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

Marisa has been designing interactive entertainment and games for more than 20 years. She started her journey as the editor and producer of the CD-ROM title, Explore the Grand Canyon and co-authored The Web Design and Development Book, published by Coriolis Books in 1997. After relocating to the Bay Area to complete her English Literature degree at Stanford University, she worked at, where she led technical and creative teams in the development of kid-friendly online games and community applications. In 2002, Marisa switched gears from designing digital experiences to designing tactile traditional board games for Cranium. At Cranium, as the Senior Director of Ideation for games, Marisa led the invention of more than three dozen award-winning titles, including Zooreka, recipient of TOTY’s 2007 Game of the Year award. Marisa was recently part of the Discovery Bay Games team that introduced the first iPad game accessories and associated apps into the marketplace.

Marisa now lives in Redmond, Washington with her husband and two young children, where they play, learn, and explore the beautiful forests and mountains of the Pacific Northwest.