By DAKOTA DAHL
Not too long ago, we got to sit down with Homemadegameguru to discuss a Satanic boardgame inspired by his own comics, Enter the World of Mephistopheles. As is often the case with creative projects such as these, it has shed its devilish skin to take on a more sinister form: a randomized, spinner-based party game now known as Do As Satan Says. Once again, we caught up with Homemadegameguru to learn more about the creative process, the ways in which the game has evolved, and how wannabe players can contribute to the project and nab one of the only 66 handmade copies of the game, which are exclusive to backers!
What’s new about the game since last we interviewed you?
The original flat board game prototype I introduced to Rue Morgue back in August 2020 entitled Enter the World of Mephistopheles: Into the Bowels of Hell, which was based on my self-published comic book of the same name, has now transformed into a new party game called Do As Satan Says!
The Enter the World of Mephistopheles: Into the Bowels of Hell game board was based on a creepy cemetery design. Players had to move around tombstone spaces that were situated around a central ‘anus’ portal opening to hell. I was planning on having a slide structure under the anus portal to make a player’s game piece return to start. Different tombstones were linked to game cards and collectible items players can use against each other and the devil himself at the end of the game. Players must accumulate Soul Bars to stay alive throughout the game. In contrast, Do As Satan Says is a vertical standalone spinner game that borrows elements from the original concept such as the game cards and the basic idea of being the last player with Soul Bars to win the game. But beyond the game cards and Soul Bar aspects, I completely changed the original game within just two weeks after being inspired by my daughter’s made up spinner game. I think the change helped me make the type of fun, easy to learn, and in-your-face interactive game I desired from the beginning.
What elements needed the most change?
The original Enter the World of Mephistopheles: Into the Bowels of Hell board game was designed to have 3D elements within the flat board such as removable tombstones that players move around on, plus game dice, and the center anus portal opening with an inner slide contraption as the main form of player punishment. I was designing it to be a board game with a basic ‘everyone sits at a table around the game’ type of layout. All that is gone!
I ultimately decided to completely change the design of Enter the World of Mephistopheles: Into the Bowels of Hell, after I started to get sidetracked by other projects (I launched a successful Kickstarter campaign for a series of cardboard comic book action figures). When I did have time to fine-tune the game, I ended up making the mechanics/gameplay more and more complicated. Because I was making the game from scratch, I started with a vague idea of where it was going. However, along the way, I started adding too much to the game. Instead of figuring a way to finalize the rules, I was making the rules more complicated because my mind found new ways to add to the look and challenge. I ended up frustrating myself, especially because Halloween was getting close and I was nowhere near having a ready game to launch! I also got frustrated because I also knew making the game by hand would take too much time. I take pride in making handmade cardboard toys, crafts, and games, but I know there is a limit to how much time I can put into making something I want to sell as a consumer product. As cool as Enter the World of Mephistopheles: Into the Bowels of Hell looked – the original Rue Morgue article on the game got me so much praise for the innovative design – I knew selling such a complicated item would be an assembly nightmare. As a one-man business and artist, I knew I couldn’t put so much effort into making this by hand while charging an affordable price.
Then, just two weeks before Halloween, I was watching my 8-year-old daughter playing with a dollar store color spinner and I became inspired to take my game in a new direction. That one cute moment led to the creation of Do As Satan Says! My daughter was making up crazy dances based on the different colors she spun on the spinner. The game she made for herself was so simple and straightforward. Get a specific color and do a specific dance. I looked at my cardboard game and immediately decided to change the format to a spinner standing upright. I feel changing the game away from a flat board game, into a vertical spinning game, produces a faster-paced tournament with far simpler rules. I took out what I felt were the best interactive elements of the flat game and transferred them over to the spinner game. More importantly, as a handmade game, the change in format means Do As Satan Says is easier for me to make.
When it came to making the design changes, was it hard letting go of some of your hard work?
Enter the World of Mephistopheles: Into the Bowels of Hell was a new idea that was incomplete and a work-in-progress during the summer months of the pandemic. I was always playing around with ideas and as many aspiring and established game designers know, a concept can transform many times before it turns into a final form you feel good about. As an inventor, you have to feel confident in your design and if that means completely changing a previous design and months of work, so be it. It’s all part of the creative process!
How Do you Play Do What Satan Says?
Consider the game like Wheel of Fortune, except when the spinner stops, you don’t get to choose a letter – you get to do/say something embarrassing or inflict an embarrassing act/truth onto another player in order to stay in the game and retain Soul Bars. Here are the basic rules: The point of the game is to hold onto the 6 Soul Bars each player gets at the beginning of the tournament. The last player with at least one Soul Bar in his/her possession is the winner! You want all other opponents to go ‘soulless’!
