Make connections, win at PeltaPeeps
By TONY SIMMONS
News Herald Writer
Sept. 27, 2017
PANAMA CITY — In a home off Watson Bayou in the Cove neighborhood, a revolution in tabletop gaming is being carved out of sheets of colorful acrylic.
“PeltaPeeps,” a new game of strategy and connection, is being developed by the husband and wife team of Thomas Kite and Robin Luft-Kite.
“It occurred to me that art has a side to it that I’ve never been comfortable with
— something kind of narcissistic and removed,” Thomas said on his website, ThosKiteDesign.com. “Turns out what I’ve been doing all these years has been connected by a playful disregard for the formalities of art while taking great enjoyment in the unassuming side of art.”
Loosely based on gender and neural networks, PeltaPeeps combines making and breaking connections and shifting strategy to go eye-to-eye with other players. The player with the most points is crowned Supreme Peepbah, Royal Peltarc of Peltandia. It can be played by two to six players, and only a few rules make play easy with endless room for improvisation. Each turn, you connect another of your playing pieces to the growing board made up of PeltaPeeps. But by flipping your pieces, other players can change your plans.
“There’s strategy involved because the board changes throughout the game,” Robin said. “You take turns connecting to other Peeps, or you can flip the other player’s Peep and they lose points. Scoring is done at the end, and all the games are very close. No one is eliminated in the middle the game. There’s always a chance, to the very end, to win.”
The game has been test-played at Arena Comics & Gaming and Comic Emporium in Panama City, as well as Seattle, Wash.
“We are a small indie company that’s a family affair,” the creators explain on their website, PeltaGames.com. “Our games are designed and made to order by us in Panama City. … We don’t use offshoring because of the exploitation that’s involved as well as associated wasteful transportation impact on the environment. When we’re in control of how our games are made, we do our best to make that process as environmentally friendly as possible.”
Game boxes start at $42. Each piece is hand-made and extremely durable. As Robin said, players can take the game anywhere and spill beverages on them, and just clean up and keep playing. The pieces of the first version of the game were UV-printed, laser-cut acrylic. This means very low power consumption to create and the parts are free of inks containing volatile organic compounds. It also results in a durable game that’ll last a long time.
After completing seven years of undergraduate and graduate study in Fine Art,
Thomas earned his final degree in Printmaking from the State University of New York at Albany. However, he had become more and more involved in applying printmaking processes to working glass so that the major works of his Graduate Thesis Exhibition were sculptural — employing large acid-etched glass panels. This lead him to open a studio/gallery in New England during the latter part of the 1970s.
The Kite home in Panama City is filled with glass artwork, including miniature Greco-Roman “helmets,” stained window art, sculpture, digital art and “the magic game table.” These are expressions of Thomas’ immersion first in mastering various glass cold-working techniques and then in combining glass and other media such as stone and metal into more three dimensional expression. He has created hundreds of works, completed numerous private and commercial commissions, and was represented for several years by Hobe Sound Galleries North, part of Midtown Payson Galleries in New York.
Thomas began developing PeltaPeeps in 2016 when “a number of things all fell into place,” he said. “As a kid playing games, I loved the tactile immersive experience of playing with objects that were truly magical, imbued with all my imagination could conjure up. So that’s were I’m headed now — where art is play and play is art.”
PeltaPeeps will be for sale at Panama City Creative Con, Oct. 7-8, at the Marina Civic Center, where a game-play test and demo will be held. For more information, visit PCCreativeCon.com.