Mesa Game Lab Beginnings

April 16, 2017

Welcome to Mesa Game Lab, a company devoted to developing fun and engaging tabletop game experiences. My name is David Diaz and my partner in this endeavor is Bryan Howard. With this blog we hope to track the growth of our fledgling company, as well as provide you, our readers, with an inside look into our development process, from these early stages, so you can learn from any of the pitfalls and successes we may encounter along the way.

For this first blog post, I want to write a little about my background, how I got into tabletop gaming, and what made me want to jump head first into this amazing field of game development and publishing. Like most kids, I spent lots of time playing board games with my family. The usual suspects were present at our game nights and we had fun. Sometime around the age of 10, in the early 90’s, I discovered Hero Quest and a few years later, Battle Masters. Those two games opened up new world of games to me full of epic monster battles with miniatures, and I loved them. My brother and I played them all the time. I wish I could say I continued in the hobby, but at some point during high school I just stopped playing board games all together.

Fast forward about 15 years. I’m married and have a son, Julian, who I start buying games for. And again the usual suspects return. But as he got older, I remembered how much I loved Hero Quest and Battle Masters. I immediately found great copies on eBay and ordered them. Man was I excited to get them and relive my childhood with my son. Playing them again gave me the itch to see what other games were out there, and boy was I surprised at the endless array of games that had developed since I was a kid. I think the first game we bought (outside of what you can find at Toys R Us) and played as a family was Ticket to Ride. That was the perfect game to get my wife into the hobby as well. Around the same time I came across Wil Weaton’s Tabletop which was a great way to learn about all these new games I never knew existed. After that there was no going back. I found a great game store in Toronto called Meeplemart and I started buying any game that piqued my interest. Great art on a box always sucks me in. Being an artist myself, the visuals of a game are usually the deciding factor for whether I buy it or not. Over the past few years I’ve probably bought and played about 25 games. A fairly small collection which would be bigger if I could afford it! I have quite the list of games I want to buy and even more that I just want to play. As someone with aspirations to design games, playing a wide variety of games is so important. That is definitely something I plan on doing during this process.

Now a lot of people love to play board games. But not all of them decide to try and design their own. What makes me think we even have a shot at succeeding? I guess I don’t have the perfect answer for that. But being at the beginning of this journey, I’m filled with the hope that the talents and expertise Bryan and I have developed throughout our lives will help us design fun games and build a company from the ground up. In case you are wondering, both of us work in the animation and visual effects industry. We are both extremely creative and know how to work with a team to create the magic you see on film and television screens. We know how to work with artists, manage deadlines, and seek solutions to technical and creative problems. Bryan also has experience designing websites, this being one of them, as well as designing and selling 3D printed jewellry. Ultimately, there will be a lot of learning for us to do, but we feel that we can leverage our talents into succeeding at this new endeavor of ours, and we hope you will join us along the way.

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