Zsolt Batki (game design and text) is a true entertainer. He started his career at 14 as a child actor, stepping onto the stage in more than 150 theatre plays. He later worked as a DJ, hosted radio shows, gave lectures at Unis, and became famous for his witty wordplays. He wrote comedy sketches, nursery rhymes, children books and designed board games and card games. He has been lucky enough to live in Finland, Germany, Hungary, Spain and recently in the UK. Father of three, and director of a digital marketing agency, he loves working on fun and creative projects like the Pooper Heroes game and stories.
When I heard the story about how J.K. Rowling's first Harry Potter book was published only because the eight-year-old daughter of the chairman of the publishing house loved the story, I thought it was just a marketing trick to gain the trust of parents. Then the same thing happened to my family card game, the Pooper Heroes - only this time the five-year-old daughter of the gift editor of the publishing house fell in love with mygame which led to its publishing. Maybe children can recognize the next best-sellers faster than their parents?
I started to develop Pooper Heroes after visiting a Toy Fair in London, where I couldn't find the game I was looking for: something equally entertaining for my then seven-year-old son, my teenage daughters, and myself. So I decided to create such a game. I knew it had to be simple, easy to learn, packed with fun player interactions, and with a theme that makes the most of us smile. And what else could that theme be other than poop which was already the favourite squishy toy of my nephew and the take-it-everywhere cushion pillow of my niece.
With that in mind, we played the first test game just one week later with my nieces who were also helping me to create the early prototype by drawing some poop and food cards. That first playtesting was followed by many many more with my family until I could confidently say that I had the game I've dreamt of. But was it good enough to be shared with the general public? I really wanted to make sure that the game gives joy to others as well, so I took it to a bunch of conventions and public playtesting events and asked as many families and children as I could to try it out. The result was astonishing. Whoever played the game, as soon as they had the chance to dish out a poop card to a friend or a family member, they started to smile mischievously. And when that other person retaliated with a pooper hero card, they all laughed. Some of my early players liked the game so much they even bought it from me on the spot, which was the most convincing proof of concept.
As my little game became more and more poo-pular, an editor at Laurence King Publishing heard about it and wanted to see it played. So I took a prototype deck with me to their office in London, and she liked the game so much she wanted to show it to her managers, but then the pandemic struck and everything was thrown up in the air.
Imagine how surprised I was when two months later the editor sent me an email asking for another prototype deck of my Pooper Heroes card game. Turns out, she took the first deck home and played it with her five-year-old, who loved it so much she wouldn't give it back to her mom, and wanted to play it every day. The child's comments convinced the management to take an interest in the game, and after I sent that other deck to their office and they had a chance to play it again, they were on board! Pooper Heroes is a perfect family game to play with younger and older kids as well.
I'd love to hear your thought about my games and stories - please, send you comments and questions here.