About a year ago, Charles and I were off to LA and Portland to shoot photos for work. We were chatting at our gate at LAX (for the hour or so we had to wait for the flight) when a woman walked by, then again, and then again, up and down the terminal hallway.
She looked ordinary enough– a middle aged traveller with the usual getup of suitcase, pants and haircut. We wouldn’t have noticed her if it weren't for her sweater. It hung almost down to her knees, mostly black with delicate white accents patterning her shoulders and hem. And, of course, the giant white skull crudely crocheted on her back.
Given the general lack of stimulus available in airline purgatory, we speculated on the story behind this woman and her creepy cardigan trench-sweater. Maybe she was a witch, or a cultist! Or maybe she’d knitted it for a Nine Inch Nails concert in 1993 and hadn't removed it since that night. One of us (we still can't remember who) decided that she was most definitely a Corpse Farmer.
Neither of us knew what the hell that meant, but we did know that we couldn’t just leave the term 'Corpse Farmer' alone. We started brainstorming, right there in our shitty steel and Pleather™ LAX seats, on the games and mechanics we could create around that name.
Our earliest concept was for a pixel art, retro-style video game which, overambitious as it was for two non-programmers, gave us the flavor groundwork for Corpse Farmer as a board game. We were both experienced graphic designers after all, so the only thing out of our scope was the digital painting and mass production (and a shitload of cash to manufacture the thing).
As we hashed out the concept, we came up with a basic mechanics that revolved around corpse related wordplay, along with all the black humor that we could pack into the card effects and flavor texts. After a few months of chipping away, Charles hand-cut some basic copy paper printouts, and the testing started. It was fun- and a bit rough for sure. But the morbid humor kept us entertained, even as we delved into the catacombs of game development.
Soon we had a solid foundation to spend time on some rudimentary art and to get our first professional printed prototypes from thegamecrafter.com.
I'll go from there in the next post.
And if anyone spots the mysterious skull-cardigan wielding airport dweller, be sure to let us know. I'd like to tell her thanks :)