LBI Native, Lifelong Gamer Shawn Twaddell Designs ‘Sole Survivor’ Card Game and More

Jun 28, 2017
Photo by: Ryan Morrill

Shawn Twaddell is a gamer by nature. From Candyland to Cribbage, he loves them all – board games, card games and role playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. Hence, the slogan for his new enterprise Flesh Wound Gaming is fitting: “Life is short – let’s play.”

Sole Survivor is Flesh Wound’s flagship card game, rated for ages 8 and older. A round can be played in 10 to 20 minutes.

The Island-raised Ocean Acres resident earned his degree in electronic engineering from DeVry University and now maintains flight simulators for the U.S. Air Force. He has always enjoyed doodling, writing and tinkering in his free time, so the leap into game design was a short one, made easier than ever nowadays with the help of online resources. He hired Portuguese artist Philipe Sabino from to illustrate the game cards, which include “attack” and “defense” characters. He uses The Game Crafter for print-on-demand services.

The post-apocalyptic premise has players drawing and discarding to be the last man or woman standing when all other players have run out of cards. Attack cards are survivor, plague, undead and wild marauder; defense cards are tomb raider, scavenger, counter attack and funeral pyre.

Twaddell’s creative process involves a notebook for jotting down ideas and drawings, which eventually leads to a prototype. When it’s ready to try out, the designer turns to his chief play tester, his 11-year-old son, Ben. The earliest test rounds reveal flaws in the system, and then it’s “back to the drawing board.” Developing Sole Survivor was about a six-month process, Twaddell said. Friends and family have been supportive and positive, he noted. Everyone especially loves the artwork.

For him, the games have entertainment value but also personal and social value, as a way to facilitate quality time and bridge generations.

Sole Survivor is a straight-up competitive game, Twaddell explained, whereas his next project, Vortex, already in the works and ready soon for play testing, is designed to be played either competitively or cooperatively. In the competitive version, players are scientists, racing to get to the escape pod and beat each other home to Earth to share their findings and achieve recognition for their discoveries. In the cooperative version, players are crewmembers on a research ship, sent to study a collapsing star; they have to work as a team to reach the rescue ship, and the only way to win is for the whole team to make it home safely.

Going forward, Twaddell said he imagines all his games will have the competitive/cooperative play option.

The games can be purchased at

— Victoria Ford

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