Are You the Hedge Lord?


Kylee Henrie, Writer

The Huntsville-Madison area is known for science, engineers, and spaceships. The Saturn V towers over Highway 72, and everyone you talk to has a good chance of being some sort of engineer. In a city so full of STEM, it can be easy to pass over the more artistic talents. However, those talents are still going strong.

Dustin Timbrook, a visual artist, and Molly Timbrook, a technical writer, have teamed up as a husband and wife duo to create a beautiful, handmade board game, Hedge Lord, for their company, Timbrook Toys.

The game follows the bet of four lords that “who shall ever escape the maze or be left the sole survivor of the beasts, shall be named the most honorable Hedge Lord, inheriting the estates of all participants,” as explained in the rules printed onto the wooden game box. The game is a simple hedge maze where players can move their beast or lord through the maze. The dastardly lord tries to escape the maze while the beasts try to kill the opposing lords. To move your pieces, you roll a six-sided die and flip a coin. If the coin lands on the key, the player can move parts of the maze to their advantage or to the detriment of the opposing lords. The full ruleset can be found on the Timbrook Toys website.

Hedge Lord is a perfect example of the marriage of artistic and technical ideas. In an interview with “Know Huntsville”, Dustin explained that he originally wanted the game to be based around gears that move parts of the maze around; however, he later simplified the idea to rotating hedge pieces when the idea got too complicated. On the artistic side, the Timbrooks revealed in an article by Mike Wake that “a while back [they] were living near downtown in an old house with lots of character and woodwork. For fun, they started thinking of what the home’s past inhabitants might have been like and made up names and personalities for them. Dustin even painted portraits. […] As concepts for “Hedge Lord” solidified, the characters they’d devised for their old house, including walrus-mustachioed Count Bartholomew Bromwell and eyepatch-sporting Viceroy Winifred Ward, seemed perfect for their game.”

In the “Know Huntsville” interview, the couple revealed that each of the lords has a backstory related to the game they want to reveal at a later point.

The game has taken off recently in local breweries. “[The game is] at Innerspace Brewery, Old Town Beer Exchange, and Green Bus Brewing. It is also in Birmingham at Seasick Records,” Molly Timbrook explained in the “Know Huntsville” interview.

The game even got the interest of Monogram, a PBS show local to Alabama, which interviewed Dustin and Molly Timbrook as well as players who discovered the game through Green Bus Brewery. Robert Ayers, one of the players, said that “when I saw the game was at Green Bus, I was ecstatic, and my friends that come here on Wednesday night…were able to play it and I’ve enjoyed it ever since and even pre-ordered it.”

They didn’t expect the enthusiastic response to the first round of pre-orders, so this time they have a plan to be better prepared. The second round of pre-orders are now open on the Timbrook Toys website for $80 and should be shipped by the end of 2019, giving them more time and money to make the handmade game.

The reaction to the game has truly been a testament to the strong creative side of Huntsville. Ayers closed off his interview by saying “knowing how hard these artists work and being an engineering city filled with science and engineering math, just to know that creativity is still out there and we’re just part of this growing city watching it build with everyone growing together, it’s just fun to support each other.”

Huntsville is full of engineers and technical minds, but the more time passes, the easier it is to see the amazing creative side of this area. From the art shops and galleries in Lowe Mill to a handmade board game, this area is going strong. Learn how to be your own Hedge Lord today!