Time for a Road Trip

EVERETT — A game brain trust can be found in a small office in Everett. Daddy-O Productions, a partnership between Brian Maggio and Tom Rushton, calls it home.

The company, which was started in late 2008, has come out with a line of 1950s and 1960s-inspired games that offer “a dash of cool”

and an element of nostalgia to classic and new games. Daddy-O’s newest product, which will be available soon, might make you nostalgic to take a trip cross-country with your family.

The game, Road Trip, comes in a shiny silver tin, shaped like an Airstream trailer. It combines some of the silliness of Mad Libs with the smarts of Cranium and the movement of Candy Land or Monopoly. And it can be adapted easily for small children.

“It’s just a hoot, a great family game,” Maggio said.

Through a separate game-consulting business that Maggio and Rushton run, the two kept getting requests from retailers for classic games, like Pachisi or marbles. In late 2008, they founded Daddy-O Productions with the financial backing of some commercial real estate buddies.

“We started as just a whim in a bar,” Maggio said.

The first product that came out under the Daddy-O name was a vintage marble set, introduced in time for Father’s Day. Then came more of what Daddy-O calls cultural classic games: Mancala, a count-and-capture type game that’s considered one of the oldest in the world, and Captain’s Mistress, a game using marbles that is also known as Four in a Row.

After that, Daddy-O began developing some new games that the duo describes as retro and fun: think fuzzy dice and wood-paneled station wagons. In fact, one card and dice game is packaged inside a large pair of fuzzy dice.

In 2010, Daddy-O hit a snag. The commercial real estate developers who helped with Daddy-O’s initial funding needed out. Maggio and Rushton had to scramble for loans, despite having a successful product line and orders from the likes of Barnes and Noble and National Geographic.

But they’re ready for the release of Road Trip, which has garnered some hefty interest among retailers.

“You never want to think you’ve got a Pictionary or a Cranium on your hands — and I’m not saying Roadtrip is,” Maggio said.

The J. Matheson store in downtown Everett will be one of the first retailers in the country to carry Road Trip. The game also will be available through the Daddy-O website, through Amazon.com and in small catalogs.

Maggio and Rushton’s consulting company, Revenew, is the business partners’ primary business, which they’ve run for more than eight years.

With Revenew, they do a variety of game work — helping people who have a good game concept get their product built, distributed and marketed. Revenew tends to represent about nine to 10 clients at a time. They’ve worked with Monroe-based Find It Games.

From concept to store shelf, a game typically costs between $10,000 and $20,000 to create and manufacture off-shore. Maggio estimated. But don’t let those figures fool you.

“It’s not for the weak of heart,” Maggio said.

Consider this: Thousands of new games are conceived every year. Maybe 100 of those are good, Maggio estimates. And perhaps only two games each year will become really popular.

And you’ve got to have the connections to get a game seen by the right people, like Barnes and Noble, the Discovery Channel store and Target. And you might need even more money — Barnes and Noble implemented a $7,500 fee just to put a game on their shelves.

“It’s a business,” Maggio said. “It just happens to be a business that’s a lot more fun than others.”

Daddy-O Productions

Founded: late 2008

Location: Everett

Employees: 3

Latest game: Road Trip

Web site: www.daddyogames.com

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