Department of Recreation About Games Awards Contact


Department of Recreation is a game invention company started by Marisa Peña, Shanon Lyon and Colt Tipton; three friends who met over 20 years ago at Cranium.

Over the last 8 years, they have collaborated together to license more than 30 games, selling more than a million units worldwide.

Recently, Shanon no longer invents games for Department of Recreation because she is now a game developer at Ravensburger North America. We are so excited for her and for Ravensburger!

Colt continues to work and play in Eugene, Oregon with his family. He is now a project manager at PBS KIDS.

Marisa continues to create board games under the Department of Recreation name. She has also launched her debut children's book series called, The Frost Wings.

To learn more about each of us, click below.

Marisa Colt Shanon

Marisa Peña

Colt Tipton-Johnson

Shanon Lyon

Colt kicked off his career post-graduation from Stanford as a ‘Groover’ at a startup called where he rated songs based on musical attributes. The startup was acquired by Microsoft, and with some of his best friends, he moved to Seattle to work for Microsoft in 2000. Over the past 13 years, he’s held creative roles at Microsoft, Stanford Travel/Study, Cranium, AT&T Mobility, and Discovery Bay Games. Colt has crafted play within various categories (entertainment, marketing, mobility, and product development) and created numerous successful programs and products.

Colt holds a bachelor’s degree in Human Biology from Stanford University. He’s a two-time national fiddling champion, a competitive tennis player, a charades aficionado, and an avid traveler. No matter what the activity, he’s always finding some way to play.