The Mothership: A Visit to the New SparkFun Building

Sparkfun

The shipping department was full of dudes with asymmetric facial hair on skateboards. An engineer had picked up about a thousand Keva planks and on an upstairs wrap-around counter space, there was a crowdsourced build going on — in which you could tell the crowd had higher than the average bear’s level of design thinking skills. Strung on a wall was a DIY art piece made of light bulbs and wire that was set to ripple in response to sounds. A trigger-operated race car track wound underneath a 7-foot tall version of one of those wooden dinosaur skeleton kits. Continue reading

Having Fun at the PDX Mini Maker Faire

Mini Maker Faire Portland

Portland’s third Mini Maker Faire was held at OMSI last weekend, and it was an impressive show. I was only able to go on Sunday this year, but I could tell from the difficulty finding parking that it was well-attended. According to OMSI, attendance was 6,700 and there were about 115 Makers exhibiting. Continue reading

Spin Master Toys: 20 Years of Spinnovation

Copyright Spin Master

Last week I had the opportunity to attend a media event for Spin Master, the Canadian success story and one of the global leaders in the toy industry. That’s a long way to have come in just 20 years and Spin Master’s rise from a start-up selling the grass hair-sprouting Earth Buddy to a multinational children’s entertainment company with products ranging from the robotic Zoomer line to Air Hogs RC vehicles and the hit PAW Patrol animated TV series shows how quickly things can change in the industry. With its three co-founders still in leadership roles, an emphasis on innovation and a laser focus on entertaining kids, Spin Master is well positioned for further growth. Continue reading

Announcements From Calliope Games

Tsuro App

Calliope Games is a GeekDad favorite—I first met Ray Wehrs at PAX Prime several years ago, and since then it’s become a tradition to make a trip to the Calliope booth at the beginning of a convention (and sometimes also at the end). This year at Gen Con, Wehrs made several announcements about some things that Calliope has in store. Continue reading

Kickstarter Gen Con Previews

Operation Faust

I already mentioned several ongoing Kickstarter projects that I checked out during Gen Con, and now I’ve got a slew of games I saw in some form that are coming to Kickstarter later—some are launching any day now, and some may still be six months out, but these are games that you’ll want to watch for. Continue reading

Kickstarter Tabletop Roundup: Gen Con Edition

Lift Off X-Wing

You know how much I love Kickstarter board games, and Gen Con was a great opportunity to sit down and play a lot of prototypes with designers and publishers. Some are on Kickstarter now, and some will be launching later this year (or even next year). I’m sure there are plenty that I missed, but here’s a quick run-through of the current and upcoming Kickstarter games I saw last weekend. Continue reading