Travis & Holly Hancock | 2019

Travis & Holly Hancock  – The Birth of a Board Game

Co-Founders of Facade Games

Innovative. Curious. Fun-loving.

TED Talk Video

As game inventors, it is crucial to keep in mind that players must achieve a state of “flow” and complete immersion into the world or “system” that is created. Achieving flow is what gets players excited so that they will keep coming back. This talk gives a glimpse into the world of a full-time game inventing couple and how they create simple mechanics with intriguing choices, how they raise the stakes and get people invested in the outcome, and how they find the balance between player autonomy with luck in the overarching narrative of a game.

Back in 2015, this inventing couple launched their first game as a fun side project, hoping to produce a few hundred copies for friends and family. However, when they launched the game on Kickstarter, it received much more interest than expected. In early 2017, they launched a second game and were again overwhelmed by the support we received from the Kickstarter community. They were then able to quit their respective day jobs and begin making board games full time.

Facade Games has now sold over 80,000 copies of their games, earned over $1 million in revenue, and have been featured on CNBC. Travis heads up the game concepts and the business end of things while Holly takes charge of the graphic design and overall presentation of the games.

Both were raised in the Midwest (Holly in Indiana, Travis in Beavercreek, Ohio), and are proud to base their company in Columbus. They have a daughter with another on the way, love traveling, and have been to around 20 countries together. They look forward to growing their company and are excited to contribute to the wealth of knowledge and creativity that the TED community provides for the world.