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Valley men roll dice on new board game

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Staff report


Two Mahoning Valley men are rolling the dice on Mega Moves, a board game they created.

The men, George Kovach and Tom Guza, have manufactured copies of the game and are distributing it locally to test its success. They hope eventually to produce the game on a larger scale if it catches on.

Mega Moves can be purchased at The Frame Depot Gallery in Niles, Peaberry’s Cafe in Canfield, the Mocha House and Express Mart, both in Boardman; Dorian Books and the Butler Institute of American Art gift shop, in Youngstown; and Kraynak’s in Hermitage, Pa. The game creators plan to offer live demonstrations at Kraynak’s on select Saturday afternoons.

Mega Moves is a blend of chess and checkers that throws dice into the mix. With basically the same setup as chess or checkers, Mega Moves is distinguished by the addition of two dice, which dictate how each player can move.

Instead of combining the numbers on each dice, they are split and two game pieces are moved each turn. Each piece can move the number of spaces displayed on one of the dice in any direction, with the possibility of moving eight different ways: forward, backward, sideways or diagonally.

The object of the game is to land exactly on a space that an opponent is occupying, removing and replacing his piece in the process. The last player with pieces on the board wins the game.

Some other features that set the game apart are the specially marked dice and “Mega Spaces” on the game board. Along with the numerals zero through four, one side of the dice displays an X indicating an extra turn for the player that rolls it. The “Mega Spaces” are safe spaces on the game board where no capture can be made.

A tutorial video on how to play the game can be found on YouTube by searching for the words Mega Moves board game. Mega Moves is not Kovach and Guza’s first dice game. Thirty years ago the pair created Luck Plus, a card game very similar to UNO, except with dice. They sold Luck Plus to the makers of UNO, International Games Inc., later bought out by Mattel, who sold approximately 1.5 million units.

Kovach and Guza also created a card game called Wild Wits.

After trying to manufacture Mega Moves in the United States, Kovach and Guza were resigned to produce the game in China to account for cost and quality differences.

“The game is made in China,” said Kovach. “We tried for months to get it done in America, but could not bring the cost down. Everybody knows you can make things cheaper there, but now more than ever the quality is better.”

Mega Moves has a special high-gloss black finish on the box and game board, which Kovach said would have been too expensive to manufacture in the United States.

“We understand and honor anybody’s patriotism when it comes to buying Chinese products,” he said, “but until you go into the business for yourself and have to make a product that has to compete in price with every other product out there in your market area, only then will you know the business decision that has to be made.”

Kovach and Guza plan to get Mega Moves on the market online via Ebay and Amazon first. The toy makers hope to build enough success to eventually sell their product through a mainstream retailer.