A funny thing happened to Stephen Finn on his way to becoming a well-respected game designer and eponymous publisher (Dr. Finn’s Games). Born in 1967, Finn’s early pursuit of higher education began with an interest in physics. This was followed by a brief interest in psychology, and eventually led to the pursuit of multiple degrees in philosophy that culminated with his acquisition of a Ph.D. and a full-time job as a college philosophy professor.
“I had a position as an adjunct professor at Seattle University. While I was finishing my Ph.D. work I re-discovered Risk briefly,” he says. “I happened to be walking by a game store during this time and I came across this Michael Schacht game called Web of Power, an area control game like Risk but quicker. I played that game a ton and I started buying and playing a lot of games.”
Eventually, Finn got the idea of making his own games. But in one of those “life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans” moments, he got sidetracked. He came to the realization that one couldn’t buy a custom deck of playing cards anywhere, so he decided to learn how to make a deck of cards at a reasonable price. He made arrangements with a local print shop where he used a high-end digital printer, found really good card stock, and bought a Kluge letter press, which he used as a die-cutter to cut the pieces of large cardstock that he was having printed.
“I created a little company to make customized playing cards. I made almost no money from it, so it was almost a hobby,” he recalls. “I was thinking maybe it would become something bigger. So, I’d developed this game and got sidetracked for a couple of years, making playing cards in small runs.”
They changed the name to Biblios
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Gaming By Degrees: The Philosophical Journey of Dr. Finn's Games
Early in his career as a self-publishing game designer, Dr. Stephen Finn earned a reputation as a designer of filler games. In fact, Richard Ham, host of the well-known board gaming video series and podcast “Rahdo Runs Through,” has called Finn the “undisputed King of the Filler.” It was a title that Finn embraced. “There was a time,” notes Finn, “when ‘filler’ wasn’t a pejorative term, but I think it’s now becoming one. I was always proud to call myself the King of the Fillers, because I was thinking of ‘filler’ as just a quick thing.” “However, over time, I began to realize that it may be to my detriment and now, I try to avoid it.” Not completely. Finn continues to promote the phrase on his company’s website because “being King of anything is still a good thing.” “I was thinking maybe it would become something bigger.”
PUBLISHING AMID A PANDEMIC: How Board Games Survived and Thrived in 2020
COVID’s lasting impacts on our health and economy are still far from being understood. It will take many of us years, perhaps even a decade, to unravel what has changed in the last year. But some patterns are emerging, at least in the board gaming hobby, that indicate many publishers were well ahead of the curve even before the threat of a pandemic affected their supply chains worldwide. As the world began locking itself down to quell the threat of COVID-19, people continued to find solace in hobbies. Soon, the business journals and magazines of the world began tracking the increase of sales across a wide swath of interests as people did anything and everything to take their minds away from the weight of a pandemic circling the globe. Turns out, everything from toys, guitars, crafts, and board games were selling well despite a deflated economy. Report Linker’s “Board Games Market - Global Outlook and Forecast 2021-2026” estimates that sales in the hobby will grow by 13 percent in the next five years, even with continued lockdowns. But what about the hobby as a whole? This article examines how 2020 affected the board gaming industry through three facets — big box stores, local board gaming cafes and stores, and the digital space — and how the pandemic has shaped them in the interim as well as moving forward. Is this projected forecast of its growth still as rosy?
Attending a mysterious funfair, you start to have psychic visions. Can you catch a killer before the evening is through?
1-4 PLAYERS | 15-45 MINUTES | AGES 7+
Live the sugary dream in Candy Lab, as you fulfill orders of candy bars and compete for the title of master confectioner!
MIND GAMES: The Psychology of Board Games
What is the mind? For the ancient Greeks, the idea of the mind was synonymous with the concept of “soul.” Plato believed the psyche was immortal and became wiser and more perceptive after death. More recently, Freud and Jung refined the idea of seele (soul) as a subset of the overall psyche, that which governs thought and behavior — in short, personality. As a game designer and armchair psychologist, I am fascinated by what makes games tick. But even more, I love to discover what makes players tick. Games are products of the human mind, and the mind is the arena on which the contest is played. All the aspects of cognition — perception, thinking, judgment, language, memory, and more — play into the game experience.
Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar
2-4 PLAYERS | 45-60 MINUTES | AGES 7+
GAME REVIEWS: CALICO
Winner of CGI’s Best Casual Game of 2020 award, Calico is filled with adorable cats and versatility in its tile laying, giving it a combination of challenging gameplay and soothing delightful theme.
2-10 PLAYERS | 60 MINUTES | AGES 8+
BOARD GAMES IN THE CLASSROOM
Gamers gather around a table to unbox a new board game or bring out an old favorite. Together, they enter into a unique experience of mental challenge, social interaction, and creative play — an experience that draws them together. But can this special experience have anything to do with learning? John Coveyou, founder of Genius Games, insists that it does. Whenever you take a seat around a table to play a board game, “your mind can’t not begin to pick up information about the world that the game is themed around.” Without a doubt, learning is part of the experience, but is it a big enough part to justify using board games in the classroom? If so, how can board games be best used for learning?
HELEN FRETTER ON JZERRO
Kingpins and wannabes barrel through the London underworld.
It's Only My pinion Daytime's most outspoken columnist!
Umbrella stories are back! Whodunits, “Who’s the daddy?” and classic wedding disasters.
B&B: FINN PROPOSES TO STEFFY
Hot on the heels of the revelation that Finn, not Liam, is the father of Steffy’s baby, the good doctor has a very important question to ask the woman he loves. “When he was racing to Malibu to stop Steffy from leaving, Finn made one stop to pick up a precious heirloom,” winks his portrayer, Tanner Novlan. “In this moment, after he tells Steffy that he’s the father, Finn makes the most of it.”
Hot Plots Preview!
What Will Happen
It's Only My Opinion
Daytime’s most outspoken columnist!
Bold and beautiful
Bold and beautiful
BILLIE EILISH, UNFILTERED, IN NEW DOCUMENTARY
If you’re coming to “ Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry ” hoping for a primer on the music sensation, you’ve come to the wrong place. Filmmaker R.J. Cutler’s two hour and 20-minute documentary about the “Ocean Eyes” singer and songwriter is not biography or reportage. It’s a verite-style plunge into her life, her home, her concerts, her process, her Tourette’s, her brother’s bedroom where they famously write all their songs and even her diary in the year in which she became a star.
The contemporary home is already much different than what our grandparents were used to with the internet and smart devices laying around.
B&B: LIAM FATHERED STEFFY'S BABY!
The paternity test results reveal that Liam is the father of Steffy’s unborn child, and the truth is met with a host of different feelings.