Petaluma 360:

Petaluma resident and game designer Susan McKinley Ross said that one great way to step back from glowing screens and reconnect with others is through activities as simple as a board game.

Ross knows a thing or two about board games. She’s the creator of the wildly popular game Qwirkle, which was the number one selling board game on Amazon.com in 2011. The game has also racked up a number of other accolades, including a Parent’s Choice Gold Award in 2007, the Mensa Select Award for 2007 and the prestigious 2011 Spiel des Jahres Award, which is a game designer award equivalent to an actor winning an Academy Award.Ross knows a thing or two about board games. She’s the creator of the wildly popular game Qwirkle, which was the number one selling board game on Amazon.com in 2011. The game has also racked up a number of other accolades, including a Parent’s Choice Gold Award in 2007, the Mensa Select Award for 2007 and the prestigious 2011 Spiel des Jahres Award, which is a game designer award equivalent to an actor winning an Academy Award.

Ross has since published nine other games and licensed more than 30 toy products. She got her start in the toy and game industry while working as an administrative assistant for Sonoma County-based toy catalog company HearthSong. Her natural creativity eventually earned her a spot in the product development department where she created a number of items, including an award-winning fountain-making kit released in 1999.