I grew up around card games, my mom and dad were always playing Gin Rummy or some other form of cards so I guess cards are in my blood.
Around the age of 21 I met a man who would teach me the game of blackjack, a professional who made his living that way. This really intrigued me, the lifestyle, the man himself – Big JB (thanks for everything).
Since my brother was already living in Las Vegas it seemed a natural move and thus several years of playing blackjack as a professional was born.
From cards to hair/tanning salons and several years in the home building industry I retired and took some time to think what my next venture in life would be.
One year I decided to travel on my Harley Davidson motorcycle and head back to Boston to visit my dad for his 80th birthday - A trip that would end up being 6700 miles.
One of the joys along the way was to stop and take a picture of the “Welcome To” signs for each state I visited, and even some I didn’t, riding 100’s of miles out of the way just to get a picture of the sign and then back track to continue the journey.
After returning home I thought what a wonderful idea for a board game – Travel the country and collect the welcome to signs, so I went to work making a playing board. Little did I know that my neighbors, Michael and Cheryl were in the game business and have covered every aspect of it over a 30+ year career.
I was fortunate to be able to show Michael my idea one day only to learn I didn’t have a clue what designing a game involved. I was drilled with question after question of which I had no idea how to answer. I’m glad Michael didn’t throw me out of his house but in a strange way I was encouraged by the drilling. I left his house being even more intrigued, more fascinated by what designing a game truly involved?
He suggested a group called “Las Vegas Board Game Group” through www.meetup.com so I signed up. The man in charge – Stephan Brissaud, another career guy in the game business, who was just a joy to be around – he loved games and quite an interesting guy!
I continued going to almost every game night, reading book after book about the history of games and trying to soak up as many ideas as possible. I would write down any name that sounded like a good one, I’d make game pieces for games I didn’t know what they were going to be, I would run ideas by everyone I knew.
I developed a few prototypes, and thanks to Keith Meyers, I sent off a few submissions to game companies and soon after I received my first rejection letter – I was so excited to just hear back.
One week later a response that had me jumping – a company said they loved one of the games I designed and they agreed to license it, but after 3 months of negotiations that deal fell apart.
I kept at it and months later I attended NY Toy Fair, made a few presentations and soon after that I received my first license deal and now I can honestly say “I’m hooked.”