We bumped into David and Leana Galiel on a visit to Oregon Story Board. They sat bent over a computer terminal, so intent on their work they barely seemed to notice when we walked into the room.
David is a veteran of the gaming industry who has worked on dozens of games including Terra, one of the internet’s first massive multi-player online games — a forerunner to World of Warcraft and everything that came after. He’s also started game projects designed to be socially responsible - collaborative, science-based games. Leana Galiel is a game designer who has worked on games for several platforms.
They didn’t intend to start working together, but both found themselves living in Portland. The company Leana had been working for folded. So they took off the “family” hats, and started exploring some ideas of mutual interest on both the mobile and board game worlds. Their company is Elbowfish.
JUX is a card game that incorporates storytelling, collaboration, and creativity. Its cards were illustrated by Noah Patrick Pfarr. He’s illustrated for The Washington Post, LA Weekly, and Portland Monthly. His work is colorful, funny, and accessible. David says Pfarr had the added talent of being able to execute complicated ideas quickly, and with all kinds of amusing twists (the kitty Kraken is a particular favorite of theirs).
We talked to the Galiels about JUX, working together, and how games work on your brain.