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

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

Of course,  first and foremost, any Hounds & Jackals game must provide an innovative and entertaining experience for players!  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 via platforms such as Game On Tabletop or Kickstarter.  





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. ALSO The Founder of the Hounds & Jackals enterprise is VERY fond of dogs!

The Wolf 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.  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 Kickstarter 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


Creative Canines Wanted!

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.

The Pack is always open to working with people  who love games and dogs!


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.

The Advisory Board (The Brains Behind the Scenes)

Cy Agamemnon Ballon

Monty and Zelda Strike

O'Henry Paoletta


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!
Copyright Hounds and Jackals aka Bruce Ballon

All Rights Reserved