Handelabra Games is based in Cleveland, Ohio and Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was formed in the summer of 2013 as an offshoot of the mobile software company Handelabra Studio. As Handelabra Studio we discovered our game development passion and acumen while creating Uncle Slam, our first video game. Upon project completion, we quickly realized that our gaming pursuits needed to exist on their own, as a separate entity, pursuing games full time. Handelabra Studio hosts any of our non-gaming projects while Handelabra Games unites our software development strengths, game building skills, and lifelong love of digital and tabletop game play. We create user friendly, authentic, expertly crafted digital versions of tabletop games that maintain the spirit of the game and leverage the enthusiasm of the loyal gaming community!
Where did the name "Handelabra" come from?
From our Founder, Jeremy Handel:
My father worked in the safety eyewear industry for more than 40 years. His reputation in this industry was one of his greatest assets, and he always firmly believed that "you put your name behind your product". In his 50s, he started his own company providing safety eyewear and his company was called "The Handel Company".
When preparing to found the company back in 2008/2009, I wanted to both uphold this ideal but also be a "21st century" company. While some tech companies are simply named after their founder or CEO (Dell comes to mind), most are not. Microsoft isn't "Gates Limited", Apple isn't "Jobs Inc." and Google isn't "The Brin and Page Search Company". So I endeavored to find a name that both put my name behind my product, and also gave the company it's own identity.
The first name I came up for the company was "Handlebar Software". While this name accomplished the goal, it didn't feel distinctive enough and so I played around with other names. As a long time heavy metal fan, I had already begun playing with logos using the "horns" holding a mobile device. Somewhere in the process, I hit upon the name "Handelabra" after putting some flames on the ends of the fingers, and I liked the way it sounded. The flames didn't make it through the design phase, but the name stuck and Handelabra Studio was born. -Jeremy
Handelabra Games is driven by one guiding principle -play is important- and our singular goal is to create digital board game experiences that are fun for players. Our conversion process considers maintaining the spirit of the game while providing the most effective, user friendly, and enjoyable digital translations. We are upfront and honest in our production and partnerships as we align with companies part of the “new golden age of board gaming". Handelabra Games proudly offers personalized, responsive and engaged customer support and communication. We appreciate our partner and customer investment and, in return, aim to develop meticulously produced, compelling and fun games for the digital tabletop.
The Handelabra Team:
President and Fearless Leader
After graduating from University School in Hunting Valley, Ohio in 1995, I attended Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York for a year and a half before dropping out and going on the cliche’d journey to “find myself.” I had always loved Apple products (my college machine was a PowerBook 520c upgraded to a whopping 20 whole megabytes of RAM!). Naturally, I started delivering pizzas and slinging coffee.
While waiting tables, I met the woman who would become my wife and it was her thirst for knowledge that dragged me to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It was there that I finally finished that whole undergraduate thing at UWMilwaukee (Bachelor’s of Science in Information Resources). I took on various tech jobs ranging from Flash Actionscripter to light-weight web developer to 3D modeller before striking off to start Handelabra Studio in an effort to chase down the “App Gold Rush” of the late 2010’s.
Handelabra Studio Built Uncle Slam (http://handelabra.com/uncleslam/) in 2011-2012 and this is when I decided we should be making fewer apps and more games. Handelabra Games became an offshoot of the studio, purpose-built to find compelling tabletop experiences that would make amazing video games.
My favorite video game of all time is likely The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time which I try to play through once every couple years. My greatest board game memory is of playing Stratego as a child. These days, I delight in playing games of all sorts with my son and 2 daughters, while debating the gender politics of games with my wife.
Creator of Pretty Pictures
I have always been an artist and have never been able to have a piece of paper in front of me without drawing all over it. Before I discovered digital illustration and 3D animation, I did a lot of oil painting and figure drawing. When I started experimenting with game design and development I realized that this is what I want to do with my life, and along the way I learned how to do some programming.
I have always loved video games, board games, and comic books and am excited to be working on a project that incorporates all of these things!
Community Wrangler and Many-Hatter
When I first started applying for University, I aimlessly submitted to a plethora of programs across the United States, ranging from criminal justice to interior design. After thinking about my interests in the entertainment industry, I finally decided to study film. Later, I picked up a communications degree to dual major to broaden my scope. During this time I discovered that I enjoyed collaborating regardless if was creating a film, an party, or a game. I had also started to organize events for people to share their interests or creations, and it all snowballed from there.
