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Community Connection: Card Bard

The Key & Griffin Team

Aaron Griffin and Keyan Kenny are the co-founders of Key & Griffin Games. Keyan is an art director, board game enthusiast, and game creator. No stranger to games of all kinds, he's spent every possible minute playing, designing, or even just imagining games since the tender age of 5 (on record, anyway).

JF: I found out about Card Bard, while browsing Kickstarter, and I immediately fell in love with the art style. After some digging, I found out that Keyan did the art for the game (correct me if I'm wrong). What made you decide on this art direction for Card Bard?

KK: Thank you for the kind words about the art! We did talk at length about hiring others artists, and I think it was Aaron who convinced me to do the art. We were early in the design and prototype phase and I had drawn up some placeholder art, and Aaron was enamored. My artistic style tends toward a more raw feel, but has a quirky edge, and I think looking back the fit is perfect.

AG: Keyan and I became friends because of our similar taste in art, so from the very start, I knew he would be the best artist to interpret our ideas! Card Bard is three years in the making, and I don't think any artist could understand the game and story better than Keyan.

JF: I really like the theme of battling bards building ballads for fame. Was this the theme from the onset of development or did it evolve from a set of mechanics?

KK: The concept of the fantasy bard has always been a fascination for me. It's this character who is shocking good at so many different things, and seems like they can do everything. They are there with the big buff warriors and the super smart wizards and everyone is slinging axes and spells and there is the bard on the side doing a little of both, cheering everyone on. Where they really shine is in the space between, they are liminal characters, and I find that really interesting. I think I have a kinship with them in that way, I have an unhealthy amount of hobbies, and I'm ready to figure out and learn anything and everything.

JF: I think having a ton of hobbies is required for this industry *laughs*.

KK: So that's the deep back story of it, but this is a classic creative person story: I had a dream. I dreamt of a game where the stories being told were not just by bards but of bards... and I woke up and thought immediately I need to call Aaron. So I waited until an appropriate hour and we got together and talked through what it meant, and here we are!

JF: What makes Card Bard unique from other deck-building games?

KK: I know it can be a bit of a controversial opinion, but I think the big difference is the theme and how we let that inform the design decisions we made. We really strove to make a game that was familiar to play, but also new and inspired by the theme. Music, can feel like art, it can feel like logic, and has many facets and we tried to make our game feel that way as well.

JF: I do think there is something to be said about a suite of mechanics that lend themselves to a particular theme or re-theme. What do you think Aaron?

AG: Keyan said it best. We strove to make the theme, artwork, and game mechanics one cohesive piece besides pasting together three different styles. I believe the die-hard deck-building game players will recognize some of the game mechanics but will be impressed with how simple these mechanics are communicated.

JF: Well thank you for your time, and I'm super excited to see this game come to life. I definitely backed it!


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