First Look: The Official Clutch Game Mat

We're very excited to give you a first look at the game mat. We're still waiting to lock down pricing, so I can't say exactly what size set(s) this will be included with and/or if it will also be sold separately. It measures 28 x 22 inches, and has space to place your entire lineup, stash your bench and bullpen players, and sort your strategy cards.

So anyway, here it is. Feel free to let us know your thoughts!





Card Design Details

The biggest thing everyone wants to know right now is what exactly will this game look like and why.
Here are the first details about each of the three card types.

Player Cards

Let's get this out of the way right now: Player cards will feature real-life names and stats but not player photos.

Why Not? Well, in an effort to keep full transparency this time around: it's frankly the best option. TOPPS has exclusive rights on MLB trading card licensing until 2020. The only licensing available is through MLBPA. The rules MLBPA has on using player photos is so insane it's just not worth it financially or otherwise. Getting photos is costly and a "don't ask, don't tell how you acquired the photos" process. Once obtaining the photos through whatever means you can, you must not only photoshop all logos off the player's uniform, but also get rid of any other defining characteristics. For example, you have to photoshop a player's number to be a "generic" looking font. Furthermore, you cannot market/sell the game as "trading cards." There can be no rarity and you are not allowed to distinguish between same-city teams (you cannot even put New York (A) or New York (N)). The whole thing is insane, and we couldn't justify the cost / ruined game play for some mutant-jersey wearing players photos.untitled-3

We all know the TOPPs / MLB agreement is toxic for trading card and game companies, but this is our way of fighting against it, and hopefully come 2020 we will be more established and can secure MLB licensing. But for right now, MLBPA licensing is just not in the cards (heh). We're being very realistic about sales projections–we want to stay afloat, make a wicked fun game, eventually produce an app, and see where we can go from there. The licensing would kill this project before it ever had a chance. Maybe someday, but we think what we have made is far better than nothing.

I designed these cards for countless hours, literally trying to create something from nothing. The restrictions of no photos allow us so much more space for the things that matter. I am very proud of the diamond shape I created for the main statistics of players (handedness, handedness bonus and command/on-base). What we lost in photos, we made up for in game play enhancement. The skylines are a nice touch, that give some sort of team/city designation in the best way we could think of. (MLBPA prohibits the use of team colors on licensed cards and MLB has a general claim on team colors)

Stadium Cards

To me, we lost basically nothing with stadium cards. Stadium cards are most exciting for their effect, not their look. The skylines were an idea I had earlier this summer and I'm really happy with what we did with these, especially once we tied the skylines into the player cards as well. Even with MLBPA licensing, this is basically what we would have had to do anyway, as Stadium photos were not permitted.

Strategy Cards

With MLBPA licensing, photos on strategy cards was essentially a no-go as well. Getting a photo we would be able to use that was relevant to the card with all the rules would have been basically impossible.
I came up with another system that I'm pretty proud of to accomplish the same goal of enhancing game play in the space where a photo would have gone. Using the diamond shape, we created a new area which provides an opportunity to visually see how/when the card can be played. Once you learn the visuals, you can easily flip through your hand and see what you have to play.

Is this everything we dreamed of when we started this project? Probably not, but we are insanely proud of how we've managed to create something from nothing, especially after being shot down so many times. We're hoping to still have your support and understanding after seeing the cards and hearing about the legal limitations. We look forward to hearing your feedback on our blog and social media.

November Update

We're back—for good.

It's been over a year since we removed ourselves from the internet. Just about everyone thought the project was dead—including us at times. I'm going to attempt to answer some of the biggest questions here in this blog. We vow to be as open as possible about this project going forward. Keep checking our blog and follow us on social media for the latest updates.

Why did the website go down?

The short answer: we didn't think we'd need it anymore (explained below) and it was getting attacked by viruses. I must have fixed that website a dozen times and it just kept getting assaulted, and I'm still not sure why/how. It also violated countless copyright laws—which we were well aware of—but we figured it was a good way to get the word out / draw some attention during the beta phase.

Why did Social Media go down?

To be honest, we didn't have much to say for a very long time. Every lead we once had basically was dead (explained below), and we weren't sure what direction we were going in / could go in. There's only so many times you can post "updates coming soon" without actually having an update.

I thought you guys had a plan!?

This is partially true. When we went into this, we had no idea what we were doing. We just figured if we made a good product we would figure out a way to make it real. We were actually partially right. We forgot about the whole part of it taking 5x longer than we anticipated and getting figuratively slapped in the face a few dozen times.

The thing is it did kind of start to work itself out—so we thought. Creating a website and showcasing Clutch led to some interesting opportunities. We made quite a few contacts, and one of which was a very hot lead. This person had already created his own game and had MLBPA licensing. He wanted our game and we thought it was our best chance to make Clutch right then and there. We started developing the game for immediate release. Then he ghosted a couple months into the "merger." This was probably the biggest shot to the project. We had been working on this game non-stop for so long: perfecting the game balance, fighting over the rule book, calling every company we could think of to pitch it to—we were beat.

Well, what have you been up to?

We took a lot of time off—we needed it—physically and mentally. I know personally, I thought about it every day even when we weren't actually working on it. My head was always spinning with ideas on how we could make it happen. Truth be told, we learned a lot of valuable information on what we can/can't do while working on the failed merger project.

The timeline gets fuzzy for me, but earlier this summer I had a few idea sparks on how to make stadium cards / strategy cards work under the limitations and I mocked them all up. I think we mutually agreed they we're pretty darn cool and would do the job. We couldn't agree on how player cards could work and our spurt of ambition fell apart for the rest of the summer.

Earlier this fall I got back into card designs. We found one we agreed on and once the season ended and we had new statistics to work with, I ran the formulas and made the cards. I've been working on this website for a couple of weeks and we've just "reclaimed" our social media presence.

Surely you have a plan this time!?

Yes, we do! We're printing a new beta set this month. Luckily we don't need to do any testing, since it's the same game we tested the crap out of a couple years ago, just with a new look. Once we decide on a printer we're going to work with the community to decide which way to release this will be best for everyone. We plan to sell directly on this site and Amazon Prime, however we have not decided if we will be offering random packs, full sets, or something completely different. We'll be launching a kickstarter after the holidays to take preorders and cover some initial costs, with a release before the 2017 baseball season.

Okay, sounds reasonable–tell me more about the new designs!

Alright, fair enough. Check out this blog for more info.