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Lily Brown and Tait Hansen - Betcha Can't!

(Lily Brown and Tait Hansen, winners of 2018 Young Inventor Challenge

for Most Marketable Concept with their game Betcha Can't)

How did you find out about the young inventors competition?

Our parents took us to the Chicago Toy and Game Fair a few years ago. We saw the Young Inventor Challenge and thought, “We can do that too!"

What were some of the details of the competition?

The Young Inventor Challenge is part of the Chicago Toy and Game Fair which is held each November. It is open for kids ages 6 to 18 to enter. To enter, kids must first design and prototype a game or toy and create a pitch video for their product. During the fair, kids present their products to major toy companies, industry professionals, members of the media, and ultimately, the judges. From a pool of approximately 200 entries, a handful of winners are selected across a range of categories. Only one grand prize winner is chosen and that winner’s product is eligible to be licensed by a major toy manufacturer (in this case Pressman Toys) and launched by Target. Our game won the grand prize in November of 2018. It took over a year to bring the product to market.

How did you come up with the idea for the game?

We were bored one day and decided we wanted to create a game. We have always loved challenging each other to see who could one-up the other. We gathered some scrap materials from around the house and started building a game.

How long did it take you to develop the game?

We started in 3rd grade and finally finished it in 5th grade.

How would you describe the game?

BETCHA CAN’T is a game of betting and one-upping your friends. Players bet on how many things they THINK they know. For example, If challenged by the “betcha can’t”, they will have to prove themselves and make good on their bet.

Here’s the description from the box: In this game of bets and brags, players bet on how many things they THINK they know. Think you can name the most ice cream flavors? How about theme parks? But be prepared to prove yourself if you get the "betcha can't!" Answer correctly and win the card! But if you lose - you're going to Time Out! Be the first player to collect five cards to be named the Better Bettor!

Do you know why the judges chose your game?

All the other games were either too simple or too complex. We had a unique, well thought out idea that they thought could actually sell in stores.

How did your game get into Target stores?

Target was one of the sponsors of the competition. Because of this sponsorship, they got to decide whether or not they wanted to carry the game exclusively in their stores. Winning the competition didn’t guarantee that it would make it to Target, we still had to do a lot of work, together with the publisher, to get it ready.

How does it make you feel to see your game on store shelves?

We kinda knew when the game was going to come out but not exactly. During the week that it was meant to launch, we kept going to our computers and hitting refresh to see if it was on Target’s website. When we finally saw that it was live, we called each other and then ran around our houses screaming we were so excited.

Can you tell me about yourself... your age, what you like to do, etc?

Lily: I am 13 years old. I am tiny in size, but big in personality. I love to camping, playing lacrosse and soccer and building things.

Tait: I’m 12 years old, I love music, doing gymnastics, and being outdoors!

Do you have ideas for future games?

Yes, but we can’t tell you about it yet. We don’t want you to steal our idea.

What is your all-time favorite game to play?

Lily: I love "Cover Your Assets".

Tait: Hmm, my all time favorite game to play...that’s a tough one. We play a lot of games in our house. I think my favourite right now is "It’s in the Bag". It’s great because everyone can play, including my grandparents.

Is there anything else you want to share with us?

There are some cool aspects of our story including the fact we started developing the game while living just a few blocks from each other in Chicago. When Lily moved to Utah 2.5 years ago, we had to figure out how to keep working on the invention while living 1400 miles away from each other. This came with its own set of challenges and was a great lesson in group projects and co-developing ideas remotely. We also got to see behind the curtains of the game development process as they participated in monthly calls with the manufacturer (Goliath Games/Pressman Toys) to see updates and give feedback. Sometimes their feedback was taken and sometimes it wasn’t which was another great lesson into how the product development process works.

It might also be worth mentioning that we each received $500 towards their college savings, a royalty for the game and a trip back to Chicago to visit Big Monster Toys, a professional Toy and Game design studio, where they got to see a professional design studio at work. This studio was originally called the Marvin Glass and Associates and is one of the most famous and prolific studios in the history of the toy industry (they created Operation, Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robot, Lite Brite, Mouse Trap, Simon among many others). That's us in front of their door!

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