One family is putting the "fun" back in "family function" with the launch of the new card game, What's Wild?!, an exciting new twist on their favorite card game. What began as a simple card game has become "the best family card game since Uno®."
Over Christmas vacation in 2004,
Nicholas Scarpino, and his extended family were crowded around a table while in Wisconsin. They were playing their family's favorite rummy game and began discussing how they could package the game in a unique way and share it with other families.
What's in a name?
"We were first discussing what we'd call the game," says Scarpino, who, with the financial backing of his family members, has started a new company, Little Shoe Publishing, Inc. in order to produce and sell their family card game. "Many ideas were thrown out as we were playing the game, and suddenly it hit us... let's call it What's Wild?!. We knew that was the perfect name right away. The rest fell into place after that."
A wild child is born.
Nicholas went to work on the design of the new cards. The game took on a safari theme, featuring "skins" of alligator, cheetah, peacock, and zebra instead of traditional suits of clubs, diamonds, hearts, and spades. The resulting game looked new, hip, and polished, but it was missing something.
"After my initial design, the game was just a good-looking rummy game. The game could still be played with a regular deck of cards. That's when we came up with the 'Chameleon Card.'"
The Chameleon Card—named by Scarpino's mother, Renae—is what separates What's Wild?! from every other game on the market. When played in the course of the game, the Chameleon Card changes the numeric Wild Card in a round. The four Chameleon Cards give the game a sort of "Old Maid" feel, in that if the card is in a player's hand when another player ends the round, any player holding a Chameleon Card is awarded the maximum amount of points for any single card. In a game in which acquiring points is bad, the Chameleon Card makes each round of every game of What's Wild?! new, exciting, and completely unpredictable.
A family affair.
After receiving a strong showing of support from his family, Nicholas decided to pursue the creation and distribution of the game. Along with his wife, Monica, Scarpino established a company called Little Shoe Publishing, Inc. (In Italian, "Scarpino" means "Little Shoe.") They received financial investments in the game from a few family members.
Scarpino and his wife handle most of the day-to-day activities of the business. Nicholas maintains the website that he created for the game, www.whatswildcardgame.com, and the couple handles the shipping duties together.
A wild and crazy future.
For Scarpino and his family, what began as just a dream has become a reality. Innovative card design and well-thought out game play could prove to make What's Wild?! a family favorite for generations to come. "We just hope that other families will have as much fun playing What's Wild?! together as we have had for many years. That would be really special."
What a wild idea.