BoardGameGeek News

To submit news, a designer diary, outrageous rumors, or other material, please contact BGG News editor W. Eric Martin via email – wericmartin AT gmail.com.

Archive for Industry News

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [33]

Recommend
98 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Winners Announced for Deutscher SpielePreis and The American Tabletop Awards

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
• On Monday, Sept. 16, SPIEL organizer Friedhelm Merz Verlag announced the results of the 2019 Deutscher SpielePreis, an annual award in which gamers vote on the titles they've most liked over the preceding twelve months. Voting takes place in the middle of the year, with titles released between July of the previous year and June of the current year being eligible.

Based on the votes tallied, the winner of the 2019 DSP is Elizabeth Hargrave's Wingspan from Stonemaier Games and (in Germany) Feuerland Spiele. (Yes, Wingspan appears in a second BGG News post today.) Here are the other vote-getters in the top ten, with their originating publisher listed instead of their German-specific one:

2. The Taverns of Tiefenthal, by Wolfgang Warsch (Schmidt Spiele)
3. Teotihuacan: City of Gods, by Daniele Tascini and Dávid Turczi (Board&Dice)
4. Spirit Island, by R. Eric Reuss (Greater Than Games)
5. Architects of the West Kingdom, by Shem Phillips and S.J. Macdonald (Garphill Games)
6. Detective: A Modern Crime Board Game, by Ignacy Trzewiczek, Przemysław Rymer, and Jakub Łapot (Portal Games)
7. Underwater Cities, by Vladimír Suchý (Delicious Games)
8. Newton, by Nestore Mangone and Simone Luciani (Cranio Creations)
9. Just One, by Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Sautter (Repos Production)
10. Gloomhaven, by Isaac Childres (Cephalophair Games)

Concept Kids from Gaëtan Beaujannot, Alain Rivollet, and Repos Production won the 2019 Deutscher KinderspielePreis.

• That same day saw the debut of The American Tabletop Awards (ATTA), a new annual award founded by a committee of ten — Brittanie Boe, Nicole Brady, Amber Cook, Ruel Gaviola, Jonathan Liu, Becca Scott, Suzanne Sheldon, Theo Strempel, Annette Villa, and Eric Yurko — with all the committee members being based in the United States and being involved in the gaming industry in various ways.

The ATTAs will name winners in four categories — early gamers, casual games, strategy games, and complex games — with winners being announced in June in future years, but in September for 2019 to kick things off now rather than waiting another nine months. Each category will have a winning title, two recommended titles, and two nominated titles. (The format seems to be that the top five titles in a category are nominated, with committee members then voting on those to determine the winning and recommended titles.)

For 2019, the ATTA winners are:

• Early gamers: Catch the Moon, by Fabien Riffaud and Juan Rodriguez (Studio Bombyx)
• Casual games: The Quacks of Quedlinburg, by Wolfgang Warsch (Schmidt Spiele)
• Strategy games: Chronicles of Crime, by David Cicurel (Lucky Duck Games)
• Complex games: Root, by Cole Wehrle (Leder Games)

Twitter Facebook
12 Comments
Wed Sep 18, 2019 4:03 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
52 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Links: Fluxx Featured, Knight Moves Marketed, and Plastic Pushed Out of Packaging

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
• In August 2019, Elliott Williams at Washingtonian profiled Andy and Kristin Looney of Looney Labs. An excerpt:

Quote:
As aerospace engineers at NASA, Kristin and Andy Looney spent years working on VLSI computer chips, telemetry processing systems, and other high-tech tasks. But if you’re more into hobby shops than you are the Hubble telescope, you might know the couple for a different contribution: the card game Fluxx, which has sold more than 3 million copies since they debuted it in 1997.
• In August 2019, the Boston branch of NBC News profiled Knight Move Games, a café located in the Boston suburb of Brookline, Massachusetts. An excerpt:

Quote:
When it opened in 2013, Knight Moves was the first board game cafe in New England and one of just a few in the entire country. Today, there are at least five other board game cafes in Boston alone.

The cafe welcomes a steady stream of regulars, board game enthusiasts and curious visitors every day.

"In 2013, board games really hadn't hit yet, but they've gained so much momentum," says Knight Moves owner Devon Trevelyan. "The industry is just booming right now."
If you run a café yourself — or you publish, design, or develop games — approach your local news networks and publications to see whether they'd be interested in profiling you. Don't ask directly, mind you; approach them by sending newsworthy press releases to their local news division, with "newsworthy" sometimes being something as straightforward as "Game publisher exists in town X". Many media outlets devote time to quirky local interest stories, and one of those stories could feature you if they know that you exist.

