Why Do I Make Games? An Introduction.

I have always had an admiration for games. They provide a perfect mixture of competition and camaraderie that has always reminded me of growing up. For as long as I can remember, games just existed - on buffets, in boxes, on the shelving of closets (often sharing space with "hidden" Christmas presents). I had the staples growing up. Those games everyone remembers from the big names no one does. When I reminisce about those classics, I get an overwhelming sense of nostalgia. Admittedly, this is the only nostalgia I'll say I enjoy; in my mind, I'm not quite old enough to experience true nostalgia. My nieces and nephews would say otherwise.

As I grew out of my Chutes & Ladders, Trouble, and Candyland formative years, I began to learn of games that required more thought, careful planning, and reading your opponents. I made formal acquaintance with games that have persisted across the ages (though not my ages - I'm still young): Uno, Monopoly, Jenga, Pay Day. Okay, maybe that last one didn't stand up to the test of time as well as its counterpart with the pink and blue pegs, but some of my earliest memories include that simplistic understanding of life's daily grind.

It wasn't long before I was venturing into more thought-provoking games. I developed a fondness for Chess, Euchre, Backgammon, those games involving more planning and a shifted mindset from "what do I need to do to win" to my favorite question in gaming: "what do I need to do to make my opponents lose?" Did any of this develop a healthy(ish) flair for competition within me? Possibly. After all, you don't need the highest score, just a higher score than everyone else.

As I got older, or, rather, as I remained young for longer, I learned how to play a lot (I thought) of games. Board games, card games, video games, drinking games (sorry, mom) - you name it, I would play it. Sadly, I was still limited. I had only been introduced to a few games in the now-respectable genre of indie gaming. I was an avid fan of Magic: The Gathering, a dedicated regular in Achaea from Iron Realms Entertainment, and slowly became addicted to Cribbage.

I don't remember the first major indie game introduction I had. I suppose I could look back (shortly back, remember) to think of many I tried, try to match them to a year, and make a timeline. But that sounds like too much work and would, most likely, be even more boring to read than to write. I remember Atmosfear on VHS (don't say a word), HeroQuest, and some other "mainstream" games that others might not have tried. I have always been a fan of Steve Jackson games and I've now grown a complete admiration for off-kilter, "indie" games.

So why are we here? Is any of that important? Not really, no. Except that it's led me here. To this project. It's led you here, whatever your story is, to this page. I can't say it's fate, but if you consider the multitude of decisions and seemingly-small events that led us to where we are, me writing this (obviously not right this second, since you're reading it) and you reading this, it is mind-boggling. Yet here we are. A simple comment from the love of my life during a family game night sparked the chain of events that put a company in motion. An "imagine if," not from the dreamy mind of a child, but from the frazzled-brain of a Type A school teacher as she sighed relief at a game that didn't involve an hour inside a miniature book before game play could begin.

That "imagine if" led to an "it could," a "let's try it," and, resolutely, a "check this out." I had not only developed the concept and design for my first official board game (let's not talk about the liberal arts college-themed opoly game) and found a site to prototype and sell it, but I had coaxed something out of me that I had never put thought into before. If I liked playing games so much, why wouldn't I enjoy designing them, too. Within months, I introduced Brains & Brawn Gaming to the world with four games at launch and one in development.

Will this succeed? Who knows? All I know is that I'm going to keep doing what I have come to greatly love doing - bringing the crazy stuff bouncing around in my head to a cohesive and (hopefully) enjoyable idea for you to use to cultivate that same love of gaming which led us to this point in anyone else. That next game could be their Uno, their Snakes & Ladders, their memories for life.

So why do I make games? For me, for you, and for them. So that, even for 20-30 minutes with 2-4 players ages 12+, we can escape into that fusion of rivalry and companionship. So that we can find those moments to be closer with our friends, family, and strangers with common interests and the right set of dice. So that we never stop saying, "Imagine if."

Stick with me, and let's do amazing things.

- Keith


© 2021 by Brains & Brawn Gaming.