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

After graduating with a degree in journalism, Shanon bounced from books to magazines to advertising and even spent a few short months on the magic carpet at a Colorado ski resort. Luckily, all of this seemingly-unrelated experience came together as the foundation for a career in the games industry with a focus on content strategy and development. After a short stint at, she landed at Cranium as Lead Editor, working with a team of writers and editors to create content that surprised and delighted players. Later, at Discovery Bay Games as Senior Editor, Ideation and Development, Shanon worked with licensors to translate beloved brands into rich and engaging game experiences and managed several large-scale content creation projects.

Shanon has contributed to a number of publications and books, including the Armchair Reader series, American Girl magazine, and SmartLab: Amazing Animal Challenge, and has had a hand in content creation or game design for more than 30 titles, including Cranium WOW, Cranium Disney, Trivial Pursuit Bet You Know It, Saturday Night Live: The Board Game, and others.

She’s a kid at heart who gets excited by whiteboards, Sharpie markers, and off-the-wall ideas. She lives in Seattle with her husband and two daughters and enjoys yoga, music, sewing, baking, and cooking.