About Me

The basics - I'm Dave Dobson. I turned 40 in 2009. My real job is teaching (mostly geology) at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina.

With regard to games, I've been playing and designing games since I was a kid. My family still remembers one of my early works, the Roy Rogers Game, a roll-and-move game which was nearly impossible to finish. There was a part of the board where it went something like you had to roll a three, then a six, in order to avoid being sent back to the ranch (the start). As a result, you got sent back to the ranch, a lot. We gave up on it after about a half hour of repeated ranch visiting. My room, desk and attic were full of game ideas, index cards, paper cutouts, and all manner of little bits.

I also loved video games, and I grew up in the golden age of arcades, Atari, and the rise of home computers. Once my family got a computer, I started doing a lot of game programming. I filled many a 5.25" floppy disk (and later, many a 3.5" HD disk, and then hard drives, and now several webservers and cloud space) with computer game projects. Eventually, that led to a series of shareware releases, the most famous of which was Snood, first released in 1996. Snood has been played by millions of people, which is cool and still a surprise to me, who remembers it as an early Mac programming project for me in graduate school in 1996.

I've been publishing shareware games for the past fifteen years, but I've always kept up my interest in board games and board game design, coming up with a bunch of ideas and designs through the years. I've pondered trying to get some of them published, or with publishing them myself, but I was really busy with Snood and with my day job (teaching college). Also, it never seemed like the economics would work out - the games were too complex, with too many parts, and maybe with too limited an appeal, to seek a publisher or to publish on my own.

A couple of things have changed recently. One is that my role with Snood has been reduced. This gives me a little more free time and free brain-space to take on some other projects. Another is, I've come up with a couple of new game designs that are easier to publish - they've got fewer parts and I hope some broader potential appeal.

So, this blog, connected to my new company (Plankton Games), exists to chronicle my thinking, my experiences, and my attempts to get some of my games to market. I hope that readers (if there ever are any) will be able to use what's here to inform their design and publishing experience. Thanks for coming along.