Monday, February 29

Out of the Closet

I started working for my current employer back in 2001, when it was a smallish independent company. I was working for them when I started designing Border Reivers and several of my friends and colleagues were among the Border Reivers playtesters. In 2005 I left the company and it was during my years in the wilderness that I finished Border Reivers, set up Reiver Games, self-published Border Reivers, went into full-time publishing and eventually gave it all up for a salary.

After a couple of years out of software development I came back for a summer as a contractor while winding down Reiver Games and eventually I rejoined as a full-time member of staff in 2011. Since then I've been running a weekly Games Night (known as Wizard Night in the office - one of my colleagues thinks we all dress up and play D&D), largely populated with friends who are current or former colleagues from my current employer.

In August 2012, my employer was bought by a large American corporation, and I've spent the last week in Milford, MA visiting the corporate head office for a meeting.

As part of that meeting we had a networking exercise where the 65 attendees had to provide a unique fact about themselves and then you were tasked with finding out which unique fact belonged to each of your 64 colleagues. I chose 'I have designed three published board games' as mine, since most of my corporate colleagues didn't know about my inner geek - it doesn't come up in conversation much.

Ok, so that's a slight stretch, the three games were all self-published, and Border Reivers and Zombology had a very small print run. But it's technically true.

As a result of discussions around my games publishing past (and current!), I found three gamers out of the group (including my boss's boss!), got invited to go and play Netrunner in Boston one evening (which unfortunately I had to miss due to a prior dinner engagement), played Netrunner in the hotel bar with a colleague and sold and delivered my first copy of Zombology to the US to another colleague.

My secret is out!

Off the back of this I've been invited to Tabletop Manchester if I'm ever staying the night there on a Monday night by my Netrunning colleague and have been approached by another colleague about an educational board game design project he's been considering for a number of years!

Finally, in the taxi back to the airport from the office I got chatting to my driver and it turned out he was a keen gamer and game artist (with 33 games listed on BGG) who had been to Essen a couple of times and GenCon too.

I also got to spend the hours of 3:30-6:30am most mornings working on the Print on Demand version of Zombology and getting the art uploaded and a proof ordered. For a business trip it was surprisingly game heavy!

4 comments:

GamesBook said...

"Proud to be a boardgamer since 1975"!

Jackson Pope said...

Hiya Derek,

In my cases probably the mid-eighties!

Cheers,

Jack

Russell Mortishire-Smith said...

Beer and netrunner go very well together! Enjoyed the evening very much ...

Jackson Pope said...

Hiya Russell,

Yes they did! I was really struggling to stay awake at that point though, it's a wonder I lasted as long as I did!

Cheers,

Jack