Meet the Bézier Games Team, Kevin Padula

by Jay Bernardo June 10, 2024

Meet the Bézier Games Team, Kevin Padula

Meet the Bézier Games Team

~ Kevin Padula ~

1. Hi, Kevin. Could you tell us about your role with Bézier Games?

Hi, my name is Kevin and I am the Trade Show Manager for Bézier Games. My job is to attend all the conventions and shows around the world creating captivating displays to promote and teach our games. And also sell those games.

 

2024 GAMA booth

2. Classic Question: What board game got you into the hobby?

My two big gateway games were Blokus & Evolution.

Blokus was introduced to me by my sister, and showed me that board games were still being published; it wasn’t just the same 10 Milton Bradley games every child is thrown.

This tied me over until Evolution caught me with its gorgeous artwork, and I’m a sucker for animal games. Gameplay-wise the idea of creating my own creatures with unique abilities appealed heavily to me, and on top of that, I had to gather enough resources to keep them alive?

I was hooked.

 

3. Is that when you decided to enter the board game industry?

No. That decision took some time.

It was early 2020, I had just left my tour design job in Japan due to Covid-19 concerns and made it back on the last international flight to LA. All my belongings were in a storage unit, and storage facilities were not considered essential businesses. So I crashed on a friend's couch for… 2 months, and during that time we played games non-stop.

That summer I got a temp job collecting insects for the California government to find out the diet of an endangered lizard, and I had a bit of spare time in my WiFi-less trailer to explore what I wanted to do with my life and this was the dream job I landed on.

 

Kevin teaching Blueprints of Mad King Ludwig at 2024 Fun K-Town

 

4. What would you consider to be the most challenging part of your job?

Gosh, the most challenging part of my job is trying to squeeze everything in.

When we attend these conventions, we attend media spotlights, and we do content creation, and we host tournaments, and we’ve got to check out that advertisement spot we purchased, and I’m demoing games, and I’m managing a team, and of course I have to see the rest of the hall for inspiration, and I’m doing sales, and there is a networking event afterwards? and there is just always so much fun to be had and work to be done that I blink and it’s over.

 

5. It certainly sounds busy. What then do you enjoy most in your role as Trade Show Manager for Bézier Games?

Similarly to my above rant, my favorite part of this job is the uniqueness of each show.

It harkens back to my theater days; no matter how much you rehearse, no matter how much prep you’ve done and lines you’ve run through, every performance will be different.

No matter how many times I do this, there is always something I could do differently. A new event I could host, a new advertising opportunity, a new prop to construct - I could go to 100 conventions and never have the same set-up twice, and I love the variance. 

Kevin also personally built our legendary wooden Scram! sign.


6. While it's just June for many people, for you, it’s also Pride Month. What does Pride mean to you?

Pride is neat.

I think it’s fantastic that I live in a society that allows people to love whom they want to consensually love, and I am lucky to be part of this community.

I think about how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time. I think of my personal journey to get to a point of comfortability and openness. But it also drudges up conflicting feelings of grief.

The Pulse shooting was less than 10 years ago, and in parts of the world you could be sentenced to death if you’re caught loving someone of the same gender. It’s a mess of feelings, but it’s impactful, mostly positive, and gives me a sense of belonging.


7. The global attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community has indeed dramatically changed in our lifetimes. How do you feel American society in particular has changed from the 90s to today?

When I was growing up, gay was colloquially used for stupid. So of course before learning anything about homosexuality, I knew that whatever gay was, I did not want to be it.

I had an aunt who was gay, and she was ostracized from the family. I had an uncle who was gay, and he killed himself for it. 90’s to early 2000’s queer culture was not a fun time.

Gay was a novelty. It wasn’t about same-sex dating; you were expected to be sassy and effeminate if you were a man, or short haired and butch if you were a woman. You had to dampen yourself for every interaction for fear of losing your job, your status, or your basic human rights.

Today we live in an America where I as a white, gay man can live a relatively easy life. We have positive representation now. People understand that us existing does not fully devalue their lives.

It's definitely worth mentioning that this is through my lens, as I know trans folks & other letters of the community are certainly still fighting for recognition and their place in modern America.

Kevin is known to love driving the Wolf Truck


8. Have you ever personally encountered any toxicity towards the LGBTQ+ community in the board game industry or community?

Nothing in modern day. As I mentioned above, we’ve come a long way.

It probably helps that at a glance, I’m fairly straight passing, but also because gamers are often folks who identify as misfits for some reason or another. At the end of the day we all just want to sit down with someone and play an enjoyable game.

 

9. Regarding Pride Month and the board game industry, what questions should people be asking? Where should the conversation be focused?

Hmm, is it something that needs to be heavily focused on in our line of work? When I’m gaming, I seldom think about my attraction to men. I suppose the conversation to be had here is, do we have equal representation within the games themselves?

I thought Everdell took a step in the right direction by changing the “Husband & Wife” to “Harvester & Gatherer”. It’s subtle, it’s gender neutral, and everyone can enjoy it without thinking about the ever-looming heteronormativity. 

Kevin being interviewed at 2024 Fun K-Town


10. Fascinating. I've played Everdell a few times and that never crossed my mind, but I agree steps like this are important. Do you have any advice for members of the LGBTQ+ community who are considering working in board gaming?

There is so much overlap in the LGBTQ community and the board gaming community, I would not hesitate recommending this line of work.

My advice for any person interested in getting involved in the board gaming industry is network. Go to conventions, talk to people, and try to figure out what niche is missing and how you can fill it.

Board gamers are tactile and seemingly enjoy in-person interactions. Capitalize on that.

Kevin (Bézier Games) and Kevin (Tantrum House) at 2024 Tantrum Con


11. Alright. Enough of the softball questions. Kevin, we understand you have a lot of tattoos. What’s up with that?

Hahaha. I have a very reasonable amount of tattoos.

The goal is to get a tattoo of a native animal from each place I’ve lived - a wonderful excuse to go back and visit some old friends around the world. Honestly, I only have 8 or so tattoos; the folks I work with have an alarmingly low amount of tattoos.

What’s up with that?


12. Ouch. You got us. Actually, I think you and I are the only people in the company with tattoos. But as someone with a tattoo, I've got to ask: If you had to get a tattoo to symbolize your time with Bézier Games in Knoxville, Tennessee, what would you get and where?

See I’m torn on this.

The Knoxville Zoo is known for Red Wolves and Bezier has some sort of loose connection with wolves, right?

But Red Wolves native range no longer overlaps with Tennessee and I’ve got to save that for if I ever move to North Carolina.

There are a lot of really good native salamanders, but I’ve already got a frog and plans for a lizard, so I'm trying to vary up the body-shapes.

My dog is a real contender here. I got her while living in Tennessee, and then I can look at that little face everywhere I go.

Sync or Swim. The gamer way to get shredded.


13. If you had to get Jumanji’d into a game from the Bézier Games’ catalog, which one would that be and why?

Sync or Swim. I’ll get ripped swimming all those laps.

14. Lastly, outside of Bézier's games, what have you been playing lately, and what are your favorite game mechanics?

I really enjoyed my recent playthrough of Tribes of the Wind, but I’ve been more consistently playing Footsteps of Darwin by Sorry we are French. I tend to lean towards worker placement or set collection, but the hands-down most important mechanic to me is that it has animals. That’s not a game mechanic? I don’t understand.

 


 




Jay Bernardo
Jay Bernardo

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