Gumball Machine – Designer Diary

Play with probability by changing the path of dropping marbles.

Collect gumballs by dropping colored marbles into a plinko board. Add tabs to change the flow of the marbles as they drop.

Danielle ReynoldsTAM

2 – 4 players
15 mins
6+ years

Game Rules: View Game Rules

Design Diary

This project started in mid 2022 when Danielle and I were sharing the desire to create a toyetic game, and we quickly came to the idea of a time travel game (yes that was the original theme) based around the plinko board where you can manipulate the flow of time by putting in tabs to direct where the marbles drop.

Constructing the prototype took some time, but it was also a lot of fun to see it come together. I love using nail glue for making prototypes.

We first tested the prototype at Granite Game Summit in 2023. We knew the experience of dropping marbles was fun, but we didn’t have a game yet.

Danielle and I were invited to the Gathering of Friends in 2023, and we brought our prototype. We worked on a simple set of rules in the hotel room one morning. It uses the cards that Danielle designed which showed 3 colored marbles. We showed it around and it was a big hit! Someone suggested “gumballs”, which is a better fit for the target market and the experience, and the game became “Gumball Machine”.