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“I started designing in April 2019”, Nigerian Lady shares her Tabletop Games Experience. “Now, I have 3 games”.

The past decades has seen a high increase in the Tabletop Gaming industry with more new game designers and publishers from all over the world releasing new game titles.

Nigeria; a country in West Africa and the most populated country in Africa is not left out in this new wave of designers and publishers. In this regards, NIBCARD Games Blog interviewed one of the designers in this growing industry in Nigeria. We hope you enjoy the read!

Introduction to our guest;

Yeside Osuolale is the Creative Lead at Forerunner Games, a tabletop games company in Nigeria that is out to change the narrative. What drives us as a company is seeing families, friends and even strangers bond through our games while keeping learning; simple and fun.

Yeside Osuolale (credit: ohlarb studios)

We believe tabletop games are transgenerational and help preserve our stories as individuals and collectively as a people. This is why our games are very inclusive (you’ll always find a part of you in them), of great quality and all proudly made in Nigeria.

When did you start playing boardgames and which is your favourite?

The first board game I remember playing is Ludo when I was about 6 years old. Someone had brought this new game home which seemed to have everyone’s attention. From the rattling sounds you hear when one shakes the dices in that white container, to the slamming sound when its turned over to reveal what number combinations have been played, everything about the game was exciting. Counting and moving my game pieces wasn’t so easy for me at the beginning, but with some help, it became my go-to game.

However, the games I enjoy playing most now are the ones I created!  

Why did you start playing boardgames?

Tabletop games generally are a great way to relieve stress, socialize and just have fun basically (aside the other numerous benefits). From my high school days, playing these games were always looked forward to especially at the end of exams each term.

Getting to college wasn’t any different as the tradition didn’t die. Everyone around me loved games too. From AYÓ to WHOT, we used these games to; pass time, bond and sometimes show who the better player is. (laughs)

Mancala (Ayo), WHOT and Ludo. (credit: yaootaDOTcom)

When did you start designing boardgames?

I started the adventure of board game designing, April 2019. I however didn’t get to publish our first game until December, 2019.

What is your favourite part of designing a game?

Hmm… Every part of it is really fun for me but the most intriguing is seeing other people play and enjoy the games I designed and developed. It does something to me that I can’t explain really… but it sure is a great feeling! (Smiles)

Tell us about First Mention?

First Mention!!! My sweet first baby!!!! (laughs)

Every of our games tell a story and that of FIRST MENTION is so compelling and very relevant even in these times.. the pandemic and all.

First Mention (credit; NIBCARD Games)

First Mention is set in the Modern Medieval Era. It tells of the decadence, corruption and unrest in the world; how many people are displaced because of hardship and confusion. It also sees many others searching for answers! They hear of a place with so much rest in the midst of the storm that plagues the nations of the world.

THE CITY OF LIGHTS! They sojourn the land to find answers, gain mastery and find their footing; to secure an inheritance for themselves and their generations! Players represent these sojourners.

Divided into 8 distinct territories, The City of Lights is the Bible! And as players move their game pieces around the board, they understand the peculiarities of each section of the Bible while learning about the people, places and events in these sections. They are then able to bring this home and relate it with their every day lives; making the right choices and living their best lives God’s way!

credit: NIBCARD Games

First Mention (The Bible BoardGame) can be played in 2 different ways. It is a fast-paced game which blends strategy, skill, and chance while providing great fun and time together.

Wow! How did you think up this game?

Well I didn’t! (laughing) It is purely inspired. FIRST MENTION came to me at the point in my life where I also was searching for answers. You know that feeling you get when you know you are made for more?

I have always been a creative but didn’t just know where to channel my creativity; and for years, it was a big struggle because I believed I wasn’t living my best life.

credit: Yeside

I was on a soul search when the idea of games came to me. I did some research and dicovered that tabletop gaming wasn’t well known in Nigeria.

I found NIBCARD Games who has been doing well in the industry. We got talking, and like they say, the rest is history.

How is the Tabletop Gaming community in Nigeria? 

Hmm.. Very challenging but great opportunities abound regardless! The industry is still very young in Nigeria and  if well structured, can compete with other countries world over.

What are the challenges new designers will face in Nigeria considering that modern games are not popular and how do you advise they can be solved?

New entrants into this industry will have to be determined! You’ll need to make sure this is what you want because its not just about having a great game concept. From getting a good graphics designer and illustrator to interprete your concept well, to manufacturing, to sales and marketing, you will be tried and your patience stretched!

The industry is not well structured yet and so many loop holes. Even though we as a people have boardgames imbibed in our culture, many people have not embraced modern ones. Getting them to do this has not been an easy task.

Soiree (credit: Yeside)

I believe independent players in the industry need to come together to become a formidable force. Institutionalizing modern tabletop games is the way for Nigerians to know we mean business. I mean, board games are not just for leisure or to pass time, they are ‘skill developing agents’, ‘lifelong learning emissaries’ which can be deployed to all sectors of the economy; education, agriculture, oil, services, you name it!

How do you mean institutionalize the industry?

By that I mean, let us have specialties. People who will be known for designing, manufacturing, shipping, sales, marketing and so on. It will aid our growth as an industry and also help bring in some structure to the industry and not just about everyone doing everything! Division of labor as well as collaboration may just be the magic our industry needs.

(credit: Gameosity)

Any other comments

Our business is registered as FORERUNNER GAMES and we have been able to publish 3 tabletop games since our entry into the industry last year December. We have; First Mention, Soirée – the Bible party game (Bible Charades), Letters and Numbers BUILDER (helping the younger generation learn to write as well as develop their creativity)

Letters and Numbers builder (credit: Yeside)

We are also working on our first indeginous game. Please watch out for it and kindly follow us on our social media handles.

  • Instagram: @forerunner_games
  • Facebook: @forerunnergamesofficial            

Thank you for having me!

Thank you too Yeside. We hope to see more of your games and also that more game designers are inspired to create more games too. See you on the streets of the Tabletop Games Industry in Nigeria.

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