Wearing Many Hats with Industry Veteran Adam Hocherman

by Adam Hocherman | 01 May 2024

Biographies and Interviews

MC: Hey Adam, excited to catch-up with you.  I see you’re up to a few new things!


AH: Hi Mary, great to connect.  Indeed, I’m thrilled to be working on a couple of interesting consulting projects while outfitting a new strategy games studio called Wayfarer Games.

MC: Well that’s exciting.  So a return to your entrepreneurial side?  Remind us about those roots.


That’s right.  From 2003 to 2017, I built and ran two companies.  The first was a consumer electronics company turned toyco called American Innovative and the second was a domestic manufacturing company specializing in laser-cut wooden STEM kits, called Tinkineer.  I sold them in 2014 and 2017, respectively - both into the larger mass toy industry.


MC: And when did you move into the corporate side of the toy industry?


Well those sales moved me into an executive management role where I spent seven years doing business development, corporate strategy/legal, product development and, notably, inventor relations.


MC: We’ll come back to Wayfarer Games in a moment.  You’re working on two other projects?


Yes, it’s been great to be able to start something new and stay connected to the more mainstream industry at the same time.  I’m working with old friends and, in one instance, an old property I’m very fond of and for which I, personally, wrote the original license agreement (for PlayMonster) over five years ago.


MC: Right, you had mentioned Snap Ships to me.


Correct.  That IP came out of license at the end of last year.  The creators, Scott Pease and Jeff Swenty and I go back to when I originally licensed this and have been friends throughout.  We share a lot of interests and since I have all of the background on the property it was easy to jump right in as we chart a course for where Snap Ships (and related strategy game Snap Ships Tactics) is headed.



MC: And how about your work with Doug and Brent?


Also really interesting and a relationship that originated years ago at PlayMonster, where Doug Cass and Brent Oeschger had also sold in a company.  Kahootz was responsible for the reinvention of Spirograph (under sub-license from Hasbro) among other really creative crafts and activities.  Today they have formed a new company called Tree Town Toys, which heralds back to their Ann Arbor roots.

MC: And what are you up to there?


Doug and Brent recruited me, and a few others they have worked with in the past, to round out the skillset as they forge a new craft and activity company.  I’ve gotten to get right back to my roots, looking at inventor concepts in the space, writing license agreements, analyzing prior art, and generally contributing as a defacto member of the team.  I really enjoy that and the people involved.


MC: Wonderful.  So last but not least, Wayfarer Games.  You have partners on this one?


Yes!  While I was always a solo-founder in the past, this is a very refreshing change.  Wayfarer Games is a new tabletop games studio that is founded by myself, Tristam Rossin, and James Emmerson.  Other than me, everyone is from the UK, so right out of the gate we’re a multinational.  Ha!  Tris, who is a talented illustrator, and I had worked together in the past.  James, who is an award-winning game designer, had worked with Tris on some titles in the past.  Tris recognized the synergies in the skillsets and put us all together to form Wayfarer Games.  We’re able to handle nearly everything in-house as a result.


MC: And the first title is called, A Wayfarer’s Tale: The Journey Begins.


That’s right - Journey is a more elaborate, high-end, boxed version of a great title that Tris and James had developed previously as a print-and-play.  For readers who are unfamiliar with that, a print-and-play comprises inexpensive PDF files that are designed to be printed and assembled at home.


MC: Got it, so the new boxed title establishes you in the more traditional strategy games space.


The new game is a hybrid of a roll-and-write and a more traditional boxed strategy game - very thematic with great characters and stunning illustration.  We’ve enhanced the original title, have sourced it for manufacture and are looking to establish a footprint and a following in the mid-complexity, more family-oriented strategy games space.  Journey will sit somewhere between a Splendor/Azul/Unearth-type game and a Wingspan/Everdell-type game.


MC: And when can we get it?


AH: We will launch the game on Kickstarter in mid-summer of this year.  Readers can receive a pre-launch reminder directly from Kickstarter and, if you’d like a taste of what the game is about, we've devised a sample game which takes about 30 minutes as a downloadable PDF.  It’s called The Lonely Isle and you can get that from WayfarerGames.co.  You need nothing other than a printer, a pencil, and four of those PoP dice that you’ve given out over the years!


MC: What a great idea.  Thanks, Adam.  Before we close, where can people reach you?


If you want to chat about Wayfarer Games, we’re excited to hear from people: there’s a contact form on the homepage at WayfarerGames.co.  LinkedIn is a great place to message me, personally.  You can find me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/adamhocherman/.  I will remain active in the inventor community and the broader toy and game space.  So if you are a company that has a short-term project need or an individual inventor who just needs a question answered about a license agreement you are negotiating, please do reach out.  Mary, thanks so much for the opportunity to connect here!


Tait & Lily, Inventors of Betcha Can't!