What does a family do when a global pandemic hits, leaving countless hours to fill and three children to keep entertained?
If the family in question is the Goekes of Lakewood, they invent their own game, which is actually three games, and turn a homemade time-filler into an exciting new home business.
“We always struggled to find family games that gave the kids a fair shot at winning, but which also kept all ages engaged. So, we made one of our own,” said Jeff Goeke, father of Claire, 12, Eve, 10, and Jacob, 7.
Canoosh, the game the Goekes created, uses the principle of probability in rolling number combinations with a pair of dice to create what they call a portable, fun, family-friendly competition for all players.
“We knew that if we were going to create a family game, we knew it had to work where the adults weren’t bored and the kids had an equal chance of winning,” Goeke said. “We feel like through the testing and the writing of the game-play, we really cracked the code on the family game that everybody wants to play.”
Goeke, a graphic designer by trade, said it didn’t take him long to start thinking about the look and feel of the game, including packaging and branding.
“My background, my nature, is to create things, make them visual,” he said. “As soon as we felt we had some viable game-play with this, we started taking it to the next level — logo development, identity.”
He said his work with various start-ups over the years showed him how quickly a product can go from idea to investor. On the financial side, the Goeke family has been able to fund the game’s production on its own.
Prototyping, testing and refining soon followed. Now, the game, which started on a lark, is being sold online and in a retail store in Jeffco.
Composed of a game board, colored marker chips and two dice, Canoosh gives players a chance to “roll the dice, place their chips on the corresponding numbers on the board, remove (Canoosh) opponents’ chips, and conquer the board to win,” he said.
Eve said the name Canoosh is a play on a nickname (Noosh) she’d given her little brother, Jacob, a few years ago. Originally called Probability, Goeke said that name didn’t come close to relaying the amount of fun the game had to offer.
Claire said another fun part of creating the game has been the time spent assembling the packaging with her family.
“We order our supplies, then as a family, we all pitch in to sort out the chips, cutting out the instructions and putting the game boards into the tubes,” she said. “Then, once they’re packaged, it’s pretty easy to take them to the store in a neat little box.”
The Goekes say that’s fine for right now but admit they’d love to see large quantities of the game being shipped to Target and Walmart in the future.
For now, you can pick up your copy of the game at Canoosh.com and Golden Goods in Golden.