The Passport Story
Passport Game Studios is an independent board game publisher based in the Pacific Northwest. Since the company’s founding in 2012, Passport has partnered with a selection of hand-picked companies to publish over 30 English-language titles for gamers in North America and beyond. Passport’s mission: To provide the best tabletop games in the world, to the gamers who love to play them.
You may recognize some of the games in our catalog by name: Tokaido, Samurai Spirit, Kingsport Festival, Quantum, Trajan. Others might be new to you: Provincia Romana, Exodus Proxima Centauri, Versailles, [redacted]. We invite you to explore our Games section and find your next favorite game!
About the Passport Team
Scott Morris, President of Passport Game Studios, has a very diverse background both in, and out of, the gaming industry. For the last two years, Scott has been the Vice President of Arcane Wonders, fostering the growth of the company. In addition, he is also a published game designer, with the recent release of Firefly: Shiny Dice from Upper Deck Entertainment, and has been an active member of the board game community through vlogging at CritsHappen.com and on social media. Prior to Arcane Wonders, Scott was a Director at Dell, Inc. in Round Rock, TX, spending 16 years in sales, services, business development, and executive positions.
Scott is passionate about the tabletop industry and more importantly, is passionate about experiences. “In my mind, game publishers provide entertainment options for consumers, and more than anything, consumers want a great experience. From the moment a consumer picks up one of our games from their store’s shelf, to the purchase, to unboxing, playing, and placing it on their personal game shelf, I want them to have the best experience possible, every step of the way. Tabletop games offer players a chance to engage with other people, to foster a community, and to create memories; that’s what drives me, and it’s what I’m most excited about creating with the PGS team, memories and experiences that last lifetimes.”
Rob Merickel, founder and Senior Director of Business Development of Passport Game Studios, is a 26 year veteran of the hobby gaming industry. Rob started as a gamer who went on to open his own friendly local game store, Hero Hero. After that, he moved into distribution, working for ABC Northwest, and then for GTS Distribution. In 2011, Rob traveled to The Spiel in Essen, and decided to take on the publishing side of things. Soon after, an agreement was made with Huch & Friends to bring Trajan to the U.S. With the release of Trajan, an elegant Euro-style game by Stefan Feld, Passport Game Studios was officially born. Since then, Passport has grown from just Rob to a small team, and the catalog has grown from a handful of titles to over 30, including powerhouse games like Tokaido (featured on TableTop) from Funforge – a light game from fan-favorite designer Antoine Bauza.
When he’s not gaming, Rob enjoys spending time with his wife and his son, who is an avid gamer, musician, and part-time ninja.
Ryan Skinner, Marketing Manager at Passport Game Studios, joins the PGS team having managed entertainment products, collector cards, and tabletop games in other areas of the industry.
Prior to joining Passport Game Studios, Ryan worked as Sales Coordinator for Cryptozoic Entertainment, following several years as volunteer staff at events and conventions, and spent 10 years in customer service & workforce management for T-Mobile USA.
Ryan has a great perspective on the different markets that encapsulate the board game hobby and industry, and we’re excited to have his experience and outlook as part of the PGS team.
Chaz Marler, Community & Customer Relations Manager, has had a passion for playing and creating board games for as long as he can remember. He created his first board game in second grade, which was a simple dinosaur themed roll-and-move game. It didn’t win the Spiel des Jahres that year, but still, he was hooked on playing and tinkering with board games from that moment on.
Chaz has been running his own YouTube channel, Pair Of Dice Paradise, since 2013, which often discusses different aspects of the board game hobby, his favorite component upgrades, and his latest thrift store finds.
What, exactly, does Passport Game Studios do?
Passport Game Studios is best described as a “full-service hobby game publisher.” But what does that mean, exactly? Here’s a breakdown:
From the beginning:
We design a game, or partner with someone who has.
The game is physically produced, going from digital files to the final product you see on store shelves.
The game is then shipped in bulk from the factory to the warehouses of the distribution partners who have ordered it.
From there, our distribution partners take over:
A distribution representative sells the game to retail stores within their distribution network.
The game is then shipped to the retail stores who have ordered it.
The game hits store shelves!
But our work isn’t done:
We continuously market and sell the game to our distribution partners. Whether a game is a week old or a decade old, we support it!
We promote the game through our blog and social media, and maybe even do a giveaway or two. (Sign up for our newsletter and never miss a contest!)
We set up live events, conventions, and demo sessions so people can check out the game in its natural habitat – on the gaming table.
As you can see, we don’t sell games directly to the public, with VERY few exceptions. (For example, we sell directly from our booth at GenCon, in addition to demoing our newest titles.) For the most part, if you want to buy Passport Game Studios titles for personal use, purchasing through a retail store is your best bet. Click here to be taken to our Retail Store Locator, which also includes links to purchase games online.
If you are a retailer, chances are we work with at least one distributor who covers your store! Click here for the list of our current distribution partners.