Square Shooters® Game Design Contest Plays It Forward

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Springville, UT Man Wins $2,000 Prize for His Game Design; Game Will Be Published

Springville’s own Ryan Strong has been named Grand Prize winner for the game idea he entered into the Heartland Consumer Products National Game Design Contest. Strong won a $2,000 cash prize and will see his name on a published version of the game.

Strong created a game called “Nine Shooter Quickdraw” featuring the patented Square Shooters® cards-on-dice game system. His game idea was judged to be the best of 75 entries. Heartland will publish the game in 2014.

In the new game, Strong featured the Square Shooters dice in a fast-paced head-to-head battle where players try to out-shoot each other’s poker hands. The game is posted here on the Square Shooters design forum: forums.squareshooters.com/discussion/88/nine-shooter-quickdraw-contest-entry.

Cards-on-dice are the most overdue invention in gaming history. Like a deck of cards, the dice are able to be used for many different games. With the familiarity of cards but the action, speed, and chance dynamic of dice, Square Shooters is surging in popularity since its introduction in 2011, in part because of their versatility to play many different games.

Cards-On-Dice: Invented by a Grandmother

WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THAT? It’s on the tip of everyone’s tongue when they see something new that seems like such an obvious and overdue invention. Carmelyn Calvert, an empty-nest grandmother from Eldred, IL, had an idea that’s been centuries in the making: she put a full deck of playing cards on dice. Square Shooters® is the name of Carmelyn’s game.

Carmelyn had the simple thought that 9 dice have 54 surfaces, which matches a full deck of cards with 2 jokers. But she knew that was not enough. “I knew that to be marketable, cards-on-dice had to actually be useable for playing the most popular card games,” Carmelyn says. “That means the dice had to be able to achieve the goals of games like poker and rummy—otherwise they would just be a novelty.”

A patent for Carmelyn’s invention issued in 2011, and she signed an exclusive, global licensing agreement with Heartland Consumer Products, LLC., the Cleveland-based game maker. Together, they designed a game to feature Carmelyn’s cards-on-dice, and Square Shooters was born. With a popular “poker-matching” theme, the game continues to grow and expand throughout the U.S. Square Shooters is sold in more than 12,000 stores nationwide including Walmart, Walgreens, Target, Dillards, and Go! Games.

A New Game Inventor Is Crowned

Knowing how difficult it can be to publish a game, Carmelyn and Heartland decided to “play it forward” by hosting a game design contest complete with cash prizes and the promise to publish the best idea. The Square Shooters “That’s How I Roll!®” contest took place in October 2013 and 75 different game designs were submitted. Carmelyn, Heartland and a panel of independent expert judges evaluated the games.

“There were so many great games,” said Carmelyn. “Judging was a huge challenge. You hear it all the time, but we were sad that some of the games couldn’t win the Grand Prize.” The Grand Prize winner, the category winners, and all other entries are posted on the Square Shooters game design forum at forums.squareshooters.com.

Heartland plans to publish Mr. Strong’s winning game in 2014. The company will host a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the concept.

About Heartland Consumer Products, LLC

“Bringing People Together” is a mission that Cleveland-based Heartland Consumer Products aspires to achieve through products that fuel the fun when families and friends get together. For more information or to interact with the company, visit:

  •     Web: http://www.squareshooters.com
  •     Design Forum: forums.squareshooters.com
  •     Facebook: /squareshooters
  •     Twitter: @squareshooters


Square Shooters® is a registered trademark of Carmelyn Calvert. The Square Shooters® game is copyrighted by Carmelyn Calvert. Both trademark and copyright are under license by Heartland Consumer Products, LLC That’s How I Roll!® is a registerd trademark of Heartland Consumer Products, LLC.
All Rights Reserved.

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Amber Dickens

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