A love of wine-drinking and tourism has turned into a plan for a new board game featuring the Naramata Bench.

Naramata, will invite players to assume the roles of tour guides and take tourists along the bench to earn points.

“I was looking at combining what I knew as my passion, which was wine drinking, food and so forth and trying to combine that with my game design,” said Chris Dias, the creator, publisher, lead writer of the upcoming Naramata board game.

“My wife and I got into board games, I’ve been a loyal role player for a good 20, 30 years and I decided to try out board games.”

This isn’t Dias’ first time working on gameplay. He is also the founder and lead writer for Dias Ex Machina, producing Ultra Modern, which is a set of science fiction rules for Dungeons and Dragons, along with other games. He has been a professional writer since 2006 and has been publishing games since 2008.

“This is our third kickstarter and our first attempt in going into board game design,” Dias said. “Previous attempters were role playing games and they made $10,000 and $100,000 respectively.”

Dias currently holds about 200 games in his collection, which is matched by his love for wineries. He and his wife estimated they’ve visited about 130-140 wineries. 

“Our first wine trip we hit 60 in eight days. I think our record in sixteen wineries in one day, which is not necessarily the healthiest thing to do but we love the experience of wine tasting.”

“But I couldn’t do a game about developing a winery because that’s been done.” 

So Dias decided to make it about tourism, tasting and the wines experience itself.  

“It was originally supposed to encompass the entire Okanagan, from Osoyoos all the way up to Kelowna. I decided that since I liked the name Naramata, we were just going to focus on the Naramata region.”

In the game itself, players will be assuming the role of tour guides, and be taking control of a unique tour vehicle.

Once players pick their SUV, tour bus, limo or other choice of vehicle, they’ll be picking up tourists and traveling from one side of the Naramata route to the opposite side.

“You’re moving up along the map and as you’re visiting these various wineries, you’re trying to gain these assets in order to satisfy these tourists that you have.”

Every tourist in your group will have different needs and specifications to fulfill as you travel along and gain points.

“The whole objective is to move across the Naramata region over the course of three days, hoping to satisfy these tourists and at the end of each day, trading these tourists in to score points,” Dias said. 

Points, called ‘prestige’, can also be used to make upgrades to your vehicle and character, helping you score more points more easily. Whoever has the most points at the end of the three days wins the game.

Most of the components for the game are done and the group will be at some of the wineries next week recording game play.

“We’re pretty excited about it now, there’s been so much support from the people we’ve talked to and the wineries themselves,” Dias said. “Many of them jumped on board without even hearing much beyond a pitch.” 

Tina Baird, the Marketing Director for the Naramata Bench Wineries Association, said she is “Very excited about it, we’re totally behind it.”

“I think it’s a really fun new way for people to engage in the Naramata bench wineries experience. It’s something that hasn’t been done before,” she added. 

Dias plans to get 28 wineries on board, so each winery location you go to in the game is represented by an actual winery along the bench.

The game is focused on the region between Penticton and the town of Naramata.

“You have wineries that have a Penticton address and wineries that have a Naramata address and those are things we had to learn itself but we picked the name Naramata because when most people think of the word, they think of the bench….and that closely associates that wine region.”

“I see people playing the game, ordering Naramata wines to be drinking while they’re playing…I see wine tours coming that are all about the game,” Baird said, noting there are already many marketing ideas underway.

“I think this a very fun and new kind of souvenir to take home.”

The Kickstarter for the game will be launched sometime between the middle to end of October. 

Interested participants will be able to pledge the basic amount on the kickstarter to receive the basic game. Higher contributions mean additional levels of the game, or even being painted as one of the tourists or playable characters in the game.

“Kickstarter and board games really work well together,” Dias said. 

Dias is hoping to get the board game placed in stores and in the wineries by the next wine season. 

More information on the project can be found on the Facebook page.