What is OX?

OX is a portable, two-player game that combines strategy and luck.

The addictive travel game takes about 10 minutes to play, it rolls up neatly to fit inside your pocket and is inspired by the best bits of childhood classics – Frustration, Backgammon and Draughts.

How do you play?

The aim is to get all of your counters across the board before your opponent.

To move, you roll the dice. Depending on your roll, you can attack your opponent, defend yourself or simply race your counters across the board.

The rules are really easy to pick up and you develop strategies and tactics the more you play.

A game lasts 10-15 minutes and can be played by any age.

What’s the idea behind the design?

When designing the game we set out to achieve two things. We wanted to be able to take the game with us anywhere, and we wanted it to be a beautiful object which was made to last.

We wanted to source local, use natural and sustainable materials and minimise waste.

Our first iterations were made with leather, walnut, oak and obeche in a factory in East London.

Our next sets will be made with deadstock fabric and buttons made from corozo nuts. They look like they’ve been made from the offcuts of a jacket, and they have!

When being played the OX set unrolls and is 50cm long. When not being played, the pieces are stored in individual pockets which make up the board, and it rolls up to fit inside a 7cm diameter tin. Perfect for a pocket or any bag.

What’s the story behind the game?

The game was created in 2015 by me and Steve.

We were in a long-distance relationship and spent a lot of time travelling to visit each other. We loved playing board games but didn’t want to cart cumbersome boardgames between countries. So we started thinking about how we could create a game which was easy to transport, quick to play and that didn’t get boring the more you played it.

It was an iterative process with lots of scribblings, crossing outs and experimenting. We tried lots of different rules, materials and designs.

It’s now 7 years since we  made our first set and we’re still playing OX in pubs, at airports and on trains. The games are fast and addictive. OX makes waiting for food at a restaurant fly by, it gets us off our phones and is a great way to while a way time on a delayed train. It’s even settled an argument or two!

How did we turn the idea into to a business venture?

We started by just making sets for friends and family. We listened to feedback and were really encouraged by how much people liked it.

So we decided to see if we could persuade other people to try it too.

We didn’t have much money to put behind it, and we were both in busy and very full-time jobs at the time. So we decided to launch the game on Kickstarter. It felt like a low-risk option to assess appetite and test the market.

Within just 4 days of the 30 day Kickstarter, we’d surpassed our target and were successfully funded. People from all over the world backed us and are now playing the game.

We’re still a very tiny business and we both still have full-time jobs, but we’ve sold the game at festivals, Christmas markets, and on our website. And we love that most often our sales come from word of mouth, with people enjoying the game and spreading the love.