Valerie grew up playing boardgames, most often backgammon with her Mom. She played Risk, Rummikub, and Magic: the Gathering quite a bit in college, but really turned into a full-fledged hobby gamer when she moved to Athens, Georgia for graduate school in 1995. Being a stranger in a new town, Valerie used Magic: the Gathering as a way to meet new people and make new friends in her new home. Soon her weekly game group started trying some new games — pasted up imports from Germany with translation cheat sheets—and her transformation into a Eurogamer was complete.
Georgia is also where Valerie got started on her convention kick. Her local game club was
very involved in Magnum Opus Con and also travelled to Atlanta for Dragon*Con. When
she finished graduate school and moved to Ohio to be a full time professor of psychology, she continued to travel to Georgia for Dragon*Con and also added Batty’s Best Gamefest and some southern invitational gaming events to her calendar. Back in Ohio she joined the Columbus Area Boardgaming Society (CABS, arguably the largest boardgaming club in the United States with over 200 dues paying members and typical meeting attendance at over 100 gamers). She also started attending Origins game convention, the Buckeye Gamefest, and travelling to Indiana for Gen Con. It got to the point where she travelled to as many as 19 game conventions and events in a year including Spiel in Essen, Germany, Alan Moon’s The Gathering of Friends, the World Board Gaming Championships, BGG.con, and local and invitational conventions up and down the East coast. When Rick Thornquist asked her to be a contributor on the newly forming website Boardgamenews, it was obvious that her primary focus would be reporting on game conventions, and Prose on Cons was born.
One way that Valerie funded her game convention trips was to work as a game demo-monkey, most often for Rio Grande Games. This led to the opportunity to work as the game developer for a new game that RGG would be publishing, later named Dominion. Valerie enlisted the help of friend Dale Yu and the developing partnership They Might Be Developers was started. Together they worked on Dominion, along with a half-dozen expansions. This adventure included an unforgettable trip to Berlin to watch the announcement of Dominion as the 2009 Spiel des Jahres and countless new relationships in the boardgaming industry as Valerie got the chance to meet members of the SdJ jury, game publishers from around the world, and game designers that she had admired for over a decade.
After taking a year off from writing online about boardgames, Valerie is excited to get back to it as a member of Opinionated Gamers.