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12-year-old creates new BLDR card game

12-year-old creates new BLDR card game


While playing strategic card games during the summer after fourth grade in his Bellevue home, an idea for a different card game popped into Jackson Lefler’s head.

He started sketching out an idea for a card game where players could put cards together to build a structure. Lefler, then 10, began to play other card and board games which gave him more ideas. He slowly began to put the ideas together and ended up designing/inventing his own game: BLDR. He now aims to get the game into production and sell it on Amazon.

Lefler launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first round of production of the game. He’ll have 30 days to make his goal amount $15,000. He is already has $7,797 from 160 backers, including one from the United Kingdom. He has 23 days left to see if he can raise the money needed to turn the game into a product ready to sell.

If the campaign is successful, young Mr. Lefler will put his BLDR game into production and sell it directly to customers on Amazon.

Already wise beyond his years in terms of game designing, Lefler now is becoming a true entrepreneur. He has ideas for customizing the game to different states or college teams.

“Every time you play you have a (post mortem) of strategy,” said Lefler, who is now 12. “You say, ‘I should have done this or that.’ That’s what I really like about the game.”

“I like strategy in a lot of games. And luck,” Lefler said. “I don’t like games where you’re just spinning, relying on all luck. So, I wanted to come up with a game that had both those things – strategy plus a little luck.”

BLDR began like many games children invent – drawn out on sheets of loose leaf paper in his bedroom. Lefler carefully cut the paper out and drew designs on the front and the back of cards as he pulled the ideas from his head. He made a full deck and wrote out his initial rules. He designed cards featuring a robber, wrecking ball and a police officer. He added money cards and a max 8-cards-in a hand rule so players could not stockpile.

At the beginning, he created four color coded cards which later became his structures or buildings. Then came rules to speed up play and other changes like adding a zero-dollar card to add an element of deceit and surprise.

He took his hand-drawn deck of cards and set of rules and played with his little brother and sister. He pulled in his mom and dad, too. Mary and Tal Lefler were impressed the first time they played their son’s game. They thought it could be tweaked a bit and turned into a legitimate game. So, they issued a challenge to Jackson: come up with a finished product.

“I just wanted him to see an idea through from conception to completion,” Mary said, adding that she thought it would be a good lesson for her oldest son, who would soon be going into junior high.

After months of development, including meeting with a consultant friend and a graphic designer, Lefler had a new game on his hands.

“I really wanted to see this as a finished product, not an unfinished dream,” Tal said. “I wanted to see people playing and enjoying Jackson’s game.”


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