June 17, 2023
It's time for a big announcement: I and my 15-year-old twin sons River and Terran have been up to a very special, top-secret, behind-the-scenes project that we are now officially unveiling. This one is guaranteed to get your fart rate – er – heart rate up, so keep reading if you want to know our deepest, stinkiest secrets that we're about to unleash on the world – and how you can help!
This entire story starts with an unexpected turn when a passport mishap unexpectedly stranded our entire Greenfield family back home in the USA – instead of the tropical paradise of Costa Rica.
This unplanned staycation becomes the catalyst for a moment of inspiration that led to the birth of a new venture—a father-son gaming company called “Fried Pickle Games” and our very first hilarious, stinky, and extremely fun-to-play game for all ages: The Fart of War.
The Greenfield’s Gaming Closet
Let's begin at the beginning: our giant Greenfield family “Gaming Closet.”
At the heart of our home, in the basement closet, lies a towering stack of board games that plays a vital role in the rhythm and routine of our lives. You may have caught a glimpse of them innocently propping up computers during this podcast video, but their role is far more significant than serving as cheap computer makeshift stands.
Indeed, traditional games like Catan, Monopoly, Scrabble, Hearts, and Texas Hold ‘Em, along with more unique modern games like Quiddler, Chameleon, Squirmish, Fuzzy Logic, Idiom Addict, Road Trip, Bears vs. Babies, Everdell, and even the entertaining Poo Pocalypse form an integral part of our family fabric.
With a game closet boasting an impressive collection of over 100 games, you might be forgiven for thinking we're a family of game addicts. And you wouldn't be entirely wrong.
The Greenfield family's infatuation with gaming dates back to when River and Terran were five or six. A tradition took root, born from our deep desire to foster analog connection and shared experiences in a digital world increasingly dominated by screens. It's a gaming tradition that, to this day, forms an essential part of our daily routine.
See, each day (and yes, nearly every day is like this!) at the Greenfield house typically begins with a family meditation, a blend of Bible reading, prayer, and mindful meditation, and a final cherished “family huddle” to kick off the day. This is a moment where we set our intentions for the day, plan for the evening meal, and share a group hug before we disperse, each going our separate ways to navigate our daily tasks. Sure, we cross paths throughout the day, especially since I work from a home office and my sons are homeschooled/unschooled, but it's the mornings and – as you're about to discover – the big party in the evenings when we deeply connect and hang out together as a family.
Anyways, after our morning family meeting, our paths cross sporadically throughout the day—such as brief moments shared during workouts, breathwork sessions, or the occasional communal lunch. But the real magic happens around seven in the evening. This is when we all reconvene in the kitchen to combine our culinary contributions, creating a veritable feast of family favorites like baked or broiled fish, barbecued meat, carrot fries, cucumber salad, assortments of delicious greens, and my wife Jessa's delectable sourdough bread.
But our pre-dinner ritual involves more than just cooking; we also use this time to hold each other accountable by reading and discussing a book together. The chosen text varies from spiritual and self-development tomes to guides on becoming better writers. For example, currently, we're working our way through Doug Wilson's Mere Christendom. Before that, it was Rick Rubin's The Creative Act. Before that, it was Naval Ravikant's life advice book The Almanack of Naval Ravikant, and before that, Bruce Shelley's Church History in Plain Language, and before that, Garrett Gunderson's financial book Killing Sacred Cows…you get the idea. This tradition has been going on for so long that it's hard to remember a time before it, and is a wonderful way to share knowledge in a systematic and calendared way.
Once dinner is served, and we've sung a song and said a prayer together, the real party begins.
The games are taken from their closet, and the dinner table officially transforms into a battleground of strategy, chance, and family banter. Whether we're playing Exploding Kittens, Ticket to Ride, Everdell, Quiddler, or any of the other numerous games in our collection, these moments spent laughing, debating, and strategizing together are invaluable.
Of course, our games have certainly seen better days, showing their battle scars with pride. Chicken grease, carrot fry remnants, olive oil stains, and traces of Primal Kitchen Spicy Ketchup proudly mark game cards and game pieces, hinting at the countless meals each game has accompanied. It's this blend of food, games, and conversation that makes every dinner in our home feel like a special occasion.
As we navigate these game-infused evening rituals, we discover a balance between playful competition and heartfelt discussion. Even when we have dinner guests, new friends, and strangers over, playing games form an integral part of our shared evening experiences.
So, what does this game-centric lifestyle have to do with our lives beyond the dining table? Well, I'll unravel that as we continue this journey.
The Benefits of Playing Games
Board games have a magic of their own, an ability to transcend age groups, and engage players of all generations. Over the years, our family game nights have transformed into a fun-filled educational avenue, teaching us invaluable life skills in the most entertaining way possible. From logical thinking and game theory to argumentation, reading, writing, arithmetic, conflict resolution, forward-thinking processes, and creativity, the list of valuable life skills these games foster is endless.
