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Life's just a great big game for Dan Yarrington

Union Leader Correspondent

July 27. 2014 7:32PM
Workers package dozens and dozens of copies of the game “Dancing Spires” inside Game Salute's Londonderry headquarters Friday afternoon. The company, which publishes, assembles and distributes board games around the world, has grown steadily since its inception in 2008. (APRIL GUILMET/Union Leader Correspondent)

LONDONDERRY — Dan Yarrington’s love of board games dates back to his childhood years.

“My family didn’t have a lot of money to spend on movies or outings, but we loved to gather around and play Monopoly and Risk,” Yarrington said Friday.

Now all grown up, the Londonderry family man has made a successful career of his fondness for tabletop games.

His company, Game Salute, located on Tinker Avenue, continues to grow with each passing year.

These days there are a dozen employees stationed at the Londonderry warehouse. Seasonal workers help fill the void during the holiday season, as well as mid-summer, when Game Salute is preparing for Gen Con, an international gaming conference held in Indiana each August.

Founded in 2008, Game Salute began as Yarrington’s side project.

Having worked in the game industry since 1996, Yarrington is the founder and CEO of Myriad Games, a Granite State retail chain with locations in Salem, Manchester and Amherst.

He said Game Salute stemmed from his idea “of creating and providing tools and services to make the games industry better.”

The company had humble beginnings, with an 800-square-foot warehouse on East Industrial Drive in Manchester. By 2011, the company had three employees.

From 2011 to 2012, the company grew by 750 percent, according to Yarrington.

“We’ve been pretty overwhelmed, but in a good way,” he said.

Three years ago, due to growing product demand, Game Salute moved to its current facility in Londonderry, where the company continues to prosper.

At that point, staff began working full-time to support and promote independent game publishers through the company’s Featured Fulfillment program.

Initially, Game Salute occupied about 3,400 square feet of space in the office park off Harvey Road. Today the company has expanded to fill four bays, totaling 14,000 square-feet.

“We filled up pretty fast,” Yarrington said.

The company recently hired a full-time administrative assistant, and company officials said they’ll have a better idea of future staffing needs by year’s end.

During a recent visit to the warehouse, staff were busy packing orders of a game called Dreaming Spires, which allows players to design their own version of England’s famed Oxford University.

Game Salute distributes nearly 150 different game titles, some but not all of which are designed or published in Londonderry.

All of the games assembled in the Granite State have the trademark “Powered by Game Salute” logo on their boxes, similar to the famous “Intel Inside” logo seen on computers and smart phones.

Yarrington said about 20,000 games have passed through the site over the past several months, with games sold at locations all over the world. Game Salute currently has offices in various locations throughout the United States as well as in Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. The company also maintains an active online presence, with games sold via Internet retail sites like Amazon as well as on Game Salute’s website.

In recent years, Game Salute raised more than $4 million through various Kickstarter crowd fundraising campaigns aimed at introducing new games to consumers, starting with suggestions and ideas straight from the gamers themselves.

Last week “Vici!”, one of the games made possible through Kickstarter, was released to various retail markets.

The two-player game mimics troops in battle, with each roll of the dice leading players closer to victory.

David Lowry, a game creator from Nashville, called the staff at Game Salute “true heroes for independent game companies.”

“They really take the daunting task of fulfillment and distribution and streamline it with utmost precision,” Lowry said. “They have always communicated with me clearly as I got my sea-legs on in the world of making games.”

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