and Davis. The game really looked great – super professional. The board is colorful and full of all sorts of interesting adventures. Like many other board games, the objective is to beat your friends to the end. This is done via a series of cards. There are Wonky Cards that players get when they “pass go” (sort of like Monopoly). There are also two Wonky spots on the board – if a player lands on one, he or she is required to say a trippy tongue twister. Then there are the Heady cards that dictate whether a player moves forwards or backwards. Each of the cards has fun festival-related sayings, but be careful that you don’t wind up in the K Hole!
Currently, there are no designated player pieces because Davis and Burke find that half the fun is to be creative and use your own inspirational piece (could be anything). But they are planning on the launch of a product extension where players will be able to purchase game-specific player pieces such as a purple mushroom, a yellow corndog (apparently wooks love these), or a white whip cream canister. All of the pieces might come in a plastic baggie… to stay consistent with the theme.
Wookery is great for people who drink, smoke, and even abstain. In the end, everyone is welcome to play, no matter their vices or lack thereof.
“We wanted to create a game that makes people laugh,” Burke told me. “Something that would get people out of their phones and interacting with each other on a human level. This was the perfect outlet for us to incorporate that vision into our lifestyle of attending music festivals.”
While you don’t have to be an avid partier to enjoy the game, it helps if you enjoy the ever-growing festival scene. Burke told me that much of the game is based on real life festival experiences, but there’s also some made up stuff. He also relayed that this is the only board game based on festival life that he is aware of. If that’s the case, then Davis and Burke can both be sent directly to Woke Space, where they might just find Uncle Wook awaiting them.
For anyone who ever loved Candyland, Sorry!, Monopoly, and Life, but felt that there was a missing psychedelic component, this game is for you.
To place an order for Wookery, click here.