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On the Job: Jacob McEntire Th’15

Game Designer

Jacob McEntire
Image courtesy of Jacob McEntire.

Product director Jacob McEntire uses his training as an electrical engineer to manipulate the forces of nature in the world of Beyonder. It’s a tabletop role-playing game his family of scientists has been creating for almost 50 years.

Where did Beyonder come from?
The game originated with my dad when he was in college. Since then, my parents and three brothers and I have developed a rich and unique landscape for our players to inhabit, with eight playable races and a class system based around science. Basically, you play as a scientist/engineer who studies the physics of the world. And where in our real world we need to use machines to make things that manipulate the fundamental forces of nature into “magical” items and effects (phones, wifi, holograms), in Beyonder our scientists, researchers, and makers can channel energies through their bodies to create miraculous-seeming effects.

What do you bring to the table?
My main contribution has been building the story for a multi-part series of modules (game stories that moderators can buy and run for their players) and playing a leading role in a lot of outreach. I attend a lot of gaming cons where I run demo games for interested players, and I’m also in charge of the newsletter, blog, and social media at various points. I also bring structure. My family tends to wax poetic about the game and get very excited about new products, and it can be difficult at times to get down to brass tacks, which is something I always try to push us toward.

What’s on the horizon?
Our current plan is to keep building our name locally in the Northeast, with the goal of expanding once our sales pick up. I’m also working on another role-playing game with a focus on personality types, so that people can play as themselves. Game design is quite similar to engineering: It’s highly creative and it involves creating sets of rules that constrain a system appropriately to give you a desired result. I want to create a game that shows the incredible things that we’re all capable of when we’re pushed to our limits and that explores the magic that underpins our mundane, day-to-day lives.

—Interview by Theresa D’Orsi

Categories: Alumni News, On the Job

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