Commercial Break: The Game
By Alixandra Rutnik on Jun 14, 2021
One Club Member and team adds a new card game to the mix
Does anyone remember the last time you played a card game? For me, I must have been a pre-teen playing Uno, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that I have no idea how to play that game now. But there is a new card game by one of our One Club Members that caught our attention — it’s called Commercial Break and the perfect time to play it is during those annoyingly long commercials that I always mute.
In 2020, Art Director Gabs Samame and her team designed and fabricated this new card game while simultaneously founding their boutique creative studio Four4Fun together. Commercial Break is not totally exclusive to the advertising industry, but if you are in the creative field there will be plenty of inside jokes to laugh about as you play along. Commercial Break will be hitting shelves soon, but of course, you can purchase it online right now.
We caught up with Gabs and her team members to talk about their new and exciting card game– Commercial Break.
Tell us all we need to know about Commercial Break.
Gabs: If you’re in the advertising game, Commercial Break is made for you. This tabletop game is unique because it is created for the ad industry by people within it. Each game card draws insight from the nuances of business that every advertising professional can relate to. It is filled with inside jokes that the whole ad family can enjoy and laugh about.
It doesn’t matter which department you work in, Commercial Break is something that will connect everyone in the field. It is also made in a way that allows outsiders to enjoy playing it as well (but they’ll miss out on the inside jokes).
Samruddhi: Being stuck inside during the pandemic forced us to retreat to the OG forms of entertainment– board games. After hours of tirelessly enjoying them, we found ourselves wondering why the advertising industry doesn’t have a game specific to it and how fun it would be to play it if they did. So we decided to take it upon ourselves to turn this idea into reality and give back to this wonderfully wacky industry that we belong to. It is a gesture of gratitude– our little gift to the ad world.
Joshua: The game consists of two sets of cards: the Main Deck and the Stray Pile. Each card in the Main Deck has its own unique set of instructions to follow, and each card in the Stray Pile has a random image on it. Some of the cards in the Main Deck make use of the cards in the Stray Pile. The object of the game is to score points and win, but really the idea is to have fun with friends. As long as you are able to share some laughs along the way, you’re a winner. It’s all about the experience, and that’s what we’re tapping into here.
Hunter: The most important thing to remember while playing the game– it’s about having a great time with like-minded people and making it yours. We all had fun together when we created this game, and we played many versions to get the game to where it is now. You can buy it on the official website. We’re also working on making it available on some retail shelves, so stay tuned!
What does the name “Commercial Break” encompass?
Samruddhi: The name “Commercial Break” was decided upon for the dual meaning that it encompasses: 1. It is about the industry that birthed the very term. 2. It aims to provide a fun-filled break to people in the business of making commercials and other advertising assets.
Joshua: And when commercials come on television, this might be another way to pass the time.
When was Four4Fun creative boutique founded?
Gabs: Our creative boutique Four4Fun came into existence in early 2021 around the same time that we made Commercial Break happen. Taking on the challenge of producing this card game, bringing it to life in a month, and exceeding our own expectations taught us a lot about ourselves. We were pleasantly surprised by our capabilities as a team, and it gave us confidence and the realization that we are ready to take on bigger challenges and projects together.
Samruddhi: It is a good time to start a business with your friends when there is endless trust when you are well versed in each person's work language, when you feel certain of your abilities as a team and as individuals, and when you are sure everyone is on the same page.
"It is a good time to start a business with your friends when there is endless trust when you are well versed in each person's work language, when you feel certain of your abilities as a team and as individuals, and when you are sure everyone is on the same page."
Hunter: While the pandemic has been a blessing in disguise with it incentivizing us to test our limits and create Commercial Break, it has also been a tough time to set up a new creative shop. But we’re not complaining, we are grateful for the time to learn, grow, and plan out the game plan for our future as a creative boutique.
What was your inspo for the art direction and design?
Gabs: The goal with the art direction and design was to make it simple yet vibrant, and goofy and fun. The colors and the visual elements stem from this vibrant, goofy, and fun thought process. Having whole-heartedly dedicated our time, efforts, resources, and energy to this game, the four of us wanted to give this baby a touch of our personalities in the design as well. The little characters on the box represent the four of us.
Joshua: Am I a chubby pickle with an orange mustache? Not even close. [feel free to include a line about how handsome I actually am in the story]. But maybe in some sort of intangible way– mentally perhaps– I am. And that’s what it’s all about– tapping into your creative side, having fun with it, and seeing where your imagination takes you.
"Am I a chubby pickle with an orange mustache? Not even close. [feel free to include a line about how handsome I actually am in the story]. But maybe in some sort of intangible way– mentally perhaps– I am."
Hunter: What speaks to the inner child in all of us better than cartoons? When I was younger I always envisioned myself in the shows that I was watching as a specific character, or what I would look like in the art style of the show. Commercial Break gave us an opportunity to reinvent ourselves as fun, colorful characters (not that we aren’t fun IRL). I hope the design reminds players that they have a fun side too.
"Commercial Break gave us an opportunity to reinvent ourselves as fun, colorful characters (not that we aren’t fun IRL). I hope the design reminds players that they have a fun side too."
What were the steps involved in creating Commercial Break from the original idea to its execution?
Gabs: From idea to execution, the steps involved in creating Commercial Break can be broken down into three categories: Research, The Drawing Board, and Production Efforts. Although the steps didn’t follow a linear order or pattern, we jumped from one step to another quite a bit.
Samruddhi: Yes, we had the idea to create an industry-specific board game, but what was it going to be? What kind of board game were we going for? We had a lot of questions we didn’t have the answers to, so rigorous research was key to finding them. We took a deep dive into the world of board games in an attempt to understand them and find the inspiration we needed to create one that was truly unique to advertising.
Joshua: After filling reams of pages with notes and scattered thoughts, we landed on the card game niche. At the time we had a very rough idea of how we wanted the game to be played, but we still had to chalk out the exact nuances and details of how it would work. This of course was subjected to a lot of trial-and-error and back-and-forth banter on how to mold our idea into something we’d be proud to put our names on.
Gabs: Having finally drafted the skeleton everyone was happy with and excited about, it was about getting the individual elements right. Every card needed to have its unique instructions, so brainstorming was still on the table along with getting the copy and design work started for each needed asset.
Hunter: During all of this creative work we also had to dedicate effort to researching and finding businesses to coordinate with for the production of the needed physical game components. The pandemic was a tricky time to get this done efficiently. In the end, all our cohesive efforts were fruitful and we are proud of the outcome.
Joshua: The process was about as linear as the gameplay – not very. At the end of the day, we just gave in to randomness. What came out, came out. I guess you could say our imaginations had the final say.
What do you want your players to get out of this card game?
Gabs: The game was created to give members of our advertising family a much-needed break– we can’t emphasize this enough. So hands down, the real winner is someone who has a great time playing the game. Period.
"The game was created to give members of our advertising family a much-needed break– we can’t emphasize this enough."
Joshua: Seconding that. For those who aren’t in the ad business, it’s educational in the sense that it gives someone a glimpse into just how zany the world can be, and I think that is a great aspect of the game. Not a lot of people know what it means to work in advertising, so we’re bringing that energy to life in a way people can actually experience.
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