Nadine Sehnert -Connecting People thru Twin Cities Board Games Meetup Group and More!
Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?
Currently, my husband, Mike Tangedal, and I are administrators for The Twin Cities Board Games Meetup group. In 2003, my sister Kristi told me about Meetup and that there was a board game group that needed an administrator. Without an administrator (the one who pays the fees) you can’t schedule events. At this time, Mike and I had been running our own board game parties for our friends that grew out of Mike’s annual birthday party. Se we became administrators and moved from just collecting old board games to learning about all the new games.
In September of 2004 we had gone to Chicago for a weekend with some friends and ended up going to CHITAG at Navy Pier. I remember meeting Tim Walsh. We bought a copy of his book, “The Playmakers” and had it signed by John Spinello.
Not long after that, I found a used board game that was missing the instructions, did some research and found a way to contact the designer – who happened to be Mary Couzin! She said, “Hey, I have this convention in Chicago you should come to.” I replied we had already been! We’ve only missed going one year since.
We started volunteering when it was in Schaumburg, doing demos of games and eventually started volunteering and then working at both the Inventors conferences as well as the consumer show and now I work for Mary as her Director of Operations. It’s an amazing group of people to work with and we look forward to working with Mary every year.
We’ve also just started teaching board games to middle school students in an afterschool program which is unfortunately on hold, due to COVID-19. We are trying to bring games other than Uno, Clue and Monopoly to inner city youth.
What advice can you give to inventors who are presenting new toy or game ideas to you?
Know what other games or toys are out there. Too many times people come to me with an idea and I’ve said, “Oh, have you played XYZ and they will say, “Oh, I’ve never played any games before!” You need to know your audience – who are you designing for. I have a background in web user interface design and it will never cease to amaze me how many people have no idea how the consumer or end use will use their product.
What advice would you give a young adult graduating from high school or college today?
Listen to your heart. The rest of your life will follow. And don’t be afraid of hard work.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
Connecting people to each other. Whether it’s through playing a game, teaching a game, playtesting a game or helping others network for me it’s all about creating connections. The more we know about one another the easier it is for us to understand each other.
What excites you?
Getting young people involved in face to face board gaming, especially youth of color. Board games are a great way to help break down barriers and we need to reach outside of our comfort zone to embrace everyone. We will all benefit.
What was your favorite toy or game as a child?
I grew up in a family of 8 kids. We played a lot of games. I have great memories of playing RISK. But mostly in my family we play card games. Every gathering must include at least one hand of cards! I have wonderful memories of playing cards with my grandparents and great grandmother and great aunts and uncles. What a blessing to grow up in a family that is all about play.
Do you have any special talents?
If you say you don’t like to play board games, I can find something you will enjoy playing.
What is my dream?
I would love to have a permanent game center – like a rec center but just for all things games – board games, card games, video games. There would be small rooms, larger adjustable size rooms. Great tables and chairs. Fantastic lighting. Permanent board game library. This would be a space for all ages, all types of gamers. There could be bridge and mah jongg clubs using the space along side Live Action Role players. All ages, all types of gamers, all backgrounds. There would also be wonderful outdoor spaces for outdoor games too.