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How It All Began

Gary at Toy FairGary at Toy Fair

Dennis in the Store of Knowledge in the Dallas, TX Galleria MallDennis in the Store of Knowledge in the Dallas, TX Galleria MallIt’s funny how things work out. One minute a man is sitting across from some business associates, engaging in playful banter while picking at their overpriced lunch, and the next thing his interest is piqued, attention stolen as it were, by the words coming out of a friend’s mouth. “Let’s get down to brass tacks.” From those words an idea was sparked in the mind of Dennis Czikowsky, a family man working an office job who had childhood dreams of using the creativity brimming inside. That’s when Dennis approached a friend and business associate, Gary Wnek, with the idea of creating a board game that would take commonly used idioms, phrases, quotes and clichés and ask people to guess what they mean, where they came from and who said them. While siting poolside, Dennis and Gary etched out the makings of a game to be proud of. Who Knew? was born.

Did they have a good game? They thought so; the people that played the proto type thought so; the inventor group in California thought so, but would it stand up to a test with someone who was an expert on board game success? That person would be Linda Perzzano. She was the marketing genius who helped bring Trivial Pursuit to more than $1,000,000,000 in sales and Pictionary to its success. Dennis and Gary felt they had nothing to lose, so they called Linda and asked for 5 minutes of her time at Toy Fair to look at their game. She agreed! Linda and her associate Linda Lilijenfeld came and the 5 minutes turned into 45 minutes of fun and laughter playing Who Knew?. To quote her, “This game is great! I love your cards.  They are humorous and interesting”. It only ended because she had a dinner engagement to go to. Needless to say, Dennis and Gary were on cloud nine! Sadly, due to a conflict of interest, Linda Perzzano was not able to help promote the game despite her desire to do so.

At the time, the only way to get a game available to the masses was to have it licensed by a game company. Both Dennis and Gary, the consummate sales people that they were, set out to do just that and much to their surprise Great American Puzzle Factory agreed to take it on. That was August of 1999 and with the game being played on several radio stations, - along with being chosen a Top Ten Game by Chicago Tribune in their Holiday Gift Guide that year, Who Knew? was taking off, but not for long. Great American Puzzle Factory sold out to Serious Puzzles who decided to drop board games and focus solely on puzzles. Who Knew? came to a screeching halt. Unfortunately they were unable to produce the game themselves; so with bills to pay and kids to raise, Who Knew? was shelved.

Fast-forward to 2015

One minute a man is sitting across from his kids, engaging in playful banter and trying to convince them to eat their vegetables, and then the next thing his interest is piqued, attention stolen as it were, by the words he hears over the phone. “Let’s self-produce the game.” From those words, fire was ignited in the mind of Seth Czikowsky, a family man working an office job who watched his father and family friend attempt to make something of their dreams only to see those dreams get seemingly snuffed out by circumstance; but not this time! With Gary Wnek back on board, the three men ferociously worked to take a promising idea and make it a fun, exciting and modern board game. As the three took a step back to look at the finished product, it became clear that they had something very special with Who Knew?...but why stop there? With Dennis’s bottomless bag of ideas, Gary’s sharp wit and Seth’s modern aesthetic, is poised to blend classic ideas with modern gameplay to help make every night a Game Night!

ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailing Association)In an effort to promote fun games became a member of Casual Game Revolution. This is an organization that aims to reach the most targeted audience of casual game enthusiasts in the world. This organization is passionate about party and casual games – quick fun accessible games that offer interesting choices and light strategy. You can learn more and get their quarterly magazine by clicking on the logo on our home page.

We are also members of ASTRA (American Specialty Toy Retailing Association) and through them we have qualified as a Certified Play Expert. This means that our games are not only fun to play but they also help a person develop skills in 4 main areas:
1. Cognitive: perception, attention, memory etc.
2. Social & Emotional
3. Sensory
4. Speech & Language

 Dennis Czikowsky - Owner Gary Wnek - Owner Seth Czikowsky - Owner