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South Elgin High senior wins Young Inventor Challenge
By Kerry Lester | Daily Herald Staff

South Elgin High School senior Joe Basile's design of the strategy game, King of Kingdoms, won a young inventors contest at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair. The design is under consideration for production by game maker Hasbro.

 

Mary Beth Nolan | Staff Photographer

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Published: 1/11/2009 12:04 AM

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Seniorities sufferers, take note: Paying attention in history class actually pays off.

South Elgin High School senior Joe Basile recently won the Chicago Young Inventor's Challenge for his "King of Kingdoms" game, a board game where Henry VIII, Alexander the Great, King Arthur and others battle over power and territories.

In addition to receiving prizes for his creativity, Basile's game stood out enough to impress officials at Hasbro, who have put the 17-year-old under contract for two years as an official inventor, charged with inventing products for the toy company to sell.

If the games he invents become popular, Basile said, he'll receive royalties.

Basile, who has invented games for fun since he was nine, only heard about the contest after his mother, Robin, had signed him up.

"I was like, 'OK, cool,'" he said. "I had no idea how big the contest was."

King of Kingdoms was invented by Basile nearly a year ago, the latest addition to his collection of 11 personally designed board games.

"I almost didn't make this one," he said. "I wasn't that sure it was going to be so great."

After testing out the game with his friends and family, it quickly became a favorite.

The game is set in the Middle Ages.

Five to seven players, set up several sets of cards around a small board that's considered a dungeon, Basile said.

Players each receive a set of kings, which they try to keep alive, all the while plotting to send other players' kings into the dungeon, and then the chopping block.

"What makes the game cool is that when a player attacks another player someone else can interfere," he said. "You can create alliances."

Despite his success, Basile says he intends to keep game-making a hobby.

Next fall, he plans to attend a west coast university to study film making.

"If one of my games was really successful (for Hasbro), I think I would just take the money and run," he said. "I'd use it for my actual career. I think most people that are famous inventors get it once and then it's gone."