Public radio from Western Michigan University 102.1 NPR News | 89.9 Classical WMUK
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations
Interviews with news makers and discussion of topics important to Southwest Michigan. Subscribe to the podcast through Apple itunes and Google. Segments of interview are heard in WestSouthwest Brief during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

WSW: Prohibition, Roller Coasters, What Board Game Is Right For You?

Ken Franklin's board game The Mansky Caper
Gordon Evans

Ken Franklin says there’s a board game out there for everybody. The Vicksburg man has created a prohibition era table top game and a new one next year is about designing roller coasters.

Franklin says board games offer an opportunity for face-to-face competition that video games don’t. Franklin and Brian Lenz, the co-founder of GrandCon, an annual gaming convention in Grand Rapids spoke with WMUK’s Gordon Evans. Lenz says conventions like his allow people to try out board games. They also allow for networking among designers and people trying to bring games to market. 

Franklin says The Mansky Caper started out as a “Raiders of the Lost Ark” game and eventually evolved into prohibition era game. Franklin says he wanted to find a unique game for the market. He says the Mansky Caper took seven years to get to market. His next game, Imagineers will take about eight months.

Lenz says the theme of the game may be the initial draw that gets people interested. But he says “the game play” is important. Lenz have to like the mechanics of the game, regardless of the theme.

Credit Gordon Evans / WMUK
Brian Lenz (left) and Ken Franklin

Franklin’s game Imagineers will come out in 2019. He says the players try to design the best roller coaster for their amusement park. Franklin says he is also working with another designer in Kalamazoo on a board game called At What Cost. He calls it a war game that teaches “the superior strategy of getting to peace.”

Lenz says many of the games can be found through Kickstarter and some game specialty websites. The next GrandCon will be held August 29th through September 1st, 2019 in Grand Rapids.

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.
Related Content