Stephen Conway is currently on active duty as Major Fun. He is a writer, filmmaker, podcaster, game reviewer, designer, developer and, most importantly, lover of FUN! He has a deep and abiding passion for games and the importance of play as a lifelong pursuit. Play isn’t something we outgrow. It’s a vital (and all too often overlooked) part of life.
For the past 14 years he has produced The Spiel, an audio program covering the world of board and card games. Since accepting his “promotion,” Stephen has brought The Spiel and Major Fun together to review and award worthy games with two seals of quality: The Spiel of Approval and, of course, Major Fun!
His documentary, Made For Play: Board Games & Modern Industry, has been screened at game conferences and conventions around the world and his second documentary is nearing completion.
All of these endeavors fall under the banner of The Spiel Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to making the world a more playful place. In addition to the media network, films, and the awards programs, the Foundation delivers bundles of games to organizations serving people all over the world AND they are in the process of raising funds for The DeKoven Center for Play, a permanent home in Indianapolis which will house a game library, event and play space, a media studio, and a warehouse!
In addition to his passion for games, he’s an avid reader, role player, loves science fiction, comics, cooking and curling and most days finds himself neck deep in geek culture.
Stephen met Bernie about 9 years ago and struck up a close friendship with the Grandpoobah of Fun. He is grasshopper to Bernie’s sensei and is very grateful to be sauntering down the Playful Path with him.
Jeff Heck is the director of media (audio/video) for all things Major Fun.
Allen Dove is a regular playtester and helps evaluate and review games for the Major Fun Award.
THE ORIGINAL MAJOR FUN
Bernie DeKoven is the founder of the Major Fun awards – award-winning designer, educator, and fun theorist.
Bernie has been circumventing seriousness by inventing new ways to play since the early 1970s when he developed a curriculum in social skill development through games for the School District of Philadelphia. He further furthered fun by leading the New Games Foundation in its international training program for facilitating large scale community play events.
He first started reviewing board and table games professionally in the early 70s where he developed the Games Board – a game evaluation program for parents and community leaders. He then wrote reviews and contributed some of his own rather brilliant game concepts to Games Magazine. He also worked as a game designer for Ideal Toy Company, and Mattel Media, and created his own award-winning designs for Children’s Television Workshop.
He received the Ifil-Reynolds award for outstanding achievement from the North American Simulation and Gaming Association and is a lifetime member of The Association for the Study of Play, neither of which is a laughing matter. He has consulted to LEGO as well as independent game inventors and publishers who want to make their games more fun. He has two other websites: deepFUN and aPLAYFULpath.
Bernie passed into the great beyond in 2018. He is sorely missed but his playful legacy is a source of daily inspiration to the hundreds and thousands of lives he touched around the world.
William Bain is a cornivorous player and writer.
Will previously taught college English at the Charles A. Tindley Accelerated School where he was also the Assistant Dean of Early College. He was brought into the fold of education through the wrinkly and disheveled laundry basket of team-building, adventure learning, and cooperative play. Between those two poles, Will picked up a Master’s in Education, an MFA in Creative Writing (that explains any “mistakes” you might find in his writing– it’s ART!!), helped start three schools, helped end another school, published some short stories, and failed to publish a novel.
Around 2009, Will had the great fortune to make the acquaintance of Bernie DeKoven (Major Fun, ret.) with whom he started playing games and writing reviews for the Major Fun site. Little did he know that Bernie was grooming him to helm the wheel of the majestic virtual vessel, the WWW Major Fun Dot Com. Will has been equal parts thrilled, terrified, and bemused by the whole process and unrelenting responsibility.
Will lives in Indianapolis with his family and a close coterie of friends and games tasters who are on call 24 hours a day (as long as Will does not expect an answer 18 of those 24 hours). He plays ultimate frisbee during the summer months and enjoys board games all year long.