Naramata: The Board Game

Naramata wasn’t the first wine region in B.C., nor is it the largest. But it will be the first B.C. wine region to be the setting for a wine touring-themed board game. If shopping locally isn’t enough, now you’ll be able to play locally too.

The game is the creation of game designer Chris Dias of Dias Ex Machina from Prince George. Chris’s experience with wine collecting and touring inspired this new wine themed game. If the trivia focus of Winerd or Wine Wars isn’t your thing or if you are still healing from you last game of Wineopoly, then Naramata: A Game of Wine and Tourism will be for you.

Chris took some time to answer a few of my questions about this cool new game.

1 – What inspired you to create a board game around wine touring?

I have been wanting to get in Board Game design for years. My background is in tabletop role playing, but I wanted to try my hand at a related field. I am also a wine drinker; I have about 180 bottles at any one time.  When my friends and I would gather to play, a bottle of wine would always be opened, so it just like the perfect melding of ideas.

2 – What is it about Naramata that makes it good for setting this game?

Originally, the game encompassed the entire Okanagan Region, but eventually, I just wanted to focus on one specific area. And Naramata just flowed off the tongue easier that Osoyoos.  😊  Plus of all the regions in BC Wine Country, Naramata is the only one exclusively associated with wine and spirits.

3 – The videos on your Kickstarter website have video segments that you’ve filmed at wineries in Naramata. Are the wineries there generally on board (fun intended) with your plans for this game?

I felt it was mandatory to get their support and presence on the board. People forget that Monopoly is based off a real location. There are a bunch of games based on real places, Ulm, Santorini. There is even a game called Lakes of the Okanagan, which has nothing to do with wine. We needed real wineries on our board, so we reached out to them in August and the response was amazing. In total, I believe we have 26 real wineries on the board.  We introduced two of our own, because its my game and I wanted to pretend I owned a winery on the bench. 😊 But the Naramata wineries helped us legitimize our quality.

4 – How long does it take to develop a game and what are the steps involved in that process?

It can take several months to several years. My previous project, another board game, is being published by another company—that’s been in development for three years. Naramata was very fast because everyone so totally focused in its production. The first step is admitting you have a problem….I mean an obsession. You want to create this game. The next step is just playing the base idea on paper and custom components until you have a solid framework.  Then you bring on graphic designers and illustrators and they help bring your project to life.

5 – Could there be future editions of this game that feature different game boards from different wine regions? Expansion boards?

That was always our plan; when we decided to focus on Naramata, we immediately knew we could expand out to Kelowna, Osoyoos, and Niagara. When we approached an American celebrity chef we were friends with, he immediately wanted us to cover Napa, so, I believe that’s in the cards as well. We expect that we’ll run a second campaign next year for these expansions.

6 – Can people drink wine while playing this game? Or do you think it might be likely to go downhill if too many bottles are opened? Is there a discernible “cogent thought process” to “number of opened wine bottles” ratio that players should be aware of?

Although there is not wine-related mechanic in game, we always play with alcohol around the table. I personally can open a bottle from every winery on the board, but that would be…unwise. I would hope people would bring a couple bottles to the table. Thankfully, Naramata: A Game of Wine & Tourism is a medium complexity game so it shouldn’t burn your brain as much.

7 – When do you expect to have this game ready for release?

We already have 95% of all the assets completed, so we plan on accelerating into production almost immediately. We’ll run a post campaign to catch the few people that missed the initial Kickstarter, then we’ll ship to have the game out sometime next winery season.

Check out Naramata: A Game of Wine and Tourism on their Kickstarter page.

6 thoughts on “Naramata: The Board Game

  1. Cindy Andrew

    Any sense of when it’s available to buy. A great Christmas gift for my hub given Naramata is our fav place to escape to!

    1. I believe that they are aiming to have them ready for sale by the spring. As he says at the end, “sometime next winery season”. You can contribute to it through their Kickstarter though so maybe there are perks with supporting them that way.

    1. Good to hear! And thank you for commenting. The board game industry life is a hard scrabble and not trivial for sure. I’m just glad that nobody has a monopoly over it so that creative games like this can be produced, though at some risk.

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