The Story of Katootsie!
Angelo channelling Vanna White energy
I know that I have always enjoyed language and words, and playing with words, but the actual moment I conceptualized Katootsie!© is lost to some storage unit deep in my mind. I do remember once when bored on a train, I tried to come up with a pair of words for every letter of the alphabet, one word that was unquestionably, universally good, and a word that was unquestionably, universally bad. A; apartheid, angels. B; bioterrorism, beauty, and so forth down the line. I did it again (this time just one set of words) for animated characters. A; Alice (from Alice in Wonderland), B; Bugs Bunny, etc. This game somehow evolved into the idea of Katootsie!©. That was over 10 years ago.
It was a few years of having the idea for Katootsie!© before making it into a physical game. The very first prototype was just yellow and blue posterboard cut into cards, with letters and categories hand-written on the cards. I used that to playtest dozens of times, tweaking the rules and categories as I went. I found that people genuinely were enjoying the game; the conversations, arguments and laughter were not my friends politely having a fun time with this game I had asked them to play. I would play it with people I didn’t know as well, and not tell them that I had created the game myself, so I could get a true opinion on the game, and not a polite “that was fun!”. Consistently, people really enjoyed it. People really wanted to buy a copy. People really asked to play again. And, trust me, I am NOT the kind of person that wants to hold a gathering hostage with an activity that people really don't want to do. I tend to be very shy with my work (be it games, art, or whatever). But I saw that I didn’t have to be apologetic or shy about having people play Katootsie!©; people had a good time, every time. I knew I had something here.
Life happened, as it tends to do, and I just kind of forgot about the game for a while. Every few years, though, some occasion would arise, where I would play the game with some people, they would love it, and tell me how much they believed it could easily be sold on a large scale. That would inspire me to work on Katootsie!©, redesigning, tweaking the rules, playtesting, getting prototypes printed, and playtesting, playtesting, playtesting. I then just got kind of daunted by the task of trying to get it printed on a large scale (and also at the potential for the game to actually take off). So I put it away again; this process repeated maybe 4-5 times, with years between each iteration or working on it.
This last time was different; in late 2019, I had been working at my company for about a year when I organized a game day and played it with my colleagues. Everyone loved it, and again I was encouraged to try to get the game published. One of my colleagues, Antonia, was especially enthusiastic about it, and really encouraged me to try to get it out there, and even wanted to help. This is what I needed; someone to help, hold me accountable, and collaborate with. We were working on it sporadically for a few months, and life almost got in the way again; both she and I had some life-y things to attend to, as well as busy work schedules. Then COVID happened. Luckily, we had planned way in advance for a global pandemic. 🙄
Around May, both of us quarantining at home, we agreed now was the time to really get this thing off the ground. I had iterated in the design, categories, and rules so many times, I just needed to polish everything up. Finally, Katootsie!© is ready for the public!
We have been working on Katootsie!© vigorously for the past several months, and are supremely excited to present Katootsie!© to you! I hope you will donate and get a copy and play with your family and friends. I guarantee will make you laugh, something we need more of in the world right now. Thank you for stopping by. 😃🌈💛