Big G Creative - Making Games in the Time of Corona
(Shannon, Alex and Steve)
When the coronavirus started and the world shut down, we were busier than ever developing games from home. Because our operations team already worked remotely (Rob Stevens and Alex Kimerling in Nashville, Steven Anne in Chicago, me in Michigan), working from home wasn’t new for us. However, working from home, with our kids also at home, was definitely a new challenge.
We quickly learned how to balance work with homeschooling, and having our kids at home turned out to be a blessing in disguise. Just like that, we had in-house playtesters at our disposal 24/7.
Our kids played an important role in developing our 2020 games and helped with every aspect of game design from gameplay to rules and content. (Thankfully, we were building family games and not adult party games!) Fortunately, Steven’s wife, Shannon, is an editor and Alex’s wife, Whitney, is an attorney, so they both contributed their time and talents as well. It was definitely a family affair!
In addition to enlisting help from our families, we also turned to our friends and colleagues in the industry - inventors, writers, graphic designers, and manufacturers - who made it possible for us to develop six games in five months! I think we used almost every communication method possible, including email, text, phone, Google Docs, Skype, Zoom, WeChat, Basecamp, Slack and Dropbox. We worked around the clock in order to hit our production deadlines and have many unforgettable memories.
My favorite quarantine story was when we were in the midst of developing a licensed game and needed a specific product for the mold. We wanted an exact replica of the product and had to send a sample to Hong Kong overnight. But we were in the middle of a lockdown, and only essential businesses were open. Every member of our team, and our manufacturing team, GPI, tried to get a hold of the product, but we couldn’t find one anywhere! In desperation, I reached out to my facebook Moms group to see if anyone had one. A friend of mine happened to be shopping at Meijer, and said they had exactly what we were looking for! She dropped it off at my house, then I met Steven halfway at an oasis in South Holland, Illinois, so he could send the sample to Hong Kong overnight. I will never forget the day we broke the stay-at-home order during quarantine to “smuggle” a product across state lines, and then to Hong Kong! We can’t wait for the game to hit shelves in October!
(Shannon and Steve - Sample Send-Off)
COVID-19 taught us a lot. It taught us that you can develop games remotely. It taught us that while our team is small, it is mighty. It taught us that “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” It taught us that many of our new games can be played over Zoom. And it taught us that no matter what, people will always want to connect and play games, especially during a pandemic. Most of all, it taught us that board games are essential.
Special thanks to our kids, Cavan, Charlotte, Amelia, Henry and Max for helping us create games for other families to enjoy! Look for Bye, Felicia! available now at Target and Who’s the G.O.A.T.? coming soon to Target in July.
Big G Creative is a board game publisher where big ideas, big laughs and big games are a big deal. We believe in the power of bringing people together to play, connect and create memories. Based in Nashville, Big G Creative has games for everyone including some of the best-loved properties in entertainment and pop culture. Our award-winning games are available at mass market retailers nationwide and online.