I’d been hawking my game ideas around for a few years, and managed to have some success. I’d got four games published under Hasbro properties, but had so far found no takers for any of my other ideas. However, the Hasbro experience had given me confidence to think about starting out on my own, self publishing, starting a business, something like that.
I knew I would need help. I’m all about having the ideas, but have no talent at all about visuals, artwork, graphics. My games were nothing more than handmade prototypes. Tested and good to go, but I could get them no further.
In the process of fishing around for a support team, I was talking to a copywriter about having a look over my various rules documents. He told me I should meet a friend of his called Matt. ‘Matt’, he told me, ‘makes stuff out of Lego’. Recommendation enough. I met Matt in a Scandi-wegian themed café in the trendy Northern Quarter of Manchester city centre. All the tables were taken and we ended up perched over an on-end log which was doubling as an arty coffee table. I showed Matt my portfolio, and Matt told me about his design consultancy business. Turns out he used to work for Hasbro, and when I said ‘I need someone to design my games’, he knew exactly what I was talking about.
I think it’s fair to say we both came away from that first meeting hoping there could be more to it than him simply doing the artwork.
There followed a couple of months of meetings and talking. Gradually plans started to take shape, and we began to talk about going into business together.