Creation of game hardly trivial

Six years went into researching a board game that tests player's knowledge of Nevada. But production was the hard part, says game developer Martin Smith, president of The Flag Store of Nevada Inc., in Sparks.

Following a fruitless search for a Nevada game manufacturer, he learned that costs to produce the game in this country would be more than the game's retail sales price. So Smith wound up working with a broker for a Chinese company. And even then, he became snagged in delays when that company confused him with another, tarnished, customer.

But this month, just in time for Nevada Day, 5,000 units of The Nevada Trivia Game shipped.

While Smith calls the years of travel and research a labor of love, he puts the cost of copyright, graphics and production at $50,000.

The board game sports a Battle Born box, Monopoly-style game board, 500 question cards and six player pawns. Valorie Smith designed the graphics.

Research began when Smith needed to relax a little while recuperating from a heart attack.

"The game would force me to travel Nevada searching for questions," he says.

Add to that the time spent reading books and conducting Internet research, it amounted to thousands of hours to settle on 500 questions and answers, he says. Questions are clustered into five categories: history, gaming, where we live, hodgepodge, and famous people from politicians to outlaws.

"I've always been a history nut," says Smith. But he credits the late Norm Nielson, author and radio show host of "Tales of Nevada," for the inspiration that drove him to tackle the project.

To gauge buyer interest, Smith conducted a direct mail survey sent to retailers, museums and chambers of commerce.

"The chains had no interest in a regional game," he says. But he prebooked about 10 stores and museums throughout the state.

It's sold in Sparks at The Flag Store on Glendale Avenue and in Reno at The Nevada Store in the Moana West Shopping Center. Elsewhere around the state, it's carried in history museums. The game sells for $29.95 and can also be ordered online at

Not content to rely on passive retail sales, Smith created a tandem fundraiser program built on the game. He's recruiting Nevada dignitaries and media celebrities to play in November's Celebrity Fundraiser for the Veterans Guest House. Attendees will pay to play the game against celebrity opponents.

Smith's goal is to arrange tournaments in all of Nevada's 17 counties, with championship playoffs at the Nevada State Fair.


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