• My basket
  • Your Shopping Basket is empty.

Total — £ (ex. VAT)

Inside an award-winning board game design

How two New Blood Awards Pencil winners turned their side hustle into a real life product

What can New Blood Awards do for you? For Alexander Kofoed and Jacob Grandt their response to the 2017 New Blood Hasbro brief, turned their creative idea for a board game into a reality. Two years later, their product design was available to buy in Denmark. We spoke to them both about winning a New Blood Graphite Pencil and making their game design a reality.


Tell us what you’re currently doing professionally?

AK: I’m currently working as a freelance creative copywriter, so hit me up if you like my work.
JG: Creative Placement at adam&eveDDB.

Tell us about your journey from entering the New Blood Awards to where you are now?

AK: We entered the game in the Hasbro brief in 2017, during the first year of our studies. To do a video of the game we found this guy who rented out dog shock collars for bachelor parties and filmed our classmates playing the game. What’s not to like! Then we won the graphite Pencil and now, flash forward, 2 years later the game is available to buy in Danish stores.  
JG: Afterwards, I got into New Blood Academy, which opened my eyes to the amount of talented students outside my own little bubble in Copenhagen. That was a major motivator for getting a passion project that wasn’t advertising.
Board game

Designing a multiplayer game is one thing, but turning it into a product is another. How did you make your game design a reality?

AK: Blood, sweat and tears... I was drinking Bloody Mary’s and Jacob was sweating and crying. No, really I think we just wanted it to be more than just an idea. We sent our video to two great Danes, M&M (Martin and Morten) who own GameInventors and have published some of the most popular games in Denmark. Luckily they liked it, so during the next 1.5 years we would take bus trips to the Danish island of Fyn (it has an English name, but we’re staying true to the origins here) and have meetings about how we could make the game better, testing it, revisiting the graphic design, and figuring out if it was even legal to do a game with a taser in it. 
JG: At the beginning of January 2018 we contacted a Danish board game production company that has a portfolio of games kind of similar to ours. We sent them all the content we had created for New Blood. Usually, they respond to people with board game ideas each quarter, but they got back to us more or less the same day. Apparently, they are used to getting weird concepts badly drawn on a napkin, so I think receiving a case study film with a pro-voice-over blew them away. Over the next 1.5 years we had a lot of meetings with them where we fine-tuned the game. We simplified it in every way possible, and also discussed the taser. Technically, it’s a weapon, so we had to make sure it wouldn’t harm anyone. Fortunately, we were able to do that and not compromise the idea.

How did New Blood Awards help you make your game a reality?

AK: After New Blood, we basically had a package ready for a game publisher or a Kickstarter. We had the game design, the rules, ideas for advertising, and a proof of concept video, so why not do something about it. I guess we also felt confident after doing well in the competition.
JG: First of all, we wouldn’t have been likely to sit down and say “Hi! Shall we spend all our weekends outside of school to make a board game?”. New Blood was the perfect chance to make something creative that could benefit us in many ways. Secondly, having a professional looking case study film when you’re pitching a new product to someone is golden. Especially when they are used to getting 40 year-old men’s pencil drawings.
And finally, a New Blood pencil gives a lot of confidence in an idea. We were not game developers, so for all we know this idea could be shit. But knowing that a whole jury of creatives thought it was great made us think the same thing.
new blood awards

What challenges did you face when making your game real?

AK: We had some worries related to the electricity part of the game. Our original plan was to have all players holding a controller so that you could vote and get a shock through it, and they would all connect to a basic computer in the middle. It turned out to be too expensive and there were too many things that could go wrong with that level of complexity, which led us to the idea of a taser. In a way, it made the game even better since the players got to experience the joy of directly tasing their friends. Life is beautiful. 
JG: Agreeing that it should be a real electric taser, and then finding the right one were the biggest challenges! Fortunately, the guys from the game production company are up for taking risks. Finding the right design wasn’t easy either. I did the logotype, visual identity, packaging, cards, everything. Of course with the help and feedback from Alexander, but we couldn’t just please ourselves, the production company had to like it as well. Although I’m an Art Director, designing a brand from scratch is pretty difficult, especially when the brand is your own.

What does it feel like knowing that your game is available to purchase?

AK:  It feels very good, we have worked hard for this.
JG: Unreal. I haven’t even been home to witness it. People keep sending pictures to me, but I’m still not sure if it's for real. Not before I go to Denmark and see it for myself. It’s also slightly intimidating. What if people don’t like it? What if flops totally? I have these thoughts sometimes, but then try to think about how awesome it is. It’s bucket list material to make a board game… but not the ladies magnet I imagined it would be when we started out.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned about the process of designing a board game?

AK: It’s a first for me and Jacob, getting a product out, so almost every step of the process has been really interesting and educating. One thing that really stood out was to be on the client-side with a product you’re trying to sell. Usually, I’m the creative pushing for crazy ideas, but for this project, I was on both sides. That was a “reality check”, pun intended.
The next time I have a meeting with a client I will look them deep in the eye and whisper “I understand you, it’s gonna be okay”.  
JG: That the process is SOOOOOO long, and every step of the way you bump into something that will either try to kill your idea or make it less creative. So I’ve learnt how to take good care of an idea, so that all of the challenges don’t harm the idea, but make it stronger.
New Blood Awards game design

What is one thing New Blood Awards gave you that you couldn’t have gotten elsewhere?

AK: The New Blood Awards are standing out from the rest of the international award shows in that it has more interesting briefs to choose from.
JG: New Blood gave us an excellent excuse to make a board game. It’s much easier to sit down and make something when you have a brief, a deadline and the motivation of hopefully winning a thick little Pencil.

What would you tell someone who is on the fence about entering the New Blood Awards?

AK: If you do it, go all-in and make something you are proud of. You can win and that is great, and if you don't, maybe you have something nice for your portfolio or an idea you can turn into a real campaign or a real product. 
JG: Challenge yourself and look for some of the briefs you wouldn’t pick by default. Try to use a different set of skills than the ones you normally do. From my experience, only good things can happen. And start now! I can tell from experience how much it sucks sitting 24/7 in the last week before the deadline because you debated which brief for too long.

What advice would you give to young creatives participating in New Blood Awards this year?

AK: Focus on the great idea first! “Hey, I already have a great idea” - BUY A REALITY CHECK.
JG: Make a plan that gives you the best conditions of making a killer idea and an original design. Pay attention to your craft, not just the idea.

What’s your next dream project?

AK: My dream right now is to make Reality Check a success in Denmark so we can get it abroad and make the whole world tase each other. I also have some other product ideas that I hopefully get to realise. 
JG: Board game-wise I’m crossing my fingers that we can make an English version! Or a Polish, Spanish or even Russian version? Doesn’t really matter, it would just be really cool to take the idea abroad and expand the Reality Check empire and eventually be crowned the new Gods of thunder.

Want to know more about New Blood Awards? Keep your creativity inspired with bi-weekly tips and tricks to help you craft your New Blood Awards entry, as well as career insights, thought leadership, and the latest news and events. Sign up for New Blood news.

We have placed cookies on your computer to help make this website better.
You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Don't show this message again