Fly-A-Way is a beautiful tabletop game about migratory birds in Asia and it was conceptualized by a team working in a Singapore editorial and design consultancy. What sparked off their motivation to create a board game about birds? Please read on for the story behind the game.
Q: Please give the readers a short introduction about Playlogue Creations and your game Fly-A-Way. What is the inspiration behind a game with a bird migratory theme that is so special?
Playlogue Creations is a game company that strives to enrich conversations on different issues through game design, storytelling and collaboration. Hence, the name “Playlogue”, which is a portmanteau of “play” and “dialogue”.
Fly-A-Way took shape when we were working for Tuber, an editorial and design consultancy. After working on a brochure on migratory bird conservation for BirdLife International (Asia) in 2018, we had fallen in love with migratory birds and wanted to share more about their life and trials—but in a new, fun and engaging way.
So, we started developing game ideas and collaborated again with BirdLife soon after. The experiences of our creative director Oon Hong also shaped the game during this stage. She shared about her birding trips overseas and the whole team became more aware of the variety of migratory birds in Asia.
After playtesting the game, we launched it on Kickstarter. With the successful crowdfunding campaign, we decided to start a company to focus on game development. So, Playlogue’s journey is intrinsically tied to the story of Fly-A-Way.
Q: What considerations did you put in during the mechanics and creative design of the game? Why did you design this in such a way?
After researching about migratory birds, our team had a clear idea of what we wanted to include in the game to educate players: the migratory birds (of course) and their different habitats, the routes they take during migration (the map), the dangers they face (Fowl Play! cards) and how people can help them (Wing It! cards).
Specifically with the bird cards, we had several considerations when narrowing down our choices from the variety of migratory bird species in Asia. We made sure to have an equal representation of birds from the three habitats, forest, wetland and open country. We wanted the migratory routes to be distributed well across the map board, so we picked birds that had varied migratory patterns. We also wanted to highlight birds of different conservation statuses, including critically endangered birds like the Yellow-breasted Bunting and the Spoon-billed Sandpiper.
In finalizing the bird cards, we worked closely with Dr Yong Ding Li, our knowledge partner from BirdLife, who told us about the birds we should pay and draw attention to.
Q: Is there any lesson learnt from the manufacturing process that you wished you knew back then?
Having prior experience in managing print publication projects softened the learning curve of the game manufacturing process.
One thing I wished we had planned earlier was the design of the game tray. We wanted to be as environmentally friendly as possible within our means, thus we opted for cardboard instead of plastic to hold all the components. We were so focused on getting the artwork ready for production, that we only started discussing the tray design with our manufacturer after we’ve sent the final artwork. I’d like to give credit to our manufacturer for giving advice and meeting our requests, making our manufacturing process as smooth as possible.
Q: Why did you run a Kickstarter for the game? Is there any interesting story to share with the readers?
It was our first time publishing a game, so we wanted to connect with audiences from different parts of the world and gauge the demand for Fly-A-Way.
We had two designs for our pawns, one in the shape of a birdwatcher and the other in the shape of a bird. We gave our backers the choice to vote for one of the two. Since players take on the role of conservationists in Fly-A-Way, the birdwatcher pawn would make more sense from a thematic point of view. But people love birds and, the bird pawn got the most votes. Birbs for the win!
Q: Shipping and logistics have been challenging since the start of the pandemic. How do you manage them?
Keeping up to date with the news and talking to different partners to find the best possible solution. Thankfully, our backers were understanding towards any delays we met.
Q: What are the future ideas and plans for the organization? Are you looking into distributing the game overseas?
We want to help organizations with gamification, injecting fun and social design into different issues to make them relatable to people. For Fly-A-Way, we have a couple of overseas retailers. We’re working on something exciting, so subscribe to our newsletter for first dibs!
Q: You are very active on social media. Can you share any tips how you get inspiration for the posts?
Kudos to my marketing team for this! Our team works collaboratively and we share ideas regularly. Following game newsletters and blogs is a good way to get inspiration.
Q: Do you have any tips for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to enter the local tabletop game industry?
Get all the support you can; gamers, friends, family, anyone! Don’t be afraid to ask for help for areas that are not your forte, and find good partners whom you can work with. I’m glad to work alongside team members who are well-versed in design and writing, which made the whole experience a memorable one. The journey may get rough but press on and just wing it! ;)