Video game leader sets sights on teaching with new board game

Chad Hoover of 8-bit Agile Consulting
Chad Hoover of Orlando Gamespace has developed a board game to teach project management using video game-related lessons. (Orlando Tech News)

If you have ever wanted to learn how to build a video game, Chad Hoover might have something for you.

Hoover, one of the driving forces behind the indie-game group Indienomicon, will soon launch a Kickstarter campaign for “Game Dev: The Board Game.”

The traditional board and dice-style game runs teams through collaborative projects with the end goal of building a video game.

Contributors to the campaign will be able to provide valuable feedback and, eventually, perhaps could see themselves make a cameo in the game as a character card.

Early access to the game is available at his company’s website.

Hoover says he hopes the project helps companies walk through scenarios that might arise during projects.

It might even help families bond over fun exercises, he said.

“If Dad and Jimmy want to have friends over to learn what it means to be on a team, they can,” he said.

A little D&D inspiration

The initial version of the game will focus on Scrum, a popular management style that emphasizes flexibility and iteration.

Hoover’s vision for the game essentially began about 2½ years ago.

That was when the longtime gamer discovered the popular fantasy role-playing board game Dungeons & Dragons.

The game hooked him almost instantly.

“I loved the ability to tell a story in a creative way,” said Hoover, who gravitated toward the role of the story-driving dungeon master.


Watch: Chad Hoover’s elevator pitch for “Game Dev: The Board Game.”


Indie game advocacy

The 34-year-old developer has advocated for indie video game developers with the group Indienomicon since 2015.

He has served as executive director for about two years.  


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Hoover, an independent game developer 10 years, heads Orlando Gamespace, a coworking space for video game companies near Lake Eola. He runs his own consulting business, 8-bit Agile Consulting, out of there.

When he graduated from Full Sail in 2010, his goal was common: to work at a big-name video game studio, namely the AAA studio Insomniac Games.

“I’ve never worked for a big company but I’ve done the grind,” he said. “The situations and environments (in the board game) are influenced by realistic situations.”

Hoover has worked at a handful of small, independent game studios, building his skillset.

His work with Indienomicon helped him build Orlando’s budding video game community.

“I want to teach Full Sail grads and other students to understand that if you want to be in the industry, head to the independent route,” Hoover said. “Yes, it’s harder but not everyone gets that golden ticket.”


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COVID-19 causes a shift

Chad Hoover at work
Chad Hoover works in his Orlando Game Space office last month. He will soon launch a Kickstarter for a new board game. (Orlando Tech News)

Like most entrepreneurs, Hoover’s work took a hit when coronavirus struck early this year. But he managed to keep members of his coworking space involved as things quickly evolved.

The response impressed him.

“It blew me away,” he said. “We are hitting the reset button. COVID made us look at what we can fix. This thing is completely different from what was originally built.”

As he sets sail with his first Kickstarter campaign, Hoover said community buy-in will be important to get the project funded.

In addition, it will be a big part of making sure the game provides a dynamic experience for players.

“I’m going to need stories,” he said. “My experience can only take me so far.”


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