Meet the Bézier Games Team, Renée Harris

by Jay Bernardo May 01, 2024

Meet the Bézier Games Team, Renée Harris

Meet the Bézier Games Team
~ Renée Harris ~

1. Could you tell me about your role with Bézier Games?

I wear multiple hats at Bézier Games. I was first hired as Licensing Manager to be in charge of localizing our games into various languages. I love this part of my job as I have had the opportunity to meet so many interesting people who work for our publishing partners around the world. Sadly, I joined Bézier Games just as everything shut down for Covid, so there were no conventions for me to attend for a few years. By the time I attended my first international convention, where I had scheduled meetings with our partners, I felt like I was meeting old friends! We had corresponded for so long that we met with hugs and gifts! I truly enjoy talking about our titles with our partners and seeing that each game finds just the right home in each region. 

After a year with the company, I took on the management of our app development team. As a project manager, it’s my job to see we are creating a timeline for each project and shipping each new app or update on time. We’re not only focused on apps for our Bézier titles, we have also taken on the creation of applications for other publishers. It’s a joy to watch these apps go from concept to reality, all thanks to our incredibly talented in-house developers. 

But the bulk of my focus is as Program Manager where I oversee all our projects. Each project begins by corresponding with our manufacturers to gain quotes and samples, seeing that our files are correct, and walking through all the steps of manufacturing to produce a deliverable that is ready to ship to gamers around the world. I love this ‘behind the scenes’ view of board game manufacturing, and this is definitely my favorite part of my job!



I never knew I could care so much about what type of cardstock we use for cards, what finish we would put on them, and if the items fit just right in the box! 

2. Why did you decide to enter the board game industry?

Years ago, I used to watch a documentary series titled “How It’s Made” and I always wished they had a segment on board game manufacturing. I’m absolutely fascinated with how things are made, so as soon as I gained my PMP Certification as a Project Manager, I knew the only industry I wanted to work in was boardgaming. I wanted to have a part in seeing a game go from conception to manufactured reality. Very few people are fortunate enough to work in their hobby, and I consider myself blessed to have this job and work for Ted and Toni Alspach and Bézier Games.

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

The most challenging part of my job is time management. The majority of this position requires detailed emails that take time to write and proof before sending. Then I have to wait as most of the people I’m corresponding with live in Europe or Asia, who are 6-12 hours ahead of me in the eastern US. I wake up to emails my partners wrote while I slept, then I reply and have to wait until the next day to get their response. Any action requires several days of correspondence due to time zones. It can be hard to patiently wait on an urgent action item because my manufacturer or publishing partner is sleeping while it is still working hours for me!


One of Renée's proudest projects was the long-awaited
Second Edition of Castles of Mad King Ludwig


4. What do you enjoy most in your role as Program Manager at Bézier Games?

Even after four years in this role, I’m still in awe of the process of turning an idea into a prototype, that is further developed, and eventually becomes a completed title. But my favorite part of this role is interacting with my manufacturers as we get the files just right, turn them into prototypes, and eventually launch completed products. I never knew I could care so much about what type of cardstock we use for cards, what finish we would put on them, and if the items fit just right in the box! Because I'm naturally detail-oriented, I’m well suited for the multiple iterations it takes to get a component just right. The crazier the component, the more I love the process. For our Colossal Cat in the Box project, we had to create a 3D chunky first player cat and stuffed cat plushies. It took multiple iterations to arrive at final products, and I loved every step of the process.


Many of the marketing, social media, and project management positions in today’s publishers are also being taken on by women, and I feel this gives opportunity for the voice of today’s growing female gamers to be heard.

5. What are the biggest challenges for females in the board game industry?

There is no denying that this is a male-dominated hobby. Personally, I’ve found that my first interactions with some game industry men have illuminated that they had a predetermined notion that because I’m a female, I’m barely a gamer and would only play light, fluffy titles. There are a lot of stereotypes regarding women in this industry because many of these men are dating or married to women who don’t enjoy games. So they lump me in that same category. I often see the moment of illumination in their eyes when they realize I’m a die-hard gamer who can hold my own against any man playing just about any game, easy or difficult. While it is initially a challenge to not be taken seriously as a gamer and industry expert, I do enjoy that I’m breaking stereotypes and showing many in the industry that strong female gamers exist and our numbers are growing.

6. When you get asked questions regarding women in the board game industry, what questions should people be asking?

More women are entering the industry every year. Designers like Elizabeth Hargrave and business co-owners like Toni Alspach, Molly Wardlaw, and Malorie Laukat give women more presence and say in this industry. Many of the marketing, social media, and project management positions in today’s publishers are also being taken on by women, and I feel this gives opportunity for the voice of today’s growing female gamers to be heard. This forces us to ask what the female gamer would like to play and to be sure we are creating games with themes, art, and mechanics that would appeal to the female mind.


Renée at the 2024 Nuremberg International Toy Fair


7. What advice would you give to a female professional considering working in board gaming? 

I would encourage and welcome women who are considering work in board gaming! There is so much room for your talents to be used and your voice to be heard! I’ve been in this hobby for almost 20 years, and I’ve watched it grow and evolve into something that has a broader appeal. How games look and how they are marketed has changed as the audience has grown to include more women and more young people. Themes are more captivating. Art is more appealing. Mechanics are more engaging. Board games are experiencing a renaissance, and we can’t reach the masses without women helping us to know what half of the market is looking for in a game experience!


But all that changed when my sister came home for Thanksgiving in 2006 with Caylus. 


8. What is the board game that got you into the hobby?

I grew up playing games with my sister. Lots and lots of Rummikub and your standard Hasbro and Parker Brothers classics. One Christmas, we received Dark Tower as a gift, and we were blown away by the computer in the tower and the interesting decisions we could make. We were obsessed with this game and played it constantly all through middle school and early high school. But college and life came along, and games were not on my radar for more than a decade as I graduated, got married, and had very young children and homeschooled them.

But all that changed when my sister came home for Thanksgiving in 2006 with Caylus. Now, Caylus is fairly deep and not what anyone would call a ‘gateway game,’ but this was my first experience with a designer board game. During that inaugural play, I realized parts of my brain had come alive that I didn’t even know existed. My sister returned that Christmas with Stone Age and Fresco, and I was hooked and have never looked back. 

As my children grew up, I began playing games with them and people in our homeschool community. I brought many friends into the hobby during this time. I HAD to create new gamers in these friends because I did not yet have an established game group, and this was the only way I was playing games. 

So, Caylus will always hold a very special place in my heart as the game that brought me into this hobby!


None other than Lord Caylus lured Renée into the hobby!


9. How many games do you currently own? Do you still own the gateway game that got you hooked into the hobby?

It’s a little embarrassing to admit that I own over 450 games, expansions, and promo items with over a dozen undelivered Kickstarters coming. Thankfully, now that I am done homeschooling my children, the former homeschool room has become a game room. This means that I have plenty of space to store these games.

In fact, I have plenty of room for more games, which is lovely, because I’m always drawn to the next new shiny title! And yes, I still own Caylus, Stone Age, and Fresco, my three ‘welcome to the hobby’ games. They will never be sold as they remain too sentimental. In fact, Fresco continues to remain in my Top 10 because of the fun I have in bringing new gamers into the hobby using it.

Jay Bernardo
Jay Bernardo


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