The original version of this article contained multiple errors and has been changed. See the bottom of the article for more information.
“Blackout.” Describe the word without saying “alcohol,” “electricity,” “forget,” “memory” or “power” and only speak in a squeaky, high voice.
This is an example found in fourth-year computer science student Akshat Keshan’s and fourth-year biochemistry student and Daily Bruin Opinion columnist Kunal Patel’s new adult party game, Twisted Kicks – a hybrid of Cards Against Humanity and Taboo with an interactive app component.
Twisted Kicks is played with a minimum of two teams of two or more people. Much like Taboo, there are twisted cards that have a key word the team must guess while one player gives hints without saying any of the restricted words listed below the key word. In addition to the twisted cards, there are also rule cards that dictate a rule the hint giver must follow.
They launched their project on Kickstarter in October with a goal of $4,000 and were fully funded within a month. On Kickstarter, the duo sold more than 300 games which were delivered to Twisted Kicks supporters on Dec. 24, just in time for Christmas. The team then launched their sales on Amazon on Dec. 22, where Twisted Kicks costs $20.
Keshan said the idea for the game had come up when he had been visiting some friends at UC Davis. Keshan said the group had gotten tired of playing the adult card game Cards Against Humanity, which is similar to the child-friendly game Apples to Apples, but with risqué topics. Keshan said the group’s boredom became a breeding ground of ideas about the kind of games the students wanted to play among college friends.
“We started out thinking we would want it to be dark, kind of like Cards Against Humanity, where it’s a little edgier and not what you normally see on the market,” Patel said. “But with Twisted Kicks, it’s raunchy humor, but it’s not supposed to offend people like Cards Against Humanity can.”
Keshan then brought the idea back to Patel, his roommate. Patel said the project was immediately interesting because of the potential success the project posed, since he didn’t think there are many competitors in the adult party game industry aside from Cards Against Humanity.
“I looked at the different layers of the market to see how profitable we could be,” Patel said. “This is really a genre on the market not really dominated by major game companies, but more indie games. … The most popular one is Cards Against Humanity and they pretty much dominate the market.”
After about a month, the two had worked out how the game would be played, and the result was Twisted Kicks.
Fourth-year Santa Clara University finance student Connor Hauck, who was a friend of Patel’s from high school, received a copy of the game for Christmas from Patel. Hauck said he played the game with some friends during the winter break and Patel’s humor was apparent in the game’s design.
“My favorite card is the ‘High Five Guy.’ It’s a rule card where you have to high-five people on your team whenever you make eye contact,” Hauck said. “It’s really creative, and there are topic cards like ‘noob’ and ‘oompa loompa.’”
Keshan said another aspect to the game that sets it apart from others on the market is the addition of a mobile app to accompany the game. Essentially, the goal of the app is to provide a forum where the community of Twisted Kicks players can create their own cards and share them with one another while also making the game mobile.
“So when you buy the game, you also get access to the app, which is a link to the Twisted Kicks community,” Keshan said. “On the app, the game is always growing as opposed to just waiting for expansion packs like you have to do with Cards Against Humanity.”
Patel and Keshan said they never pictured themselves going into the game industry. Both plan to graduate at the end of this academic year and are exploring post-graduate school and full-time job opportunities, but, as a team, are eager to follow through on the Twisted Kicks project to see how far it can go.
“Doing this project was to show we could take an idea and make a physical product,” Patel said. “We’ve been able to do it all on our own, and explore our passion. It’s been really cool doing everything hands on ourselves.”
Correction: Twisted Kicks is played with teams of two or more people, not three or more. Keshan, not Patel, said they added a mobile app to accompany the game. The last quote should have been attributed to Patel, not Keshan.