Ellie Skalla is a girl from Illinois who, at the tender age of eleven, created a board game titled “Galactiquest” which has been picked up by Pressman Games and will be released in early 2019. Ellie got her first taste of the toy industry when she entered the “Young Inventor Challenge” at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair. She won the place of “Most Marketable Concept” and her space-themed game was subsequently picked up by Pressman who plan to turn it into a Target exclusive.
Ellie recently discussed this exciting experience and more via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): How did you get into making games and which games most inspired you?
Ellie Skalla (ES): One game that inspired me was “Settlers of Catan.” I didn’t want my game to be a typical board game like Candyland or Monopoly and wanted every space to be separate. I thought of a game set in space and went from there.
MM: How did you find your way into toy contests and what was it like to win?
ES: The Young Inventor Challenge was my first (and, so far, only) contest. It was very fun. When they called my name, I could barely believe it! I was astonished and only now is it starting to feel real.
MM: When did you know that you wanted a career in the toy industry?
ES: I’m only 11 years old and I’m not sure what I’d like to do when I grow up yet. I had fun designing “Galactiquest” and might design more games. If the opportunity arises, I might want a job in the toy and game industry.
MM: How did you get entered into the contest and what did you most enjoy about the process?
ES: I entered because my brother had entered the year before and I thought it would be fun. My favorite part of the process was testing it with all my friends.
MM: What inspired “Galactiquest” and how different was the prototype from the final product?
ES: It was inspiring to see all the games at the convention the year before and I thought of a game set in space with the planets as spaces. The artwork changed a lot from my first prototype, but the gameplay is very similar. The planets have different designs, and there are new items and new playing pieces.
MM: What do you like most about this game?
ES: My favorite part is probably all the awesome artwork! I loved seeing what Pressman made out of the original design!
MM: Overall, what are your biggest goals for your future as a game designer?
ES: I’m not sure that I’m going to become a game designer but I will keep coming up with concepts that I enjoy. It was really fun working with Pressman. I loved that they asked for my opinion about everything.
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