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The Triangul8 team. (Triangu8 Photo)

Game designer James Hutt and Microsoft engineer Eric Jorgensen have joined forces to build a game that they think could be the chess of the 21st Century.

There are two versions of Triangul8: A simple physical board game with triangular bakelite tiles and a mobile app based on the same concept. Players place their pieces from a center point to get three angles on their tiles. The rules are laid out in this video.

Triangul8 is officially launching in December and accepting pre-sale orders on the board game now. Earlier this month, Triangul8’s 20-person team joined VMC’s new EXP LAB, an incubator for independent game developers. Triangul8 has raised some initial funding from Silicon Valley investors and won a grant from the National Science Foundation and a handful of gaming awards.

Hutt is Triangul8’s CEO and focuses mainly on the board game. Jorgensen is the CTO and is responsible for developing the app.

We caught up with Hutt for this Startup Spotlight, a regular GeekWire feature. Continue reading for his answers to our questionnaire.

Explain what you do so our parents can understand it: “Our app for iOS and Android, Triangul8, is a ‘chess killer’ for the modern day, easier to learn and play than chess while activating the same strategic centers of the brain with a more streamlined two player experience.”

Triangul8 CEO James Hutt. (Triangul8 Photo)

Inspiration hit us when: “We saw that traditional strategy games were not being updated design-wise for the mobile gaming experience and we decided to do something about it.”

VC, Angel or Bootstrap: “Angel. Being located in a gaming mecca like Seattle means access to smart money.”

Our ‘secret sauce’ is: “Addiction. Flexing your brain with a game of Triangul8 feels like a quick and fruitful mental workout, free from the exhaustion sometimes present in traditional strategy games. Often, the perfect companion to a game of Triangul8 is a rematch.”

The smartest move we’ve made so far: “Bringing on great advisers like Tiny Bubbles creator and Fellowship of the Rings (PS2) Technical Director Stuart Denman and CityBldr CEO Bryan Copley.”

The biggest mistake we’ve made so far: “Waiting to file for patents until nearly the last minute. Luckily it didn’t end up hurting us, but there were some sleepless nights when it got close.”

Would you rather have Gates, Zuckerberg or Bezos in your corner: “Zuckerberg, because at the core of Triangul8 is our insistence on simplifying user experience, and you didn’t give the option to resurrect Steve Jobs.”

Our favorite team-building activity is: “Doodling on the many whiteboards of our office and eating together. Nothing beats sharing a meal with the team.”

The biggest thing we look for when hiring is: “We look for people with creative initiative and the skills to execute on it.”

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to other entrepreneurs just starting out: “Get your legal house in order on day one and you will get more sleep.”

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