In late 2018, Duck Duck Cat was founded by Alex Andreae. It was started after inspiration for a toy idea came from his son. Bored one afternoon and having been told 'no more screen time', Sebastian started tinkering with the remote control for a small drone. He noticed that the controller would make a steady 'beep' when it could not connect to the drone. Since the drone had lost it's battery, the remote control just kept beeping. Steadily. Methodically. A spark ignited in the young lad that this could be used for a little bit of fun. He started sneaking behind different household members, would gracefully place the remote control near them, start the beeping and then yell, "It's a bomb!".
While humorous, the fun was short lived as the joke wore off. Sebastian then started up a new game of hide and seek with his siblings where he'd hide the controller and let the others find it. This led to over an hour of play, which was enough for Alex to realize there may be something more to this idea. The idea moved from a drone controller to a small Arduino programmable board with a speaker and lights. Development of The Countdown Game had begun.
Over the next few weeks, Alex refined the idea. At first, buttons were added to start the beeping and lights once hidden to help provide clues to the seekers. That led to a delay where the clues wouldn't start for 10 seconds or so after the toy was hidden, allowing the hider to return without giving up the hiding location. A timer was eventually added to give some urgency. Once complete, although still in a very experimental form, lots of play-testing commenced. The idea seemed sound, but was missing something. It was still hide and seek at it's core, but needed a little more to hold the attention of kids for a longer period.
And that's when the mini-games were added. Small challenges that needed to be completed once the toy was found. With the timed aspect of the game, it made sense that just finding the toy wasn't enough to stop the timer. There needed to be something more to actively stop the timer. At first, the classic game of Whack-a-Mole was added for simple testing and it proved to be a huge success. At this point, Countdown was becoming a real toy.
Alex quickly formed a small team of friends from previous jobs to come together, refine and iterate on Countdown. More games were added. More modes, like Hot Potato and Table Co-Op were added. Upgradability, so that Countdown could evolve based on feedback from customers after launch was included. And ffter many iterations and huge amounts of feedback, "The Countdown Game" was released in April 2021.
Alex Andreae - CEO
Elizabeth Hughes - Chief Brand Officer
Nilesh Kulkarni - Lead Developer