• In September 2019, The New York Times posted an article that seems to have been found behind a couch a year or two after it was originally written, with designers Jason Lautenschleger and Barry McLaughlin being the lead-in to discuss that success of tabletop games on Kickstarter, board game cafés across the U.S., and the continued growth of the game sector of the toy industry. An excerpt:

Quote:
When they started a business together, Barry & Jason Games and Entertainment, their first product was Game Night in a Can, a play-at-home version of their club act. Like other entrepreneurs, Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Lautenschleger turned to crowdfunding to raise money...

Game Night in a Can had a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising $21,000. It is now sold in more than 100 mom-and-pop stores and by major companies like Urban Outfitters.

And another:

Quote:
Sales of games and puzzles jumped 39 percent in the United States from 2013 to 2018, outpacing the 16 percent average for the traditional toy industry, according to data from Euromonitor, a market research company.

Hasbro had a 30 percent share of the games and puzzles market in the United States in 2018, thanks to its Magic: The Gathering collectible card game, followed by Mattel at almost 9 percent, according to Euromonitor.

And another, which should be of interest to game designers and developers, who are looking for opportunities outside the actual publication of games:

Quote:
Mr. McLaughlin has a background in advertising, and Mr. Lautenschleger works in TV development. The combination of their skills makes it easier for them to pitch ideas to other companies and to perform live events, like a recent game-themed brainstorm session for Marriott executives, which can bring in revenue and inspire game ideas.
• Speaking of Hasbro, on August 20, 2019, the U.S. company announced that starting in 2020, "it plans to begin phasing out plastic from new product packaging, including plastic elements like polybags, elastic bands, shrink wrap, window sheets and blister packs. The company's ambition is to eliminate virtually all plastic in packaging for new products by the end of 2022."

We've already been seeing this trend in mainstream game releases, with many new titles at Target, for example, using stickers to keep the box lid sealed instead of shrinkwrap that covers the entire box. Sometimes those stickers comes off easily and leave only tiny sticky patches that you can remove by patting them with the sticker itself, and sometimes those stickers leave a gooey mess. I guess they're still working out the details to ensure a consistently clean removal. Here's the remainder of that press release:

Quote:
"Removing plastic from our packaging is the latest advancement in our more than decade-long journey to create a more sustainable future for our business and our world," said Brian Goldner, Chairman and CEO, Hasbro. "We have an experienced, cross-functional team in place to manage the complexity of this undertaking and will look to actively engage employees, customers, and partners as we continue to innovate and drive progress as a leader in sustainability."

Hasbro has a long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability, from eliminating wire ties in 2010 and adding How2Recycle® labeling in 2016, to the use of plant-based bioPET in 2018, and most recently, launching an industry-leading toy recycling program with TerraCycle®. Hasbro's Sustainability Center of Excellence is charged with driving the integration of sustainability across the business, including driving sustainable packaging design principles.

"Reimagining and redesigning packaging across our brand portfolio is a complex undertaking, but we believe it's important and our teams are up for the challenge," said John Frascotti, President and Chief Operating Officer, Hasbro. "We know consumers share our commitment to protecting the environment, and we want families to feel good knowing that our packaging will be virtually plastic-free, and our products can be easily recycled through our Toy Recycling Program with TerraCycle*."

Hasbro's Toy Recycling Program enables consumers to send well-loved Hasbro toys and games to TerraCycle, a global leader in product recycling, who will recycle them into materials to be used in the construction of play spaces, flowerpots, park benches, and other innovative uses. Hasbro recently announced the expansion of the program to France, Germany and Brazil, and plans to expand the program to additional markets with the goal of ensuring all Hasbro toys and games are recyclable in the major markets where it does business.
But what happens to Hasbro toys and games that aren't so well loved?
Twitter Facebook
31 Comments
Sat Sep 7, 2019 1:00 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
59 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Links: Entering SPIEL '19, Translating Rules, and Rediscovering The Genius

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
• For SPIEL '19, convention organizer Friedhelm Merz Verlag plans to have the East Entrance of the Messe Essen convention structure open for the first time in years (thanks to the long-term renovations that are apparently nearing an end), with "3,000 additional cloakrooms and many cashiers" in this part of the building. Notes Merz Verlag: "This will be the main entrance for visitors who buy their tickets on site."

The South Entrance will also have a few ticket counters as in years past, while the West Entrance will be accessible solely by those who have pre-sale tickets.

Merz Verlag estimates that SPIEL '19 will feature approx. 1,200 exhibitors from 53 countries in its 86,000 m² of exhibition space, which is 6,000 m² more than in 2018 thanks to the entirety of Hall 5 being used. Find BGG there at 5-J122!




• This video is nearly four years old, but I hadn't seen it until recently, so perhaps it will be new to you as well. The subject of the video is British philologist and Assyriologist Irving Finkel, who works in the Department of the Middle East in the British Museum.

As Finkel explains in this video, he specializes in translating cuneiform inscriptions and he translated the previously unknown rules for The Royal Game of Ur, a design that had obsessed him in his youth. Based on this presentation, Finkel should be granted a lecture series to talk about whatever he wants!




