"After grabbing trays of standard cafeteria fare, our team sat down in one of the circle-patterned booths and inspiration struck."
Otrio was inspired on a random day in 2014 during the otherwise mundane daily ritual many of us face—lunch in the corporate cafeteria. Having licensed my first toy the year prior, I had recently become fixated on creating a game and was in search of a theme. As luck would have it, I found my theme that day. Upon entering the cafeteria, my eyes were immediately drawn to the recently-installed café booths upholstered in a rich, red circle themed fabric. After grabbing trays of standard cafeteria fare, our team sat down in one of the circle-patterned booths and inspiration struck.
What about a game based on concentric circles?
Flash forward to a few weeks later as I attempted to turn this idea into my first board game. I first designed a game board with concentric circles in a 5x5 grid, had one made out of plywood using CNC machining, and then 3D printed a set of multi-color concentric pieces. Once I had a rough version of the physical game, I invited a few friends over to playtest the prototype with less than high expectations. Initially, we tried a chess/checkers capture-a-piece style mechanic which completely bombed in the first 10 minutes. So we switched gears to tic-tac-toe style play using the concentric pieces. After just a few rounds and several a-ha moments, it became apparent we were headed in the right direction. The idea evolved a bit more that night and over the following weeks. About a month later, I successfully pitched the game to Marbles: the Brain Store, signing a licensing agreement in the spring of 2015. The game moved pretty quickly through the development process and launched that fall as Otrio.
Otrio won the 2016 Sweden and Finland Family Game of the Year awards and was a New York Toy of The Year (TOTY) finalist in 2018. Otrio is currently sold in over twenty countries and available in six languages worldwide.