(FACADE GAMES PHOTO)
By Al Stilley
Southport native Holly Hightower Hancock and husband Travis Hancock have produced their fifth board game since 2015.
With board games based on historical fact, their newest board game is “Hollywood 1947: A Movie-Making Game of Strategy and Deception” and includes 15 unique detailed posters of Hollywood movies, nine different film strips, movie job cards, four tokens, and other cards essential to game playing, all in a faux book box. Hollywood 1947 also has an expanded pack that features a costume designer character and a sketchbook of nine unique costume designs.
Their other board games, all successful, have enabled Travis and Holly to hang up their respective professional careers in marketing and teaching, for a remarkable career in inventing and developing board games.
“When we did our first board game (Salem 1692), we didn’t have any expectations where it would go,” Holly said recently from their home in Beaver Creek, Ohio. “Of course, then we didn’t have any children, either.”
Combining family and game research and development has led Holly and Travis along a totally unexpected path and livelihood with over 250,000 games sold – mostly because of Travis’ roots for board games.
Holly is the daughter of former Indy TV personality Rick Hightower who serves in community relations for Clark-Pleasant Schools. She graduated from Southport High School in 2011. She and Travis met as students at Brigham Young University and were married in 2013 in Utah.
They later moved to mid-Ohio to be closer to their parents’ Midwest homes. They have three children: Margo 5 years; Jane 3; and Eddie, 8 months.
As a teen, Travis enjoyed playing board games and even playing different versions of games.
“These games (Façade Games) are driven by Travis,” Holly said admiringly. “Again, I had no idea that we would be so grateful. He has been able to give up his job working for a marketing company and I was able to quit teaching.”
Now Travis and Holly devote their full careers to board games. She serves as graphic designer of the games and works with three illustrators nationwide.
Hollywood 1947 is a direct outgrowth of Travis’ love of movies.
While playing the game, the year is 1947, and you are a member of the Hollywood movie-making industry, but it is suspected there are “un-patriotic” workers involved within the production studio. Can all obstacles be overcome? Up to nine players can play at one time.
Well-known game critics already have praised Hollywood 1947 as “their strongest design yet; the perfect balance between bluffing and deduction” … “clean design and simple actions” … “an excellent deduction game with a thematic twist!”
The historic theme revolves around the historic second Red Scare and McCarthyism days when the U.S. government feared that Hollywood movie-makers would fill the screens with “un-American messages.”
layers use logic and persuasion so other players in various roles and job abilities will trust them.
Travis and Holly logged hundreds of hours refining the game with Kickstarter play-testers for a product that may be revised slightly.
The Hancock-developed series of five board games is known as the Dark City Series and includes previous games:
*Salem 1692, published in 2015 – Correctly accuse the witches before they accuse you or soon the whole town will be overrun with evil, 1-12 players, their best-selling game.
*Tortuga 1667, published in 2017 - Discover your teammates as you go. Mutiny against untrustworthy captains and gather the most gold for your team, 2-9 players, nominated as the best party game of 2017.
*Deadwood 1876, published in 2018 - Steal safes with your teammates and then fight your teammates to the death in the final wild, wild west showdown for it all for yourself, 2-9 players, nominated as best party game of 2018.
*Bristol 1350, published in 2021 - Race through the streets to escape the Town of Bristol before you get the Black Plague … who is hiding their true symptoms? …1-9 players … recommended by Mensa in 2022.
The latter game by historic coincidence was completed as the coronavirus swept the U.S., but provided a great historic education to one of the world’s worst plagues.
Holly recalled they began to develop the game in 2018 that was completed in 2020 before being refined.
“It was instantly prized because it was something the public could relate to,” Holly said. “This is history.”
History is, after all, the unique web of all five board games in the Dark Cities Series, including the latest, Hollywood 1947 that is undergoing its final refinement. Pledges for Hollywood 1947 are available with pre-ordering and delivery before Christmas.
For more info on Holly and Travis Hancock, to pre-order Hollywood 1947, and to purchase any or all board games in the Dark Cities Series, visit online at: https://facadegames.com.
Also, more game info, at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/travishancock/hollywood-1947.
Board tokens with Hollywood 1947 include film camera, film reel, megaphone and movie board.
The five-book series of the Hancocks, known as the Dark Cities Series, now consists of five board games, all in faux book covers.
(FACADE GAMES PHOTO)
Holly Hightower Hancock and husband Travis Hancock are with their children, Margo 5, Jane 3, and Eddie, born July 2022 at home in Ohio.