Cool Points is an absurdist high school themed table game about the complex and ridiculous quest for social status. It's intended for anyone with enough distance from adolescence to relive the indignities of teen life playfully.
The game takes you through senior year at the fictional VanCool High S'cool where popularity is measured through a social currency called Cool Points. Each player controls a small hand of Friend Cards. On your turn, you can either award "Cool Points" to others and improve your hand, or use your cards to fight for Alpha status and gain (or lose) a larger quantity of Cool Points. Whenever you help others, you gain Sway, which lets you influence the outcome of other players' fights.
The player ending the game with the most Cool Points is the victor, and bestows a nickname from the Friends deck to a player of their choice.
Designed and Developed by
Juan Carlos Pineiro Escoriaza and Jamie Antonisse
With Cool Points, we are interested in developing the genre of Social Strategy in table games.
In many modern board games (e.g Settlers of Catan, Battlestar Galactica), social politics are a facet of play overshadowed by complex formal systems. Those socially charged alliances and rivalries are often (for us) the most fun part of the game. We wanted to create a relatively simple set of rules where strategic manuevering through tricky social situations sits at the core. We were inspired by games that led to interesting power dynamics; the assymetric roles in King of Tokyo, the lateral social play of Sissyfight 2000, and the age-old betting/bluffing mechanics of poker.
At the same time we were deeply drawn to the fiction of high school politics, especially viewed through the lense of adulthood. We see Cool Points as a dark but playfully distorted reflection of adolescent life, a place where you can play as a teenager again and rule the school (even if it's just for a moment) within the safety of the magic circle.
Finally, we wanted to subvert some of the typical power dynamics in games by focus most of the moves on GIVING victory points instead of taking them (after all, social power tends to come from others). In order to get ahead, you will need to use real-world social strategies, making and breaking alliances and outsmarting your rivals.
Above all, we want Cool Points to facilitate a ridiculous and memorable social moment among friends. We felt that stakes (a nickname) was a great way to push players a little further into the fiction and create a bit more investment.