Hazel Reynolds Founder of Gamely Games

Fuelled by beans talk series - Hazel Reynold from Gamely Games

Fuelled by beans talk series - Hazel Reynold from Gamely Games

Yep that's right. #Fuelledbybeans is back for a 2nd series! We loved chatting to some amazing athletes and fitness ambassadors in our last series but this time we thought we'd go on the hunt for some folks who we think are totally inspiring for totally different reasons. 

First up is.... Hazel Reynolds the founder of Gamely. A Brighton based business that creates fun family games that bring people together and are a catalyst for moments of joy.

Hazel, her husband Chris and their growing team have now created 12 different games all designed to encourage friends and family to spend quality time laughing together. But games aren’t the only way they are spreading their unique brand of joy. Gamely donate 10% of their profits to charity and giveaway 1000’s of games each year to charities, schools and good causes.

Tell us a bit about how Gamely came about?

I came up with the idea for my first game Randomise 9 years ago, to lure my 12-year-old sister away from her iPad. It is a mix of Charades, Articulate and Pictionary but with really random identities - like a confused octopus eating spaghetti! 

It worked really well, but it wasn’t until nearly a year later, when I found myself in a terrible new job, that I decided to quit it and try and turn my idea into a real product! The day after I set up Gamely, I found out I was pregnant, so I had a really good deadline to work towards. 

My friends and family were all really supportive and when I launched the idea on Kickstarter, I managed to raise enough money to start manufacturing Randomise. A few months later, Gamely was accepted onto Amazon’s launchpad scheme and by the following Christmas, Randomise had made it into the list of top 10 bestselling card games on Amazon! 

From there it’s been an amazing journey as I’ve been able to hire a lovely team (including my husband), we’ve been stocked in lots of lovely shops (including John Lewis, Waitrose, Waterstones and various independents) and made lots of new games! 

Where do you get the inspiration for new games?

I try to put lots of interesting things into my brain - whether that’s going to museums and galleries, playing lots of other games, or going down rabbit holes on the internet - and then give my brain the time and space to connect up all the dots. I find I often have my best ideas when I’m feeling really relaxed - in the shower, in the sea, or on a nice long walk! 

Life events can definitely also influence the games ideas I come up with. For example, Soundiculous, the game or ridiculous sounds, was inspired by our toddler learning all the classic animal sounds and then asking us what noises obscure animals made - like a camel or a seagull (both extremely hard in my opinion!). And our latest game Draw My Face was definitely influenced by my new hobby of portrait drawing! 

They say good things come in small packages, and all Gamely games are very compact. Why did you chose to follow that particular format?

Yes we love small boxes! Selling big boxes full of air never made sense to us, so from the start we’ve tried to make our boxes as small as possible. This means they use much fewer natural resources to make and transport - and it also means you can easily pop our games in your bag and play them anywhere! 

When we launched Randomise 8 years ago, this felt quite radical, and lots of people in the games industry told us we MUST put our games in bigger boxes if we ever wanted to be stocked in retail. But we’ve found that retailers have appreciated our approach. Also, the industry has changed a lot in the last 8 years and now there are loads of games companies making awesome games in smaller boxes. I like to think we were a bit of a pioneer with this! 

Let’s talk about hosting a games night. What do you think are the essentials for a great games night?

Well, beyond making sure everyone stays fuelled with delicious snacks and drinks, I think the most essential part is choosing the right games for the right crowd! Knowing whether you are playing with serious strategy board game lovers or casual party game fans, and taking into account the size of the group, will help you choose the games that will work best. 

Some of my game night favourites are One Night Ultimate Werewolf (the bigger the group the better!), Mysterium and our own Six Second Scribbles

You also need that one person who is happy to read and explain the rules. We try and make our games as simple as possible so they only take a minute or two to learn, but even so, having someone who will take the lead is ideal (you know who you are!) 

If you could invite absolutely anyone (living or dead) to a games night who would it be?

Ooh maybe a comedian to add even more giggles - I reckon Aisling Bea would be great fun, or maybe Rob Auton for some Yorkshire charm! 

You enjoyed some of our roasted fava bean snacks at your latest playtesting session (an afternoon where the Gamely team play and test out the concepts for new games). Which was your favourite Honest Bean Co flavour?

Yes, they are so addictive! And we found that they matched perfectly with cider, so it ended up being a rather tipsy playtesting session! We loved the Seaweed & Miso flavour - so umami! and the Barbecue one - sweet and delicious. Back at home, our kids also sneaked a few and their favourite flavour was Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar