Inventor of the Month- Jack Degnan

Jack Degnan, inventor of Word on the Street, is one of our very favorite game designers. Always humble and with an eye for how he can help others, Jack looks at game design as a way he can leave his mark on society and make this world a better place. Jack was honored as Rising Star Inventor at the TAGIE Awards in 2009.

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How long have you been inventing games?

I began inventing games eight years ago.

How did you get started in the game inventing business?

I started designing games after taking a class from professional inventor, and designer of the game Shake ‘N Take, Keith Meyers.

Tell us about the process of inventing Word on the Street.

Word on the Street is a game that I thought of when I first started thinking of designing games. First, I tried it as a card game. When I tested it, I saw some potential, but it was missing something. About a year later, I dusted it off and tried making it a board game: players would race their letters to the end of the board by spelling words that fit the category.  But it wasn’t interactive enough. Then, I got the idea of a tug-of-war of letters across a board!

What inspires your game designs?

As a child, I played many games such as Battleship, Scrabble, Monopoly, and Risk with family and neighborhood friends. My sister and I never had a close relationship with our mother. However, playing games was the one thing that always brought us together. I also find that general game nights with friends are a great excuse to get-together on a regular basis.

Do you have any advice for aspiring game designers?

To playtest A LOT.

Why do you think that games are important? 

Living in the digital age is wonderful for many reasons – but it has its drawbacks – and one is that it’s causing humans to become more isolated. Board games are interactive. People have fun, laugh, learn, and get to know each other. Those are things we humans are supposed to do.

What do you like most about being a game inventor?

I love watching people have fun with something I created.  There is nothing like that feeling.

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