Hello and welcome to my site. My name is Michael Reitz and I have been a gamer for over 35 years. Combine that with degrees in astrophysics and education; and being a professional woodworker for over 20 years and you get an interesting business.
It began years ago as Jumping Dragon Woodworking (hence the dragon in my logo), in which I specialized in original, handcrafted toys in a more scuptured and organic style than most woodworkers did. With my backgound you can see why some of my most popular designs were the lunar lander, a havester combine, a space shuttle and launch tower (with seperating SRB's and external tank and a working elevator), and the ever popular Noah's Ark. I also made custom pieces. At the time I was a member of Artisans' Underground, a co-op of juried artisans and craftsmen.
Jump ahead a few years and Jumping Dragon Woodworking became Jumping Dragon Games. This came about because we are a serious gaming family with a dedicated game room and over 400 games (I can't keep track). It specialized in education and family games. I began the game company because so many people asked me where I found such wonderful games (this was before the internet was very big). I sold games, but also did lectures on how to use games in an educational setting for schools and parenting groups. Still do, in fact, be sure to catch my annual seminar on Learning with Games at Origins.
The company's name was changed to Just Games after I realized that many schools couldn't access my website due to their blockers - the word dragon is a no-no. Just Games has since been closed, mostly due to competition with the big online game discounters. Though, as I said, I still speak on games in education.
So now I have Das Spiel-unker. This is a result of realizing that many of the items that I make for my own gaming group would probably be enjoyed by others. Since I still have the woodworking business it was no trouble to start making some of these items for sale.
If you'd like to see what else I do then check out my blog - Random Thoughts & Senseless Pastimes.
Or check out my articles in Knights of the Dinner Table issues #151, Dice Cleansing 101, issue #160, Next Gen: How to Raise a Gamer in 17 Easy Years, issue #167, Confessions of a Four-Legged Gamer, and issue #169, Does a Die By Any Other Name Roll As Sweet?
So where does the name Das Spiel Unker come from? Back in the 90's I ran a gaming group for teens and families in the basement of our town's library. The name was, excitingly enough, the Wayne County Gaming Society. I did send out a monthly newsletter, though, and I thought that it should have a more dymanic name. So - Das Spiel Unker - which is a bad pun from the German word for game (spiel) and spelunker for a cave explorer. We played games in the basement, after all. So now I'm using the name for my company since my shop and our family game room are also in the basement (it is a very nice basement.)