Radio Drama
Science Faction

"Stand By For Mars!"

Interview with Sarah L. Gerhardt, writer of the story for You-N-It

The manufacturer describes the game this way:

Are you ready to play the fast paced board game of You 'N' IT? The beautiful full color board game with Space Logic(tm) will give you and your family hours of enjoyment traveling to the furthest reaches of outer space without leaving your home.

The game takes you backward and forward through time, into strange galaxies, wormholes, distant universes, space time warps and in and out of your own galaxy. All with one goal in mind, to amass the most money, which in the 'IT'S' world comes in UNITS OF GOLD.

Sounds simple! But watch out, with Space Logic(tm) every roll of the dice and every move of your 'IT' could lead to riches or doom! You must decide which way to go. Forward? Backward? Sideways? Make the right choice and the riches of space are yours. One bad decision and you'll be sucked into a wormhole!Get ready for fast paced family fun for all ages.Each comes with its own unique trading card. Each card gives a description, along with Fighting Level and Essence Powers.

The game is available for purchase at Amazon - click here.

Sarah L. Gerhardt wrote the story behind the game. We interviewed her about it:

1. You got the gig by responding to an ad in the paper. Well, actually the credit goes to my ex for that one. He happened on the ad in some abnormal spot in the paper. As far as I remember the ad wasn't terribly detailed. It basically said that the creator was looking for an amateur, student or professional writer to create stories in the science fiction genre.

The ad requested a writing sample and a brief letter about experience. I was out of work at the time, and this was more appealing than any other prospect I had going. I had some writing experience with published poetry and several online zines under my belt, so I thought that I would give it a go. I pulled out the first two chapters of a sci-fi novel I was working on and sent those along with an email about my experience and why I would be good for his project.

I heard back the same day and we set-up an interview... it wasn't until the interview that I found out they would be stories for a children's sci-fi board games. He liked me and my ideas immediately, I liked the game and the concepts... so the deal was done. The gig paid, not much, but it paid. This was important (as all starving artists know well). The most appealing aspect to me though, admittedly, was the idea of creating an entire universe.

Rowan's character as an It

2. Was the concept of You'nIt - that is - the fact that they had no mouths, etc., already created - you just had to write a story that featured them? How much info were you given with to start? Well the game creator made some promotional material for the game. It loosely laid out what an IT was, where they came from and their desire to make friends with earth children. It was sweet and all, but the guy admitted that he was not a writer. There was no meat, only rough ideas based on what they looked like. So the concept of no nose, mouth, hands or feet is really a matter of how the playable pieces were designed. They were made of a plastic resin and hand poured (in the concept phase of the game, this changed slightly later). I guess the google eyes were easy to add to the pieces and the other parts were not. In any case, they are alien so it worked. I was only given the promotional materials, an IT and the creators mad ramblings as a starting point.

Sarah L. Gerhardt

3. "The writing process was crazy." - Please share anecdotes. How you worked out of any writers blocks, how you plotted it, etc. I think part of the reason this project worked so well is because we were both very organized... in a chaotic sort of way.

The process worked like this... The creator of the game and I would get together in a large empty room and start brainstorming about the ITs. Who were they... what was it like where they were... how many planets are there out in the Twin Galaxies? We would get a good outline going of the direction of the chapter we were working on and then we would move on to character development. We had gigantic post-its that we would put up all over the walls with characters name and where they come from... who they held?allegiance to...? ?what color they were... what powers they had...

Then I would be set free to let my mind reel. I would go home and write their tales and come up with powers for these special creatures to have. The most difficult thing was to make them seem human-like without any real human features. You can't smile or grimace without a mouth. You can't walk without feet. You can't wave without arms. You have no idea how many things we do that involve one or all three of these body parts. When I decided their movements were fluid, it made things a little easier?

The game pieces

4. Once the game was for sale did you get any feedback on how it was doing? No. Well, I know it wasn't going as quickly as the game creator had hoped. He had been working on the project for 20 years on and off. He said that the marketing was supposed to be up to the manufacturer and they didn't do anything. I don't know how true that is. But after that I never heard from him again. I do know, however, that Huntar Toy Company (the company that manufactured the game) has a bunch of the games just sitting in the warehouse and although they no longer advertise the game they are still willing to sell it. So if people are interested in reading about the ITs or playing the game it can still happen. They simply need to write Huntar:? tell them you want You'n'IT and they can give you ordering information. I have found them online at a store or two, like this one:? .?

The poster

5. Any general comments on the game? I got to playtest the game. I must say that this plays quite smoothly. It plays a little like Monopoly, if you could compare it to anything. The board is huge, a rarity nowadays and is beautifully designed. I think it is a fun game to play with friends or your little ones. The board game comes with the first part of the story I wrote. There are individual ITs you can buy that come with part two and one that has a "regeneration chamber" that comes with part three of the saga. There are only three parts available now, but six were written and edited and such. The sad part is even after six "episodes" were written the saga still had more to go... I miss those little guys. Maybe someday I will get to finish their story.

The Game

Includes Game Board
4 ITs with Trading Cards
4 Game Dice
Units of Gold for Each Player
Rules and Instructions
Deluxe Carrying Case
Bonus Feature Saga Of The ITS Episode 1
For 2 to 4 Players.

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