In my early teens, my stepfather introduced me to the Basic Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game. It was unlike anything I had ever encountered before. In that red box I found an amazing vessel that allowed me to CREATE. It was an outlet for something that I never realized I had the capacity for.

Expert Dungeons & Dragons (the blue box) quickly followed. And all through my teens and twenties I amassed more RPGs that fed my creative obsession. Shadowrun, Warhammer Fantasy, Rifts, Amber, and so much more. During this time I touched on board games, such as Battletech and Car Wars. And then card games, like Magic: the Gathering.

I enjoyed making adventures, worlds, characters, and stories for all these games. They were worlds where I had control. It was relief from the troubles of the real world.

Eventually, as we all do, I became an adult. And adults are too busy with life to play games all the time. My friends and I all formed our adult lives. Got married, bought houses, had regular jobs, and all those other grown-up things. A great dry spell of non-gaming was upon me.

After a decade or so of not playing games, I came upon a local game store in town. On a whim, I decided to take a look. My thought was that I might find something my wife would enjoy playing. This was my first encounter with ‘modern’ board gaming.

So many games to choose from! Every theme imaginable was here. I must have spent an hour in that store browsing through the shelves. Eventually, for no good reason I can remember, I purchased Descent: Journeys in the Dark Second Edition.

I brought Descent home and felt the joy of unboxing a big meaty game. We played and I loved it. My wife did as well, but would have preferred a more cooperative game. I looked on BoardGameGeek and discovered that creating game variants was a big thing. I tried a couple co-op variants for Descent but none clicked with me. And there I felt that creative demon rising again. Next thing I knew, I had created my own co-op variant for Descent.

At this point, one board game was not enough. The collection grew. More variants were created. The biggest draw for me now was experiencing the mechanics of a game. I loved to see a game system in action.

I’ve left the creation of variants behind, and graduated to designing original games. I don’t expect to be successful, or get rich. I just do it for the love of creating a THING. And then allowing others to experience that thing.

Legal Bits
All photos are property of Paul Reney.
The rolling dice favicon is a creation of Delapouite at game-icons.net and is used under the CC BY 3.0 license.