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.
Melissa Rogerson (Co-Chair)
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 young daughters have a "playing collection" of around 350 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 writes a fortnightly column for a popular boardgaming blog, and has appeared on ABC Melbourne and regional radio discussing boardgames.
When she is not playing boardgames, Melissa works as a consultant in information management and online services.
Richard Vickery (Co-Chair)
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.
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.
Games have been an integral part of Neil’s life. Whether it was playing traditional games such as backgammon, chess and card games from around the world or watching family members play these games, Neil has spent an inordinate amount of time honing his skills throughout the years to still get beaten by his dad. Neil also complemented his love of traditional games with his love of sports and sport simulation games.
However he gained his love of the fun of gaming from watching family members playing cards and backgammon quite competitively but always with a sense of humour. He brings this love of fun to the game table always looking for the challenge and the laughter. It wasn’t until University that his game playing flourished and from that time it has grown to an enjoyable hobby he shares with his friends and especially his family.
During daylight hours Neil is an Operations Manager for one of the largest utility companies in Australia.
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!
Paul's business card says he's a Software Solutions Architect, but he's really a husband, father and board game player. Like many people he started playing Monopoly as a child and moved on to Dungeons and Dragons as a teenager, all-night games of Civilization as a uni student and two years representing Queensland on the Junior Bridge team for the Australian National Championships. He has now come full circle to the simple pleasure of an hour or two's enjoyment of a game around the kitchen table with friends and family.
He is very excited to be involved in Board Games Australia, as it will give him an excuse to give his wife for how much time he play games with the kids. Of course if it promotes the sociable, stimulating and above all enjoyable hobby of board and card games to more Australians then that's OK too.
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.
Ben has managed his own printing business, but is now focused on graphic design. Ben is an active member of the Adelaide game scene, as well as being an illustrator of several board games.
Ben is married, and father to one beautiful little girl. He can be recognised by his fedora hat or classic Vespa scooter .
Giles Pritchard has always had a keen interest in gaming. As a young teenager he used to collect, paint and play miniatures games like Warhammer and De Bellis Multidudinus. More recently he has developed a passion for board games, a passion that has led to writing many reviews, which appear online on various board game websites as well as game designer websites.
Giles is a teacher and believes that many modern board games are well suited to today's classrooms as way of scaffolding social interpersonal skills and various other curriculum areas - most notably mathematics skills. Giles has run workshops for teachers and schools on modern games, written guides on games in schools, and has had a role in various game programs in a collection of schools in the Shepparton and Bendigo areas.
Neil is a husband and father of 3 boys under the age of 8. He is a game group organiser for his local club Border Games, Albury Wodonga, which meets every Saturday from 10am-6pm. The club supports all manner of genres including tabletop miniatures and CCG's. Neil enjoys both Euro and American styles of boardgames.
Neil writes monthly game reviews for his local paper and also writes reviews for his local games store to help inform the public. As a teacher, he also has the chance to help young students discover the new world of gaming and develop their thinking skills.
Neil has been tournament director for the Australian Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne championships at the Australian Games Expo.
Carol Witt has been playing board games for several decades. She began at games nights with her groovy young, single friends, worked her way through to games afternoons with her toddlers and their Grandma, and now finds herself right back at games nights with young, single, 19 year olds - only this time they are her children.
Throughout it all, she has firmly believed that board games are one of the best and most underrated ways of having fun with a group of people - no matter what their ages. This conviction led her, as editor of the parenting publication "Sydney's Child" (and its many associated 'Child' papers), to write and feature articles on board games, write a regular board game review column ('Game for Anything') and to contribute board game articles to "The Good Weekend" and other publications.
Carol currently lives in a very small house that has, as its main claim to fame, walls held up by alarmingly tall, somewhat wobbly, floor-to-ceiling piles of board games. The size of her collection is too daunting to compute, but is undoubtedly, by anyone's standards, substantial.
Stewart Woods has held a lifelong interest in the play of all games, with a particular affinity for those that focus on the social side of play. As well as running a small games group at his own home, he is a co-founder of the West Australian Boardgaming Association, an organisation that promotes the play of games in the WA community through regular gaming events and incursions into schools and libraries.
He shares a small slice of semi-rural Australia with his partner, three children and a variety of semi-domesticated animals.
By day Stewart is an academic, lecturing and writing in the field of ludology (a fancy name for game studies). He has recently completed a PhD examining the culture and play of modern board games.