Plenty of high school students dream of becoming game designers, and a few go ahead and make their own video games. But not many venture into the world of creating full-fledged board games.
Nathaniel Brezner-Mendoza of Santa Cruz, California, recently launched Safe on a Base, a fairly simple baseball-themed game. Nathaniel designed the basic rules of the game when he was a small boy, stuck inside on rainy days and unable to play his favorite sport. In recent years, he's been perfecting the rules, with the help of his friends.
His family helped him stump up the $25,000 he needed to get the game printed up and packaged, via a company called Board Game Design, which works with budding game-makers to help get their creations to market.
"They have been very easy to work with and gave great advice when we needed help or when they thought something should be changed," said Nathaniel. "We made a lot of changes to all of the graphics until we felt that our design was just the way we wanted it."
In the game, players roll a die to make their way around the board, seeking the safety of bases and avoiding perilous slots guarded by fielders. It's basically Chutes and Ladders on a diamond. Nathaniel and his pals have been selling the game on the streets of their local town. I came across them one lunchtime and bought the game for $29.99. My younger kids, who are just learning about baseball, seem to enjoy it.
Nathaniel also sells the game online and at games conventions. "The games have sold very well for the limited time that we have had to sell them, and we have received great feedback from everyone who has purchased the game," he said.