When Mike Wellman was a teenager in Cheam he would while away idle afternoons inventing board games for his schoolmates.
Now, nearly 40 years later, his designs are reaching a wider audience at the 13th annual Mind Sports Olympiad (MSO) in London.
The best brains from around the world have been gathering to play Pacru, Azacru and Shacru, three games developed by his firm.
Pacru, the most popular, is said to blend the tactics and piece movements of chess with the territory capture skills of the ancient Asian game of go.
Mike, 53, a computer programmer, said: “My favourite games were chess and Risk when I was a teenager in Sutton in the 1970s. But I was always interested in the many other board games that have existed for centuries, such as go and the multiple forms of draughts or checkers.
“Some games have a combination, where the drama or strategy of the gameplay is matched by the appearance of the board and pieces.
“When I had the idea for the first of these games, Pacru, I couldn’t let go of it.”
Twenty years after his initial idea, Mr Wellman suddenly hit upon the rules of the games and published them as Pacru, Azacru and Shacru.
They are now luring sharp-minded strategists to the MSO, billed as “the greatest concentration of cerebral athletes in one building in the world”.
Other highlights of the festival include the decamentathlon, a paper-based test of skills in backgammon, chess, creative thinking, draughts, go, intelligence, Mastermind, memory skills, mental calculations and Othello (in its Reversi form).
Mike said: “If you enjoy games like chess or backgammon then the MSO is a great, friendly place to visit, and we have 12 Pacru sets that will be free to new entrants.”
For more information about the strategy games go to pacru.com.
For details on the MSO – held at the Royal Horticultural Halls Conference Centre in Westminster until Sunday – visit msoworld.com.