A father and daughter team is creating opportunities for mingling in our city.
A Scrabble game between one of Brisbane’s homeless people and a City businessman became the inspiration for an innovative new business. But it was no ordinary Scrabble game — this game featured giant pieces in King George Square.
“This was the ‘light bulb’ moment,” says David Saunders, co-owner of Giant Games — a company that does just what it says on the tin, makes giant games. “From that moment I realised we were onto something that could have a wider audience.”
It was a love of playing board games that inspired David and his daughter, Amy Saunders, a landscape architect, to develop the idea.
“Growing up in my household, we spent one evening a week at my parent’s place, and as they rarely watched TV, the board games (particularly Chinese Checkers) would come out and we would all play,” David said.
Amy pitched an idea to Brisbane City Council to add life to the newly developed King George Square. The concept was to ‘humanise’ public space or ‘place making’ with a pop-up games night.
Working together, Amy and David built a Giant Chinese Checkers and Scrabble set. The larger-than-life pieces attracted passers-by who stopped and watched or got involved.
Amy has since received an Australia Day Award from the Lord Mayor of Brisbane in January 2012 for her initiative.
“The social levelling was amazing,” David says of how people from all walks of life come together to play and compete.
The initial portfolio of games led to the establishment of Giant Games as a business and from this other games were developed including Giant Chess, Jenga and Giant Connect Four. They also provide a range of ‘normal’ size board games for the digital-focused generation to experience the ‘hands on’ interaction of playing with other like-minded players.
Since its inception the business model has expanded to cater for the corporate and education markets.
“The universities and TAFEs find it a good ice-breaker in their fresher’s week,” David says. “The new students are just out of their familiar high school social environment and so the Giant Games provide a good social interaction to make new friends.”
Giant Games has even been called in to do weddings. “It fills up the dead time when the photos are being taken and the register is signed,” says David.
Games Night has become a regular event on the last Thursday of each month at King George Square and a success story for Brisbane City Council. Join in!