Like many of you, my introduction to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland occurred during my childhood. I would love to say that I was instantly drawn to the story and became a lifelong “Alice Enthusiast”, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Like many boys growing up in 1970’s America, my fascinations were: Evel Knievel, The Six Million Dollar Man, BB guns, and Star Wars. My first re-introduction to Alice would be as a teenager in the 1980’s through the obsession of my best friend’s niece.
I can’t tell you how many times we would stop by his house to play the latest Commodore 64 or Atari 2600 game and end up watching portions of the 1972 Alice in Wonderland film starring Fiona Fullerton with his niece. At the time we would poke fun at the film like most teenagers do, but nevertheless we watched it over and over again.
Flash forward twenty years to 2003 as I sat at my computer one evening working on a game design. For some reason I started researching games based on Alice in Wonderland. I scoured the internet in search of a really good board or card game that was based on the original story. A strange thing happened during that search; I couldn’t find anything that would be of interest to a “gamer”. There were dozens of games, but all of them were the cookie-cutter, mass market games you might find at your local big box store. I was surprised to say the least. In my mind this story was the perfect setting for a great game. The story really is a game in itself. It was then that I started on my journey to design The Alice Game.
Ten years passed. I worked on and off on different concepts for my Alice game. First it was a card game, then a board game, then a card game again. I playtested the game with different groups of gamers. Each time coming away with lots of notes and observations of what worked and what didn’t work. As the final months of 2012 came to a close, I had what I thought was the final version of the game ready to be sent off to tabletops around the world for Alice fans of all ages and nationalities to enjoy.
So I reconnected with an old friend who I had spoken to 10 years before, in 2003. Andy Hopp was and is a unique artist and I thought he was the perfect choice for an illustrator for my Alice game. We decided on a plan of action and he began to bring the characters of Wonderland to life in his unique Hoppian-style, as I call it. We launched a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign fully expecting the world to embrace our Alice game and help us bring it to publication. We were hopeful, determined, and excited about seeing a great Alice game finally make it into the hands of gamers.
Well, things didn’t quite turn out like we had hoped. As the Kickstarter campaign came to an end we had raised a little over $4,000 of the $25,000 we needed to manufacture the game. We didn’t make our funding goal. We were naturally disappointed but we remain hopeful that the game will eventually be published and have plans to re-launch the Kickstarter campaign at a later date.
Throughout my journey through Wonderland I have learned so much about the story and man who wrote it. I have made new friends through the Lewis Carroll Society (UK) and Lewis Carroll Society of North America. I now own The Game of Alice in Wonderland (1882 Selchow & Righter), which is the first game ever published, based on the book. And have become what I call an “accidental Alice game scholar” through my research. And can now say, beyond of a shadow of a doubt, that I am an Alice Enthusiast. You would be hard-pressed to spend 10 years of your life working on anything without becoming somewhat of an expert on the topic. But like anything relating to Alice, it seems that the more you know, the more you find you don’t know. I continue to discover new things about this 150 year old story that keep me searching for more. This blog is the result of my goal to share my research with you. As it grows to encompass my existing research as well as future research, my hope is that you find it useful on your journey Down the Rabbit Hole.