Smyrna man making his move in world of board games

Daniel Isom holds up tiles from Stop the Germs!, a fast-paced strategy game for two competitors that plays in 10 to 15 minutes. Players take turns placing, flipping, and moving hex tiles until someone plays their last remaining germ tile, which ends the game. The player with the most points is the winner. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

Daniel Isom holds up tiles from Stop the Germs!, a fast-paced strategy game for two competitors that plays in 10 to 15 minutes. Players take turns placing, flipping, and moving hex tiles until someone plays their last remaining germ tile, which ends the game. The player with the most points is the winner. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

DOVER — Video games tend to sell themselves with eye-popping graphics, nonstop action and carloads of millennials in search of the next big thing.

In this era of Xboxes and smartphones, Daniel Isom, a 31-year-old from Smyrna, has chosen to take what would appear to be a much more difficult challenge — he is a publisher of board games.

Mr. Isom runs a company called Simple Design Publishing out of his home and is the publisher of a new board game called Stop the Germs!

Jeremy Peet, of Detroit, actually designed the game but Mr. Isom, who ironically enough works for the Delaware’s Division of Public Health, is the publisher for it.

“I’ve played games ever since I was a kid and I started designing a few years ago,” Mr. Isom said. “I thought I’d like to get into this in some way, so I started my own publishing company so I could publish my game [called Stac]. I’ve been designing and trying to publish ever since.”

Mr. Isom created Simple Design Publishing in 2013 to publish card games, board games, books and other media. He chose the name to represent “light and easy-to-learn board and card games as well as beach-read style books.”

Mr. Isom and Mr. Peet met each other on a board gaming website.

Daniel Isom, of Smyrna, shows off the new game Stop the Germs! at the Dover Public Library last week. Mr. Isom runs a company called Simple Design Publishing out of his home and has started a Kickstarter campaign to get the game published. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

Daniel Isom, of Smyrna, shows off the new game Stop the Germs! at the Dover Public Library last week. Mr. Isom runs a company called Simple Design Publishing out of his home and has started a Kickstarter campaign to get the game published. (Special to the Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

They quickly found out they had a lot in common and have started a Kickstarter campaign to get Stop the Germs published. So far, the campaign has raised $3,176 toward its $6,000 goal.

“It launched on Sept. 6 and it runs until Oct. 4 at noon,” Mr. Isom said. “We’re trying to raise $6,000 to publish the game. Right now we’re a little over halfway and we’re obviously past the halfway point of the campaign, so we’re hoping to sort of stir up some business.

“[Mr. Peet] wanted to have his game published and he wasn’t having a lot of luck getting it picked up by anyone, so I offered and we’ve been putting this thing together.”

It all started with many childhood hours spent playing board games such as Risk and Monopoly.

Now Mr. Isom is trying to help the country Stop the Germs, which is described as a fast-paced, tile-laying strategy game for two players that fits inside of a portable prescription pill bottle.

“It’s a tile-laying game where you are trying to have more of your germs face up on the board at the end of the game,” he said. “In Stop the Germs you’re trying to stop the opponent from having more than you.

“There are different powers and different things you can do with the tiles in the game that allow you to do that.”

Stop the Germs comes with 30 hex tiles, two title reference sheets and one rules sheet. A game can be completed within 10 to 15 minutes.

Much of the game’s development has been a collaboration between Mr. Peet and Mr. Isom.

“The fact that Dan Isom generously offered to publish the game and allow me the creative freedom to streamline the design and create the art for the game has been fantastic,” Mr. Peet told The Inquisitive Meeple, a board game website. “Dan has certainly been instrumental in helping me develop the final version of the game.

“We have been co-designing games together over the past couple of years and have created a great rapport in the process of doing so. I have a lot of respect for Dan as a designer and publisher and I really believe in the concept of his company.”

Mr. Isom and his wife moved to Smyrna from Syracuse, New York, five years ago. They have a 1- and a 3-year-old.

“My wife is a teacher,” he said. “I used to come [to Delaware] as a kid and we actually honeymooned down here. We thought it was nice and the New York job situation at the time was not good and still isn’t.”

Mr. Isom believes there is still a place in the world for board games. In fact, he said, the industry is actually doing quite well.

“The hobby gaming industry has just exploded in recent years,” he said. “If you go into a Walmart or a Target you’ll see games that most people have no idea what they are. It’s far beyond the games of Monopoly, Risk and Scattergories … things like that. They’ve really improved.”

Many board games can be turned into mobile apps, which is what is currently happening with Stop the Germs.

“I think you’re seeing a movement where, obviously the video game world is huge and they raise tons of money, but our games offer more of that face-to-face,” he said, “because now you’re so isolated in a room playing video games that maybe you want to get in front of friends and play games with them.”

Besides his interest in board games, Mr. Isom also enjoys reading and spending as much time as he can with his family.

And there is always that lure to come up with the next Monopoly or Risk for the next generation.

“We have dozens of ideas here and there but nothing concrete at the moment,” Mr. Isom said. “But we’re still working. Believe me, we’re still working.”

To check out the Kickstarter campaign, visit https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/573479451/stop-the-germs

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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