Muzak Games is a new small game company based in Norway. Our main focus is developing and designing fun board games with a twist. We have a lot of ideas and will try to choose wisely which ones we bring to your table. Our first game World Dumbination will be launched on early 2019.

Our logo

Muzak is often used as a term for most forms of background music, and may also be known as elevator music or lift music. It’s a kind of uplifting and funny music with the golden era of the Bossa nova style music in the 70’s.
The falling piano is a gag used in cartoons. It is seen as something that trumps the bad guy or an unlucky person.
We felt it was quite natural to combine the two to make our name and logo.

Sorry for the music, we just had to… 😀

The story

Muzak Games is founded by me Jan Richard Hansen. I have over 20 years’ experience as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator for the board game industry in Norway. I have done design and illustrations for over 50 board games that together has sold over a 1 million copies, mostly in Norway, but games I have made have also been sold in the rest of Scandinavia and North of Europe.

When I was growing up I often played board games with friends. So it was many late evenings with Axis & Allies, Dungeons & Dragons, Magic the Gathering, and Robo Rally that was one of my favorite game at that time. When I moved away from home I didn’t have too much to do with board games for a while. But when I started working as an 3D animator and later as a Creative leader in a creative agency Oslo. I made TV commercials for the biggest board game company in Norway. When I started my own Multimedia Design company in 1998, I convinced them that I could design board games for them as well.

Geni board game

Geni board game from 1999.

The first game I did the graphics for was the 1999 version of Geni (Genius), that was Norway’s version of Trivial pursuit. I often came up with some new solutions for the games I designed, so I also affected the game play. Getting a lot of own ideas for games I started designing my own games 6 years ago. One of the first games I finished was a realistic tour cycling game that had some new game mechanics. I remember the Lautapelit team was visiting in my office at that time, since the company I do most of my work for are cooperating with them. They had some new games with them, and of course one of them was a cycling game. So I showed the game designer mine, funny that they were totally different. Of course Flamme Rouge became published, and mine is just lying in shelf to be taken out again at a later time 😉

The Christmas King board game.

The Christmas King board game.

Some years later I got a game published where I did most of the game design. It was for a Christmas television series. It was a children’s game where the players competed to be the first to make snow to save Christmas. The players could start laying out the snow tokens after finding a crown and a golden glove. First player to the castle won!

I have later made many more games, and Treed was a game I got some good feedback on. The game is a tile laying game where you get points by each side of the tiles that is connected to other colored tiles. A 3D effect on the tiles, and all the colors make the game look quite nice. I designed a completely new version of the 3000 year old sand timer for that game. It bugged me when players only used half the time on the timer, and we had to wait for the sand to run out. So I designed a modern looking sand timer you could restart whenever you wanted. I Hope to have the game and the sand timer out sometime.

Treed board game.

Treed board game prototype.

Since I am a graphic designer and illustrator I often design the game mechanics at the same time I experiment with the look of the game. I think this is a good advantage as problems often can be solved by designing things different. But I think my biggest strength as a game designer is my creativity that really can take off sometimes. My weakness as a game designer is that I don’t have board games as my main hobby. Not knowing to many in the industry makes it hard to get the word out and convincing people I actually can make good games. But I also see it like a little advantage not being too influenced by other games and trends out there 😉

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