The Boardgames Australia Committee
The members of Boardgames Australia have come together to create a credible award that is independent of game publishers or retailers.
The Committee includes teachers, journalists, parents, academics and business people united by a passion to foster positive engagement of families and friends around the games table.
Mathew Utting (Chair)
Mathew Utting has been playing his whole life in one way or another. He works hard to be an advocate for play in the community and in particular for board gaming. Mathew is also trying to get his daughter addicted to board gaming, with varied success.
He regularly plays at Melbourne’s Northern Suburbs Eurogamers (NSEG) and was a founding member of Melbourne Meeples Inc. in 2014 and is currently it’s Treasurer. Since 2013 he has organised the Melbourne Meeples convention MeepleCon.
He loves a nice serious game but revels in completely silly ones too.
Tommy Dean well-known comedian and television celebrity who is a staple on shows such as Spicks’n’Specks and Thank God it’s Friday. He is an American who understands Australians, and what makes us laugh. His mellow voice, love of music, and gift of comedic observation have established him as one of Australia’s most sought after comic performers and writers.
Tommy loves games of all sorts, but especially ones that make people laugh, hoot and holler. He has held the title of Australian Blood Bowl Champion, and it is still one of his favourite games. He wants to share the joy games have brought him with a wide audience, and is starting on the home front with his three young children.
Stefanie grew up in Germany, and board games have always been part of her life. She has fond memories of playing games like Monopoly, Canasta, Öl für uns alle, and Careers until dawn during family Christmas holidays, and remembers playing King Oil with the neighbour’s son and grandfather when she was about five. At university, she got drawn into role-playing and other fantasy-themed games, such as Talisman. She also started to collect games, and her collection numbers around 600. From 1998 until 2003, Stefanie was co-manager of Luding, a large, bilingual online database that links board and card games with game reviews on the Web.
Stefanie worked in Computer Science research for about 12 years. Currently, however, she researches ways to keep her young son happy and occupied. Unfortunately, he is not quite up to board games yet!
Jaime Lawrence has been associated with games from childhood. His parents loved Chess and Pente and indulged his interest in early Games Workshop games. He developed a love for roleplaying and board gaming that took him to the presidency of Sydney University’s gaming club, Sutekh and into a career in the industry as Brand Manager for Good Games, an international chain of game stores.
Now equipped with a loving, gaming family of his own, Jaime battles the forces of evil everywhere while seeking the mythical artefact known as ‘enough shelf space to hold his games’
Fraser McHarg has been interested in games all his life. He has early memories of playing 500 with his Nanna and Chess with his father – and of trying to convince his sister to play anything at all. These days, he plays games with his wife and children as well as with friends.
Fraser was involved with roleplaying games conventions for many years and played Bridge until the arrival of his first child, but these days prefers to play boardgames. Fraser also contributes reviews and comments on a major internet boardgame site and writes a regular column for the “Gone Gaming” blog. He is a co-founder of the Gamers@Dockers boardgames club and has been active in promoting boardgaming in his local community.
Fraser and his wife met at a Games convention, which he feels bodes well for their eventual retirement.
Melissa Rogerson has been playing games all her life. Her parents owned a small independent games shop in the late 1970s and 1980s, and her father ran one of Melbourne’s older private Bridge clubs. In 1996, Melissa represented Victoria in the Australian Youth Bridge Championships.
Melissa, her husband and their two teenage daughters have a “playing collection” of around 1300 boardgames. In September 2006, their collection was one of the Melbourne Museum’s featured “Community Collections”, with many of their games displayed and demonstrated there during the month. Melissa has a keen interest in games promotion and in using games in education, and has pioneered the introduction of annual Family Game Nights at local schools. She has written a fortnightly column for a popular boardgaming blog, is a member of the administration team on BoardGameGeek.com as well as of the International Gamers’ Awards jury, and has appeared on ABC national and regional radio discussing boardgames. She has also worked as a game translator, translating a number of popular games from German to English. From 2014 to 2018, Melissa managed the Tabletop area at PAX Australia.
Melissa is currently completing a PhD on the interactions that occur during boardgame play. She was co-chair (with Richard Vickery) of Boardgames Australia from 2008-2018.
Richard Vickery was lucky to grow up in a family where most nights featured a game after dinner. This developed into a lifelong love of games of all sorts. Richard was President of the Sydney University Games Club (currently called SUTekh) while an undergraduate, and has reviewed games for several magazines.
Richard now has his own family of two young children with which to explore the world of games. The interest his children’s school friends showed in playing boardgames led him to organise a Brain Fun Games Day at the local School to share the fun with other families.
Richard also has a life as an academic working in the field of medical science and brain function. He has successfully integrated game-like elements into some of his classes to try and engage his students more fully into the learning activities.