Our Origin Story
Every hero has its origin story. And OTR - as the hero of your pregame - is no different. I actually never intended to sell OTR. It was just an idea for a game, and I’ve been coming up with those for years.
Back in high school, my friends and I came up with a game dubbed “Nilroy” that’s a combination of the party game baseball and flip cup. In college, I came up with a game called flip-pong relay. I don’t exactly remember how to play, but I do remember breaking two windows in a matter of ten minutes, so that game didn’t exactly pan out. Post college, my friends and I often chipped in for summer houses where we came up with a whole host of different games. “Conundrum” involved a 26 sided dice, word games, and for whatever reason, always involved the same friend getting way too drunk. One game of “conundrum” even notoriously ended with a friend running around stabbing people with plastic fork yelling “conundrum!” I don’t exactly remember how to play that one either, but I’m fairly certain he took some liberties with the rules.
The summer of 2019 was no different. One night before leaving for a trip to a lakehouse in upstate New York, I had what I can only describe as an epiphany. I honestly don't even know where the idea came from.
The concept was fairly simple: players move pieces on a maze-like board. At certain forks in the road, they’d have challenges - classic party games. If they won their challenges, they’d get to proceed or take a shortcut. If they lost, they’d have to take a longer, more round-about way. I doodled a concept on a piece of paper.
Before leaving for our trip, I grabbed a FedEx box, a couple of markers, a deck of cards, a stack of Post-It notes, some pens, and a die - everything you need to prototype a board game. On the way up to the lake house, I talked through the idea with some friends and showed them the sketch I’d made. The sketch was basically unintelligible, but we were able to talk through the basic premise, and it made sense at a high level.
When we got to the lake house, my friend took a crack at re-drawing the board, but it still wasn’t quite right. Drawing from his attempt, I had another epiphany and drew the outline for what would become our current board and started sticking post-its to cards with challenges. I remember one of my other friends walking over and commenting, “man, this game takes a really long time to set up!” because he didn’t realize we were literally making up a new game.
Later that night, a group of five of us played, and the game was… amazing! After two people called it a night, three of us were up for another two hours. We must have played 12 games, and I didn’t win a single one. That led me to two major conclusions: 1) this game must be awesome because I didn’t even win and had a ton of fun and 2) I had finally cracked the nut of a party game that was good for a random amount of people - including just three, which is surprisingly hard.
The next morning, we refined the rules and updated many of the cards. That’s when we came up with the ideas for group challenges and mayhem cards. After playing again that night, I knew we had a hit.
Thankfully, the next weekend was the bachelor party of one of my friends who had played OTR with us that weekend. He asked me to bring the game, and again it was a hit. After the bar, we ended up playing OTR until 4am because the game was so competitive. And after that weekend, I just knew I had to share this incredible game with the world...