When Sam Largent, owner of the Seattle based Flatstick Pub, approached us with a concept for another original game, we couldn’t wait to get started. We’ve been working with Sam for several years to create completely original entertainment experiences for his collection of tap houses across Washington and California. Every Flatstick Pub features a creatively challenging putt-putt course, as well as an assortment of golf-based original games invented by Sam, including Duffleboard, ‘Stick Putt, and Duffleboard Max. This time, Sam approached us with an idea for a head-to-head style, multi-player, table top game that combined elements of mini-golf and air hockey. Instead of a puck, players use paddles to bat around 2 golf balls on a turfed table and attempt to score goals by directing balls into their opponents goals. This is Ball Jockey.
We began the design process by gathering as much information as possible from Sam about the objective of game, ergonomic considerations, and how the design of the game would fit in with it’s physical environment within Flatstick Pub. Through several rounds of concept sketches and discussions about game-play, the overall shape of the game became more clear to us. We transitioned into CAD design in Solidworks, and used Keyshot to preview our design with different colors and finishes. We eventually chose a color-scheme of black and silver for the game, with the team colors of red & blue.
Once we finalized the CAD designs of the game, we went into production. We cut and bent sheet metal components and welded them into the final form of the game.
We finished things off with automotive quality paint and clear coat, buffing the surfaces to a nice consistent sheen.
We added colored LED lights on both ends of the game to make the colors pop, as well as golf-ball abacus score keepers to keep with the golf theme of the game and to maintain the red and blue theme throughout the player experience.
The main challenge with building a game like this from scratch is the sheer amount of unknowns. Will the ball fly out of the table and hit the other player? Will the balls go into the goals as intended, or do we have to make modifications? Are the dimensions comfortable for a wide assortment of body types? How will everything hold up over time and hundreds of uses?