Having recently graduated from the University of Toledo, I returned home to the Cleveland area where I stumbled upon Handelabra Games. I've been into video games since I was a kid, starting with Zelda on SNES (and then moving to Gamecube for about a whole decade). I picked up tabletops (cough-dungeonsanddragonsismyjam-cough) once I started high school and have had board game nights ever since. I like cartoons, bad movies, and rockets powered by ketchup (I don't think thats a real thing, but I can dream).
Oh, and animals. Adorable, fluffy animals.
Captain of Semi-Broken Bits
I’ve been a lover of games since I could hold a controller -- and was subsequently lied to about the nature of it being plugged in or not. From starting on the SNES to the high-end consoles of today, I’ve bounced around all types with passion and carbonated drinks. In highschool, I started downloading and playing with as many free engines I could find, teaching myself how to design games; as well as how to break them. This lead me to attend the Cleveland Institute of Art, hoping to mix my love for art and my love for games into one. There, I realized something important; I had no desire to be an artist. I just really like drawing anime characters. After some time bumbling around, I attended the coding bootcamp We Can Code IT, which helped me gain the knowledge to solidify my coding skills, as well as grow new ones I hadn’t considered before.
I came into joining Handelabra after seeing a posting for the position being shared on social media groups as well as directly sent to me by my loving spouse. I jumped on it immediately, since I had been stalking the studio in the shadows few some time. My stalking paid off, and I fired the private investigator I hired to follow Jeremy Handel. I use the skills gained to support players and the team through user reports and managing some back-end tools used by the team.
I enjoy games of all types, though my favorites lie in RPG’s, CCG’s, and the occasional simulation. Most of all, I love picking apart a game’s design and drawing from the interesting techniques used by developers around the world.
Vice President and Lead Bit Flipper
Here’s one way to describe what I do: I sit in front of a shiny box and press buttons until the lights on the shiny box please me. I was introduced to this concept at a tender age with the venerable VIC-20; at that point my fate was sealed. My quest for pleasing shiny lights has been aided by an inspirational high school teacher (thanks, Mr. MacDonald!), a solid undergraduate education at the University of Waterloo, and a brief yet enlightening foray into the world of graduate studies at the University of Alberta.
I achieved my Master’s at U of A, but I also learned that academic research was not for me. My co-op experiences at Waterloo had given me a taste for industry and taught me that small companies are the best for me. Jobs followed: CodeBaby and WayTo, both small shops in Edmonton. I was introduced to the art of pressing buttons to make pleasing lights on tiny shiny boxes at CodeBaby, but the opportunity for such work did not come along again. However, one day in late 2009 I received a pretty random inquiry from one Jeremy Handel. Would I be interested in working with the iPhone, the shiniest tiny box that’s around these days?
I’ve been a part of Handelabra ever since, through the good times and the not-so-good times. I’m along for the ride with the re-born Handelabra Games, and it should be a great one!
Maestro of the Flipped Bit
I am the “other” Canadian at Handelabra Games, residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I went to Acadia University and completed a degree in Music Education, but then I took a second degree in Computer Science as an excuse to stay in school longer. Upon graduating, I ran (well, technically flew) off to teach English in Aomori, Japan. I then realized I had forgotten my girlfriend in Canada, so I came back, married her (with her permission) and we flew back to Japan together. After a year-long karaoke session, we hopped over the Pacific Pond to Saskatchewan so that my wife could do her internship. Upon its completion, we flew back to Nova Scotia, which we consider our home.
I was recently asked to join Handelabra Games because they wanted someone to represent the minority of people with crazy hair and multi-colour glasses. Thankfully, I also have some adeptability in programming and music composition, so I was quickly assigned those tasks for my first project with the company: Sentinels of the Multiverse: Enhanced Edition: The Card Game: The Digital Game.
I have a passion for video games with tons of character, music with beauty or rhythmic energy, animals that do funny things, frisbees that are ultimate, Jesuses that are Christs, friends that tolerate me, and of course, my wife for just about every good reason.
Bit-Flipper and Bug Squisher
Ever since I was little, I have been playing making games (board, card, video, you name it). Literally no one was surprised when I set out to study making them professionally. Setting out from south-eastern Pennsylvania, I went to DePaul University in Chicago where I studied Computer Game Development and focused heavily on the programming and design aspects, and still design new games in my free time.
As a fan of games as a whole, when Sentinels of the Multiverse came out for the PC, I was way into it and joined the Handelabra audience. After a while, they put out a call for a programmer. Based on my talents and interests, naturally I put my resume forward. Evidently it worked!
I am passionate about games in all their forms. I play just about every genre of video game. Whenever anyone wants to play a board game or tabletop RPG, I am always in! I am a long time LARPer (Live Action Role Player) at the Wayfinder Experience in upstate New York.