Blog

Game Inventor Insider ft. Kim V.

March 13, 2017

March is National Women's History Month! Here at Peaceable Kingdom we celebrate women every day. We are taking the opportunity to highlight our female game inventors and how proud we are to have them on our team! See for yourselves why these women are so great. 

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Kim Vandenbroucke is from Glen Ellyn, Illinois but currently living in Chicago.  Kim went to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and got her degree in Industrial Design. Kim has been inventing games for 15 years and has written her own industry/game review blog, TheGameAisle.com, for 8 years.  In addition to inventing games, Kim does some brainstorming work for companies outside of the toy and game industry.  She loves being busy with work, but always carve out time to play competitive women’s volleyball.  Her team won our division of the USA Volleyball Adult National Championships last year.  Woohoo!

1. When did you begin inventing games?

I started inventing games right out of college.  I was hired by a toy/game invention firm and I think that they thought I would want to invent “girls” items, but instead I gravitated towards games.

2. When did you know you were interested in gaming?

I don’t know that there was a specific time; they were just part of my childhood. My mother was a math teacher and like to teach math behind games while we played and my father’s family is a game-loving family, so I played lots of games growing up.  I even played on my junior high’s bridge team with my sister for a year -- I learned that I’m not a fan of bridge, but we did win a bit!

3. When and what was the first game that you invented?

In 2002 I invented a scavenger hunt game for tween girls that used magazines.  Hasbro picked it up and called it Cover to Cover.  It was so much fun!

4. What Peaceable Kingdom games have you designed?

Blue Plate Scramble is my first with Peaceable Kingdom, but I’m super-excited about it!

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5. What is your favorite memory of Peaceable Kingdom?

Having my daughter bring me a Peaceable Kingdom game and asking to play (this happens a lot).  Having my kiddo enjoy games as much as I do makes me one proud mama!

6. What is your all-time favorite game to play?

Impossible to answer!  There are so many games I love: Rummikub, Patchwork, Qwixx, Scattergories Categories (in fairness, that one’s mine!), Splendor, Yahtzee, Ticket to Ride, Carcassonne, and virtually anything I can play with my daughter.

7. If you had advice to young game inventors what would it be?

Invent something you want to play; something that makes you happy.  Then see if other people enjoy it too.  If they don’t, ask them what they’d improve. Sometimes a little collaboration or outside opinions give you the tweaks you need to make something great.  This also helps convince others to play it with you!

8. What is your dream theme for a game?

Haha - there are so many!  I would have loved to do one on the Columbian Exposition of 1893 because the research would have been so much fun, but someone beat me to it.

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9. When do you find you have your best ideas?

Right before I fall asleep for a nap.  There are a few not-quite-asleep minutes when your brain goes to some weird places, and that’s when I get some wacky, but fun, ideas.

10. Can you share a bit about your game developing process?

I work in lots of different ways. Sometimes a game idea pops fully formed into my head, others need to stew for a while.  Other times the name comes first and then I have to spend some quality time feeling out the game play.  But this is all what I love about my job; no day or project is ever the same!

11. Share a fun fact!

I share my office with my dog, Otis.  His crate is built into my desk so he often snoozes next to me when I work late at night.  Unfortunately, he snores.

Visit Kim's blog to read more here!

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