I'm Thandrie Davis*, and my career spans nearly 30 years. I'm 46; my professional debut came at the Winter Consumer Electronics Show in 1992 as a reporter for my email newsletter. It's been a long, strange trip ever since.
Thandrie Davis, 2020, in Sydney
I am currently working on a couple of indie game solo projects for the first time in a decade. Most recently, I was the lead designer of Gods Unchained, a leading digital TCG on the Ethereum blockchain. Next? I don't know yet. Maybe I start something up, or maybe I join another company full time, or I consult while doing some other non-gaming things.
I'm always up to talk about what you are working on, even if it is just to give some decent advice. Ping me (business at thandrie dot com).
* Previously known as Andrea Shubert. More details in the Bio section.
Thandrie Davis (they/them) is an award-winning designer, producer, entrepreneur, writer, and director in the game industry. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, USA in 1975, Thandrie began making games at age four, and playing them competitively at age eleven, and never stopped.
They attended the University of Southern California for three semesters, before leaving early to launch a video game news and reviews website, Intelligent Gamer Online, in partnership with the Los Angeles Times in 1995. In 1996, they moved to the other side of the business, creating the award-winning online word game Acrophobia, and they've been making games professionally ever since.
Thandrie has designed and/or produced over thirty games and expansions. For a complete list, see Ludography.
Names and Gender
Thandrie Davis a transgender, nonbinary person who was named something else at birth. They took the name “Andrea Shubert” professionally in 2002 and legally in 2004. Since then, they have been Andrea Davis, Nathan Davis, and (since 2020) Thandrie Davis professionally. They are pretty sure this name is sticking.
Awards and Degrees
Acrophobia, 1997, published by Berkeley Systems
- Earned a Master of Science in Game Design and Development (First Degree Honours) in 2019 at the University of Limerick.
- As producer, awarded Game of the Year for Star Realms by SXSW in 2015 (Best Tabletop Game)
- As game director, awarded Game of the Year for Chron X by Computer Gaming World magazine in 1999 (Online / Shareware division.)
- As a writer, awarded a Webby for Bezerk.com (home of Acrophobia) by the Webby Awards in 1998.
- As game director, warded Game of the Year for Acrophobia by Gamespot in 1997. (Online-only division)
Thandrie has been a serial entrepreneur throughout their career, helping level companies up to the point of acquisition or going public. For established companies, they have changed the way they do business.
- Employee #23, Lead Game Designer and Monetization Lead at Immutable in 2019-2021, $60M series B closed in 2021 on the strength of Gods Unchained and Immutable X.
- Employee #5, Studio Manager and Licensing Manager at Wise Wizard Games in 2015-2017. Tripled their yearly revenue and helped to launch the then-most-successful strategy card game Kickstarters of all time. (Epic Card Game, Hero Realms, and Star Realms: Frontiers.)
- Employee #8, Chief Creative Consultant and Product Lead at Skillz in 2013, left in 2014 after finishing the core tournament matchmaking product. Went public in 2020 for $3.5 Billion.
- Founder and Chief Creative Officer of play140 in 2010. Acquired by Oomba in 2012.
- Co-creator of Ultimate Teams at Electronic Arts in 2006, launching the world's first console game with real digital trading cards. This mode now earns more than $1.6 Billion each year.
- Employee #7, Lead Game Designer and Producer at Genetic Anomalies in 1998. Acquired by THQ for $8M in 1999 on the strength of our digital trading cards technology and licenses.
- Founder, Publisher, and Editor-at-Large of Intelligent Gamer Online in 1991, as a teenager. Launched as “Game Master Journal,” this was one of the internet's first email newsletters about the games industry. Acquired by Ziff/Davis in 1995 to become Intelligent Gamer Magazine.
THANDRIE'S TOP SIX GAMES
Thandrie was the lead designer for Gods Unchained, the premier TCG on the Ethereum blockchain. Managed a team of 6 designers and a content squad of 20+ talents to turn the shared vision into a living game reality for our players. They were hired on to reset their game’s balance and to create a sustainable development plan for the next decade. They did that, and “diamond” versions of their newly-created Champion cards sold for as much as $6,000 in the secondary market. A list of recently-sold cards on the open market can be found here. This validated the business model, and led (in part) to Immutable's recent $60M Series B funding round.
Adapting the award-winning Star Realms into the fantasy genre was an obvious step to take. Making the game multiplayer-focused while still retaining amazing head-to-head gameplay was the real challenge, and Thandrie believes they did a good job. Hero Realms had one of the then-largest deckbuilding game Kickstarters of all time.
SKILLZ ESPORTS PLATFORM
Not technically a game, but it enables games to generate revenue in a new way. Thandrie led the systems design of the Skillz Tournament Gaming Platform, which now has over 15 million users. They created a rating and ranking system that tracked players, their practice play, and their wagered play to make the matchups fun, fair, and competitive. In 2020, Skillz went public with a valuation of more than $3.5 Billion. Find out more about Skillz on their website.
In grade school, Thandrie created a little game to make funny phrases from acronyms. In 1994, that game became Acrophobia, a game people played in IRC chat rooms. In 1997, they joined Berkeley Systems and created a commercial version with a gameshow feel. Acrophobia launched a new type of social gaming, and it won Gamespot's 1997 Game of the Year award for online games. Read more about Acrophobia on Wikipedia.
