This Is Rutherford
This is David Mazure
By Jennifer Ersalesi
As a child growing up in Rutherford, David Mazure discovered his passion for art. After high school, he continued to nurture his artistic talents and furthered his education by receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Mason Gross School of Arts in New Jersey and his Master of Fine Arts at Eastern Tenessee State University. An avid and talented artist, David's art has been displayed in exhibits across the United States and even internationally in Italy and Australia, has received many awards, and his work has been published in a number of books, magazines, and newspapers. Since 2010, David has been a Professor of Art and Media and Design at East Stroudsburg University in Pennsylvania. He has always enjoyed playing many different board and card games and recalls playing them with his Dad when he was younger and most recently with his wife and daughter. When his sabbatical plans got derailed by the COVID pandemic, David began working with his wife and daughter to create a board game, "DEVOUR". This is Rutherford spoke with David to learn more about the creative process used to develop this new game, the game itself, and growing up in Rutherford.
TIR: Why did you decide to create a Board game? David Mazure: That is a really long story. But, the short of it is that my original sabbatical plans got squashed by COVID and I decided to totally change it by creating a game with my wife and daughter which gave us something to do during the lockdown. It is also a project that combines many of my personal and professional interests, and one in which I could involve my students. We are, and always have been, a board/card game family.
TIR: Who are the game's co-creators? DM: Concept and Game Design: David Mazure, Kyra Dosch-Klemer, and Indira Dosch-Mazure and Illustrations by George Pineda.
TIR: How did you come up with the idea for the game? DM: When my daughter was five, she loved the classic card game War. We played it until we got tired of it. We thought how cool it would be if it was a game about animals eating each other instead of traditional playing cards. We agreed 'to make that game someday' -- probably never really expecting it to happen. But, when Indi started attending the Ridge and Valley Charter School (whose mission is Environmental Sustainability) she started to learn about the animals in our area which became a big inspiration for DEVOUR.
During an interview with the Ridge and Valley Conservancy, David also answered these questions.
Why choose animals from this geographic region?
For two reasons, 1) DEVOUR was largely inspired by my daughter's curriculum and environmental sustainability values instilled in her from Ridge & Valley Charter School, and 2) any artist or designer knows to "create what they know" and I know animals in my bioregion better than any others because I encounter many of them on a daily basis!
What does 'design for good' mean, and why is it important to you?
Design for Good is any design project that ultimately benefits the community in some manner. I try to instill this ideology in my own students because I think that everyone should think about how their own work will affect the community; in hope that we will all wish to benefit our communities. In my opinion, the best way to make this happen is to lead by example.
Why did you choose Ridge Valley Conservancy as one of the organizations you're supporting?
Brainstorm Games tries to instill the "think globally by acting locally" mantra and RVC is our most local organization that helps protect almost all of the animals in DEVOUR (or at least their habitats!).
Why do conservation and nature matter to you?
We need to be good stewards of the land in order to have land for future generations to enjoy and especially, to learn from.
What was the game design & development process like?
Exhausting. It turned out to be waaaaay more work than I expected. The great news is that we still enjoy playing DEVOUR even after spending hundreds of hours playing it already! The other good news is that we have already begun development on the next version of DEVOUR, which will focus on another bioregion. It was a pleasure working with my family. It gave us something constructive to do during the pandemic lockdown. And, it was also a pleasure working with several of my current and former students in creating DEVOUR.
Why is it important to you that the game have educational value?
As a teacher myself, I understand the value of making education in the classroom fun, and when you can learn at home: even better! Using games to teach helps make learning more enjoyable, can increase student participation, fosters social learning, motivate students to take risks, and ultimately increase their confidence.
What is next for DEVOUR?
DEVOUR appeared at Easton Book Festival on October 29th. On October 31st, it was announced that the Kickstarter is now fully funded. This means that David and his team can get started on manufacturing the game and attending every board game convention they possibly can. Meanwhile, they
will be hard at work developing DEVOUR, the desert version.
TIR: By supporting the Kickstarter campaign, those who purchase the game also support the Ridge and Valley Conservancy and your educational partner Crayons to Classroom. How did you end up partnering with them? DM: I've always adhered to the ideology of "think global by acting local" and I figured what better way than to support our local land trust whose mission is to protect all of the animals in the game. As for Crayons to Classrooms, I was looking for a way start getting this educational game into schools. And, what better way than to start with at-risk students in schools that may never be able to afford fun curriculum supplements like DEVOUR!
Click here to learn more about the game and support the Kickstarter campaign.
TIR: You grew up in Rutherford and attended Rutherford Public Schools. What did you enjoy about growing up in Rutherford and attending the schools here? DM: Quality schools, small classes, small-town atmosphere. Now living where I live (out in the boondocks), I have come to appreciate what a great town Rutherford is. I could walk to any one of my friend's houses, to school, to fields, downtown, etc. I've lived in at least 10 other towns/cities since and haven't had that same experience.
To learn more about David Mazure, click here to visit his website.