Haim Shafir, 35 Years and Over 70 Licensed Games from Israel to the World

Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?

Like all good things – by chance. I always loved toys and games and I was lucky to enjoy many of them in my childhood. Since the beginning I was kind of creative and though that being a mechanical engineer is the right thing. After 2 years as an employee I was a very bitter and bored young man – my creative spirit was still hungry. One day, a frustrated carpenter friend, who was bored by what he was doing too, asked me if I had an idea for a business we can put up together. I was so excited by his offer that blurted the first thing that came to my mind – "Wooden Toys"! For one year I designed the toys and he manufactured them but soon I realized my true passion. I left my friend with the business and went on to what I am still doing with the same passion and the same love – board game inventor.

What trends do you see in toys or games that excite or worry you?

In spite of all the exciting technologies available to us today, humans are still the best social Apps. I am worried that we might forget that.

What advice can you give to inventors who are presenting new toy or game ideas to you?

Do not "sell" your ideas to me. Just share your mind and I will share mine with you. That is how you will benefit the most from my experience.

What was your favorite toy or game as a child?

Meccano. My love for construction toys was probably the hook.

What does your typical day look like?

I love to start slow. I need my "No purpose" zone with my wife in the morning. This is the only "typical" part of the day. The rest depends on the projects I am working on.

What is the worst job you’ve ever had and what did you learn from it?

Everything I did before becoming a game inventor was the worst. But it taught me that boredom and frustration can be powerful beacons for creative thoughts.

What inspires you?

Talents and other truly talented individuals in other fields.

Where did you grow up and how did that influence who you are today?

I was born and grew up in Israel - One of the most complicated places in the world. Maybe this is why I am drawn to simple games...

What is one mistake you’ve made, and what did you learn from it?

The list of my mistakes is longer than the list of my successes. This is probably why I have a list of successes in the first place.

How do you jumpstart your creativity when you find yourself stalled on a project?

My creative fairy is an unfaithful mistress.  Always drops by when I am least expecting her and never leaves me her phone number. So I learnt to always be prepared. Wait and be prepared.

Do you have any guilty pleasures?

Sure. Must have. Creativity is my repentance.

What’s the first thing you usually notice about people?

If they smile at me.

Summer or Winter?

Neither. Only the other two in between.

Hugs or Kisses?

I welcome both!

What’s your favorite TV show?

Games of Thrown. A bible for storytelling and game inventing.

Favorite movie of all time?

Spartacus. Maybe because when I saw it for the first time I was young enough to completely "suspend my disbelief" and fully surrender to the story. And maybe because years after, when I met Kirk Douglas and shared it with him, he genuinely enjoyed to hear it and left me with a wonderful memory and a great lesson.

Do you have any special talents?

I am immune to the obvious.

How does it feel to be a very successful game inventor?

Very lucky.

What’s next?

Tomorrow.


Thank you for taking time to answer our questions thoughtfully and with a sense of play!