Kickstarting "Bears vs Babies," a new game from the Exploding Kittens team

Elan Lee writes, "Bears vs Babies is a monster-building card game from the creators of Exploding Kittens, Elan Lee and Matthew Inman (The Oatmeal). Described as a game of 'strategic benevolent betrayal' it has already raised more than $2.5 million in funding on Kickstarter from 67,000 backers. Bears vs Babies completed the original $10,000 funding goal in less than 10 minutes after its launch. The game is set to join the ranks as one of the most successful crowdfunded gaming campaigns in history."

You had me at "strategic benevolent betrayal." I'm in.

After the dust from Exploding Kittens eventually settled, I asked Elan to help with the design of my monster-building game. I didn't want this to be one of those games where you're trying to "out-comedy" one another; I wanted it to be more of a deck-building game, such as Dominion or Hearthstone, but without all the complexity. I wanted a monster-building game you could easily play at a party.

Up until this point, my version of the game had a big problem: when you played, you were on autopilot. You had no decisions to make and usually one correct action to perform on every turn. Elan has been designing physical and digital games for most of his career (he invented the genre of alternate reality games, and was formerly the creative director of the Xbox), so he put his gargantuan puzzle-solving brain to work and added a layer of much-needed complexity to the game. He tinkered a bunch and established the basic rules of conflict, construction, and the escalation mechanic that would define the core gameplay. The tricky part was keeping this simple enough to be a party game, but complicated enough to allow for depth and strategy. It's easy to fall into two bad categories when designing tabletop games: either they're easy to learn but completely random, or they're very strategic but mind-numbingly boring. You have to walk a very thin line between the two. I think with Bears vs Babies we did that.

After months of pestering everyone we knew to play the game with us and tweaking the rules bit by bit, we finally got it to the point where our friends pestered us to play, instead of vice versa. And that eventually brought us here, to Kickstarter, where we're now pestering the whole internet to play with us.

And so here we are.

Let the bear hugs and baby burping begin.

Bears vs Babies – A Card Game [Elan Lee/Kickstarter]