by The Bloom Report | 24 Jun 2021
The Bloom Report
The Find - Sometimes it is a Journey
I’ve been working with the KROMA team for nearly 4 years from the day I first walked into the NYU Game Lab for their annual event and saw an irresistible and very colorful, triangular light up strategy game sitting on a table.
My daughter Jenni, who works as a project manager manufacturing games at Ad Magic, was attending with me. I grabbed her arm and literally pulled her over to the table. “I have to sign this game.", I whispered in her ear. “Let’s play it” I said. “I hope it plays as good as it looks!"
And that was how it started. A multi year journey had begun. The first order of business was to fully establish the parameters of the publishing agreement with this amazing group of female designers. Next I had my work cut out for me researching the relatively complex manufacturing for the unique electronics and lighting in the game. The pieces, a translucent plastic in several different angular shapes and colors, required tooling, so I consulted with an industrial designer who had conveniently moved within a block of our NJ headquarters. The board is a triangle shape with a light up center surface that is etched with small triangles. The first prototype initially came with a power cable and a dimmer. When I presented this first version, a buyer at Walmart commented on the plug and suggested a USB port instead. I immediately implemented that change. The team then decided that the game board could be thinner, which also gave it a sleeker appearance. Initially we had a "try me button" for the light, but scrapped that as we began to realize there was a limited need for it. First prototypes were encouraging. I could not stop playing with mine.
The Game Play
The gist of the game: have the most triangle sections of your target color on the board to win. (contiguous or in total depending on the number of players)
Target colors are:
Green (Yellow and Cyan)
Orange (Yellow and Magenta)
And Purple (Magenta and Cyan)
which are the combinations of the three primary colors cyan, yellow and magenta.
All of the pieces are made in the three primary colors and come in different shapes created by combining single and multiple triangles. When combined on the board in two layers the target colors are displayed.
Each turn, players pull a piece out of a fabric bag. They can feel the shape prior to pulling the piece but they cannot see the color. This helps to add an element of strategy to the randomness of choosing pieces from a bag. Initially I wanted to use a zipper horizontal bag - but we wound up with a drawstring bag wide enough to enable a player to feel around in the bag more easily.
Within a few months I decided that KROMA was a perfect candidate for a Kickstarter.
Because of it's electronic technology and unique look, I felt that gamers and people into tech and gadgets would both like it for their own reasons.
Over the past year I implemented weekly planning sessions, culminating in a Kickstarter which launched June 22 and finally made KROMA available to its ever growing base of fans.
KROMA has come into its own, the kickstarter being just another step in the bigger life cycle of the product. It’s great to get excited about a game or a product, but there is nothing better than reaching the important milestone of finally offering it to it's awaiting audience.
A Work of Art
I love the game play, and that it’s easy to learn KROMA within a couple of minutes. But for me, it functions as a super calming work of art that I can create myself. During the pandemic I got used to playing with KROMA by placing it near me on my desk and simply arranging and rearranging the pieces to my liking over and over again. When done, I would inevitably take a picture of my creation. Then I would either leave it out or put it away for tomorrow.
The interesting thing is that someone always wants to take a picture. It is such a pretty game, and, as a work of art, it has intrinsic value in the creative way you can interact with it.
Finishing what we started
There is still a lot left to do. Perfecting the triangle box and working on the ever daunting task of worldwide logistics and shipping is always a critical part of any game. Fortunately a triangle box actually takes up less space than a square box - so that’s a good thing. Shipping being what it is now, every little bit helps. It is a challenging time to be making games, and maybe even more challenging to move them, that’s why I have been clear about the realistic timeline to fulfill this project. I always prefer to under promise and over deliver. Much of the leg work has already been completed, so it is likely we can beat our own estimate.
I am excited to share this special find with the gaming, tech and art communities. I believe it fits in all three, which is satisfying and also seems quite appropriate for a triangular shaped game.
Kroma is a light up strategy game that is also art.
Published by Breaking Games. 2-3 players