So you think you are Nigerian? Abi? Or maybe you know a lot about Nigeria? Right? Meet the Designer – couple; Ododo and Bamen who designed a game called SO YOU THINK YOU ARE NIGERIAN!
I met Ododo and Bamen at the Lagos Comic Con in 2018. The auditorium was very busy – buzzing with comics, cosplay and games. The Tabletop Games section was filled with activities. We had already set up the game and I was looking forward to meeting other Nigerian Tabletop Game designers.
It’s almost 2 years and I have personally witnessed the joy the game, So You Think You are Nigerian have created. I have witnessed a Ghanaian win 5 Nigerians on this game (who would have thought…)
I sent Bamen some questions that could share their insight and life as couples in the Tabletop Games Industry in Nigeria. I hope it answers some questions and helps to start others. One thing is certain though, the Tabletop Game Industry in Nigeria is witnessing an evolution – a beautiful one – with the rise of designers, illustrators and content creators in the industry.
Hi, we are Ododo and Bamen Isenmila. We are the co-founders of Harden and Born International Limited, a fantasy company and the makers of SO YOU THINK YOU’RE NIGERIAN Boardgame.
How would you describe the growth of the Nigerian Tabletop gaming industry?
Ododo: Slow, might be a consequence of the current economic situation of the nation as people’s priorities at this point are on sustenance and not necessarily entertainment.
Bamen: Up and coming. I have met some brilliant game designers in the last few years who give me the belief that we could be on to something in the near future. However, they need more examples to know that there could be a future in these paths.
What inspired you to start making and/or promoting Tabletop games?
Ododo: I played a few board games and I realised that it was difficult for people who hadn’t lived/studied abroad to relate, so I thought it would be nice to have something with a Nigerian context that my friends could relate with.
Bamen: There’s a serious knowledge gap among Nigerians especially the younger ones about all things Nigeria and this was just one way to get people to know more about the country in a fun way.
How has it been working with your spouse in the tabletop games industry?
Ododo: It’s interesting as neither of us takes things too seriously so we can share ideas and laugh at ourselves.
Bamen: Its exciting, she’s a brilliant mind and brings a certain reality to my always “best case scenario”
How do you handle creative differences and other decision making?
Ododo: We always know that the other person has the best intentions so it makes it easy to resolve differences.
Bamen: For product development issues, we carefully consider both sides if there are differences and at the end come to a decision. For operational day to day happenings, she just lets me do whatever I choose.
What is the best part about working together?
Ododo: Having a sense of joint accomplishment.
Bamen: Yeah, having a sense of joint accomplishment. Nothing beats that.
In your opinion(s), what does the future hold for the industry in Nigeria and Africa at large?
Ododo: Growth. Hopefully as the economic situation starts to improve, people will start to engage more in entertainment activities.
Bamen: African stories are largely untold. African cinema and music is experiencing increased appreciation by the rest of the world and we are hoping that African games will also catch on.
What advise would you give to a couple or anyone interested in joining the Tabletop Games industry?
Ododo: No idea is too far fetched, people will play anything as far its fun and engaging.
Bamen: Go for it. Nothing should stop you, your ideas are worth sharing.
Thank you Ododo and Bamen for being so awesome and also for granting us this interview. Thank you for gifting Nigerians and the world such an amazing game (I know I am a fan…hahaha).
If you would like to know more about So You Think You are Nigerian, visit Harden and Bron