Globo Custom Games: Spreading Family Fun Through Innovation
By: Sunnie Dawn Baker
When Kevin Myers took a job at Legalshield in 2008, he never dreamed that within fifteen years he would be starting his own board game company—Globo Custom Games. Myers had been living in Shawnee, working in Occupational Therapy, when he decided to make a career change to Information Technology. This led Myers to commute to Ada every day to work at Legalshield, where he met his wife, Sandy, who he married in 2010. This marriage and partnership gave them a daughter, Mattie, and also Globo Custom Games.
Family is important to the Myers family. They have four children between the two of them. Kevin brought the eldest, Christian, to the family, and Sandy had two boys of her own, Jake and Cord. Then, once they were married, they had a daughter together, Mattie. The ages of the kids range from 7 to 34 and you can see Mattie’s eyes light up when she talks about her older brothers. The family was always looking for ways to spend quality time together, and board games are a good way to do that. However, especially with such diverse ages, it can be difficult to find a game that everyone can play and enjoy playing. This provided the spark of inspiration for Myers; he decided to design and produce a board game that would be fun for the whole family while also having an educational component for his daughter, who was in kindergarten at the time.
He started with a board game with flashcards, adding a trivia component. As they kept talking about it and testing different versions, his wife kept telling him to drop the trivia aspect and just focus on the board game. They were constantly workshopping their ideas. Eventually they landed on their first solid concept, which they called 4-By in the beginning, because the game is based on grouping the game pieces in a straight line of four, a stack of four, or a square. Myers bought his first 3-D printer because he saw that as the quickest and most efficient way to produce the game. And then they had their first version of 4-By. However, this game was still in the beginning phases and would still need more work and more tweaking.
After input from Sandy, the game quickly evolved from 4-By to 4BEE. This transformation gave the game a more playful and “cute” aesthetic, with the game pieces representing bees, bee queens, and bee stingers. The game is played on a 4×4 game board and each player has 15 bees, 5 queens, and 5 stingers as well as two 4-sided dice. The object is to either make a line of four game pieces, a square of four, or a stack of four. The game piece you can place is dependent on a roll of the dice and each piece has its own purpose. For instance, stingers can be placed on opponent’s pieces, foiling their plans, while queens are invulnerable. This makes the game a combination of chance and skill, and most games take less than five minutes to play.
While Myers considered many different options for producing the game, he decided 3-D printing was the best way to go for many reasons. He looked into plastic mold injection, but at his scale 3-D printing was cheaper, easier, and more convenient. He thought about woodworking, but that takes too long. In the end, printing the game board and the pieces himself was the best route and it also led to a more durable product, unlike the board games made of cardboard that eventually wear out over time. Also, 3-D printing gives him the ability to easily customize the games as well, offering them in different color combinations or incorporating other elements as needed.
While Myers was developing 4BEE, he also developed his second game, SUPER4BEE. This game was a bit more complicated while maintaining similar principles. Instead of a 4×4 game board, it has a hexagonal board that resembles a honeycomb. The goal for is to either make a line or stack of seven pieces or the player can create a “flower” with the seven pieces for a win. This game takes a little longer to play but builds upon a similar experience with 4BEE. Once both games were finalized, Myers, with the strong encouragement of his son, created an LLC for his new company, Globo Custom Games. He then started a Kickstarter campaign for both games. Myers set the Kickstarter at $2,000 but ended up having $2,500 pledged by the end of it. It put a six-month fulfillment date on it and is set to have all orders taken care of by August. Once the Kickstarter orders are fulfilled, the Myers can progress to the next step in his plan.
Even though Myers is busy with work and family, he has hopes for the future of his game company. He says, “After our initial Kickstarter orders are fulfilled in August, we will launch our online store. We can produce about 80 games per month with our current equipment. We plan to invest our net profits into additional printing equipment, increasing capacity to approximately 300 games per month by year end. Our mid-term goal is additional expansion to 600 games per month.” Myers also hopes to see 4BEE and SUPER4BEE in stores around town in addition to the online sales.
He does not plan to stop with these two games. The possibilities for game design are nearly limitless when one considers what 3-D printing technology can accomplish and how it has grown over the years. Myers has the goal of releasing ten games within five years—two games per year. Eventually he would like to set up a 3-D printing hub for others in the community to use as well, so that they can also bring their own visions to life. Globo Custom Games began as a way for a family to spend quality time having fun together, but by using innovation, technology, and the entrepreneurial spirit, it is becoming something much more, while spreading family fun to others.
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