Q: Hi Max, thank you for giving me the availability to ask you a few questions. First of all can you please introduce yourself?
A: Hi everyone, my name is Max Ford and I am the MD of a games inventing company called NPD Partnership Ltd (operating as Ooba Toys) which is the company that owns the intellectual property of the Hotel Game. It's a nice job.
Q: How long have you been working in Ooba Toys?
A: I've managed Ooba for the last 7 years but worked at the company for five years before that under my father's management. In between the stints at Ooba, I worked as Product Development Manager for a toy and collectibles company called UpperDeck in Amsterdam. This is now my 15th year in the industry and I love it!
Q: People often believes that Milton Bradley invented the game Hotel, but Denys Fischer had developed the game years before MB Games produced their most succesful edition in 1986. Can you tell us the truth about the story?
A: Denys Fisher were certainly the first company to produce Ghost Castle (or Haunted House) and Hotel but Geoff Hayes was the actual inventor. At least, it's his family that Hasbro, Flair and Asmodee have all paid the money to, via Ooba, so I guess that must make him the ‘inventor’. From what I remember, I believe Geoff was a very successful advertising guy in the 60's (think Mad Men) but he had a sideline of selling game ideas to Denys Fisher. He was also the inventor of the Parker Brothers/Hasbro version of Hangman, for example. In my eyes, he is a bit of an unsung gaming legend so it's an honour to keep his legacy alive.
Q: That's really interesting. Since you are so much into the legend of Hotel do you have a special story to tell us?
A: Yes, I have one that's attached to Hotel and Geoff. When I was 5, he and my father (who was the senior VP of R&D at MB at the time) were in our family dining room after dinner and were redesigning the game together for it's MB 1986 debut. It's a very vivid and strong memory for me because I really really wanted to stay and watch them but their cigar smoke was making me feel sick! So in the end I lay on the sofa next door and watched them through a glass door until I fell asleep. Even today I smell cigars when I play the game!:) And the 1986 version is still my favourite.
Q: How are going the present sales of Hotel? Do you know if there is a country that is more interested in the game?
A:The sales are going very well. The strongest country at the moment is France (probably due to Asmodee being a French company) but the new version has recently launched in the UK, as well as other markets in Europe, and is doing well.
Q: Is there still many people that comes to you proposing ideas for Board Games?
A: We see a lot of ideas every week as it’s essential to our process. Those ideas come from regulars as well as strangers (we really enjoy meeting new people with new ideas) and we never get bored of it.
Q: Well, thank you Max for the interview, do you want to tell something to the visitors of my site?
Thank you Max for the interview!