Board games, from classics to the more obscure, have been a part of Brian Bulger’s life for as long as he can remember. Crowding around with his nine siblings for a bit of friendly competition are some of the Missouri musician’s favorite childhood memories.
Creating his own board game has been a dream of Bulger’s since childhood, a time he recalls often changing game rules to win against his siblings. But really, what older siblings didn’t?
Three years ago, Bulger began rough sketches of what would become Badageetchy, a “silly strategy” board game where players are “capitalistic pigs,” trying to “climb to meaningless success.” After years of keeping the project a secret, he announced it on the Badageetchy Instagram, @badageetchy, last week. Bulger worked with a Kansas City-based artist and Missouri State University alumna to design the game.
Badageetchy is a 3-5 player game, suitable for children ages 10 and up. Each player chooses one of five available Piggy characters, each with their own unique backstories and “Badageetchabilities.” There are two ways to complete the game.
The first, and main, goal of the game is to invest into the game’s four quirky shops to become a “Top Investor.” Shops include:
- The Scrunchy Toe, a nail spa solely for big toe pedicures.
- The Quarterback Nibbleshack, a dessert café where everything’s served on pigskin.
- The Elongated Rate, a pet stores just for weasels.
- The Funky Fork, a shop that sells funk vinyl and forks.
With Top Investor status, players are able to enter the “Mall of Laryn B. Gitis,” where they can purchase “Useless Unicycles.”
“The wheel is always flat. Sometimes it doesn’t come with the wheel. And also you’re a Piggy. You can’t ride a unicycle,” Bulger explains in Badageetchy’s promotional video. But three Useless Unicycles determines the winner of the game.
The second way to complete the game is by reading all of the “Newspigper” (the game’s newspaper) cards. At the end of each individual turn, a player must draw a Newspigper card. Most often, the Newspigper indicates Pay Day, where each player is paid for their investments. However, sometimes Newspigper cards have negative actions.
Badageetchy comes with 40 Newspigper cards, but the number used during gameplay varies per number of players. For example, Bulger said 35 Newspigper cards are used with five players. So if no player purchases three Useless Unicycles by the time all Newspigper cards are read, the game ends.
“I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like really long games, and it was a huge thing for me to make a game that could be whatever you wanted it to be,” Bulger said. Gameplay time may range from 45 minutes to two hours.
‘I want to make things that are an exact reflection of who I am.’
You’re probably wondering: Where does the name “Badageetchy” come from?
Bulger said throughout his life, he has found himself fixating on different words or phrases that he hears or learns. Sometimes, these words are completely made up, but they continue to cycle in his mind.
“Badageetchy was one of those obsessive words that I made up at 18, and I have no idea why,” he said. For years, “Badageetchy” floated in his head — so much so that his friends were even familiar with the word.
When it came to naming the board game, “Badageetchy” was, without a doubt, Bulger’s first option.
As for the Piggies, Bulger said he wanted to include an animal character. He landed on pigs, which he enjoys because they’re “random, cute, ugly and gross.”
“There are a lot of puns and ironic things that totally flew over my head, such as ‘the piggies going to the market’ or even the idea of getting ‘filthy rich,'” Bulger said. “It wasn’t until a couple months ago that I was like, ‘Oh, that’s a pun! I had no idea.'”
Bulger said he doesn’t know much about investing and he wanted that to be reflected in the game.
“I wanted to make fun of capitalism, to be honest,” Bulger said with a laugh.
The game’s story and visuals may be silly, but the creation process of Badageetchy has more depth for Bulger.
“The reason this game even came about was because I got on medication for my depression and anxiety and it actually started working,” Bulger said. “Even when I first started making this game, I was in a really rough spot … it just sat on a shelf for a couple of years. I found it again when I came out of this really deep hole … my brain was like, ‘Hey, you’re at full capacity.’ Coming out of that depression, I think the biggest thing that I learned or gained was the idea of self-confidence and self-love. I don’t want to make things people are going to like. I want to make things that are an exact reflection of who I am. And I think that’s what this game is.”
Get your own copy of Badageetchy
Bulger is hosting a Kickstarter to raise funds for the creation and distribution of Badageetchy. Those who donate $45 or more will receive a copy of Badageetchy, with distribution estimated around February 2023. The Kickstarter is open through Oct. 28.
Several other perks are available for larger donations, including an original porotype of the game with a $150 donation or a custom drawing of you in Badageetchy-style by designer Maddy Cushman with a $300 donation.
The campaign’s goal is $25,000 and as of Wednesday, more than $2,900 was raised. To learn more about the campaign or donate, visit the Kickstarter at kickstarter.com/projects/brianbulger/badageetchy-the-piggy-investment-board-game.
Play Badageetchy in Springfield
On Thursday, Bulger is hosting a free live play event of Badageetchy at Green House Coffee + Affogato Bar in downtown Springfield at 7 p.m.
Six copies of the game will be available with gameplay starting at 7:30 p.m. Prior, Bulger will demonstrate the rules in-person. He said he anticipates gameplay to conclude around 9:30 p.m.
In addition to playing the game, folks can enjoy free, catered Prairie Pie, free Badageetchy stickers and a photo op with a five-foot cardboard cut-out of Karl Prox, one of the game’s characters.
Folks are encouraged to sign-up to secure a spot on the Badageetchy website at badageetchy.com/event-signup. However, walk-ins and spectators are welcome. Green House Coffee + Affogato Bar is located at 431 S. Jefferson Ave. Suite 172.
A second live play event will be held in Kansas City at Manor Records on Tuesday, Oct. 11 from 7-10 p.m.
A singer and songwriter, Bulger is a former Springfield resident and Missouri State alumnus. Today, he lives in Kansas City with his wife.