When Kate Hunt and her family moved to southeast Evanston in 2012, her kids always asked why they couldn’t build a treehouse in the tree outside of their apartment.
“I think it’s pretty universal – kids want to have a hideout and somewhere to play,” she said.
An avid board-game player, Hunt said it felt natural to solve her kid’s problem on a smaller scale, so she got to work in 2019 on the Ultimate Treehouse board game.
Over the past two years, Hunt has worked with members of the Evanston community to create Ultimate Treehouse. Evanston Made member and local illustrator Matthew LaFleur illustrated the game, Print Ninja on Orrington Avenue printed it and the game can now be purchased at Stumble and Relish and Evanston Games and Café.
There are two decks of cards: a standard card deck and square cards with treehouse elements. Five cards are dealt face-up on the table, which serves as a store. Action cards help players find elements they need. For example, they can become a lumberjack and steal lumber if they need wood, or defend themselves with a slingshot.
Once players have the materials they need, they can build the treehouse. To win, they need floors, walls and a roof as well as three of the 12 elements, such as a telescope, hammock, slide, rope swing or disco ball.
Hunt said no two treehouses are likely to be the same because of variation in the game.
The first copies of Ultimate Treehouse were ready for pick-up in January, and even though Hunt said she knew the dimensions of the box, having the first few copies in her hands was surreal.
“It was really cool, when you pick it up and hold it I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, it’s real,’” she said. “I am proud of the way it plays and the work we did and it’s neat that it was all developed here in Evanston.”
Evanston Games and Café has already run out of their initial inventory of Ultimate Treehouse and is ordering more. The game can also be ordered online, and Hunt will deliver to local buyers or mail them.