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Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Bellingham artist creates Washington-themed board game printed on bandanna

Bradley James Lockhart’s Evergreen Bandana Game surpasses its Kickstarter goal by over $9,000

The Evergreen Bandanna Game in action. // Photo courtesy of Bradley James Lockhart

By Riley Currie

As Washington residents make their own masks and pass time during social distancing, bandanas and ways to kill time are both in high demand. The Evergreen Bandana Game, a board game printed on a cotton bandana, just happens to be both. 

The game, produced by Northwest Corner Goods, went live on Kickstarter on May 5, where it met its goal of $2,500 in just six hours. As of May 14, 276 backers have pledged $11,449. 

Rewards for Kickstarter pledges include a sticker pack and the game itself, which is scheduled to be delivered in August. 

The game consists of the printed bandana, custom engraved and regular dice, a rules card and a cloth carrier bag. The deluxe “Rainier” edition of the game also includes four custom engraved wooden played tokens and a special rules card. 

The illustration by Bradley James Lockhart features over a dozen nods to Washington culture, from geographic landmarks like Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Rainier to mythical creatures like Seattle’s bridge troll and Sasquatch. 

Lockhart is a Bellingham-based graphic designer, illustrator and animator. He teaches design courses at Western, and his work has been featured by Brand New, The Daily Hive and The Seattle Times. 

Lockhart is perhaps best known for his design for the Bellingham flag, which was first raised in March 2016 after winning an unofficial contest hosted by the Downtown Bellingham Partnership. The flag is the first official Bellingham flag in the city’s 113-year history. 

After designing the flag, Lockhart began creating more work based on place. 

The Evergreen Bandana Game is heavily inspired by Lockhart’s experiences living in Washington state. Along the way players encounter uniquely Washingtonian obstacles, like marmot bites and ferry lines. 

“I myself go to the Olympic Peninsula a lot,” Lockhart said. He explained he’s well-acquainted with the notorious ferry lines, as well as the long drive when the ferry is delayed. “Sometimes you are in, like, a four-hour ferry line, and the people at the ferry will tell you, ‘you know it’s faster if you just drive all the way around Puget Sound.’”

If a player lands on a certain tile in the game, they have to roll to catch the ferry. Miss, and they’re forced to travel through the Tacoma Narrows, the infamously tight stretch of highway south of Seattle. 

Lockhart described the game as a series of inside jokes about actual life in Washington. 

“Bradley has always been a Bellingham-focused artist,” said Alexandra Niedzialkowski, musician and collaborative partner of Lockhart’s. Instrumental tracks from her album Comfort World are featured in the promotional videos for the Evergreen Bandana Game. 

Niedzialkowski is excited to be a part of the Evergreen Bandana Game’s release. 

“I feel like when I was a kid and we’d go on long road trips, the nearest thing you could find for a portable game would be one of those really awkward, plastic foldable games,” she said. “I love the idea of a game you can actually wear.”

Games are really popular on Kickstarter, according to Lockhart. The Evergreen Bandana Game is perfect for Kickstarter’s audience. 

“It appeals to the art and illustration side of it, the board game side of it and the Pacific Northwest side of it,” Lockhart said. 

Backers on Kickstarter agree, based on the support the game has received so far. 

“It’s just been so surprising how fast we funded the project,” said Kevin Misiuda, co-founder of Northwest Corner Goods. 

Misiuda and Lockhart are longtime friends and have worked together since 2005. In the fall of 2019, they co-founded Northwest Corner Goods. Northwest Corner Goods “makes original products that connect people with the places and experiences they love,” according to their website.

“People are really looking for some connection to their place and their community right now,” Misiuda said. 

The response to the Evergreen Bandana Game’s release has been “really positive,” according to Misiuda. Despite difficulties marketing the game during social distancing, he’s excited about the concept of a board game on a bandana. 

Lockhart and Misiuda agree that the versatility of the game makes it especially promising. There’s been talk of other city or state specific bandana games.

“We did research, and there really hasn’t been anything like this,” Misiuda said. “It’s a game you can put in your back pocket.”

The Kickstarter for the Evergreen Bandana Game will continue until June 3. For more information, go to thebandanagame.com.

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