When did you first get into gaming?
My parents are huge geeks, so gaming was always a part of my life. I grew up watching them play Dungeons and Dragons. Instead of going camping, we’d go to Dragon Con on family vacations. Our bookshelves were full of books and board games.
Perhaps most impactful, however, was playing gin rummy with my grandmother. I cherish those memories—I still have the deck of cards we played with—and love helping other people make memories of their own.
You have worked for a few companies in the industry (Paizo, Calliope). How did working for those companies help you get where you are now?
In terms of progressing my career, the most valuable part of my Paizo internship was being able to list Paizo on my resume. Their name carries a lot of weight. I also learned about the overall production process for games, which is valuable no matter what you’re doing in the industry.
People in this industry like to make up interesting titles for the jobs they do. (Yes, I’m talking to you, Chris Leder) What is your job title (official or unofficial) at Cheapass Games?
My official title is Marketing Director. It makes it easy to communicate what I do to outsiders, and helps lend credibility to my job when I’m filling out forms. (This is especially helpful given the reaction of folks outside the industry to our company name.) Unofficially, the Cheapass Games Demo Monkeys call me Monkey Mistress Cassidy.
From the outside most of us would take a job inside the industry in a second, but like all jobs I’m sure it has its challenges. What do you think is the most challenging part of your job?
Unless you’re working at a larger publisher like Paizo or Asmodee, working in the tabletop industry generally means wearing many different hats. In addition to steering Cheapass Games’ marketing efforts and Demo Monkey program, I’m also our webmaster, customer service rep, and licensing coordinator, and manage any interns we bring on board. At Calliope, in addition to my marketing duties, I also assisted with playtesting and rules editing. I’ve had to become a Jill-of-all-trades to adapt, which means learning a lot on the fly.
What advice would give people that want to work for a board game publisher?
Be patient and persistent. It took a concentrated effort, five years of work and sacrifice, and luck for my husband and I to both land full-time tabletop jobs. Additionally, while working in the industry is immensely rewarding in many ways, most companies can’t afford to pay the market rate for a given skill set. Be sure you’re willing to make that trade off before committing.
Finally, what is a game that you love that we may have not heard of?
I always give two answers to this question; one from my employer and one from outside our catalog.
From Cheapass Games, I recommend Veritas. In Veritas, it is the Dark Ages, and you are the Truth (or at least some version of the truth). Your goal is to stay alive, and it’s not easy. You start out in just two books, in a single monastery, somewhere in France. Over time, you will be copied and spread across the land. Your enemies are other Truths struggling to stay alive, and fire. (Nobody likes fire.)
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