Forerunner Games is a woman-led table top games design and manufacturing company in Nigeria, founded by Yeside Osuolale. Yeside is the creative lead of Forerunner Games. The company began in 2019 and has since put out several engaging and interesting games.
The company recently opened the first board games cafe in Ibadan. Yeside speaks to us about the background, achievements and goals of Forerunner Games.
So if you find yourself in Ibadan, stop by Forerunner Games to catch some fun.
Hello Yeside, how are you today?
Very well, thank you! And you?
Can you tell us about how Forerunner Games was founded (I.e. when, who and the inspiration behind it)?
Forerunner Games was born out of my quest to channel my creativity right and also impact the world around me. I’ve always been a creative person who loves sketching mazes and puzzles for people to solve. My earliest memories was in Secondary school, I had a book dedicated to this until it was stolen. For years, I struggled with many options to settle with as my way to express creativity.
I stumbled on tabletop games in 2019 when I had just decided to publish a collection of puzzles for kids, and did some research on the industry. What I found, blew my mind! Tabletop Gaming is a billion dollar industry that is barely harnessed here in my country.
This made me eager to know more and make it thrive here in Nigeria.
I began designing my first game, and it just came naturally. Like they say, the rest is history.
This is so impressive, you’re heading a woman-led games company in Nigeria! How has the experience been like?
It has been so fulfilling with learning curves everyday. Nigeria has its own challenges thrown at every entrepreneur but the experience is still very worthwhile.
Because modern boardgames are new to most Nigerians, we get to do a lot of explaining. Making people understand that these games are not just for kids, that there’s a boardgame for everyone out there, that tabletop games have huge health benefits, are economically viable… And a host of other “ted talks” we give (lol)
How many games have your created so far?
I have created a whole lot but published just six of them
What are the names and can you describe them briefly?
First Mention is a Bible game that takes players on a sojourn through the “City of Lights” to escape the ills and destruction in the world. As players move through the different territories of the city, they learn about different places, characters and events of each section of the Bible, while competing to inhabit as many territories as they can for themselves!
Soirée is a Bible game of charades. Players are out to describe words in the Bible to their partners or team within a limited time frame. They’ll be required to sing, use gestures or be limited to using just a word to describe.
Letters & Numbers Builder; a hands-on game for kids, that keeps their minds engaged to see how letters and numbers are constructed – helping in their identification and writing. The tiles can also be used for building other creative things.
Uhn-Uhn; In this hilarious game, players show how African they are (or not) by responding “epically” to phrases and conversations, with the Uhn-Uhn sound preceding. Non-Africans can also enjoy this game to have a feel of African lingua. The game basically involves rhyming with initial sounds!
Dansa: If you think you can dance, try communicating a dance to your friends or family as you team up in the most interesting game that transforms every space to a DANCE HALL! You’ll be amazed at how quickly you learn a Belly Dance, Floss or Shoki. Dances from all over the world are included in the game deck.
Our Variety of Jigsaw Puzzles ranges from cartoon characters, to more serious content as well as customized content.
What does creativity mean to you?
To me, CREATIVITY is expressing your GENIUS (and everyone has got one)
Your company recently launched the first board games café in South-West Nigeria, how does that feel? What is the vision behind this?
Yes!!! We are so excited about this new feat (sure you can tell. Lol) We weren’t out to be the first or anything like that, our drive to see more people get hooked to the analog game life is our motivation always. Analog Games Café serves as an exerience center! Knowing the many huge benefits board games bring, we long to see an army of gamers springing up in every community around us.
What are the activities that will go on in your café?
The café, open to ages 8 and up is a “safe haven” for board gamers! People can come in to play, buy and rent games. We are also open to hosting inmate hangouts and celebrations for members as well as “gamifying” events that we are invited to. Not forgetting our variety of Naija snacks to be savored as games are played!
Any long term or short term goals?
In the spirit of nurturing and sustaining meaning relationships through the power of tabletop games, long term, we see Analog Games Café in more cities around Nigeria, bringing boardgames closer to families and communities.
We also learnt that you designed a fitness game for a 12 years old girl, can you tell us about the game?
It was and still is a fulfilling experience for us. Looking at the before and after pictures (the rough sketch the little girl had vs the published game) of The Cross Line Fitness Game, the number of people it has impacted positively, and its reach in such a short time, we are nothing short of grateful and privileged.
This little girl, Olaoluwakiisa is living her dream already and is a source of inspiration to her peers and even adults all over.
Playing the game honestly brings out the child in you and you’re sure to work your muscles. It involves moving your game pieces around the playing board, taking fun actions, picking cards (and exercising), and ultimately winning (or not..laughs)!
Tell us about three women you admire ?
Itoro Effiong-Bright (CEO Ibom Soups, Nigeria)
Ebun Feludu (CEO JAM, The Coconut Food Company)
Ibukun Awosika (MD, First Bank Nigeria)
These women are literally super heroes, they wear many hearts that all fit so perfectly. The way they lead in their respect industries and go all out to support other women, is nothing short of inspiring.
Creating games must have a process, can you tell us what your creative process is like?
First, you’ll need some free flow of creative juices and an understanding of different mechanics and themes in game design.
With these checked, the process begins with idea generation (as every great thing is), then we move on to working out game play, play testing, working with illustrators and other artists, writing out the rules, play testing again and again, making corrections and publishing.
As easy as it soumds, this process can take months or even years!
This has been lovely. We wish you the best.
Thank you so much For Creative Girls for having me, you’re doing a really amazing job inspiring women across the world.