“Corks” is a fun new game that essentially operates like “musical chairs” in a small compact box. Containing fifteen colorful wooden “corks” and 56 cards, the game encourages play among multiple players, up to fourteen in fact! After rounds of elimination, someone must be left holding the golden cork. Ideal for players eight and older, this innovative game had been making waves in that industry. “Corks” was created by a company called Ginger Fox Corks and contains three ways to play, although players are welcome to make up their own games, too! Here is how you play:
Select one less cork than the number of players e.g for five players, select four corks and place them in the centre of the table – an equal distance from all players.
Any colour corks will do, except the golden cork, which should remain in the box with the spares. Select a set of four cards of the same colour for each player, then shuffle the selected cards and deal them face down to all players. Leave the remaining cards in the box. Choose a player to be the corker who will regulate the game-play.
When the Corker calls ‘Go’, all players simultaneously discard a card of colour that they don’t want to collect, and place it face down in front of the player to their left. Then they pick up the card that the player to their right has discarded.
When all players have put down and picked up, the Corker calls ‘Go’ again, and play continues with players putting down and picking up as they try to collect a set of all four matching cards.
Once a player has collected four matching cards, they must take a cork from the centre of the table. When the other players see a cork being taken, they all need to grab one. The player not quick enough to get a cork is eliminated from the game. After each round, when a player has been eliminated, remove one cork and one set of four cards. When only two players are left, it is time to swap the last cork for the golden cork.
Normal game rules apply for the final. The winner is the first to have four matching cards and grab the golden cork!
Recently game designers (and husband and wife) Richard and Kirstie Ferrett discussed the process of creating the game via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): Tell us a little bit about yourselves?
The Ferretts: Hi, our names are Richard and Kirstie. We have been married for 22 years and live in London with our two children. We really enjoy meeting up with friends and family as there’s always the opportunity to play games, have competitions and generally have a lot of fun.
MM: How did you think up the idea for “Corks?
Richard: It’s kind of a family heirloom. One of my earliest memories is playing a version of “Corks” at family gatherings, especially Christmas. All my family from 6 to 90 years of age would sit around the table and we could play all night laughing and trying to win. I carried on this tradition when I met Kirstie, had our family and then we introduced it to our friends who enjoyed it as much as we did. We heard the comment “You should make a proper game out of this” many times and so in 2014 we decided to give it a go.
MM: How long did Corks take to develop and how much of an influence was Musical Chairs?
Richard: Having the idea of something and then making it happen was a real challenge and a lot harder than we expected. We spent a couple of years going through the many processes involved, from hand painting cards and corks with different colors, defining game play, designing a box, let alone all the paperwork that goes into registering it just to get a workable prototype all whilst working and bringing up our two children. We eventually had a small batch made and in order to get some advice as to how best to get it on the market we went to a large London toy and game exhibition in 2017 to see if we could speak to some companies. Luckily enough Ginger Fox was one of them who really liked it and they invited us to talk further.
Kirstie: We knew it was the same principal as musical chairs in that they are both games based on elimination but it never directly influenced it. Grabbing a cork, the quickest needs a different skill set to sitting on a chair!
MM: Did you enjoy working with Ginger Fox to further develop this game?
Richard: It was great to have a company as enthusiastic as we were about the game. Hearing that they had played it in the office and got the same sense of fun as we still did after playing it for many years made us feel that all the work we’d put into it was worth it. They fine-tuned the design and helped to promote it. We never felt pushed out of decision-making process which was really important to us and the help they gave us was invaluable. When we see the amount of games that have been sold as a total, thanks to Ginger Fox, we are very proud.
MM: What has been the best feedback you’ve gotten about the game thus far?
Kirstie: We have had lots of fantastic comments about families enjoying playing it together but the one that really stands out was from a family that saw us test the first prototype with the general public at a games event. The next year we were back to sell it and they were there again. After buying several boxes the dad passed the comment that they had been hoping to see us as they heard so much laughter coming from the testing tables whilst it was being played the year before that they had been looking for it ever since. We just hope it continues to bring laughter and fun to families and friends.