by Sam Avallone, PLAAY Games
I'm Sam. You might have seen my name already on the letters included with some of your recent packages. Others might recognize me from PLAAY-Dot-CON earlier this year—what a fun weekend! Others still might recognize me from this picture that's been on PLAAY.com's "About" page for quite some time (it was taken in 2009!)
Yes, I'm Keith's son, and I'm excited to announce that starting in 2019 I will be "officially" joining the PLAAY Games team, full-time!
I've been getting my feet wet behind the scenes this summer, helping put together your orders every morning, building games, and bolstering the creative touch that has gone into some of our recent products and features. For example, I designed the graphics for the all-new HISTORY MAKER BASEBALL Trading Card Quick-Rate Package! I think they came out looking pretty neat, and I hope you all get a chance to check them out! All the work that I've done so far has me very excited to jump into this full-time, and my dad and I have some big plans for where we hope to take the PLAAY Games franchise next. So today I'd like to share some of those plans with you, as well as some of my background and what I'm bringing to the table of the PLAAY.com design team.
First things first: you should know right off the bat that I'm not much of a sports guy. I know, crazy, right? I grew up watching football with Keith every Sunday afternoon, and don't get me wrong, I enjoy the spectacle of it. I had a great time with those of you that joined us at the Rockies game during PLAAY-Dot-CON, and I'm always in for going watch the Colorado Mammoth, our local indoor Lacrosse team. I don't have anything against sports, I'm just not as into it as I know many of you are.
Boardgaming, however, is where our interests converge.
Boardgaming I AM into—very, VERY much into! Growing up, I remember countless hours of Monopoly, Risk, Clue, Pictionary, Scrabble, Dealer's Choice, and an unthinkable number of Pokemon Card games, a favorite between my Dad and me. These days I play a lot of Settlers of Catan, Dungeons and Dragons, still more Risk (although we've moved on to the more expansive Risk 2210 A.D.), and still a lot of Pokemon cards, just to name a few. We also picked up Pandemic recently and have really been enjoying that. Anyways, I'm getting off-track here, but all that to say that boardgames are something I am passionate about, and I'm excited to have an outlet to share that passion with you.
On the topic of passions, this winter I will be graduating from the University of Colorado Denver with a degree in 3D animation! I recently wrapped up work on my senior thesis project, a short film created by myself and 24 of my graduating classmates, which is currently in the second round of judging for the Student Academy Awards! Now, I know what you're probably thinking: what does 3D animation have to do with PLAAY.com? Well, to answer your question, really not a whole lot—not the animation part at least. My plan is to take all the artmaking techniques and principles of design that go into putting a pretty picture on the screen and translate that into more modern looking assets for PLAAY Games. Like the aforementioned HMB Quick-Rate Cards, and the PLAAY Dot CON t-shirts! And this poster (at right) for our upcoming event at the Recruits convention in Kansas City, Missouri!
Now let's talk about what this all means for the future PLAAY Games and the community that has grown around it. Our mission right now is to keep the sports simulation game hobby alive, and pass it on to as many people as possible. To be frank—and I'm sure this is no surprise to most of you—the fanbase surrounding these games hasn't seen much growth recently. There has been much speculation as to the cause of this, especially when we see the board game industry at large experiencing a booming revival of sorts. Ultimately, what I think it comes down to is that young people, the generation responsible for this renewed interest in board games, don't have an interest in sports simulation. Or at least they don’t know that they do, yet! Our goal is to change that, and in doing so tap into this new demographic of gamers. We plan to accomplish this by expanding the PLAAY franchise to include not only sports games, but non-sports games as well.
Starting sometime in 2019, we plan to launch a new game initiative, something separate from PLAAY.com, but still connected under the PLAAY brand. These games will not be sports-related, but they WILL create a similar experience to what you have come to know and love from PLAAY Games. We're not quite ready to announce all the details yet, but what we can tell you is this: our goal is to get the attention of new gamers with games that they are interested in, and then keep that attention with game experiences unlike anything they've ever played before. Keith's philosophy in making games has always been "If it’s fun, people will play it." We both believe that every game on the PLAAY Games roster is fun, so we're confident that once these new gamers experience this first-hand we will begin to see a new life breathed into the hobby.
We also want to make it very clear that the PLAAY.com you know today is not going anywhere. We will continue to develop new content for all the classic sports games you already play, and also some new ones that are currently in the PLAAY Games lab. So, even if you're totally disinterested in non-sports games, don't sweat it! You've still got plenty to look forward to in the future of PLAAY Games. That said, Keith and I are confident that anyone who's a fan of current PLAAY games will have a lot of fun with the new projects we're working on, so we hope you'll give them a try once they're ready.
To sum all this up for you, PLAAY Games is in a spot right now where we're looking to bridge the gap between sports simulation games and the rest of the board game hobby. We're very excited about this direction, and I feel blessed to be able to help move the company forward. 2019 is going to be a big year for PLAAY, and we hope you'll join us for the ride!
As always, thanks for all your support, and we'll keep you updated as we have more news to share! Cheers!
Questions? Comments? We're happy to help, just let us know!