Dinglehopper is a game of forms and functions, though not necessarily the actual combinations thereof. Inspired initially by both the dictionary definition of “appropriation” and Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” Dinglehopper is an homage to all those who ever looked at a tool and said, “Wouldn’t that actually be useful for…?”
While the core judging mechanic is very similar to other judged term-matching games, Dinglehopper differs on two main points. First, it uses verbs instead of nouns and adjectives. As such, it allows for a more active approach to judging; you can not only think about whether a magnifying glass can be used for paddling (whether a boat or a bottom is up to the judge), but you can actually test it out! Second, Dinglehopper uses found items from in the play environment. Thus, it becomes more fun the more interesting places you play it in. Recommended locations include restaurants, on airplanes, and science museums, as each provides exciting new objects to ponder the uses of. Due to the game’s relative simplicity in components and rules, I could even see it being a great game for keeping small children occupied as well while on-the-go.
Future plans for Dinglehopper include coming up with small expansion lists (possibly themed around certain genres or for different age groups) and attempting to get it up on The GameCrafter as a print-on-demand game, possibly using “mini” or “micro” cards, to fit in with the travel-based nature of the game. Based on feedback during initial playtests, I will be modifying the verb list slightly to make them more applicable to multiple items, as well as simplifying the rules to fit on a single card. As well, if I publish it, I will likely include a deck of “object cards” that players can use to play the game even if they’re stuck in an otherwise empty room, as not everyone has as neat an apartment as my friends in the playtest video do. While that takes away a bit from the appropriation aspect of the game, it does increase the portability and ease of use. That said, in the rules I will encourage the use of objects around the play area for the game.
This, of course, assuming that Disney doesn’t come after me for using the word “Dinglehopper” in a game title. Wouldn’t put it past The Mouse, honestly.
Thanks to Wendy Epstein for her graphic design advice and Adobe Illustrator tips. Also for listening to me talk about this game non-stop while I was working on it.