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Jan Richard Hansen
Norway
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Jan Richard Hansen
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I’m a board game designer from Norway that founded my own game company Muzak Games in 2017. I have over 20 years’ experience as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator for the board game industry in Norway. I have done the design for over 50 mostly mainstream games that sold over one million copies.

When I was growing up I often played board games with my friends. So it was many late evenings with Axis & Allies, Dungeons & Dragons, Magic the Gathering, and Robo Rally that was one of my favorite game at that time. When I moved away from home I didn’t have too much to do with board games for a while. But when I started working as an 3D animator and later as a Creative Leader in a creative agency in Oslo. I made TV commercials for the biggest board game company in Norway. When I started my own Multimedia Design Company in 1998, I convinced them that I could design the board games for them as well.

The first game I did the graphics for was the 1999 version of Geni (Genius) that was Norway’s version of Trivial Pursuit. I often came up with some new solutions for the games I designed, so I also affected the game play. Getting a lot of own ideas for games I started designing my own games 6 years ago. One of the first games I finished was a realistic tour cycling game that had some new game mechanics. I remember the Lautapelit company was visiting in my office at that time, since the company I do most of my work for are cooperating with them. They had some new games with them, and of course one of them was a cycling game. So I showed the game designer mine, funny that they were totally different. Of course Flamme Rouge became published, and mine is just lying in shelf to be taken out again at a later time ;-)

Some years later I got a game published where I did most of the game design and mechanics. It was for a Christmas Television series and was a children’s game where the players competed to be the first to make snow to save Christmas.

I have later made many more games, and Treed was a game I got some good feedback on. The game is a tile laying game where you get points by each side of the tiles that is connected to other colored tiles. On that game I even designed a completely new version of the 3000 year old sand timer. It bugged me when players only used half the time on the sand timer, and we had to wait for the sand to run out. So I solved the problem by designing a modern looking sand timer you could restart whenever you wanted. I Hope to have the game and the sand timer out sometime.

Since I am a graphic designer and illustrator I often design the game at the same time I experiment with the look of the game. I think this is a good advantage as problems often can be solved by designing things different. But I think my biggest strength as a game designer is my creativity that really can take off sometimes ;-)

I started paragliding in 2001, and I use most of the summer season to fly, as well as working to have enough money to travel around to the different competitions. I have been on Norway National Paragliding Team 5 years and compete in Cross Country flying.

I have also been on another National Team in Norway as I was chosen by Mensa Norway to be one of four members on Norway’s Intelligence Team back in 2004. Our team unfortunately lost against Sweden in what I believe is the only National intelligence team competition in the world. Even though we lost and many probably would have done a better job than me on the team, I’m quite good at solving problems, and I feel that is a good advantage when designing games. In a way game design is just making up problems and solving them the best way ;-)

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