Appalachian Grown: Lonely Hero Games

West Virginia

Lonely Hero Games, a board game company based in West Virginia, is launching their newest game, Hungry for Humans, in the spring of 2022. (Courtesy: Lonely Hero Games)

MORGANTOWN, WV- Christopher Kincaid and Jared Kaplan were born and raised in Beckley, growing up as friends who played board games together.

One day, Kaplan and Kincaid were having their annual game night, but none of their friends showed up. That’s when the brilliant idea started for the duo.

Jared Kaplan (left) and Christopher Kincaid. (Courtesy: Lonely Hero Games)

“So, we kind of spit-balled some ideas, and he told me about this idea he had for a bank robbery game,” said Kincaid.

That game would soon turn into the company Lonely Hero Games, a side job for Kincaid, who is a doctor at WVU Medicine. The company would launch their first game, Bank Heist, on Kickstarter.

“We just kind of went from there. We worked out the kinks, playtested it a lot, and found that it was pretty well-received by everybody we played it with—friends and strangers, alike,” said Kincaid.

The game’s premise is to rob a bank successfully while playing different roles, using different items, and dividing the loot evenly without killing each other.

But, Lonely Hero Games couldn’t stop there—they wanted to make a game about monsters and to represent where they grew up.

Lonely Hero Games, a West Virginia-based board game company, is launching its newest game, Hungry for Humans”, in the spring of 2022. (Courtesy: Lonely Hero Games)

“We thought ‘man, we need a theme’, and what better theme than our home state. Then, we could involve the folklore monsters, the cryptids, and that worked really well,” said Kincaid.

Their newest game, Hungry for Humans, aims to have monsters protect you if you feed them. If you don’t feed them, they’ll eat you. If you feed them too much, they explode. But other than monsters like Mothman, West Virginia plays a key part in the game.

“Then we involved West Virginia restaurants from all over the state. So, all the food cards in our game are from West Virginia-owned restaurants. And, actual items on the cards you can find in the restaurants on their menus,” said Kincaid.

So, places like Terra Café and Pies and Pints make a cameo in the game. Kincaid said he wanted to help promote what West Virginia has to offer.

There are more restaurants coming to the game, as it’s still raising funds on its Kickstarter. If you’d like to preorder the game and help its Kickstarter campaign, you can do so until Nov. 17 by clicking here. The company plans to start shipping the final version of Hungry for Humans by the spring of 2022.

“Just kind of nice, you know. Small businesses helping small businesses and giving another positive spin on things from West Virginia,” said Kincaid.

Mothman, a creature known in West Virginia, is included in the game of Hungry for Humans. (Courtesy: Lonely Hero Games)

Kincaid and Kaplan have been able to showcase their company and games at several large gaming conventions across the country, meaning Bank Heist can be found worldwide.

“At the end of our first campaign, when we had Bank Heist in 14 countries. The thought of people playing that overseas that I’ll never meet, but maybe they’re laughing and having a good time and even giving us a good review online, it was pretty moving,” said Kincaid.

So, what’s next for Lonely Hero Games?

Kincaid said he’s hoping to have their next game out, tentatively called Hug, in the coming months after more playtesting is conducted.

You can find Bank Heist at several stores in the Morgantown area, and you can find a full list of retailers here.

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