Some of us play mind games in order to get ourselves to sleep. Some minds play in their sleep and come up with games.
George Allen’s did. He woke up one morning with the idea for FLAGGO in his head and now, 5 years on, he is taking his boardgame to international toy fairs in Germany, the USA and England. With a twinkle in the eye he said that he has even introduced it to Prince Charles and the Queen!
Meeting with George brought to mind the famous quote by Shakespeare: “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players…”
George is one of the early morning swimmers at Fish Hoek beach. Having fallen in love with Fish Hoek several years ago while on his way to Simon’s Town to see the penguins, he bought a house above the beach with superb views over False Bay and down Fish Hoek valley. He divides his time between Fish Hoek, the UK and the rest of the world.
Born in England of Jamaican parents, the world has been his stage. After running a restaurant in London, he worked in Saudi Arabia as a head chef for British expats. A visit to Australia extended to an on-and- off 7 year sojourn, at first cheffing in a friend’s restaurant until his foray into real estate took him in a new direction. As passionate about water as he is about everything else, he owns a flat above the Thames and has real estate in the West Indies.
Eventually a desire to be close to his family took him back to England.
The flags at a Bureau de Change inspired FLAGGO. An artist in his own right – a painter of naive pictures- George loves colour. FLAGGO is a bright and cheerful boardgame combining suggestions of Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit, doses of strategy and an element of luck. It involves dicing, answering questions relating to the country of the flags your “aeroplane” lands on, being rewarded or penalised for landing on certain squares and using strategy to outmanoeuvre your opponents. “The game features over 2000 tantalising questions and over 150 picture cards. Subjects include geography, history, art, sport, architecture, fauna, flora, music, science, literature, modern times and more! Right answers gain points (coins) with which to purchase letters to spell out the word ‘FLAGGO’ and win.”
Although he professes not to have been a games person himself, George likes the way games pull people together and provide fun and laughter.
Having bounced questions off students at Oxford and Cambridge, off newspapers editors, educators and bank managers of prestigious institutions, after testing FLAGGO on friends and strangers all over, including Bridge players on a cruise ships, George is justly proud of his product. He has spent a fortune on its development. “Had I known how long it would take, I might not have gone on with it!” he laughs. Would he have given up? I doubt it! He is now working on a language game “for light relief”!
And what made him settle on Fish Hoek? “I thank God I found this place! I have always loved water and Fish Hoek beach is wonderful. Fish Hoek has so much – all that one needs is here. I would not live in Camps Bay or Llandudno even if someone gave me a house there! I love the people here – unpretentious and friendly. I can be myself – relaxed and happy.”
Unfortunately we did not have time to play the game, as George was winging his way back to England that afternoon to prepare for the upcoming London and New York Toy Fairs, but I am sure I will in the future! Should you wish to know more about FLAGGO see