Three Fishers neighbors are betting big on their own board game: ‘Expedite’
I landed inSydneyafter multiple layovers along the southern coasts of the world –Rio de Janeiro,Brazil;Cape Town, Africa – a total of 15,436 miles from my starting point inNew York City.
I checked my card: 25 points. One more route and I’d win the game.
The setting was Brent and Anna Douthit’s Fishers home. The occasion was a beta test of a new board game, created by Douthit and friends Travis Koldus and Vaughn Paxton, and dubbed “Expedite.”
Created by the three men during the Fourth of July weekend, Expedite is a game that takes its visual cues from Risk, but plays like something more European; think Carcassonne or The Settlers of Catan, Douthit said.
“We played the other games so much we were looking for something new or different,” said Koldus.
Douthit, Koldus and Paxton were neighbors, all living alongTurnham Courtin Fishers (thus the name of their fledgling company: Turnham Games LLC) who were brought together by a common love of board games and mutual time to kill. All three worked from home, they said, and so would meet to play Monopoly or Risk during their free time. Eventually, they decided it was time to make something of their own.
“Risk or Monopoly could drag on forever,” Koldus said. “We wanted a game you could play in 30 minutes.”
Designed to play
The basic game play of Expedite is simple. Each player holds three route cards in their hand at all times. A route might say, for example, to connectMexico CityandRome. Connections are made by players “buying” the city, which is the end point of the route, and as many along the way as possible. Connecting routes generates points – more for longer routes, less for shorter routes.
“Other games are based around destroying or defeating your opponents, rather than winning yourself,” Douthit said.
The challenge of the game comes in the strategies employed by the players, Douthit said.
“Some of us are notorious for holding cards or playing back,” added Koldus.
It’s also very fast-paced. A single game could take as few as 15-20 minutes.
“One thing about this game is: It’s always your turn,” Douthit said.
At first glance, the board might look like a cousin of Risk. They are, after all, both based around the globe. But Douthit and the others say they don’t think players will confuse their game with others. Part of their confidence comes from the colorful designs of graphic designer Amber Simmons, of Fishers, brought onboard to craft the look of everything from the board to the game cards.
“(The board) is their vision,” Simmons said. “I didn’t want it to look like any other board game.”
The project is a first for the Herron School of Art and Design graduate.
“I’d never made a game before, so it was exciting,” she said.
Betting on board games
Douthit, Koldus and Paxton have invested more than just their time into this project: they’re also invested financially into the game’s success.
With a 9-year-old daughter, J.C., and an 8-year-old son, Jack, no one would question skepticism about endeavor from Anna Douthit. But she’s not worried, she said.
“They played the game long enough themselves I knew … I really do believe in this,” she said. “I am that wife that stands by her man. I think it’s a great product, and I think there’s a great market for it. I think it will pay for my kids’ college.”
Anna herself has played the game quite a bit, but said at times, she’s too “singular-minded” for it.
“Nothing makes me more frustrated than when I play and lose it,” she said.
To fund Expedite, its creators are looking to the Web. Specifically, this month they plan to launch an account on Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com) – a Web site which allows organizations and individuals to fund creative projects through “crowdfunding,” or generating a large number of small donations from individual donors. The men are hoping to raise $10-$15,000, which they project will be enough to produce 300-400 copies of the game. A special edition will be available for Kickstarter donors, Douthit said.
As of press time, the Kickstarter had not launched, though information will be posted about it and the game online at www.TurnhamGames.com once it’s available.
The men said the game, currently being play tested inBoston,Nashville,San Franciscoand by students at St. Roch’sCatholicSchoolon Indy’s south side, will optimistically be available to play by the end of summer. In the meantime, they’re working on funding and preparing to contact 300 game stores to build up interest.
“It’s been an idea for so long,” Douthit said. “It’s nerve-wracking that it might go out and be huge, and it might not. We three guys fromTurnham Courttook nothing and made something awesome. Now if we can just get the rest of the world to see that.”
More information about Expedite and Turnham Games LLC can be found online at www.TurnhamGames.com, or by searching for the company on Facebook.