Once players decide on a playing order, each player spins the ‘Demonic Spinner’ and when it comes to a stop, the player must do what is indicated under the pointer. There are 10 options available that include actions like picking game cards or doing an immediate action like taking alcohol shots or begging for mercy. Depending on how you answer a game card or beg for mercy, a player is allowed to keep a Soul Bar or give one up. It is very rare to gain more Soul Bars, but there are ways to do so (if you’re lucky). The game cards will force players to do embarrassing acts or will give hypothetical situations that reveal which opponents a player feels should be sacrificed. One card example would say something like: “zombie hellspawn are chasing your group and one opponent must be sacrificed to save your life – who do you push to the floor to be eaten?” Another card might tell a player to “act like a scream queen and run around the room screaming and crying in terror for 20-seconds”.
I think the best feature of the game is that it works with social distancing. Players do not need to sit together at a table around a game board. They can sit or stand away from each other with the spinner in a central location. Since players take turns going up to spin the game, social distancing works perfectly. Plus, as players get really pissed-off at opponents for the embarrassing things that will happen, some distance is a good thing!
What is included with Do What Satan Says?
The finished game comes with the complete vertical unit already assembled, 30 game cards, 24 Soul Bars, 1 instruction booklet (just 4 pages), a signed copy of my horror comic book Enter The World of Mephistopheles #1, and a handmade glow-in-the-dark Satan 3D wall poster. The entire set will be available exclusively during a three-week Indiegogo.com campaign starting on November 9th.
Is there still a lore to the game?
While Enter the World of Mephistopheles: Into the Bowels of Hell was inspired by and closely based on my independently published comic book Enter the World of Mephistopheles, the new game Do As Satan Says is not closely linked to the comic book or any specific lore. However, I do want Do As Satan Says to help push the limits of friendships! See how much torment and uncomfortable truths your buds can take!
The Satan image used, and the idea of being a slave to the devil’s choices, are still similar to the comic book, but the overall gameplay was created to be interactive amongst players and fast-paced. Do As Satan Says is not based on any specific legends or folklore. Satan is more of a villainous foil of the game. No one wants to be a pawn of the devil, so having his ‘desires’ as the focal point of the game just adds to the crappy situations players will put their opponent’s through. In a game based on taking souls away from opponents, the Satan motif works perfectly. It has to be stressed that this game has absolutely nothing to do with the occult or Satanism. There is nothing in this game that promotes worshipping the devil or learning spells or shit like that. The point of the game is to keep your soul – not to give it up to evil! I’ve already got an earful from an ardent religious person I know about why I made a game to “worship the lord of evil”. I had to explain to her numerous times that it’s just a game and the devil is just an image to fit the motif of a fun game based on screwing over your opponents to win.
Do you believe some people take horror games like this too seriously?
I think horror fans everywhere know this to be true all too well. Horror is just another form of harmless entertainment and sadly some think a game like mine or Arkham Horror or characters like Freddy and Jason are promoting devil worship. It’s ridiculous, but what can you do? I hope people will look past my game’s title to give it a chance and discover it’s simply a fun game to compete against friends. After you win, then you can exclaim, “the devil made me do it!” for fun.
Tell us about the Indiegogo campaign to launch the game.
After I completed making the finished prototype on the day of Halloween, I knew I had a design I could put together in a decent amount of time – unlike with the original flat design. I can have a full unit completed in one day. Although I missed my desired pre-Halloween launch date, I still see this game as a fun get-together alternative for Christmas. My motto is “Give a little Satan for Christmas”. For families who have a sense of humor and love cheeky party games, I think they will like this.
Thus, I will make around 66 handmade copies of Do As Satan Says: Beta Edition and will launch an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign on November 9th so that I can make the whole batch at one time. Through an Indiegogo campaign, I can figure out how much interest is in the game and feel confident in making multiple units knowing they are already claimed. The campaign will only run for three weeks, from November 9th to the 28th so that I can guarantee myself enough time to make all backed copies and mail them out for pre-Christmas delivery.
What do you see for the future of the game?
The ‘Beta Edition’ of Do As Satan Says, through Indiegogo, will provide me insight into what people think of the game as they play over the Christmas holiday. There will be a survey card included so backers can give me their input and thoughts. My goal is to use their feedback to further improve the game – or leave it as-is if they think it’s perfect – for a 2021 launch as a full mass-produced game.
What future projects of yours can we look forward to?
Most of my crazy concepts are on my website www.handmadecardboardinnovations.com. After this Indiegogo campaign ends and I mail out all copies of Do As Satan Says: Beta Edition, I plan to start work on a full-sized cardboard pool table! I love playing billiards and since I can’t afford to buy a professional pool table and pool halls are closed, I’m going to make my own on YouTube. Once December comes around, I will share videos on the creative process on my Homemade Game Guru YouTube channel.
Beyond that, I am writing issue #2 and #3 of Enter The World of Mephistopheles and I look forward to publishing them with my artist friends in Spring 2021. The issues will introduce brand new horror monsters I’ve been waiting to unleash!
Contribute to the Do As Satan Says Indiegogo campaign here!