The idea for H.E.A.D. Hunters started long before vinyl toys were as popular as they are today. In 2007, the initial idea of creating a vinyl toy that would also contain game compnents was born. With a solid idea for the toy, the initial game was more of an afterthought taking less than 10 days to create. After pitching the proposal to a couple of major toy companies, the feedback was fairly unanimous. The idea was stellar, the toys were great – but the game needed work. After a few more false starts trying to design a much better game, the idea was shelved while vinyl toy popularity exploded. In 2015 the project was given new life as a partnership was formed with known tabletop game designers Ben Cichoski and Danny Mandel (Legendary Encounters and The World of Warcraft Trading Card Game).
One of the biggest changes for the project overall has been the evolution of the toy itself. The original design consisted of a large, round head that could hold 30 small octagonal tiles as well as 1 die. In the early stages, one of the most important things we focused on was making the overall design an even split between form and function. It was crucial that we got the ratio of card size to toy size right. We wanted everything on the cards to be legible and clear, but we also wanted to make sure the toy fit comfortably in the player’s hand. An early idea that had to be scrapped was having the toys themselves holding a die in their hand. Famed toy artist Jon Paul Kaiser (http://www.jonpaulkaiser.com) helped us create our next design that nearly was chosen as the final concept. Alas, the placement of the hand and the addition of the die on the outside of the toy made the toy too big, so we had to start again.
The cards themselves also went through a few different iterations. Starting as octagons, they then became circles, before finally ending up as hexes. This change to the cards also granted an interesting opportunity to alter the design of the toy head itself. With the help of designer Scott Wetterschneider at Shinebone Creative in Austin, Texas the head was modified to hold hexagon cards which created an organic looking jawline. Once the main design for the toy’s head and body were finalized, the next step was to bring our unique and wonderful character art to the medium of vinyl toys. Our artist Diego Llorente did a phenomenal job of translating the personality and flair of each character from illustrated art to the slightly more caricatured shape of the toys.
The idea of having a game that would be presented in toy form – with all the components and pieces needed to play included inside of the toy itself – is a novel one, but H.E.A.D. Hunters is far from a gimmick. We are die-hard tabletop gaming fans who want to make something everyone will love to collect and play. The goal is to have a true “gamer’s game” that has the added benefit of a cool toy to show off on your shelf, rather than a boring game box or tin container.
Stay tuned for more information about H.E.A.D. Hunters and don’t forget to check out our Kickstarter coming May 23rd!