Other things I enjoy? Movies, DIY projects, cooking, anything outdoors, and most of all spending quality time with people that mean a lot to me - often times around a table playing a game.

I like all kinds of games including the occasional video game, but if I had to pick my favorite, it would be gathering around the table with two or three close friends playing something strategic with an immersive theme.

However, this wasn't always the case. While I had never turned my nose up at them, most of my experiences growing up were with the mainstream games that still flood the retail stores (you know the ones). I never turned down a game, but I was rarely clamoring to play any of them.

As most others will tell you, 'The Settlers of Catan' is what changed everything for me. No other game I played before offered what this game was able to. No down-time in between turns? Constant interaction through trading? Building my own network of cities for generating resources? A good portion of my first two years of college was wasted away playing this.

This quickly branched out into other games my friends owned including Heroscape, Epic Duels, and expansions for Catan like Seafarers and Cities and Knights (still one of my favorite game additions). And as I discovered more games, I began collecting them slowly but surely.

Several years later, after playing many games with many people (Including my lovely wife, Cara), I have realized that the players I play with are just as important as the games themselves. Seeing as everyone has different tastes, I am constantly curating my collection to include a wide selection of games with varying themes, styles, and player counts ensuring that anyone who plays one of our games enjoys their experience and remembers it fondly.

In order to fund this hobby, I spend my days as a Civil Engineer. However, my problem-solving personality that funneled me into this profession permeates every facet of my life - for good and for bad. Most of my waking hours are spent day-dreaming about how to innovate, create, and improve the lives of those around me.

Given my background, game design seemed almost too obvious a path - so here we are. Through 4Fi Games, I plan to combine my love of playing games, solving problems, and enhancing the lives of others to make my first game a reality and push forward to continue creating experiences that people will love for years to come!


The idea for 'Word Swap' started with a simple desire to create a game that involved trading.

Whether it be Bohnanza, Catan or several others, I have always enjoyed trading in tabletop games - the ability to create interaction but with intention. Often times you get one without the other - either it's a party game or its a strategy game. Most games that involve trading, involve communication and negotiation with a purpose, to get the cards you need to do the things you want to do.

This idea stayed with me for a while before it finally clicked. What if I could apply the trading mechanic to a word game? A lot of people like word games but most of them have relatively low interaction. What if I could create an accessible word game that involved trading?

Word Swap was born. I began working on the letter and card distribution and ideas for card layouts as well as jotting down rules.

Since then I've been play testing and seeking out as much feedback as possible (Check out the Design Diary). Word Swap is well on it's way to becoming a reality with the first prototype having been printed!

Thank you to everyone who has already helped and please let me know if you are interested in joining the play test effort!


  1. Introduction - introduce the game and the basic information about it including designer, publisher, player count, and setting/theme, etc. The section will also include my background with the game - how long I've owned it, how many times I've played, etc.

  2. What does the game have to offer? - evaluate the game using the '5 categories of why':

    • APPEAL - can you get people to play with you? Is the game too long? Is the game too short? You may want to play it all the time but you can’t find people to play with you. This category is less important if you have a consistent gaming group or you mainly play solo.

    • VARIABILITY - How different does it feel every time you play it? Does it offer something new each time? This can include the initial setup of a game or the game play itself.

    • AGENCY - Does the game offer interesting decisions to the players that can impact the game to a significant degree? Luck can be present (and is sometimes a great addition) but should not be a determining factor in who wins or loses. You will likely lose interest in a game that doesn’t offer interesting decisions. If you feel like the ‘game is playing you’ then why should you play? If every action in the game is determined by the roll of a die or the draw of a card, then there is no reason for you to waste your time.

    • ESCAPISM - how much can you immerse yourself in the game. This includes theme, mechanisms, and some level of complexity. There has to be enough ‘meat on the bones’ of the game to hold your attention and not get distracted. The artwork can also impact this.

    • SPECTACLE - How often does something happen that makes everybody experience a collective emotion (joy, awe, horror, etc)? This could be simply laughing or it could be opportunities for the players to do something amazing that other players react to. These moments could also be more subtle where you don’t notice them as much. We are all human, and [most of us] like to experience emotions (not negative ones - but unfortunately you can’t have the good without the bad :/).

  3. My thoughts in a nutshell? - based on the previous section, what do I think of the game as a whole? Is it worth the price to pay for it? This is will typically be 2-3 paragraphs of my overall thoughts.

  4. Recommendation - Which of the 6 ‘gamer types’ will like or dislike the game? Considering yourself and those you may be playing with, who will want to play? Will you be able to get it to the table?

My plan for game reviews is to do 'new' game reviews and 'vintage' game reviews on an alternating (or random) basis. New games are anything that could be considered 'recently' released as determined by me. Vintage games are anything that has been around for 10+ years and is still being played and/or sold by a significant number of people.

Meet. Play. Build.

More important than games themselves is the effect they have on people. 4Fi was created to be something that represents community, inspires creativity, and encourages relationship building.

Meet people.

Play for the fun of it.

Build relationships.

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