Our gaming adventures are as diverse as they are engaging – and we have an enormous variety of games that range from math-based games to spelling and word scramble-type games to rhetoric and speaking games, and beyond. For instance, drawing games like Monstrosity and Telestrations have taken us far beyond the boundaries of traditional Pictionary, unlocking a world where creativity thrives via hilarious doodles and sketches shared with friends and family. Not only are these games an absolute riot to play, but they're also incredibly educational, albeit in a very sneaky, subtle way.
Just as my mom used to slip veggies into our spaghetti sauce to ensure we were getting our nutrients, or in the same way I harvest “weeds” like dandelion from the backyard to make wild plant pesto (yes, that one is in my cookbook) these games quietly instill essential life skills amidst all the laughter, amicable argumentation, and rivalry.
Importantly, one of our go-to tricks to keep things interesting is to introduce a variety of house rules to our favorite games. Take Quiddler, a word-spelling card game akin to Scrabble. Over time, we've crafted a unique set of Quiddler rules, enhancing the game's enjoyment and challenge, leading to us even needing to buy multiple sets so we could use Sharpie markers on extra cards to make up our own rules, like spelling a word in any language you desire, passing your entire hand to the right, getting double the points if you spell a word that contains letters in your first or last name, etc.
These tweaks and modifications to traditional rules have long been a part of our Greenfield gaming tradition and serve as a testament to our creative spirit and desire to think “outside the box” (see what I did there?) when it comes to games. We're continuously exploring and identifying ways to make games more fun, more challenging, and more educational.
It might seem surprising, but gaming has become a conduit for learning and growth in our household, proving that board games are much more than just a source of entertainment. They're an enriching experience filled with lessons in strategy, negotiation, and critical thinking, perfect for all ages.
Not to mention, playing games together teaches the importance of knowing when to take risks and when to play it safe—insights that extend far beyond the gaming table into real-life situations. It's clear, then, that the benefits of gaming extend much further than just spending quality time together as a family. They also provide a platform for continuous learning, where each roll of the dice offers a new opportunity for growth.
Passport Troubles in Costa Rica & An Unexpected Staycation
In May, my family and I had planned on attending Mastermind Talks – a fantastic entrepreneurial mastermind group organized by my friend Jayson Gaignard, author of the book Mastermind Dinners: Build Lifelong Relationships by Connecting Experts, Influencers, and Linchpins. Jayson had selected an exotic location for the event – the amazing Andaz Resort in Costa Rica, to be precise. Now, for inland Northwest Washingtonians like us in the heart of a frigid winter, a warm Costa Rican adventure was a no-brainer. So my family and I packed our bags, excited about hanging with friends, surfing lessons, and even potential spearfishing in Costa Rica's warm waters.
Fast forward to our arrival in Costa Rica after a perfectly smooth trip, with even our flight even landing ten minutes early. Everything was going as fantastically as possible. However, as we stood in line at customs, the officer announced in a loud voice that my passport was deemed invalid, reportedly marked as lost or stolen. My heart rate spiked and my face became red as I realized the potential implications of this miscommunication. Despite hours upon hours being stuck in the airport and despite our best efforts and calls to influential friends or folks who could somehow help us resolve the issue, we learned the hard way that Costa Rican airport policy isn't exactly forgiving.
With no staff at the embassy on a Sunday and no solution in sight, the authorities decided we had to board the first plane back to the U.S. Being firm believers in family solidarity, we all decided to leave together. A 7-hour delay and police escorts at every turn later, we found ourselves heading back to Newark, New Jersey, and a 27-hour trek home on multiple airlines, instead of enjoying Costa Rican sunsets.
Back home and with a completely clear slate and unplanned week ahead of us, we decided to make the most of it. Little did we know, this ‘staycation' was about to birth an entirely new venture for us.
The Birth of Fried Pickle Games & The Fart of War
So here we were stuck in Spokane with a whole week cleared – a week with nothing to do, since we'd obviously planned on being barefoot on a Costa Rican beach.
But we decided to make lemonade out of lemons (or more appropriately, cheesecake out of cheese, or smoothies out of stinky whey protein) and planned a glorious family week of date nights, board and card games (no surprises there!), treks around the city, dinner parties, and much more.
One night, over a father-son date dinner at de ESPAÑA, a delightful tapas restaurant in Spokane, my sons River and Terran and I began discussing the classic book by Sun Tzu: The Art Of War, a book they had recently finished as part of their unschooling education. The conversation quickly turned, however, when River made a “fart of war” joke. We then began talking about a game design idea in which farts actually did go to war, and thus the concept of “The Fart of War” card game was conceived.
It was an amusing idea at first, involving cards that represented various types of farts that would go to battle against each other, equipped with smelly upgrades like moldy cheese or spicy Indian food. The laughter and fun that ensued while brainstorming this game were infectious, which made us realize that it wasn't such a ridiculous idea after all.
