Meet the Inventor: Matthew Moore

bring your own book product shotOur novel new game Bring Your Own Book has been climbing up our proverbial best-sellers list, so we thought it was time you meet its clever inventor, Matthew Moore! Check out what he had to say about his game.

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Can you tell me more about the origin of the game? What inspired you? 

From early on, it was my intention to turn books into objects of play and encourage players to look at all kinds of texts in a different light. Because many players bring books they’re familiar with, Bring Your Own Book encourages them both to share those works with others and toy around with phrases that served a different purpose when they were read before. The game is both a celebration of the written word as a container packed with a multitude of meanings and the process by which players have fun doing the unpacking.

I would love to know a funny anecdote or detail about the process of creating Bring Your Own Book.

The game was originally based on a social media meme I saw on Facebook. There were these posts that would say, “Grab the nearest book and turn to page 36. The first full sentence describes your love life.” I thought the act of re-contextualizing was fun but the limitation of having the sentence chosen for you was not. Early on, the working title for the game was “The Nearest Book” before becoming “Borrowed Phrases” and then finally Bring Your Own Book.

Inventor: Matthew MooreBy incorporating the players own belongings (books) it opens the game to almost endless possibilities as everyone’s personal library is so varied. Can you tell me more about the unique game mechanics of Bring Your Own Book?

Mechanically, I wanted to make a prompt game that eases the tension of on-the-spot creativity while alleviating excessive repetition. Some prompt games require players to create their submissions from scratch, which can be fun but also a lot of pressure. Other games give players a handful of cards as submissions, which lightens the responsibility for off-the-cuff wit but constrains their responses to only those things the game authors wrote. With Bring Your Own Book, players get to be creative with their text source, the passages they choose, and their delivery. So, instead of giving essay or multiple-choice answers, players go on a quotation treasure hunt and then put on a short performance.

What do you want people to take away from playing Bring Your Own Book?

The thing I hope people take away is how much they control their own experience. I made Bring Your Own Book to encourage people to play with their books, and I gave them a starting point, but I hope they don’t stop there. I’ve already heard about players doing theme rounds and making house rules allowing pronoun replacements and toying with timer lengths. In the end, I don’t care if people are following the rules as I wrote them, just that they’re having fun. That’s why I became a game designer in the first place.

 

 

 

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Store Spotlight: Snakes and Lattes – It’s a Cafe! It’s an Enormous Game Library!

Snakes and lattesWe have been eager to inform our fans about Snake and Lattes, a board game cafe located in Toronto because we love the concept so much!  Game libraries are often in coffee shops, though maybe not often enough for our readers inclinations but these guys have create a game haven! We had the chance to hear from owner, Ben Castinie about the successes and challenges of running such a unique and groundbreaking (not to mention all the coffee grounds that go into running a cafe) business!  If your summer travels take you to Toronto, make this a destination!

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How did you come up with the idea to have a board game café?

I’m originally from Paris, and board games are everywhere in Europe. I discovered that this was not the case in North America, and while visiting Chicago, and stopping into several game stores, I realized that people weren’t being exposed to games in a way that was truly accessible. So we set out to create a gaming space that was friendly, knowledgeable and, above all, accessible to anyone and everyone.

Do you have a retail element too, do you sell the games or is it strictly a library?

We didn’t start with a retail element, but we fell into it. Our games library is the focus, but people who had been playing our games would ask where they could buy it afterwards. So, we looked into it and started carrying a few titles here and there (popular titles like Settlers of Catan, Taboo and Monopoly). It made sense as a part of the overall experience we were trying to provide, and it has become an integral part of the business.Snakes and lattes2

Are there plans to expand in the future, maybe a US location, please?

People have been telling us since Day One that they would love for us to come to their town. And we would love to! Only time will tell if and when more Snakes & Lattes cafes will start popping up.

What are the challenges of running a café that additionally serves another large purpose?

In many ways, we are in uncharted waters. We offer something very different than other restaurants, bars and cafes, and our patrons come to us with a different set of wants and expectations. So, we have to create a lot of it as we go. However, in many other ways, we recognize that we have a lot to learn from traditional restaurants and bars about service. Negotiating the space where tradition and innovation meet has been our greatest challenge.

It looks like you have unique events and tournaments and then also tasty food and a fun staff, what is the most rewarding part of your business?

It’s difficult to point to any one thing. Whatever stresses may come up throughout the work day, our jobs are literally about fun and games. We get to share our hobby with hundreds of people every day, and people are having a great time. Through word of mouth, social media and print media, we see that people are playing games more than ever; that we’re part of that movement, providing a fun and accessible space for people to play, is extremely rewarding.

What Gamewright products do you have in circulation at Snakes and Lattes? Do you have any personal favorites?

Ben! We look forward to this being a staple in your library too!

Ben! We look forward to this being a staple in your library too!

We have a pretty good number of old and new Gamewright titles in the collection. For favourites, Forbidden Island ranks pretty high; it’s one of the go-to games for our Gurus. We’re hoping Tiki Topple comes back some day! We’ve been teaching it since we opened and there is a lot of love for it here. We have a lot of teachers and parents come through the café, so Rory’s Story Cubes (and Actions, and Voyages!) see a lot of play as well. Right now, we’re just waiting for Forbidden Desert to finally arrive!

