Circle Game

Nineteen years ago, Simon McEntire played Beyonder for the first time. He was in sixth grade, and his dad moderated.

This weekend, Simon will be moderating a game of Beyonder for a group of sixth graders. He is now a partner in Flying NightBear Games (FNB Games), the company formed in 2008 to write and publish Beyonder.

The game this weekend is the result of a visit that Judy Schatz (Simon’s mom and Director of Communications, FNB Games) paid to a doctor. He asked her where she worked; she told him about FNB Games.

“My sixth grade son loves role-playing games!” he said. “He plays after school with a group of friends, and a teacher moderating.”

“My sons went to a school that does that! What school does he go to?”

As in the best stories, coincidences occur. Judy’s doctor’s son attends Abington Friends School, from which three of the four FNB Games partners graduated. He was unable to attend the test play at AFS in two weeks, but FNB Games liked the idea of playing with a younger group. They arranged to have a test play for him and some of his gamer friends.

The test play takes place this weekend; meanwhile, the sixth grade participants are busy creating characters and making plans. Says Simon, “It will be interesting to see what it’s like from the other side of the table!”

Simon’s dad, Robin McEntire, originated Beyonder in the 1970s. More than 25 years later his two older sons, Simon and Caleb, and best friend Jordan Campbell discovered the game and created and developed the mechanics, creatures, Powers, and game play that have made it a hit with advance players today.

Considering the many times, over the years, that Simon and his friends begged his father to moderate games for him and his friends, he says, “It feels appropriate, somehow, that the suffering we inflicted on my father should now be inflicted on me!”

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