Mark Bordsen

Mark Bordsen and his card game.

A Colfax man said the inspiration to invent his own card game came to him, as most of his ideas do — in his sleep.

Once he got the idea, Mark Bordsen grabbed the pencil and pad near his bed and jotted it down so he would not forget.

“I had this idea and I thought, ‘Hey, I wonder if this could be a game,’ ” he said.

In 2017, two years after inspiration struck, the man who has collected thousands of games in his life acquired the copyright for his very own game, “Don’t Look.”

“Don’t Look” can be played with as many as seven players. Each player is dealt three cards, each with a letter of the alphabet. The participants look at their cards at the same time and see if they can spell a three-letter word that can be found in the dictionary. If they can, they slap the table. The first person who slaps the table and correctly identifies a word gets the point.

That person is dealt more cards and must continue to try and spell words with the number of cards they have. The person who ends up collecting the most cards wins.

Though it is not his first game invention, it is the first where Bordsen felt comfortable enough to take it to market.

“I decided to make the plunge,” he said.

“Don’t Look” is now sold at Main Street Books in Colfax, Palouse Games in Pullman and Hodgins Drug and Hobby in Moscow.

Bordsen said he wanted to sell his game locally because big chain stores would likely force him to produce much higher volumes of “Don’t Look,” which he believes would cause the product’s quality to dip.

He has also attained a copyright for a dart game he called “Bordsen’s Elimination” and has created prototypes for other games.

Bordsen said his love of games has roots in his childhood when he grew up in eastern Montana with a mother, father and sister who enjoyed playing games.

When he went off to college, he gave away most of his games because Bordsen thought he was too old to play.

After spending time traveling and volunteering abroad in countries like Laos and Indonesia, he came back to the U.S. to enter a new chapter of his life with his wife and sons.

Bordsen wanted to play games with his two boys, so he scoured garage sales and thrift stores until he built up a collection of 300 games. By the time he settled in Colfax in 1990, that number had grown to 3,000.

He said collecting and inventing games is more than a hobby. He said they have a therapeutic effect on him.

As the former Whitman County Planning Director, Bordsen had to deal with the stresses of a job that included night meetings and working through complicated issues.

At the end of the day, he would go into his basement and pick out a game box that he had not opened yet. He loved the unexpected surprise awaiting him inside, like what condition the game is in and whether all the pieces were included.

“It was kind of like a Christmas present,” he said, and the stress he felt would soon evaporate.

Now, Bordsen is pleased that among his collection of games is one that has his own name attached to it.

“It feels great,” he said.

Anthony Kuipers can be reached at (208) 883-4640, or by email to

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