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Eglis Grasmanis, CEO and Founder - Brain Games

Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?

In 2003 I was invited to try out a board game with my friends that changed my life. It was Settlers of Catan. Never ever had I imagined that a board game could make such an impact. We played day and night, and I even skipped the work for one or two days because of this. In 2004 we formed Brain Games and published first Settlers of Catan Latvian edition.

What trends do you see in toys or games that excite or worry you?

I am more than excited to be working in such a creative and friendly industry. It is very interesting to follow the trends and try to come up with new ones. Board games will never go out of trend because people will always want to play. Some might think that the fats development of the technology might be the biggest threat to board game industry. I believe it is an opportunity.

What advice can you give to inventors who are presenting new toy or game ideas to you?

Don’t be afraid to develop your craziest or strangest of ideas. Take every criticism with respect and do your best to improve the game. Game publishers are looking for a “WoW” effect. Think out of the box. Don’t follow the trend. Impress.

What was your favorite toy or game as a child?

I am very thankful to my grandmother for playing checkers and different card games every time when I visited her after school. Only now I realize that these gaming afternoons were the best times of my childhood. Checkers and card games like “Joker” and “Black Peter” were my favorites.

What does your typical day look like?

I wake up around 7:00 AM usually and am in charge of the breakfast and my youngest son Miks (turning 3 on August 3rd) loves helping me with that. After bringing other 2 children to school, the working day starts normally around 9:00 AM. I have to admit that I am a very chaotic person. My desk is full of unsorted papers, notes, business cards and catalogs. My colleague and friend gave me a great sign that I keep showing to all wondering about the mess on my desk. It’s a quote from Albert Einstein “If a clattered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign”. I am trying to split my working day between very urgent emails and matters, game development sessions and meetings. I am strictly trying to finish early so that most of my evenings are devoted to my lovely family.

What is the worst job you’ve ever had and what did you learn from it?

Worst job was surely doing one thing all day long. I was doing apprenticeship as a wholesale and export manager in Germany and I remember spending few days just doing one thing the whole day. Putting stamps somewhere in the logistics department. I cannot imagine doing a boring task all the time as a full time job. Job without a learning curve is the worst. I love challenges and I love solving problems. The bigger the better.

What inspires you?

My grandmother inspires me. She is getting 95 this August and she has experienced many different and difficult times in her life. The World War 2 separated her and the love of her life in 1940’s. She did not know if he is alive or not. After the collapse of USSR my mother helped with finding him in Germany. They spent the best aging years possible together. Guna has the clearest mind – she easily finds themes and common language with people of any age. All of my 3 children adore playing with her.

Where were you born?

I was born in Riga, Latvia in 1977. I still live and intend to stay living in Riga in the long term and would also like to see my children raising up in Riga.

Where did you grow up and how did that influence who you are today?

I was born in the USSR and yes - it was a totally different world and culture. I am very sure that all people who have had a chance to live for a longer period of time in different regimes, who have seen many cultures, are much more so to say bullet proof and resistant. I would like to think that growing up in USSR, experiencing the collapse of a regime and then having the chance to live in Germany for few years, and traveling to different cultures has given me chance to better appreciate what I have.

What do you read every day, and why?

I love reading e-mails. Unfortunately I did not like to read a lot in school and when young. Nowadays I enjoy listening audio books and podcasts.

What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?

It is surely my headphones. Whether at work, in a plane or late night at home – good quality headphones is surely currently my favorite gadget. At work –it’s the way not to distract. On a plane – great way to relax and not be exhausted after long flights. And at home to watch a new comedy or a talk show episode without disturbing others.

How do you jumpstart your creativity when you find yourself stalled on a project?

I am just trying to throw out all possible and crazy ideas to our development team and some of them might catch and have a chance. I am not afraid. Fear is the worst enemy of human kind.

Are you named after anyone?

I only recently found out that there is a beer called Egils in Iceland. My names origins are from Scandinavia. We, Latvians just put an “S” at the end of every male word.

Do you have any kiddos?

I have three of them. My eldest son is Toms and he 10 now. A Daughter Dora is 7 and Miks is turning 3 on August 3rd.

Do you have any pets?

No, but my daughter adores dogs and would like to have one. Me too actually as I have never had one. But I do understand that because of me traveling a lot and my daughter possibly losing interest in the dog, my wife would be the one being responsible for it. However, I think one day we will just get one with my daughter.

Do you play any musical instruments? If so, which one(s)?

No, I don’t, but my kids do – My son plays Accordion and my daughter plays Violin.

What’s the first thing you usually notice about people?

I think I really have a good eye for people. I somehow feel their attitude. First thing I notice, respect and appreciate in people is the open mindness.

What is your eye color?


Do you prefer scary movies or happy endings?

I love Science and Mystery movies with unclear endings. I enjoy movies that make you keep thinking.

Summer of Winter?

Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter – we have all of them in Latvia.

What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?


Do you have any special talents?

I love solving problems and organizing events.

What are your hobbies?

Snowboarding, Wakeboarding, Photography

What’s next?

Invent a game and win Spiel Des Jahres main award!

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