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Doug Reuter on SEQUENCE, Inventing, and Life Challenges


The toy and game industry has given me the life I could only dream of as a child. The efforts of people in the toy and game industry - the manufacturers especially - provide toy and game inventors the outlet – the opportunity - to get that next best invention in the hands of the public.

My claim to fame in the industry is that I am the inventor of the family board game SEQUENCE. It took four years to invent, three more to get it licensed and almost one more year before the first copy was sold in a store. More on that process later but first, a little history would be helpful.

I was the middle child of three boys – four years apart in age. We grew up in Minneapolis where winters are cold and playing games in a warm house was better than playing outside. So, we played a lot of games as kids. My two brothers were exceptionally intelligent and virtually had photographic memories. They took after my dad who skipped the third grade! My older brother got a degree in Nuclear Physics and my younger brother became a lawyer and later a Judge. I, on the other hand, had a creative mind. And, I was not averse to taking risks, which can be a dangerous mix.


If you asked a lot of my friends for a word or two to describe me, they would most likely say that Doug is a RULES guy. They would say he writes rules for the games he invents to ensure the games are played the way he intended them to be played. This life attribute came in handy while serving two terms in the Minnesota House of Representatives where I used all the rules available to me to my advantage and against opponents.

I think it takes a risk taker to invent things. Well, at least to invent things that you eventually want to see manufactured. You certainly can’t be afraid of failure if you’re going to be an inventor. But then maybe I’d have to define failure. I’ll leave that job to others. Inventors have to be able to take rejection and move on and not be so traumatized by rejection that you quit inventing. Develop thick skin if you are an inventor.

I really enjoy telling the story about SEQUENCE. That story started in 1974. Sometimes a game idea will pop into my head. Sometimes I will conceive an idea on what a final product would look like but more importantly play like. Sometimes I’ve been known to put an idea that’s about 10% developed on the shelf for a while. Sometimes those ideas never come off the shelf. There’s a game sitting on my desk that I started almost eight years ago and it just sits there and looks me in the face every day, challenging me to pick it up and work on it.

But, in the case of SEQUENCE, the basic concept actually came to me in a dream. I woke up about 2:30 am one morning having had a pretty vivid dream about a game. I got up, found a pencil and paper and wrote down everything I could remember about my dream. READ MORE...

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