They’re bugging out!
Most Kings Countians cringe at the concerning sight of cockroaches crawling through cracks and crevices into their cramped apartments, causing a collection of chaotic cries from bug-averse city dwellers and frantic efforts to exterminate the six-legged intruders.
But for Brooklynites Olivier Miller and Julie Feltman, an infestation of cockroaches provided an interesting opportunity — and a way to exit the rut they’d found themselves in amid a particularly trying year.
Thus, the duo created Cuddly Cockroaches, a card game that pits players against each other to send insect armies to eliminate their opponents.
“In Cuddly Cockroaches, players are neighbors in an apartment building with a Cockroach problem,” the game’s description reads. “Every turn sees more cockroaches getting added to the game as players try to eliminate their neighbors and remain the last apartment standing.”
An opportunity arises
Like the rest of New York City, Miller and Feltman were quarantined in March of 2020 to their Brooklyn apartment. Shortly after beginning their indefinite isolation, the pair lost their jobs on the same day.
Just when they thought they’d hit rock bottom, their entire apartment building was hit with an infestation of cockroaches.
Determined to ameliorate their lives, and to find a hobby to spend their freed-up time, Miller designed humorous cartoon characters of the insects. Soon the despaired duo turned the sketch into a full-blown card game.
“[It was] a very personal experience that was fun to kind of reproduce in games,” said Miller. “I’m absolutely terrified of cockroaches. You can put a tarantula in front of me, I won’t bat an eye but a cockroach is just something that will make me run away so it was kind of a cathartic way to distance myself from that relationship by making them cute and cuddly.”
Card game of cockroaches
The game copies their real life struggles as players try to send their army of bugs into their opponent’s apartment,
“Some cockroaches have special abilities that make them more desirable roommates, while others will make it harder to win,” the description reads. “During their turns, players can infest each other with their roaches, or play supply cards like cleaning lady, or bug spray to kill roaches or make infesting easier.”
With Miller taking on the design of the game and Feltman leading the social media content, the duo started a kickstarter campaign to bring their project to fruition, allowing interested individuals to contribute cash to the making of their idea.
After just five days, the pair met their $11,000 goal, and soon surpassed their target by raising a total of $18,080.
People who contribute to the fundraiser will receive different benefits, depending on the amount they give — with prizes ranging from a copy of the game, to Cuddly Cockroach keychains and stickers.
Miller and Fletman have kept their donors updated on the game’s production via their kickstarter page. The latest update says that they have paired up with a larger game board company to assist in the games printing and distribution.
“The licensing partner is called ‘Are You Game?’ which is a subsidiary of a bigger company called University Games…Cuddly Cockroaches was a good fit for one of their initial lineups,” said Miller.
According to Miller, the partnering company will handle production, distribution and promotion.
“Their distribution partners range from Walmart, Target as well as smaller distribution partners in local communities. Their [advertising] channels range from tv ads to print to online ads on instagram, facebook,” said Miller.
Being a full-time game designer himself, Miller appreciates this partnership because he says it allows him to work on other projects.
“I’m more of a game designer myself so the fact that I can focus more, like future games… I’ve got two other games lined up right now that I’m kind of finalizing the production as well. I’m also working with a kid which he kind of found inspiration in my game as well as one of my colleagues’ games to make his own game and then reached out to me to help launch his own kickstarter,” said Miller.
According to the couple’s Kickstarter, “Cuddly Cockroaches is set to wrap up production in December, with a planned delivery window of January.”
You can find a full list of the rules and stay updated on the game’s manufacturing on their fundraising site.