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Guest Bloggers! – Striar Hebrew Academy

It is interesting to learn another perspective about your impact as a company; what better perspective than the people who use your product the most -KIDS!  The students from Striar Hebrew Academy wanted to write about Gamewright for their paper the Striar Flyer! Below is the article!

Striar Hebrew Academy’s school newspaper staff visits Gamewright to learn about game production

by Miryam Farren-Greenwood, fifth grader at Striar Hebrew Academy

Even if you don’t know it, you probably have a Gamewright game at your house! The Striar Flyer newspaper staff was fortunate to be able to take a trip to the Gamewright game company. We met with the marketing coordinator, Nora Meiners, and Jason Schneider, the director of product development.

While touring the company, we met a person who is in charge of sales and orders from stores. He said that the busiest times for ordering games are October to November, and January to February. This is because right before the holiday season the stores need to stock up, and right after, the prices are the cheapest, so they need to get ready during that time, too. They usually receive about 100-150 orders every day during those times. In order to cover the costs of processing the order and the warehouse process, the minimum an order can cost is $150, and large orders can go up to $3,500.

We went into the design rooms, where people work on the designs for the boxes, the puzzles, and the games. At the back of the room, they had enormous printers, so big a seventh grader could have laid down on it. We visited the stock room, where they keep a supply of puzzles and games. It was huge and very well-supplied. Ms. Meiners showed us the puzzles that they make. The newest one has a picture from “Despicable Me 2.” A cool kind of puzzle they make is called the “Fuzzy Puzzle”, and no other company makes it. The Fuzzy Puzzle is very child-friendly: it is fuzzy, washable and soft. According to Ms. Meiners, the way Gamewright gets pictures for their puzzles is they find an artist they like, and they license the artist’s pictures to use. In fact, a large part of their business is puzzles.Nora with Eliana (2)

We looked at the different games for different ages, and Ms. Meiners showed us a couple of games that were invented by children, just like us. Striar Hebrew Academy students may have even played some of them.

MermaidBeachMermaid Beach was invented by a 7-year-old girl, and Sleeping Queens was invented by a 9-year-old girl. “I think it was very interesting how kids could invent games and sometimes they would become games that everyone would know about,” said Eliana Diamond, Striar fourth grader.

group interviewing nora (2) The highlight of our visit was getting to test out a game! We played the game, and then we had to rate the game from 1-5, 1 being the worst and 5 being the best. All of us  rated it a four or a five. We talked with Mr. Schneider about how important it is to have good design for games. He also said that about 10 out of every 100 games get turned into prototypes (a model to try out), and only half of those are made into games to be put on the shelves. That being said, Striar fifth grader Aviel Taube couldn’t have put it better: “I never would have thought that people can send in [ideas for] games, and they can become real games.”

Striar Hebrew Academy is a co-ed Jewish day school in Sharon, MA, founded in 1986. The school enrolls 110 students, toddler-age through Grade 6.

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Ceaco Produces Iconic Boston Marathon Jigsaw Puzzle

Boston_3D_BoxWe wanted to share what our parent company Ceaco is up to – Ceaco manufactures high quality, innovative and challenging jigsaw puzzles that provide hours of family fun – just like Gamewright games! This year we will produce a special limited edition jigsaw puzzle based on the iconic Boston Magazine cover that captured the hearts and emotions of the city in the wake of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings. The 550 piece puzzle will retail for a suggested $10 and Ceaco will donate 100% of its proceeds to The One Fund Boston.

“When we saw the image of “The Shoes We Wore” on the cover of Boston Magazine, we immediately recognized that the photograph was a beautiful testimonial to the strength of Boston and its people,” says Trudi Lazarus, Ceaco’s Executive Vice President. “I’m honored that we can bring this moving image into people’s homes, while helping to contribute to a cause that honors the bravery of everyone closely affected by the tragedy.”

We have been fixtures in the greater Boston toy manufacturing community for over 25 years, spending a majority of our time headquartered in Watertown. The puzzle will be entirely made in Massachusetts and all of our production partners are donating time and materials to benefit the project. It will be available for purchase in mid-June at local toy, game, and gift stores, as well as online at ceaco.com.

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Forbidden Island on TableTop with Wil Wheaton

We have exciting news! Forbidden Island is the featured game on the preeminent web series about board games, TableTop!  Tune in and see why everyone is buzzing about our co-operative game.  GAMEWRIGHT-317

If you are unfamiliar with the hit web show on YouTube, actor, writer and geek icon Wil Wheaton hosts a group of his friends to play a board game together.  It is a fast-paced show about tabletop gaming and as stated on it’s website, “can only be described as ‘Celebrity Poker’ for board games.” Their top viewed episode has over a million views and all of that in one year’s time!  We are thrilled to be asked on a show that has such enormous importance in introducing people to the world of board games.  This is a must watch show!

At one point during TableTop, the host Wil Wheaton says this about our game, “The first time I played Forbidden Island, it was before the official release, on the only copy that existed in the world, with the designer Matt Leacock. And now I am playing with my friend who is a real NASA engineer, with my friend who is an award winning science fiction TABLE TOPauthor and my friend who is from the freakin’ Presidents of the United States of America. I can not lose this game!”  This is a great summation of the hilarity that you are in store for but you must watch to find out if they emerge victorious or if they are submerged!

 

 

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