Tags Posts tagged with "Kickstarter"


Miller Place resident Paul Partlow, above, created a new board game, Plank & Rank. Photo by Kevin Redding

By Kevin Redding

After grabbing the attention of Hasbro last year, a Miller Place artist is unleashing his very own board game to the masses.

With Plank & Rank, a two-player tabletop game that combines the fun of a board game with the strategy of a card game, professional graphic artist Paul Partlow was one of five finalists in Hasbro’s 2016 Next Great Family Game Challenge — a worldwide competition that aims to discover and develop the next Monopoly or Clue.

Partlow, 36, didn’t win that challenge but was soon contacted by a multimedia company called Golden Bell Studios, whose Long Island-based owners saw the board game through an Indiegogo campaign online. The company told him it was interested in helping with distribution on a national level.

“We immediately saw Plank & Rank and thought, ‘This could be something really awesome,’” the company’s founder Marc Goldner said.

Creator Paul Partlow demonstrates how to play his game Plank & Rank. Photo by Kevin Redding

Goldner and his team have since set up a successful Kickstarter campaign and made the game available for purchase online, all in close collaboration with its creator. The plan now is to get the name out there and explore wider manufacturing options, from Amazon to big-box retailers to niche hobby stores.

“We hope the game is going to be even better than when we first started looking at it,” Goldner said. “[Partlow] is one of the most accommodating and passionate creators. He really takes the time to go above and beyond what’s asked for.”

In Plank & Rank — inspired by Partlow’s interest in history, specifically the Roman conquest of Gaul “with a whimsical slant” — two players, as Roman Red and Barbarian Blue, must build a bridge plank-by-plank across the mighty Rhine River while also moving their armies rank-by-rank to the opposite side. However, as the game’s warning reads, snags and surprises await the players along the way.

The vibrantly designed family game, sprinkled with Partlow’s cartoon-style illustrations and humor, was originally developed as a final project for a class while he was a student at Rhode Island School of Design, from which he graduated in 2016.

The assignment was straightforward: Create a board game to tell a story without words.

While his professor told students they could take an existing game and slap a new story over it, Partlow preferred a challenge.

“If just one person sees it and says, ‘That’s cool,’ then that’s good enough for me.”

— Paul Partlow

“I always tend to go a little above and beyond, so I said, ‘I’d rather create my own game,’” he said.

That professor informed Partlow of the Hasbro competition, encouraging him to blow the dust off his game.

“I’m most proud of the fact that it’s something of mine that’s out there,” Partlow said. “I love the idea that I’ve got something that people can look at, and if just one person sees it and says, ‘That’s cool,’ then that’s good enough for me.”

Partlow said he first discovered his knack for drawing as a fourth-grader in the Longwood school district, greatly inspired by what was regarded as the Disney Renaissance in the early 1990s, and his interest in it only grew stronger in high school.

“I took every art class possible,” he said. “They had all different levels from sequential art to painting and all the teachers there always pushed me forward.”

He and the Golden Bell staff are currently designing an expansion to make Plank & Rank a four-player game, with the add-on revolving around a concept of Hannibal’s crossing of the Alps.

“He’s just so creative and artistic and always has a thousand ideas,” Partlow’s wife Helen said. “He puts everything into what he’s working on. When I first played it, while he was developing it for Hasbro, I actually beat him at his own game.”

To see Paul Partlow’s Kickstarter campaign, visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/287606634/plank-and-rank.

Miller Place art teacher Julia Vogelle helped form The Brick Studio and Gallery nonprofit. Photo from Julia Vogelle

Who better to bring vibrancy and revitalization to downtown Rocky Point than a group of local artists? With the support of elected officials, a new nonprofit organization is leading the charge to help enrich, educate and electrify the Rocky Point community and surrounding areas.

The Brick Studio and Gallery is an art collective of more than 20 local artists and instructors with aspirations to grow and develop into a full-fledged community studio and hub.

Spearheaded by Miller Place High School art teacher Julia Vogelle and professional ceramicist Justine Moody, the group blossomed around the time Stony Brook University’s Craft Center and ceramics studio closed for renovations in January 2016, leaving potters and artists without a space to do what they love.

Pottery making will be offered at The Brick Studio and Gallery. Photo from Julia Vogelle

Vogelle and Moody, who shared dreams of opening up a cooperative to bring art back into the community, met in the wake of the Craft Center shutdown and enlisted the help of the “homeless” artists to form the organization.

Since then, the project has grown, culminating in a Kickstarter campaign with an ambitious goal of $18,000 to turn a dream into a reality. With 120 backers, their goal has already been exceeded, raising a total of $18,150.

The money will cover the start-up costs to find a location and equip and supply the studio with 14 pottery wheels, two electric kilns, kiln shelves, clay, glazes and ceramic tools. According to the fundraiser page, the studio “has the potential to begin a renaissance in historic Rocky Point, with other artists and artisans joining in bringing life to other empty buildings” and plans to open in early spring.

“My vision is to have this cultural center energize and bring all the money back into the hamlet,” Vogelle said. “Rocky Point has a lot to offer. People 16 and up can come; we’d have services for students, seniors, veterans and anyone who would like to work. I want to look at Broadway in Rocky Point as ‘artist’s row.’”

In addition to pottery, glass and jewelry making, the studio will be a venue for documentary showings, live poetry, trivia nights and  live music.

Moody expanded on the grand vision.

“I think it’s going to become a destination place … I don’t know that Rocky Point has one, and there are a lot of towns here with a tremendous group of creatives who don’t really have a place to call their own,” Moody said.

She’s hoping it could be a place to attract locals during the summer to take lessons, and others from outside the community on Friday nights, saying she envisions big events on weekends and other pop-up events throughout the year.

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) believes The Brick has the potential to be a tourist attraction that could boost Rocky Point’s foot traffic and revenue — much-needed since the state built the bypass, which encourages traffic to go around the area, hitting downtown businesses especially hard.

“There are a lot of towns here with a tremendous group of creatives who don’t really have a place to call their own.”

— Justine Moody

“So many of our residents come in from the Long Island Expressway, from Sunrise Highway, and they look to go east from the North Fork, and my hope is that maybe they’ll turn left and go west to experience what Rocky Point and Shoreham have to offer,” Anker said. “There are so many high-level artists that live in the area and this will hopefully give them a way to stay local and promote their craft to the public.”

Anker has been involved in North Shore revitalization plans since 2011, participating with the Rails to Trails project and the clean-up of the Tesla Science Center at Wardenclyffe, and said that art is not just trendy.

“We underestimate how important art is, it needs to be cultivated,” she said. “It’s part of our culture and it has an educational component. It will definitely benefit downtown Rocky Point.”

Councilwoman Jane Bonner (C-Rocky Point), who contributed $100 to the art collective’s Kickstarter campaign, said she’s so excited about the studio and points to Vogelle and Moody’s hard work and dedication.

“They’re very dedicated and committed and they’re not looking for somebody else to solve their problem … grass isn’t growing under feet at all and it’s hard not to pay attention to that,” Bonner said.

As a 30-year Rocky Point resident, the councilwoman is hopeful that the artists can bring people back to downtown Rocky Point and trigger change.

Vogelle feels the same, stating that she believed that the art can bring value to homes and surrounding businesses.

“If you put art into a community, people want to move in,” she said. “If you put music in town, people want to gather around and enjoy it. A cultural center like this always connects with schools in the district and it will also help people realize there’s so much culture that’s hidden. And anyone can get hooked on ceramics — the elderly, veterans, teens. Once you touch mud, you never go back.”