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Lockdown fuels Guelph man to create Muskoka: The Board Game

A Kickstarter campaign for Muskoka: The Board Game launches on June 21

Playing his cards right and taking a risk might pay off for a Guelph board game creator.

When the pandemic hit and Trent Hansen’s work as an air traffic controller at Toronto Pearson Airport scaled back, he was looking for something to do and involve his four young children.

“It was during lockdown with COVID that I decided I needed to find an entrepreneurial, creative outlet,” said Hansen, co-founder of and lead game designer of Canazee Games.

One night while thinking about board game ideas Hansen was drinking a Muskoka Brewery beer, he looked down at the can and thought about all the times he played board games with friends and family in Muskoka.

“I thought, what better place to make a board game than a place where you play board games,” said Hansen.

Hansen is from New Zealand and came to Canada 13 years ago. He met his wife while working at a camp in Muskoka. 

His wife Brenna-Lynn Hansen is on the sales and marketing team of Canazee games along with Alicia Henein, whose husband Darrin is a graphic designer who created the art for the game.

To get started Hansen picked up some supplies from a dollar store and pieced together a board game and tested it out with his eldest son. After playing the game, his son asked to play it again. Hansen knew was onto something and wanted to show is children they can turn their passions into anything they wanted.

Muskoka: The Board Game was born and a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for the game will be launched on June 21.

Hansen said the game will sell for around $50 and after the campaign has finished it will be made available through their website.

He said the board game is similar to Catan or Ticket to Ride. Muskoka: The Board Game can be played with up to six players and the first player to get 25 points, collect all five of the wildlife tokens, each worth different point values and land on a detour location, wins.

The board is a map of Muskoka and there are a variety of places in Muskoka players have to travel through, either by land or sea on the board. The game includes the board, player pieces, tokens, and cards.

After he sees how this board game is received by people he said there are other game ideas he has brewing. He said he wants to create other boards with iconic Canadian locations and perhaps take it internationally.

“A big part of the goal is to create an environment to bring people around the table together across generations. Something that kids can play, that grandparents can play with the kids,” said Hansen. “The whole idea of it being a fun interactive experience based on fond memories of being at the cottage."

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Santana Bellantoni

About the Author: Santana Bellantoni

Santana Bellantoni was born and raised in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. As a general assignment reporter for Guelph Today she is looking to discover the communities, citizens and quirks that make Guelph a vibrant city.
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