Welcome to an interview for the series Game Credits Who’s Who (#GameCreditsWW). Ever read the credits page of a game you enjoy and wonder about the various positions listed? Would you like to work in the game industry someday but are not sure how some of the positions work? This Monday series will take a personal look into those positions and introduce you to real people doing those very jobs in the game industry. This week, let me introduce you to Stephen Buonocore, a tabletop publisher.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do as a tabletop game publisher.
I am Stephen M. Buonocore, the President and owner of Stronghold Games. In this position, well, I do everything that Stronghold Games needs to have done in order to get games to market! Of course, having said that, I do not have the talent to do several of the tasks required to get games out the door. For those tasks, such as illustrations and graphics design, which is a big part of a new game coming to market, I have to contract someone who can do that work. Bill Bricker is my go-to guy for illustrations, layout, and graphic design. T.R. Knight is my man for rules editing on many projects (thanks, T.R.!). And Paul Incao does game development on many projects. Oh, and I would like to specially mention that I am not a game Designer! I find Designers to bring me great games, and I’ll call out Geoff Engelstein and his family, who together as a Design Team work tirelessly on their designs, as well as ensuring that the final product looks and feels as excellent as it should..
How did you become a tabletop game publisher?
I studied the hobby game market from the perspective of a gamer and businessman during the mid to late 2000s. I believed that I could bring something new and different to the market, combining my business experience, education, and love for hobby games to bear, and create a company from the ground up. In late 2009, I did just that. Stronghold Games was born.
Share with us some of your recent projects.
Wow… well, there are so so many, as you probably know. We are about to relaunch The Village Family of games, which were under a different US publisher for a while. We will be bringing back Village and the expansions, Village Inn and Village Port. Also, for the first time seen in North America, My Village will be published after being a bit hit at Essen 2015. We have some small games coming out, like Bear Valley designed by Carl Chudyk, who is truly renowned for his card games. Stellar Conflict is another small fast card game that plays in 10-15 minutes. Animals On Board is our family game entry, Spiel des Jahres weight game. City of Spies: Estoril 1942, The Pursuit of Happiness, Terraforming Mars… and the list will continue throughout the year. There is something for everyone in the Stronghold Games catalog, for sure!
What is your greatest frustration or pet peeve as a tabletop game publisher?
Customer Service is a very difficult part of the hobby game industry. Mistakes happen in the production of a game, since humans are part of the entire process. We will always make things right in the end for a customer. Yet, there are some customers that take it as a personal affront that, for instance, a cube is missing from their game. It is quite painful for me to read these emails sometimes. In the end, we do our best to make everyone happy, but it is impossible to please everyone all of the time.
How can readers learn more about you or contact you?
Website: www.StrongholdGames.com – Sign up for our newsletter to find out first about things that are happening at the company, new games, deals, etc.
Blog: None, yet. 🙂
Podcast: www.BoardGamesInsider.com – A 30-minute, bi-weekly podcast with Ignacy, the President of Portal Games. We take you through the industry each week. Want to find out how it works, and maybe how you can get into the industry? Listen to us on Board Games Insider.
Public Facebook: \StrongholdGames
Youtube Channel: None. Maybe I will do a video blog. 🙂