Alan R. Moon’s Ticket to Success
Alan R. Moon developed one of our America’s favorite games, TICKET TO RIDE. It happens to be one of my family’s favorite games also. For this reason I decided to do my report on the developer of this game. He is a very successful and prolific game designer. Moon has designed or co designed over 39 games. (Moon, 2000). Most of his board games are considered to German style board games. Although he was born in South Hampton England he moved to the United States as a child. It was in his childhood he fell in love with games, especially board games. Moore’s family had a game night like many families did including mine. “When I was a kid, every Sunday was family day. We played all the American classics like MONOPOLY, CAREERS, and FACTS IN FIVE, as well as a lot of traditional card games like HEARTS and OH HELL. But my most memorable game experiences as a child occurred when my Uncle Bryan would visit. My father, my uncle, my brother and I would play RISK. This was some of the most intense gaming, I’ve experienced, as there was no such thing as brotherly love during games of RISK in the Moon family.” (Tidwell, 2001)
During college Moon ran a local game club named the Jersey Wargamers. He got a job after college at Avalon Hill as an editor. He found working as an editor less than fulfilling. Once he got involved with game designers he felt he had found his true calling. His first game was inspired by the card game HEARTS, named BLACKSPY.
Moon got his next job in designing games at Parker Brothers. After some nominal success he decided in 1984 to go out on his own. He wanted to try to design games for his sole source of income. The idea was to have the autonomy afforded by working for yourself as opposed to following the dictates of a large corporation. It was a difficult path. He had to work as a waiter to supplement his income and during this dark period he had doubts about his ability to become a successful game designer. It took six long years before his game AIRLINES was published by a German company.
In 1998 he started working with other game designers. He found this collaborative working environment to be suited to his personality and very satisfying. He then developed one of his favorite games, TICKET TO RIDE. This game is the most popular of Moon’s creations. It has won several awards and made him financially successful. The game is among one of the best-selling board games of all times, with over 3 million copies sold and retail sales of around $150 million dollars. TICKET TO RIDE has many different versions including a computer game. In 2001 Moon had three games nominated for awards.
When Moon speaks of his appointment with the publisher he tells of the meeting. “The TICKET TO RIDE prototype was basically sold to board game publishers Days of Wonder in under thirty minutes.” (Tidwell, 2001) Days of Wonder representatives liked the game so much they still wanted to play when Moon started packing the prototype away.
Moon’s love of games and gaming lead him down the path to becoming a game designer. His hard work paid off but not before a significant amount of struggle. His ideas came from thinking about the games he loved and what he loved the most about them. TICKET TO RIDE incorporated his love of travel and love of board games.
Moon still loves playing all types of games. “…what I enjoy most is playing Poker at my local casino or simply playing games with my friends. My favorite games are DESCENT: Journey’s into the Dark…SPADES, LIARS DICE/BLUFF and parlor games like TABOO and BALDERDASH.” (Moon, 2004) The fact that such a successful game designer states his love of games as one of his creative formats should give hope to all future game designers.