For the Love of Board Games: An Interview with author Erin Dean

Vaughn Reynolds

I came across Erin Dean’s board game Facebook group when she posted about her upcoming book, “For the Love of Board Games” (working title). I got to chatting with her, and it turns out this book is going to be one I’ll excitedly be getting for my own bookshelf! So, naturally, I asked if she would like to do an interview and it turns out I’m getting an exclusive (you’ll see why later on) AND it’s her very first interview!

So, fellow social gamers here’s my chat with Erin Dean!

What got you into videography? For as long as I can remember, I have always been making videos. I directed my first video, “Super Guy” in kindergarten, which my dad filmed with our family camcorder. My first “video camera” was a cardboard box, with two holes on each end and a duck tape strap, that a candle had come in. That “video camera” inspired the name of my freelance business, Candlebox Films.

Are there any board games you’ve seen incorporate video well, besides the classic ‘Nightmare’ with those creepy VHS tapes from the early 90s? I can’t wait for the board game UBOOT, the cooperative, real-time tabletop game of WW2 submarine warfare, to come out. It utilizes a companion app that incorporates videos for the game’s challenging enemy A.I.

Do you see a future for video integration with board games, such as Chronicles of Crime? Absolutely! I think there has been a recent growth in board games with companion apps/videos. I believe this will continue and that future board games will get better and better with the integration of videos and companion apps.

For those who don’t know, you released a documentary last year on YouTube called, “The Board Game Boom” that has over 22k views so far! What was your inspiration for this documentary? I was enrolled in a Documentary Production class at Webster University and I had to pick a topic for my semester-long documentary project. I immediately thought of creating a documentary about board games, which would allow me to combine my two loves for video production and board games. Another reason I chose to do my documentary on board games was that it would allow me to talk to board game professionals in the industry who I had never connected with before.

What was your biggest takeaway from it? My biggest takeaway from creating “The Board Game Boom” is that board games are not going away. They will always be a part of people’s lives because even as we continue to develop more digital technology, we will still be craving face-to-face interaction with the people around us and board games fill that void.

What do you personally think was the biggest factor in bringing about this boom? I think the Internet has been a huge factor in bringing about this golden age of board gaming. The Internet has allowed people who enjoy the hobby of board games to connect with each other. Websites like Board Game Geek have had a huge impact on the industry by connecting board game lovers with each other and providing a central hub of board game news and information.

Do you have plans for any more board game related documentaries? I hope to create a full-length documentary on board games someday. Keep an eye on my YouTube channel, Candlebox Films.

What is your current favorite board game? The board game that seems to be hitting my table the most these days is Azul.

What about your all-time favorite? My all-time favorite board game is Stone Age.

What is your favorite board game mechanic? I love real-time board games. Some of my favorites are FUSE, Flatline, Escape! The Curse of the Temple, and Captain Sonar.

Have you backed any Kickstarter board games? If so, which has been your favorite? Which are you most excited about receiving? I have backed several Kickstarter board games. The two I am most excited about receiving are Detective: City of Angels and Visitor in Blackwood Grove.

So, give us the pitch about your upcoming book, “For the Love of Board Games: Stories from the Best Game Designers”! My upcoming book is going to feature over 50 board game designers and their stories. Each chapter will focus on a different designer and will discuss how they got into board gaming, what their design process is like, and the inspiration and interesting facts behind some of their biggest games.

What was the inspiration for this and who are some of the designers you’ll be featuring? It had been about a year since I finished my documentary, “The Board Game Boom,” and I wanted to start another passion project relating to board games. I thought it would be fun to write a book about board games so I reached out to Reddit and Board Game Geek to get the community’s ideas. Many wanted to learn more about the designers behind their favorite games so I decided to write a book focusing on that topic. Some of the game designers that will be featured in my book include: Jamey Stegmaier (Scythe, Viticulture), Bruno Cathala (Five Tribes, Kingdomino), Matt Leacock (Pandemic), Reiner Knizia (Tigris & Euphrates, Lost Cities), and many others. I will release the full list of designers soon!

If there is a demand for it and the first book is a success, I’m considering writing a second volume book that will feature even more game designers.

Here’s an I’m A Social Gamer Exclusive!

Cover art concepts! And Erin wants to hear your thoughts on them!

Do you host any game nights at your home or at a local store/eatery? I actually manage a board game club at my university. We have about 50 members and play at least once a week, usually more!

What is your favorite beverage? My favorite beverage is an ice cold A&W Root Beer in a frosted mug.

Where should people follow you and your work? To see all my videography work, people should visit my website, candleboxfilms.com. For information and updates on my upcoming book, like and follow our Facebook page and group, “For the Love of Board Games – Book”.