About Us

Plaid Hat Games

Plaid Hat Games is the board game studio behind Dead of Winter, Mice and Mystics, Summoner Wars, and other beloved tabletop franchises. Led by founder Colby Dauch, we are committed to producing games that captivate players' imaginations and deliver over-the-top fun.

Plaid Hat Games' designers build award-winning stories and game systems that pull you in and drive you to play your best. Our designers are supported by an incredible team of artistic talent, making our games look and feel like true adventures. Our hope is that whenever you sit down to play our games, you'll have a brand new experience of drama and excitement that you'll remember for years to come.

At Plaid Hat Games, we believe tabletop games are a powerful tool for cultivating community, and we seek to unite our own fan community through conventions around the world, the Plaid Hat Podcast, PlaidHatGames.com, and more. Play with us and join us in our quest for the ultimate tabletop experience!

A Great Game

As a company we have a vision for what we think makes a great game.

  1. A great game is fun.
  2. A great game creates an opportunity for you to make interesting, engaging, and challenging decisions that affect the outcome of the game in your favor.
  3. A great game allows you to directly engage the other players at the table.
  4. A great game is thematic (It is our belief that games should tell stories. They should draw players into their exciting worlds and put them in adventurous roles).
  5. A great game is unique. (We realize that unique might be in the eye of the beholder, but we like to believe that we are bringing something fresh to the table with each of our games.)
  6. A great game is pretty. (And by pretty, we mean it should look like something that excites you and makes you want to play it.)

Who We Are


Colby Dauch is a one-hit-wonder with an inferiority complex. He designed Summoner Wars in 2009 and, after being rejected by reputable publishing companies, started Plaid Hat Games to publish his design. Colby reinvested the money made from Summoner Wars into the games and contributions of people he believed in and year by year Plaid Hat Games has grown. Colby now finds himself in the newly formed position of Plaid Hat Games Studio Manager. ARE YOU PROUD OF ME NOW DAD?!


Jerry Hawthorne simply refuses to grow up or, more accurately stated, refuses to believe he's already grown up. Regardless, he spends his ridiculously limited free time begging his family to play games he's created from various household items, chewing gum, and choice bits fiendishly liberated from from his kid's toy-boxes. Jerry loves dice, and embraces luck even if it doesn't always embrace him back. Jerry is the designer Mice & Mystics and Tail Feathers for Plaid Hat Games and has done design work on games such as Heroscape and Battleship Galaxies.


Kendall (Wilkerson) Elmen is a Texan born and raised. She graduated with her BFA in Graphic Design from Lamar University in 2016. In January of 2017, she joined the Plaid Hat team and has been along for the ride ever since! Kendall loves problem solving through design. Board game design provides so many unique challenges that scratch that itch and have helped grow her skills over the last several years. She still learns something new every day! Having always loved puzzles and games, being introduced to the world of hobby board gaming and its community has been an amazing bonus. In her free time, Kendall enjoys spending time with her pets and family, playing games, Disney movies, and murder mysteries.


Joe Ellis is the the world's 28th-most accomplished combination web developer/game designer/textual critic. A Summoner Wars superfan from the beginning, he started working on the Plaid Hat Games website in 2012 and has been a hanger-on ever since. He has launched over a dozen websites in just the last 24 hours, and designs a game roughly once per decade, most recently the highly acclaimed, very serious and historically accurate sail-rigging strategy game, Forgotten Waters. Joe likes solving problems, and working with Plaid Hat Games has provided him with an endless supply. He can currently be found napping at his desk in Ashland, Ohio at PHG HQ.


Mr. Bistro is the heart of Plaid Hat Games, meaning he's red, full of blood, and makes a mess if you squeeze him. As a small child, Bistro's mother refused to let him play those demonic video game machines, so he turned to board games as means of compensation. He's been tragically uncool ever since. Mr. Bistro has playtested countless game products over the years, and has a few game credits to his name. His career really didn't take off until he met notoriously bad businessman Colby Dauch, thus allowing his worst ideas to be unleashed upon the world. In addition to Dungeon Run, be on the lookout for such future hits as Hot Dog City: Battle for the Chili Wieners, Cripes! Look at the Pipes, and of course his magnum opus, Poopin' Joey.


Niki Shults rose from the caverns of the show-me-state to become a horse bowl champion in her youth, and a decent board gamer in her old age. Discovered by Plaid Hat Games six years ago while starring in the hit web-series Board with Life, they've been trying to acquire her talents ever since. Waiting for the right time to join the team, she focused on creating the most annoying RPG characters ever and raising her mortal child. Finally, the twelve moons aligned, and she is here.


Truly one of history's greatest monsters, Donald's path to villany began in the unlikeliest of places. After spending years in obscurity casting and directing TV, video games and movies, Donald was hired at Plaid Hat as a cost cutting measure. Colby never could have known that giving Donald the meaningless title of "Multimedia Director" would ultimately bring about The Great Calamity, but he ultimately understood why future generations never forgave him for it either.


When Nick Conley first learned that he couldn't grow up to be a Pokémon trainer, he turned to the next best thing; card games. Obsessively playing and designing as many different card games as possible, Nick eventually found himself on the Ashes playtest team in 2015. Now, after collecting the ashes of many fallen Phoenixborn, he has joined the PHG team to develop Ashes Reborn! In his free time, Nick can be seen slaying spires, meditating, or working on the farm.

Contact Information


Plaid Hat Games
1172 SR-96
Ashland, OH 44805
United States of America


[email protected]

Office Hours

M-F 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM EST

Damaged/Missing Game Parts

Click here to request replacement parts.


What a fine looking bunch!




I've seen hotter.


Wait! How did you change the color of your speech bubble!?




Fine. Keep your secrets. See if I care.

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