History of the Game

Rebuilding Main Street is a civic deliberation simulation that takes the form of a multiplayer cooperative board game. The game was first conceived of by Dr. Melanie Loehwing, assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Mississippi State University, and Dr. Skye Cooley, assistant professor in the School of Media and Strategic Communication at Oklahoma State University, in the spring of 2017. Our intention was to create a classroom tool that taught students how to engage in productive, civil dialogue in their communities.


Since the summer of 2017, the Rebuilding Main Street project team has expanded to include at various points of development the following members:

  • Dr. Brian Shoup, associate professor in the MSU Department of Political Science and Public Administration

  • Dr. Asya Cooley, instructor in the School of Media and Strategic Communication at Oklahoma State University

  • Mr. Mark Pennie, Pennie Works Studio

  • Ms. Krishna Desai, undergraduate honors student at Mississippi State University

  • Ms. Georgiana Swan, undergraduate honors student at Mississippi State University

  • Mr. Will Calderon, undergraduate honors student at Mississippi State University.  

The project team collaborated to create the game mechanics, rules, and a rudimentary design, and to test the game informally in order to refine its features for use in the classroom.

RMS Original Game Board copy
Original board concept

In the fall of 2017, the team hired a professional graphic designer, Mark Pennie of Pennie Works Studio, to translate the homemade design into a more professional presentation and produce the first prototypes of the game.

Mark Pennie

Mark Pennie is the recently retired assistant director of Oklahoma State University’s marketing office. Pennie has won numerous awards from a host of organizations, including national honors from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Art Directors Club. Pennie completed the Leadership Stillwater program and remains active in the community. Pennie holds a bachelor’s in fine arts in graphic design from Fort Hays State University. He has worked in and with higher education since 1982. He has been at OSU off and on since 1985 and began his career there at the Oklahoma State University Foundation.
 He is married to Cindy Pennie, who is a retired registered nurse and now serves as a parish nurse and health care consultant for the elderly. They have two sons, all of whom are OSU grads. The Pennies are heavily involved with their church and medical mission work.


Pennie Works Studio is proud to announce that a white paper authored by Mark Pennie, Adventures in Logo Town, now appears in volume 2, number 3 of the peer-reviewed “Journal of Education Advancement and Marketing.”