Former 38 Studios Developers Create ‘Alien’ CCG for Upper Deck

At least one good thing came out of the state of Rhode Island losing $75 million dollars (plus an undetermined amount in related costs including penalties, etc.) from the failed loan deal with Curt Schilling's 38 Studios: the success story of Danny Mandel and Ben Chichoski.

When 38 Studios went bankrupt and left dozens of its employees unemployed and abandoned – including many who relocated to Providence and the surrounding area to work there – employees like Danny Mandel and Ben Chichoski had to find something else to do in order to survive.

The two Cumberland, Rhode Island residents decided to start working on board games. The first fruits of their efforts was recently shown off at Gen Con in Indiana: a collectible trading card game based on the Alien movies. Both Mandel and Chichoski say that this would have never happened if they hadn't been laid off.

"We had talked to some people about making some games potentially on the side anyway,” Chichoski tells The Providence Journal, "and when 38 happened, we said ‘hey, we have some more free time.’ It sort of grew from there."

With the motivation of being unemployed and having lots of free time on their hands, the duo formed a new company called Super Awesome Games.

Over the past two years, the pair have worked on several board game/CCG projects, but the Legendary Encounters: An Alien Deck Building Game is the first one to reach consumers. Upper Deck, the publisher and owner of the game, sold advanced copies at the Indiana convention, and it is in stores now.

Mandel and Chichoski said that they were fond of their days working at 38 Studios and that the entire company – including founder Curt Schilling – were passionate about the video games they were working on. Both also learned a life lesson: it is important to know when to let go of a project and move on.

"Our problem is we don’t like to let go of the game we’re working on," Chichoski said. "What I learned in even just a year [at 38 Studios is that] I don’t have that kind of luxury. You need to have it ready."

You can read more about the duo's first game at The Providence Journal.

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