Having no clue what we were doing, we then actually started developing the game, using our knowledge of playing hundreds of hours of games at our house and pouring our heart and soul into designing and hand-illustrating each of the cards, building the rules, eventually even forming our official father-son game design company, “Fried Pickle Games” – aptly named because we played our very first test night of Fart Of War while eating air-fried pickles I had prepared the family for dinner (try 'em, they're fantastic!). Indeed, the idea that started as a jest over a tapas feast was now transforming into a promising business venture – and a super fun one to boot.
Imagine a weak princess fart that you can equip with a whey protein shake before you attack your opponent's old man fart that's been weakened with peppermint oil. Or masking the identity of your super-powerful nuclear fart with a blame-it-on-the-dog card. Or finding out your typical toot just got upgraded with a cut-the-cheese card. As you continue to play this hilarious adventure with your friends and family, you amass points by defeating other players' fart characters until – at the end of the game – the player who has amassed the most fart cards…wins.
And so it progressed: for weeks upon weeks, since January of 2023, me and my sons River and Terran – who up until this point have been operating GoGreenfields, a massively successful cooking podcast and blog – began to work tirelessly on business building, card illustration, game design, interviews with other gaming experts, piles upon piles of books and podcasts on gaming, and much more.
The result is an absolute hoot, and our test play of the game has completely convinced us this game is going to make you smile and laugh for hours upon hours of gameplay. We even have expansions packs and merch concepts such as boxers n' briefs, custom branded bathroom spray, and logo emblazoned whoopee cushions are all in the works, and as the formation of our gaming company Fried Pickle Games, have even hired our first operations manager and set of employees. Yep, we're serious 'bout this.
The Official Fart Of War Launch
And now please clench your cheeks because here comes the exciting part, the launch of our very first card game: The Fart Of War!
The Fart Of War – a simple, easy-to-learn, two-deck card game that makes you chuckle, snort wine out your nose, and choke on your fried chicken – is designed to bring people together, to have fun, and to create memorable experiences. The game is not just about playing; it's about interacting, laughing, and enjoying the time spent together. It's about sitting on the living room floor together and belly-laughing over the fact that you just defeated a powerful airplane fart with a sweet baby fart equipped with taco seasoning and broccoli casserole and that your opponent now has to fart from scratch.
This game will resonate with you, your family, your friends, and your kids and definitely add a dash of humor to any of your gatherings, dinners, parties, and vacations. Of course, the launch of this game isn't just about the game: it's also about the entire Fart of War experience! When you become a fart – er, part – of the action, from branded bathroom spray to special edition whoopee cushions and boxers, we've got some seriously fun add-ons lined up for you.
By visiting the brand-spankin' new, official Fart Of War website and getting onto the e-mail list, you'll be first in line for the first batch of this shiny new game. And if that's not enough, when you get on the e-mail list, you'll also find out how you can become a test player, test group, or test family for this game and all future games we produce in the future.
Frankly, my sons and I have designed The Fart Of War to be easy to learn and hilariously fun to play. Unless you're seriously gassy, bloated, and distracted, you can learn to play it in about 5 minutes flat. And though we manufactured this thing to be a shiny, glossy, fun experience, there are no expensive or easy-to-lose parts either. The humor, the fart jokes, the puns: they all make up the Fart of War universe, and trust me, it's been quite an incredible bonding experience and journey with my teenage sons helping them to craft this game. They happened to have hand drawn each and every illustration you'll find on each and every card. No AI or CGI graphics here folks: just pure adolescent skill and wild imagination (scattered throughout this post are just a few examples of the dozens and dozens of cards they've tirelessly sketched and created over the past several months).
How You Can Help!
But, now we need your support to make The Fart Of War a smashing, obnoxiously loud, and stinky success. I'm not just blowing smoke up your butt, or out your butt either. My sons and I could really, really use your help.
As you've just learned, we strongly believe in the joy of games, their ability to bring people together, and the countless hours of fun they provide. My sons and I now have a deep desire in our hearts to bring that same joy to a lot of people – and to develop a suite of future games that promise to be just as fun as this first one we've just finished creating. So if you, your friends, your family, or your coworkers enjoy playing games, my sons and I urge you now to support us by getting on the e-mail list here: we promise to make it worth your while with plenty of perks, insider discounts and special announcements that make you a big part of the Fried Pickle Games company!
Together, let's bring Fart of War to homes worldwide and create joy, laughter, and some harmless, slightly odorous fun.
Together, let's make Fried Pickle Games a household name, and hook you up with VIP and insider discounts from our new gaming company, for life.
Together, let's get people off their screens, off their devices, and back together as real human people laughing and playing with real objects and forming bonds that last a lifetime.
Together, we can let one rip, and blame it on the dog.
Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for me, River, or Terran about our new game? Ideas to help us get the word out and make this game a viral, smashing success? We are open to any support we can get, as this is just the first of many games to come from the Greenfield family and Fried Pickle Games company.
Leave your comments below! We'll read 'em all! And thanks for being a part of our big, stinky adventure.