Hello Toy Friends!  I hope you’re all staying well and strong. Everyone I connect with lately is talking about the huge effect COVID is having on our industry.  In the middle of this pandemic almost nothing is as it used to be.  The “usual” times and places we all use to get together have been canceled or put online.  Virtual is our new normal.  We’re shipping samples to buyer’s homes, spending hours in Zoom meetings, and rush...

 (Jennifer Ellis-Juncaj and Allison Ramsey)

The sharp turn of Spring 2020 semester was one neither of us could have anticipated nor something we signed up for, especially Allison who was focused on closing out her final semester of college. As two students in the midst of building tabletop games, we were both excited about reaching such huge milestones within our programs. However, not even halfway through our semester, the glo...

May 4, 2020

As I write this opening paragraph, our state is on a shelter at home order. The COVID-19 virus has in many ways shut down the world but has, on the plus side, given me time to pursue a bucket list item: publishing a story I started writing and illustrating back in 2004. My ultimate dream of its final creation and publication has taken up space in my head and computer for quite some time. I have worked on and off toward that go...

Shooting a video can be a really fun part of the inventing process and can really help your hit rate.

Although there are still many hurdles to licensing ideas, one thing that has become easier over the course of my career is the ability to present those ideas. When I started in the business, I always brought prototypes to physical meeting locations – usually to NY Toy Fair or to a company that was within a day’s driving distanc...

Whether you are a big game publisher or a lone inventor developing a game in your spare time, at some point, you will have to take your idea, your baby, and introduce it to the world of gaming. You want validation, clarity, feedback, and, most importantly, criticism to create the best version of your game. You will need objective feedback, which means letting strangers play your game. Data is the key; the input needs to be qua...

March 19, 2020

The following is based on and inspired by the books The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute by Zac Bissonnette and The Rise of Viagra: How the Little Blue Pill Changed Sex in America by Meika Loe

Sigmund Freud, the famous psychologist, wrote in 1908, “People hoard random stuff because they’re so damn horny all the time”. The Beanie Baby Bubble burst in 1998. Viagra was introduced in 1998. Coinciden...

Being a pro designer/ inventor is not for the squeamish. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work, and I love the industry, but it’s a lot like having a problem gambling addiction. Each new concept is like a scratch-off lottery ticket. Not getting rejected in the pitch meeting is like scratching off the first number. Hey- there’s a number under there! Okay, let’s try the next one – (scratch scratch scratch) my widget made it to the...

Are you looking to save the world, one game design at a time? Then have we got the animal-themed design mantra for you! We call it The Whole Buffalo.


Because back in the days of hunting and gathering, when a majestic buffalo was brought down, not a single piece of that animal was wasted. The skin became clothing and shoes and bedding, the hair became rope, the hooves became rattles, the bones became knives, and the teeth we...

There is a dirty, little secret about the game, Apples To Apples.  You play your red apple cards trying to get the coveted green apple card.  All the red apple cards are nouns and the green ones are adjectives.  Next time you play the game, notice that the green cards each player collects are accurate descriptions of that player!  Don’t laugh out loud when your opponent gets “Undesirable” and “Dull.”

The thi...

(Photo Credit Bryan Liscinsky)

The phrase, “we’re all in the same boat” has new meaning for me after taking part in the inaugural Ocean Plastic Leadership Summit. As a first-of-its-kind expedition, SoulBuffalo compiled more than 150 leaders from the largest chemical companies, plastic producers, and environmental groups from around the globe. The group met out at sea for four days on a 400 foot ship in one of the highest concen...

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