EA ULTIMATE TEAM
UEFA Champions League 2006-2007 for XBox 360 was the very first collectible card game with real user-to-user trading on consoles. Thandrie was the producer and co-designer of that feature, called the "Ultimate Team." Nearly every review mentioned the trading cards feature as the reason to buy the game. (This video from XPlay basically said it was the only reason to buy it.) That feature went on to be included in every subsequent EA Sports franchise, and has become a major driver in that division’s year-over-year growth. It earns more than $1.6 Billion each year for EA.
The first digital collectible card game, first released in 1997. Thandrie was a beta tester and tournament prize-winning player, and joined the project in May 1998 as Lead Designer. Chron X won Computer Gaming World’s 1999 Shareware Game of the Year award (because they didn't use words like "microtransaction" in the 90s). The game had seven expansions, with the last one released in 2005. Read more about Chron X on Wikipedia.
Continued on the Ludography page.
- Mortal Judgement, Designer, Editor, Narrative Lead, and Monetization Lead—2022
- Divine Order, Designer, Editor, Narrative Designer, and Monetization Lead—2021
- Trial of the Gods, Lead Designer, Editor, Narrative Designer, and Monetization Lead—2020
- Welcome Set, Lead Designer, Editor, Monetization Lead—2020
- Genesis, Editor, Additional Designer—2019
Epic Card Game
- The Lich Boss, Lead Designer and Monetization Lead—2017
- The Dragon Boss, Lead Designer and Monetization Lead—2017
- Character Packs, Designer—2016
- Starter Set, Editor—2016 to 2017
- Pantheon, Designer and Editor-2017
- Uprising, Designer and Editor-2016
- Tyrants, Designer and Editor-2016
- Starter Set, Editor and additional Designer-2015
- Frontiers, Editor—2018
- Scenarios, Editor—2017
- Missions, Editor and additional Designer—2017
- Promo Pack 1, Editor and Monetization Designer—2017
- Cosmic Gambit, Editor and additional Designer—2016
- United, Editor—2016
- Colony Wars, Editor—2015
Skillz Tournament Platform, Lead Systems Designer—2013 to 2014
RumbleTV Football, Producer and Lead Designer—2012
RumbleTV Baseball, Producer and Lead Designer—2012
play140 games on twitter
Star Wars Galaxies TCG
- Be Greedy!, Producer and Lead Designer—2011
- Robot SMASH Battle, Producer and Lead Designer—2011
- TAG: The Acronym Game, Producer and Lead Designer—2010
Legends of Norrath (the Everquest digital trading card game)
- Threat of the Conqueror, Lead Designer—2010
- The Nightsister's Revenge, Lead Designer—2009
- The Shadow Syndicate, Lead Designer—2009
- Agents of Deception, Lead Designer—2009
- Galactic Hunters, Designer—2009
- Vengeful Gods, Designer—2010
- Travelers, Designer—2009
- Storm Break, Designer—2009
- Against the Void, Designer—2009
Free Realms TCG, Designer—2008 to 2010
Magic the Gathering - Tactics, Balance Designer—2009
Magic the Gathering, Playtester—2007 to 2008
Dungeons & Dragons: Tiny Adventures, Quest Designer—2007
- Behold Zakum, Designer—2008
- NPC Heroes, Designer—2008
- P3ts, Designer—2008
- OMG Bosses!, Designer—2007
- Starter Set, Designer—2007
EUFA Champions League 2006-07 for Xbox 360, Designer and Producer—2006 to 2007
EA Ultimate Teams, Designer—2006 to 2007
WWE With Authority!
- Corruption, Executive Producer & Lead Designer—2005
- Reboot, Executive Producer & Lead Designer—2004
- Breakpoint, Executive Producer & Lead Designer—2003
- Whiteout, Producer and additional Designer—2000
- Defiance, Producer and Designer—1999
- Ascension, Designer—1998
Star Trek conQuest Online
- Unforgiven, Producer & Lead Designer—2002
- SummerSlam 2002, Producer & Lead Designer—2002
- Second Edition, Producer & Lead Designer—2002
- TLC: Tables, Ladders, and Chairs, Producer and Lead Designer—2002
- WrestleMania X8, Lead Designer—2002
- No Way Out, Lead Designer—2001
- First Edition, Lead Designer—1999 to 2001
- A Matter of Time, Lead Designer—2000
- Starter Set, Lead Designer—1999
Cosmic Consensus, Designer—1998
Get The Picture, Lead Designer—1998
Acrophobia, Lead Designer—1996 to 1997
Thandrie has designed, edited, produced and/or directed more than 40 card game releases in both digital and physical form, with more than 14,000 cards to their credit.
In addition, they have commercially produced or designed online game shows, live-action roleplaying games and location-based entertainment, physical card and board games, a $100,000 world championship tournament, you name it.
Reach out! Email business at thandrie dot com.
They are available to help you with your game, no matter what state it is in. Rates available for students, indie designers, and large companies. Working by the hour or by the milestone, Thandrie can help you with your game.
- Business consulting
- Consulting on NFT-related game projects
- Organized Play / Tournaments
- Story / Engagement
- Metagame / Game Balance
- World building / card art descriptions
- Card art model (once, in 2009 for Legends of Norrath, and never again)
Divine Vigor, 2009, for the Legends of Norrath digital TCG