become part of our


Join the Newsletter


Hounds & Jackals was launched to explore the use of table top board games and the magical arts to:  

  • Raise Awareness of Mental Health issues in society
  • Meld modern and historical elements into experiential learning to promote reflection on the human condition
  • Engage the imagination through immersive themes and settings
  • Balance the age of the Digital by providing engaging social experiences Off-Screen

Of course,  first and foremost, any Hounds & Jackals offering must provide an innovative and entertaining experience for participants!  The above goals would always be blended in for subtle learning and reflection while having fun!

Attention to detail  is a core value of any Hounds & Jackals product.   This is in reference to content as well as style.

Due to Hounds &  Jackals being a very tiny independent game producer, most games will be of the  “one-off” nature.  





Hounds and Jackals was one of the first board games ever created. The modern name was invented by Howard Carter, who found one complete gaming set in a Theban tomb of ancient Egyptian pharaoh Amenemhat IV that dates to the 13th Dynasty. Hounds & Jackals represents an ancient game found in modern times that was given a name and rules made up by modern academics; many of the Hounds & Jackals projects are built with the intent to use historical elements to allow exploration of modern issues. It also seems in almost every bookstores that Magic, Boardgames, Card Games, and the Roleplaying Games are all grouped together. Considering the Hounds and Jackals game involves boardgames and connections to ancient mythology, it seems a wonderful metaphor to cover the activities of this enterprise i.e. board games, role-playing games, and magic effects. ALSO The Founder of the Hounds & Jackals enterprise is VERY fond of dogs!

We serve no Game before its Tame*

* For those of a certain age, you may appreciate the reference!

The Pack

Dr. Bruce Ballon


An award-winning psychiatrist, Dr. Ballon brings over two decades of experience in providing innovative experiential education in the public, private and academic realms.  Dr. Ballon works with industries involved in technology and games, to better understand their impact on people’s lives. He has created games dealing with mental health issues that have garnered awards from the Games Manufacturers Association and other international literary and academic associations (Chaosium, Wizards of the Coast etc.) Collaborating with professional illusionists around the world, Dr. Ballon is an illusionist whose performances educate the public about mental health issues (including giving performances at the Stratford Festival and Canada Stage).  He has written books for children, parents, and the general public dealing with mental health and addiction issues.   In the role of Media Consultant, he has helped create accurate portrayals of psychiatric elements (including television (e.g. Degrassi), films (e.g. Assault on Precinct 13), plays, fiction books etc.). 

Explanation: Some of the above came about due to Bruce buying a TSR boxed set of Dungeon and Dragons in the late 1970s.  During he DMing   a run of the Village of Hommlet, a player’s character was absorbed by a falling green slime… that player had nightmares for  weeks after.  The concept of immersive experiences and the power of simulation was realized by Bruce at that time!  That, and a steady diet of reading Philip K. Dick, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury mixed with TV shows like  Twilight Zone  and The Night Stalker, formed his path: the exploration of reality and illusion as his life’s pursuit.  He, of course, gravitated to Chaosium’s CALL OF CTHULHU when it launched, and over the years, eventually helped with the SANity rules, as well as contribute other materials such as UNSEEN MASTERS (which won not only an Origins Award at GAMA but was the first game supplement  to be awarded a Psychiatry Award as well as be nominated for a Bram Stoker Award).  Bruce has blended all his pursuits to help synergize his offerings.  This led also to working with illusionists and mentalists across the globe, as well as creating various theatrical devices and effects for magic performances. He has now moved into board game creation,  appreciating the amazing quality and scope that such a medium can provide:  he has  been a regular supporter of crowdfunded launched games that have demonstrated amazing innovation and imagination.

For Academics, some sample credentials if it matters  [CLICK HERE]

Simon Strike

Editor Extraordinaire

Nathan D. Paoletta

Grand Graphic Designer

William King

Artist of Awesomeness


Simon Strike provides writing, editing, and proofreading services to the tabletop industry. His blog, Board Game Yarns sprang from his love of board games and his wife’s love of yarn. Simon and Fran live just outside Nottingham, UK with their two Cockapoos, Monty and Zelda.



Nathan D. Paoletta is a graphic artist, game designer and independent publisher hailing from Chicago, IL. He publishes his own games, including the award-winning World Wide Wrestling RPG, in addition to helping other creators make their visions a reality.


“I doodle. I doodle a lot. I also have a superpower. This superpower goes by the name of Asperger’s Syndrome. As a result of this unusual gift, I get to doodle almost all day, every day. It is a joy, and I get to indulge in my passion and subsequently am a most content individual for all the hardships attached to life ‘out there’.” – from ArtStation

Anthony Smiderle

Games for Social Good Champion

Giulia Santin

Games for Social Good Champion

Zohar Shachak

Digital Illustrator


Anthony Smiderle is an aspiring videogame developer with a love of board games. While he is mainly a programmer, he is always looking to push his design abilities further. Above all, he loves making fun games for people to enjoy.


Giulia Santin is a video game developer with a love for storytelling. and design. She wants to create games that focus on social impact and gameplay, that help to bring people together.


Zohar Shachak is a Canadian illustrator and animator working in digital media from Toronto Canada.He graduated from OCADU with a BFA in Drawing and Painting: Digital Painting and Expanded Animation. Zohar makes fantasy and sci-fi themed illustrations and animations in order to emphasize and promote the use of escapism as a coping mechanism for stress, bullying and dealing with mental illnesses.


Creative Canines Wanted!

The Advisory Board (The Brains Behind the Scenes)

Cy Agamemnon Ballon

Chairdog of the Board

Monty and Zelda Strike

O'Henry Paoletta

Antoine the Service Puppy Trainee

First NSD Puppy Sponsored by H&J

Hounds & Jackals was fortunate enough to be chosen in 2020 to host a Capstone Team from the Ontario Tech University.  This team helped with reviewing and suggesting ways for growing our thriving community!  

Special thanks to Kevin Pelech, Daniel Drysdale | Shan Rai, and Krutarth Shah for their advice!

In the age of digital reckoning, H&J endeavours to provide immersive, engaging and social experiences that take place off-screen!