Building Better Board games Together

Unpub Preview: Creature Catchers

One of our upcoming events is Protospiel-Milwaukee (and Mid-West Unpub.) This is not an event I will be able to attend, and it is being managed by James Mathes of Minion Games. Games coming to Protospiel-Milwaukee register through a different entity, and by doing so don’t get a page here on This is our first time with this type of partnership and we’re testing these policies out. One way we can support the games and designers coming to this event is through these previews. So, today we continue our series of previews of games coming to Protospiel- Milwaukee.

Creature Catchers is zoologically themed Hand Management game by designers Dustin Oakley and Gregory Hingle. In reading about this family game, it seems that it came from humble and noble beginnings…and is slowly becoming something people want to play. Sounds good to me….but don’t take my word for it. Let’s hear it from the designers themselves…

What was your inspiration for this Creature Catchers? Gregory’s younger sister loves animals and enjoys games. Therefore, he started developing Creature Catchers about three years ago to play with his family. Dusty got involved when he and Gregory met on The Game Crafter’s chat site, and they have been seriously refining the game for the last few months.

What is your favorite part of Creature Catchers? Our favorite part of the game is probably trades. When people play trade cards they are able to take an opponents’ animal, but in exchange the opponent gains visitors (victory points). This aspect adds a lot of player interaction and some interesting dilemmas.

To your knowledge, What do other people find most interesting about Creature Catchers? People really enjoy the cards–the beautiful photos and the interesting animal facts. Without realizing it they learn while having fun.

What has been the most challenging part of designing Creature Catchers? The most challenging part is creating a game that appeals to families and casual gamers while still having enough strategy and substance for more hardcore gamers to enjoy it.

What advice would you give to players attempting Creature Catchers for the first time? Novice players should avoid worrying too much about each individual play. The game is more fun when each turn flows fluidly from the last, and the more subtle strategy will reveal itself as you play.

What has surprised you most in play-tests of Creature Catchers? In play-tests we were surprised to find how widely players vary in their ability to follow the game play. To address this and in order to appeal to as wide an audience as possible, the game will include both the full rules and a simpler version for younger or less astute players.

People who like___________ will like Creature Catchers. Why?   The card game Monopoly Deal (Not the board game Monopoly) involves collecting sets and has cards usable as either an ability or a money value. These aspects are similar to Creature Catchers, so people who like one should like the other. Also, obviously people who like animals will love our game!

What do you hope to accomplish at Protospiel-Milwaukee (and Mid-West Unpub)?  We hope to get some great feedback at Milwaukee Protospiel in order to finish tweaking some recent rule changes and get the game ready for self-publication. Plus it will be great to meet more of the excellent people in the indie gaming community.

Tell us anything else you want to say about Creature Catchers that I haven’t asked or you haven’t said already. To expand upon the educational aspect of Creature Catchers, the basis of the game is choosing animals to build the best exhibits in your zoo. On an abstract level younger players are learning to sort and group while also practicing planning and critical thinking. During scoring there is counting and simple addition. Plus, the specific details on each card are informative. The idea of creating a game that is fun to play and helps people learn is really exciting. We hope to get the game into as many hands as possible, so very soon we will be creating a version on The Game Crafter. If things go well, we will run a Kickstarter in a couple months. If people want more info on Creature Catchers visit our Facebook page (it’s updated frequently.)

You’ll have to try and catch this one at Protospiel- Milwaukee this weekend!


Other Protospiel- Milwaukee games that we have previewed:

Arsenal by Keith Matejka

Author: Darrell Louder

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