A Fresh Face in the Board Game Biz: Mark Starr

MarkStarrLimited to three words, Albany resident and artist Mark Starr would describe himself as creative, competitive, and adventurous. Starr graduated from George Fox University with a studio art major and a computer science minor, and also earned a Master of Arts in Teaching. Presently, when Starr’s not taking care of his chickens, sculpting, or painting, he’s traveling the world with his wife, Amy. His newest adventure, however, involves something he’s always had a passion for: board games.

If he had to choose, Starr’s all-time favorite game is Bang!, the first Euro-style game he ever played (although he added that the enjoyment of a game really depends on who you’re playing it with). Starr’s first crack at the board game biz was when he created an expansion to an already existing game. After communicating with the game’s original creator, he realized the best way to get his work on the market was to design his own game, which he did.

Starr created Vegetable Race, a board game for 2 to 8 players. The game pieces are all culinary vegetables and a single fruit, and the artwork on the cards and game board was all done by Starr. The majority of the cards are basic movement cards that move either you or one of the other players a certain amount of spaces, and participation is continued even after you’ve completed the race. The end goal is constantly changing depending on each player’s secret objective, which is achieved by maneuvering oneself and others around a racetrack.

I recently sat down with Starr and a few friends to try out a prototype of Vegetable Race and was surprised by the game’s accessibility. It was pretty hard to stop once we started; we played until the dark and mosquitoes forced us to quit. The concept of the game sounded confusing at first, but the learning process was speedy, and every round is something new so we were always engaged. I loved having a secret objective that earned me more points in the end—that way no one knew who was winning until each completed round.

Starr already has another game in the works, which he plans on releasing after Vegetable Race. It’s called Little Dudes and features small people figurines you can take anywhere and play a variety of quick mini-games with.

Vegetable Race is not yet available in stores. However, support for Starr’s Kickstarter campaign, ending on Friday, Aug. 26, can earn you a copy of the game at www.kickstarter.com/projects/566954393/vegetable-race. For more information on the game’s progress, follow Starr on Facebook at  http://www.facebook.com/vegetablerace.

By Hannah Darling