How I got into Hobby Board Game Design

How I got into Hobby Board Game Design

I've always been a tabletop gamer in one way of another. It started off with collecting baseball cards in 1994, and that habit worked its way into loving the Pokemon TCG. I'd go on to play TCGs up until 2009 when I finally stopped playing Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh! due to a lack of post college community.

I first tried to design a game in middle school. I made small board game that attempted to gameify the N64 gaming sessions we were having every friday night. It was a score board with gameplay in short. A few years later I tried to make a Final Fantasy dueling game where your cards got stronger based on your party's level. I thought it was awesome to have a single card get better over the course of the game.

I was in film school at the time and even though I love film, it didn't hold a candle to how I felt about games. It was just a hobby but I realized I had a real passion for it. My notebooks had all their margins filled with game ideas and noodles. I had a handful of recurring characters, some which appear in my games today. Twice during my film school journey It crossed my mind to quit and work on games but the sunk cost fallacy kept its hold on me.

I began to really miss sitting around a table and talking to my friends while we played games. Shortly after, I discovered hobby tabletop gaming through Dominion and it completely captured me.

While in film school, I continued to develop my prototye of the Final Fantasy inspired dueling game. What really inspired me to get into the tabletop industry was when I took a copy of my game to the Academy of Art and it was very well received. They were so impressed, they wanted to put my work on display on New Montgomery Street's Student Showcase. They retracted that offer when they realized I didn't go to their game design program at all.

Over time, I refined that game. It would go on to be my first published game, Terrene Odyssey. I self pubished it from my garage; a decision my family will never let me forget. I present to you THE MAZE.

From that point forward, I continued to work on tabletop games, gigs, and small projects while grinding away at a day job. I specifically took a day job with a low mental load so I can plan my next games, and ultimately launch Solis Game Studio. Is this completely unhinged? Absolutely, but I did it because it makes me happy. Games make me feel alive and brought me great friends and memories throughout the years. I want to return that to the world with the games we make at Solis Game Studio.