About Niki Hammond

Creator of JammerUp: The Roller Derby Board Game


Frequently Asked Question: Which rule set is JammerUp based on? WFTDA, OSDA, USARS…?

Answer: All and none of the above.

The gap between what works in board game form vs. a live action bout is much, much greater than the gaps between various roller derby rule sets.

When we first put the game together, I made a simplified version of the WFTDA rule set. I basically started with the WFTDA rules, and while we test played, I took the “cut with a scalpel, not a hatchet” approach to adapting them to a board game. My thinking was that a game that was as true as possible to the Rules would be the best way to express roller derby as a board game.

It was awful.

Things were similar enough that new players would anticipate what they felt “should” be allowed or disallowed, but inevitably ran into instances where the rule just didn’t make any sense whatsoever in board game form. We tried to keep chanegs small, but the more “tiny adjustments” we made, the more confusing and inconsistent the game became.

It was just different enough to confuse the hell out of derby people trying to play, and non-derby people (or as I like to call them, “pre-derby”) were just completely lost. So, we went back home and broke out the hatchet.

The new approach was to create a rule set that allowed real derby strategies to be as effective on the board as they were on the track. We boiled it down to some core concepts: Blockers work together to assist their own Jammer or impede the opposing Jammer. Points are scored when the Jammer passes. The pack must stay together. Teammates work together to achieve a goal. And so on.

The end result is something that will be extremely familiar to derby folk, no matter what rule set you have the most experience with. The nomenclature used is mostly WFTDA, because that’s the world I know, and that’s the vocabulary most widely recognized. But if you were to pick the rules apart, you’ll find some parts that look more like USARS or more like Banked Track. This is an outcome I’m perfectly happy with, because eveyone who’s played agrees that the mechanics are simple, work well for the game, and are clearly derived directly from the rules and strategies of the track.

The rules may evolve slightly as we wrap up beta testing and put the finishing touches on it over the next couple of weeks, but I think you’ll find that while they don’t directly correlate to every last detail of real derby–I mean, it’s a freaking board game, how could they?  😉 –they do hold true to the sport and produce a fun, challenging game that every fan of roller derby can appreciate and enjoy.

Order Now at Kickstarter

Good news, everyone!   We are now taking pre-orders for JammerUp: The Roller Derby Board Game!

We have until February 26 to raise the funding needed for production.

You can contribute as little as $1 to help make this happen. For $25, you can pre-order the game. The retail price after this initial funding will be more, so not only are you helping to make JammerUp: The Roller Derby Board Game a reality, you’ll also save money by ordering now. GO!

2 Chances to Play in New York this week

New Yorkers: We’re holding two play test session this week just for you!

The first is at the Thornwood Ale House in Westchester, NY on Tuesday night at 7pm. The Thornwood has a wide selection of beers, awesome food, and great ambiance. Add board games on top of all that, and what more could you ask for? RSVP here.

The second is at Kings Games in Brooklyn. Kings Games an awesome hang out for gamers of all kinds–whether you’re into MMPGs, tabletop games, or card games, they’ve got it all. Steps away from the Kings Highway train station on the B line. We’ll be in the upstairs space with enough demo boards for a handful of players starting at around 7pm.

If you plan to attend these or other sessions, check out the How To Play page in advance. Less time reading instructions, more time playing the Roller Derby Board Game!

The Big O

Good news, everyone! We’ll be at The Big O– the mega derby tournament Eugene, Oregon–February 10 through 12. Those of you in the area who applied to be beta testers are being contacted via email now, and we’re looking into space for an open play test session as well. Stay tuned!

Beta Tester Applications Are Now Closed

Wow, we received FOUR HUNDRED beta tester applications! We’re thrilled to see that so many people want to play.

We won’t be able to accomodate all 400 of you, but we’ll do our best to get feeback from as many people as we possibly can. As we schedule playtesting sessions around the world, we’ll post them here. Keep checking back to see if we’ll be in your city soon!