Bowdoin Webmaster Is On His Game

Bowdoin Webmaster Mark Leaman is feeling a little snowed under at the moment. And he couldn’t be happier.

Leaman, who helps keep Bowdoin’s Web services up and running by day, is spending his evenings madly assembling a tabletop game he invented called Cabin Fever, which he sells as a sideline business.

The dice-based game of strategy pits players in a race to see who can “dig out” first from their snowed-in cabin. It comes in a palm-sized plastic cube, which Leaman notes is a “perfect stocking-stuffer size” and it comes with the tagline, “The Game From Maine.”

An inveterate gamer himself, Leaman said he developed the idea for the game several winters ago during a snowstorm. “I had been working on developing a game that was Maine themed and family oriented,” said Leaman. “Then the power went out. My son and I were sitting around and I said, ‘Try out this idea with me.’ He really loved it so I figured I was onto something.”

Leaman found a manufacturer to produce the game pieces: six dice, a plastic cabin, instructions and several stickers that say “I’ve Got Cabin Fever.” He assembles and markets the product from a home-based company called Merrymeeting Games.

It also retails at two Brunswick-area stores — What’s Up on Maine Street in Brunswick, and Game Box Video Games & Comics in Topsham.

The game is now in its third production run. Leaman says he hopes he can share it more widely with the community at Bowdoin’s annual arts and craft sale, Sunsplash, December 10, 2010, in Smith Union.

“The board game market is undergoing a Renaissance all over the country right now,” notes Leaman. “I think the first generation of video gamers are older now, they have kids. In a board game you can sit down with your family; it really encourages interaction.”

He thinks about those interchanges for a minute and smiles. “You know, it’s always surprising to find out who the cutthroat people are in games,” he says. “It’s never who you expect it to be. Watch out for the quiet ones …”

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