04 October 2021
The Great British Bake Off is one of those institutions of loveliness. Mixing a tent full of friendly bakers, with a gentle competition, it’s nestled itself into our hearts over the years and given us some really heartwarming moments. Everyone has their favourite contestant over the years, and for many, that’s Kim-Joy, from the 2018 series. That’s only in part (for us at least) because she professed to the nation a love of board games, and has now put her name to a brand new card game from Skybound Tabletop, in Kim-Joy's Magic Bakery.
“The Bake Off was the best thing I’ve ever done.” Kim-Joy tells us, as we couldn’t resist asking. “I was terrified about how I’d do, being on TV, etc, but at the same time I’m a believer in doing the things that terrify me if it has potential to get me further in life! It’s definitely a stressful time because all of us on the show LOVE baking, and it’s never easy being judged on something you love and put tons of time and care into.” Getting to the final was a phenomenal feat, and since then Kim-Joy has released three cookbooks.
“I met James and Ben of Skybound at San Diego Comic Con and our mutual interests just got us chatting.” She explains. “It was a chance meeting and totally perfect and meant to be. And then things just got moving from there! I remember chatting to James and Ben about how the interest in baking and tabletop gaming actually do overlap quite a bit - I find there’s a lot of people who enjoy watching the show as well as games. And I think it’s because both are activities that you can really get lost in, they both bring people together, and both bring everyone happiness. So, I’m super excited to be combining the two.”
It's an angle we haven’t considered before, though makes sense. Tabletop Gaming has been focused on a singular activity (amidst friends), and it’s fair to say baking has the opportunity to do the same.
“I always say that any hobby that makes you lose track of time is really good for you, because that is essentially mindfulness.” Kim-Joy goes on to explain. “And baking and tabletop gaming are the main things I enjoy that make me forget about time. They both also bring people together and are very sociable, and it’s great that there’s a focus on something external - so helps people like me who are socially anxious or find small talk difficult!”
A perfect mix of ingredients then for a tabletop game to incorporate all aspects, and that’s what Kim-Joy’s Magic Bakery has the opportunity to do.
“It’s set in a magical forest,” Kim-Joy tells us of the card game, “and full of magical animals customers who are requesting their favourite bakes at the Magic Bakery - macarons, pavlovas, millefeuille, all sorts! It’s a co-op game so everyone’s got to work together to make the bakes as quickly as possible by gathering the right ingredients from the pantry and ‘baking’ the right layers, and there are fun different scenarios (such as the mice switching the labels!) to challenge players. It’s like bake off but much more magical, and everyone works together.”
In fact, if you’re looking for whimsy, this is exactly where you should be. Pitched as a family game, and for people of all interests, it keeps a little underrated fun amidst its cards, as we ask the best pun hidden in the game. “‘Total eclipse of the tart’” Kim-Joy confirms. “A collaborative effort between me and Ben, so I do enjoy that one!”
And it doesn’t stop there. Not only are you able to pull some humour from the intentionally light game themed on the fun subject of baking, as a coop game, but its looks compliment the intention. Linda Van Den Berg is the artist responsible for each of the illustrations from the cover to the cards, but has also worked with Kim-Joy on some of her previous recipe book illustrations.
“The art by Linda Van Den Berg is amazing,” Kim–Joy effuses. “Everything just has so much life and character. I love it so much. I do like a lot of games where the art doesn’t link that much to the gameplay, but I really, really love it when the theme fully immerses you in it, as the game becomes a proper escape. Just like with baking - I love bakes that taste good, but I REALLY love bakes when they taste good AND look unique and tell a story. And Linda totally makes that happen!”.
And whilst Van Den Berg illustrated the cards, it seems Kim-Joy baked them, as we asked the best bakes to accompany the game itself.
“I made a raspberry pavlova featuring marshmallow penguins, inspired by one of the customer cards - so most definitely that!”, in fact, the recipe for these were included in many packs sent to reviewers, so you can see quite a few attempts across TikTok to do them justice. “Meringue, cream and fruit always goes down well,” Kim-Joy clarifies, “and doesn’t take too much time to make. It also can’t go too far wrong, if your meringue crumbles up, just turn it into Eton Mess!”
“The year before me on bake off they had a boardgame themed biscuit showstopper, so I was sad I didn’t have that challenge on my year! I’ve always thought a Carcassonne or Takenoko themed baked would be incredible, but I need to get the time to do it.”
Now feeling much hungrier than when we began, we can tell you that you can find Kim-Joy’s Magic Bakery online for pre-order, and can even check out an excited unboxing over on our YouTube channel.