Longtime friends Brandon Monahan and Jake Hardin of Abbotsford both enjoy creating and making things.
Monahan has built a workshop in his backyard and constructed the entire back patio of his home. Hardin also enjoys home projects, including developing his own baby gate for his 16-month-old son.
The two, both 30, are also fans of “geek culture,” including video games, board games and science fiction.
Now, the aspiring entrepreneurs are combining their various skills to bring their own board game to the market.
Zebulon: Galactic Control has been in the works for the last year and is the subject of a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for its manufacturing.
Monahan and Hardin have set a goal of $8,500 to be reached by April 5. They have currently collected more than $5,000, but if they don’t reach their target by the deadline, all the money is returned to their backers.
They said their goal will bring in just enough money to update the artwork and manufacture the game so that it can get into the hands of people they think will enjoy playing it.
“We’re going after people like us, and there are quite a few people like us out there,” Hardin said.
The pair bonded in a technology class at Robert Bateman Secondary when they were teens and discovered they had a similar interest in the art of creating things.
Monahan is now married with two children and a third on the way, and works as a library technician with the Fraser Valley Regional Library system.
Hardin is also married, with one child, and works as procurement and planning specialist with Northwest Rubber in Abbotsford.
Over the years, they have kicked around various ideas about products they could develop together, but the most viable option seemed to be a board game.
Monahan has a knack for art, and Hardin has expertise in manufacturing. Plus, they have enjoyed playing board games with friends and family over the years.
“This is something that we know, and this is something that we love, and we can really bring that passion into it,” Hardin said.
The idea took off about a year ago, when Monahan presented Hardin with his idea for a science-fiction-themed game.
He came up with a modular board that changes for every game and involves the players “travelling” through space. Rectangular tiles join together to make a galaxy through which players move around as they battle their opponents – “traps” are used to hinder their movement – and complete missions.
Over the next year, Monahan and Hardin spent hundreds of hours revamping the design, tweaking the rules, and testing the game over and over with friends and family.
The pair say it took up most of their spare time, but they viewed it as a “productive hobby.”
“It’s definitely been a labour of love,” Monahan said.
Coming up with a name was challenging, as most titles they selected were already taken.
They finally settled on the “Zebulon” portion after the name of one of the planets in the game, which was inspired by a high school acquaintance of Hardin’s whose first two names were “Zebulon Orion.”
Monahan and Hardin have now been taking their prototype – entirely designed and crafted by them – to various game stores and, most recently, to the Terminal City Tabletop Convention in Vancouver. Locally, they will demo it at the House of Cards (2664 Gladys Ave.) on March 25 at 6 p.m.
They said almost everybody who has played it has contributed to their Kickstarter campaign.
They hope that, even if others don’t enjoy board games, they might want to support two local entrepreneurs with families.
Having their game manufactured would be a dream come true, they say.
“Just seeing this on the store shelves would bring me such joy,” Hardin said.
Click here to visit the Kickstarter campaign.