Play

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GAME DESIGN

JammerUp: The Roller Derby Board Game

"When I joined Suburbia Roller Derby in 2010, I quickly grew tired of defending derby as a sport to those whose only exposure to it pre-dates the modern flat-track incarnation. Yes, there are attractive girls on skates hitting each other and knocking each other down. It's also an intensely athletic, challenging sport with rules for fairness and safety that are strictly enforced. And, the part that I really fell in love with: it's a fun, unique game with simple rules and deep strategy. I started to wonder, how can I cut through the history and the spectacle that people get hung up on and create an experience that conveys the strategic, brainy side of the game?"

JammerUp: The Roller Derby Board Game is the answer to that question. The rules are simple, but the gameplay gets more complex as players adopt "pack mentality," learn a wide range of strategies, and master playing offense and defense simultaneously. It can be played as a pure strategy game or with cards that add an element of chance. With help from her chief playtester, production manager, and life partner, Robin, Niki iteratively designed, prototyped, and playtested the game, guaged interest on Facebook, and published with funds raised via Kickstarter. It can be purchased at your local tabletop gaming store, or on Amazon.com

Four Times Born

Four Times Born is a tabletop RPG that Niki wrote for OCTO, brainchild of @aterribleidea. OCTO was a seasonal collection of 8 one-page RPGs, printed and distributed zine-style. OCTO could not be purchased directly. It could only be acquired via donations to non-profit organizations selected by the design and publishing team. The zine has raised thousands of dollars toward poverty relief, disease prevention & treatment, and social justice.  

Four Times Born touches on the themes of reincarnation, nurture vs. nature, and karma. Players race through four lifetimes that shift radically in setting; their characters assigned random social statuses, resources, and skills. Ambitions, cooperation, and actions taken in each lifetime influence but do not dictate subsequent ones. Four Times Born cleverly uses a deck of cards both as a mechanic for character-building and as a tool for level/score tracking. More information and a free download available by emailing Niki at this domain, or via @niki9.  

 

FLOW ARTS

Flow arts, as described by fundtheflowarts.org, are "movement-based artforms that integrate dance and creative exploration of movement with skill-based prop manipulation." Niki is an amateur firespinner and poi enthusiast. 

Poi

Poi is a practice in the family of flow arts that involves spinning two objects on leashes simultaneously. Niki has been practicing poi daily for just over a year has no plans to ever stop. 

Fire Spinning

In psychology, "flow" is described as a state of focused motivation, or single-minded immersion. One might experience "flow" by its standard definition doing things like programming or jogging, but spinning fire is somewhat different. Outside of not setting yourself aflame, there's no ultimate goal to work toward; no particular prize on which to put your proverbial eyes. The spinner moves effortlessly from one moment of creative self-expression to the next, achieving a peaceful, meditative state that is almost as beautiful to watch as it is to experience.