Dear John Game Design


John is a french baker. He has been baking bread in his village bakery alongside his wife for over 30 years. John gets up every morning at 4am to make sure there is plenty of fresh bread on sale when the bakery opens it’s doors at 7am. At which time John’s wife, Matilda, joins him in the shop to serve the customers. The bakery is very busy every day. John continues to bake bread until early afternoon and then he returns home for some rest and goes to bed at 8pm. Matilda remains at the shop until it closes at 7pm. There must never be any left over bread at the end of the day but at the same time they must never run out either, or else they’ll lose customers.

John and Matilda have been running the bakery like clockwork for many years and every day the final baguette is sold just minutes before the bakery closes for the day. The couple have developed a kind of sixth sense and know just how much to bake before John clocks off. This is based on Matilda’s knowledge of who comes in at what time and which days as well as anticipating special occasions like village hall meeting for which the mayor will place a big order. Every day, the couple live the same routine. Nothing unusual ever happens and everybody gets their bread. Until one day, that is.

That morning, John, awoke to find his wife hadn’t come to bed that night. Then a moment later he saw the note. Dear John…

Matilda had runway with another man from the village, an electrician. And she would never again return.


Summary, Mechanics and Goals

John must now do both jobs to keep the bakery open and delivering bread to the village. The only way he’ll succeed alone is with the help of an app which allows people to electronically communicate how many baguettes they want and when they expect to come into the bakery to pick them up and pay.

So, the player’s role in the game is that of John. Each player has an popup oven, a bakery counter and some dough (playdough). Each player must start with the same weight of dough (the kit will come with a weighing scale as well as some playdough). Each player has their own phone with the app installed and when the game starts everyone must start making bread.

Players will receive orders via the app and must make enough bread to fulfil them. Each player rolls their dough into baguette shapes and places them in the oven. They use the app to indicate how many baguettes have been put in the over and the app will ping when the bread is ready to put on the shelf. The oven has limited space. If a customer comes into the shop (indicated via the app) and their bread is not ready there is a penalty incurred. At the end of the game (end of the Baker’s day) each player must weigh their sold bread and weigh any unsold bread and dough. The winner is the player who sells the most weight in dough minus any penalties.

A player cannot cheat by making larger bread as they will run out before the day is over and incur lots of penalties which are also deducted from the final weight. A day of John’s life is represented by 8 minutes in the game, so the time goes fast.

Core Game Dynamics

The game involves prediction, calculation, estimation, building and playing under pressure.


The app can be downloaded for free from app stores.
The game kit can be purchased online or in superstores. The kit consists of a
popup bakery counter and oven, a baker’s hat, a pot of playdough and a electronic scale for weighing the dough. The branding and design of the game box will play a key role in selling the idea of playing the John persona. The game is aimed at adults and makes a great party game.

Leave a Reply