A Carmel High School freshman has developed a card game called Roundabouts, inspired by Carmel’s traffic circles.
“I was hanging out with my dad, and we were thinking of ideas for fun board games,” Franklin Vrtis said. “Seeing as we live in Carmel and are surrounded by roundabouts, my dad suggested a game where players make roundabouts from the cards. I was like, ‘I can make that!’”
The 14-year-old started working on the game over summer break in 2022, spending approximately two hours a day on the project.
“The hardest part of making the game was not the gameplay or mechanics, but rather making each card fit with each other so that they can make circular roundabouts,” he said.
Vrtis had some guidance from his dad, Matt, through the process.
“My dad has a great eye for details, and he knows what the fundamentals of a card game should be like, as he and his side of the family adore tabletop games,” Vrtis said. “He tweaked every aspect of the game, like the art, rules and mechanics, to make it the best it could be. We were also the game’s play testers, along with many other family members. It was really cool that I was able to play test the game at GENCON.”
Roundabouts was ready to launch within a few months.
“It was just one of those ideas that built itself,” Vrtis said.
Vrtis has been making games from a young age.
“Me and my dad have always somewhat spitballed ideas for card games, and Roundabouts was the first one to really take off,” Vrtis said.
In Roundabouts, players take turns drawing one card at a time and placing it down on the table. All the cards are a quarter of a roundabout, with entrances, exits, and sometimes bonuses written on them. Roundabouts with more arrows and bonuses on them score more than those with fewer.
“These roundabouts don’t typically follow traffic laws. However, if you were actually driving on these, you would find yourself in many inescapable roundabouts,” Vrtis said. “The strategy comes into play with the car tokens. Instead of playing a card on your turn, you can choose to reserve a card location where only you can build by placing your token there.”
Response to the game has been positive.
“Many of my friends, both in Carmel and far away, have sent pictures of them playing and having fun with Roundabouts. Whenever I get these messages, they’ve always been the highlight of my day,” Vrtis said. “People are saying that they’ve really enjoyed the game, and some have even brought up questions about the game that might require a tweak of the rulebook in the future.”
Roundabouts is the second game that Visionmonster — the company comprised of Vrtis and his dad– has completed. The first game was called TAG: The Card Game and was much simpler than Roundabouts; players spelled out the word TAG to tag other players.
Roundabouts is available at All Things Carmel on Main Street.