Local independent board game developer James Allen has taken his hobby to a new level, and is now being featured at Australia's largest gaming showcase, PAX Australia.
Mr Allen calls Chisholm home and was inspired by his childhood hobby of taking apart board games to create something new, combined with his love of cars.
"I am a fan and a collector of games about racing, both tabletop games and video games, and I just set out to play and develop the game that I wanted to play," he said.
DRiFT is a car racing board game designed for 2-4 players, or drivers as Mr Allen likes to call them and simulates driving a car through an intuitive system of interlocking tiles.
A graphic designer by day, Mr Allen used his design skills and equipment to develop the game's design and components.
"That's a skill that really came in handy, being able to do some of my own artwork as well as use the complex cutting machines that we have at work and prototype rapidly," he said.
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Originally from Canada, Mr Allen has been living in Australia since 2008, and came here "for the same reason men have been doing crazy things all throughout history, it was for a girl," and is now happily married with "two amazing step kids".
"It was a very good decision," he said.
Winner of the Tabletop Game Designers of Australia Prototype of the Year award in 2019, DRiFT will be featured at the upcoming PAX Australia showcase which is being held from October 8th-10th online.
DRiFT was due to be published to the masses when Mr Allen was approached by a board game publisher in 2018 who helped with development of the game, but this has been put on hold due to the pandemic.
According to Mr Allen, one silver lining to production being put on hold is that he was forced to become creative and transformed the tabletop game into an online version through a platform called Tabletop Simulator.
"The benefit is that I'm now able to play-test the game with people all over the world - I've had people from the United States, friends back home in Canada and people all over Australia playing the game."
Mr Allen is the founding member of the Newcastle Board Game Association (NABS) who typically meet at Wests New Lambton every Wednesday night to get together and play games.
"As you can imagine our meetings have fallen by the way a bit with the current lockdown."
According to Mr Allen, being selected in the PAX showcase is quite an honour, especially as this is the first year the showcase has been open to tabletop games.
"I'm pretty pleased, it's a bit of an honour to be a part of it," he said.
The event was set to be held in Melbourne, but due to Australia's current COVID-19 state has been moved online.
"The advantage to it being online is that any number of people will be playing my game simultaneously."
Mr Allen said during the showcase he will be running demonstrations, answering questions and will be a part of a panel discussion about independent game development.
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