I am a freelance game-designer but as with many working in this field, I do have another job! I work in healthcare and run my own communication-skills business. I also trained as a professional actor and have worked a lot in the theatre.
But that's not really what you want to know, right? What are my favourite games? How did I get into game design? That's the important information!
I enjoyed boardgames a great deal as a child, playing many of the mass-market games from Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers. But my favourite game as a child was Scotland Yard from Ravensburger: a deduction game where a team of detectives attempt to locate the elusive Mr X in a map of London. This felt different to the mass-market games. It was some twenty years later that I heard of the prestigious Spiel Des Jahres (Game of the Year) award and discovered that Scotland Yard was an early winner!
Throughout my teenage years I played many games from Games Workshop - Blood Bowl Talisman and the like. During my university years, party games like Balderdash, Cranium and Articulate were my games of choice.
Then I discovered modern European-style games: Dominion, Agricola, Dixit, Tigris and Euphrates and developed a love of clever mechanisms and beautiful components. Over the years I gathered quite a collection of games and explored every genre.
Over recent years I have found that I particularly enjoy light/accessible games: family games and simple strategy games, although my favourite game is still a midweight, highly interactive, strategy card-game: Evolution from Northstar Games.
A gaming friend was dabbling with his own design - a simple tile-laying game which he hoped to self-publish through the Gamecrafter website. We played this game a lot and had a great time throwing ideas back and forth, seeing what worked and what didn't. I very quickly acquired a taste for design - I loved the creative problem-solving and the collaborative playtesting process.
I put together several designs of my own and was fortunate enough to meet a group of game enthusiasts who were forming a design-group in my home-town of Cardiff. Over many months we developed multiple prototypes. Meanwhile other groups were cropping up in other cities around the UK - part of a network of design groups called Playtest UK. I started to meet up with successful professional designers around the UK: Brett Gilbert, Matthew Dunstan, Sebastian Bleasdale, David Mortimer, Rob Harris and too many more to name-check here. Watching their increasing success inspired my to put my own ideas forward.
I attended Essen Spiel convention for the first time in 2012 and pitched game designs for the first time at the UK Games Expo in 2014. I now attend both of these conventions annually, along with the Nuremburg Toy Fair, and have forged great relationships with many publishers. It didn't take much to get their attention: a plane ticket, a friendly email, an intriguing game idea, and a polite professional approach. If you want to be a game-designer I would say there has never been a better time. My first two games were released in 2017 (Doodle Rush and Big Bazar). I won my first awards in 2018 (Imagination Awards for Doodle Rush and Pikoko; and UK Games Expo Award for Best Card Game 2018 for Pikoko).
You can see my video-blogs of these convention visits on my YouTube channel.