• In mid-August 2019 in Publishers Weekly, Nicole Audrey Spector wrote about how comic book publishers have both become involved — and stayed distant — from the board game industry. An excerpt:

Quote:
[Charlie Chu, v-p of creative and business development at Oni Press,] reemphasized that the point of making these games isn't to make loads of cash on the games themselves: "The big angle is less about looking to make a ton of money on the gaming side and more about creating brand extensions and providing marketing for the books themselves. It's meant to drive awareness and sales on the comics publishing side."

If an IP isn't a massively popular franchise (or looking like it will be one), then the game of making games gets tougher, bringing publishers to a crucial question: how many fans does a series need before it becomes viable as a game? For IDW Games, which publishes both creator-owned and licensed tabletop games, the answer is at least 5,000 prospective buyers.

"We're shooting for a minimum of 5,000 units that we need to move into the marketplace," says IDW's [Jerry Bennington, IDW v-p, new product development]. "It doesn't matter whether it's a small- or big-box game — though in the case of big games, which can be pretty expensive, you need to sell at least 5,000 units just to recoup costs."
• I thought that I had posted about The Genius in this space, but apparently I only tweeted about it in December 2016. Sorry!

For those who haven't experienced it, The Genius is a Korean reality show based on simple games and lots of negotiation. The show ran for four seasons, and it's brilliant. The set-up is familiar from other reality shows — get a lot of people together, give them challenges, eliminate one person each show until one person is left and declared the winner — but The Genius uses simple, modern games to determine the winner of each show, games with clear rules yet lots of room for personal interaction, negotiation, intentional misunderstanding, and back-stabbing.

What's more, the production of the show is enticing and a step above the formula seen on most reality shows. The YouTube channel "Just Write" featured the show in a June 2019 video titled "The Incredible Storytelling Of South Korean Reality TV", and it served as a reminder to talk about this show once again — or the first time, as it may be. In case you need convincing, here's that episode of "Just Write", which gives lots of nice detail on the show's production:




Or you can just dive into episode 1 of season 1:


Twitter Facebook
11 Comments
Wed Sep 4, 2019 1:00 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
115 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide

Mergers, Splits, and Distribution Deals: Remembering Rick Loomis and Richard Berg, and Bringing Swiss Games to North America

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
Rick Loomis, co-founder of Flying Buffalo, Inc. and co-founder and past president of Game Manufacturer's Association (GAMA), passed away on August 23, 2019. Until Loomis' passing, Flying Buffalo held the distinction of being the oldest game company still under its original management, and Loomis himself was present at pretty much every U.S. game convention I've attended over the past decade until he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in early 2019.

Multiple tributes to Loomis have been posted by members of the game industry, including one from GAMA executive director John Stacy and another from AEG owner John Zinser. A GoFundMe page for Loomis had been created on August 17, and it's still active since those hospital bills don't disappear with the passing of an industry legend.

• Along similar lines, designer Richard H. Berg passed away in July 2019, something I had noted on Twitter, but had not yet shared in this space. Designer Randall C. Reed wrote a tribute to Berg on BGG, and Rodger B. MacGowan posted a tribute to Berg that highlighted a few of his many creations:



• The latest deal to be announced by Asmodee North America is an exclusive distribution deal in the United States for the titles of Swiss publisher Helvetiq, which tends to release tiny, brightly-colored games that have minimal rules and a quick playing time. An excerpt from the press release announcing the deal:

Quote:
Beginning in September 2019, Helvetiq's catalog of games will be available to retailers looking to provide their customers with fun and creative gameplay experiences.

"We are always looking for strong local partners that bring our brand to gamers and shops worldwide," said Hadi Barkat, CEO & Founder of Helvetiq. "With Asmodee USA, we now have a U.S. distribution partner who shares our ambition and passion for the world of games. Their portfolio includes amazing titles, and we are honored to join with a line up that particularly suites casual gamers, families, and design aficionados. We are excited that, together, we will make our games accessible to an even wider audience."

Andre Kieren, Head of Distribution for Asmodee USA, said, "Adding Helvetiq's library of games, both established and upcoming, to Asmodee USA Distribution's library is fantastic news for everyone. We look forward to providing their unique offering of titles to our customers."
• In 2018, Funagain Games transitioned its business away from online retailing to focus on the fulfillment of crowdfunded game projects, something that had previously been a smaller part of its business activity.

Funagain has now taken steps to increase its role in the fulfillment of such campaigns, purchasing Ship Naked and Hit Point Sales in July 2019 from former owner Dan Yarrington. The combination of Ship Naked and Funagain Fulfillment, a division of Funagain Games, will be rebranded as Funagain Logistics. Here's an excerpt from the press release announcing this deal:

Quote:
Hit Point Sales will continue to sell games to distributors and stores for the combined client base of both companies.

The acquisition of Ship Naked offers an exciting opportunity for Funagain to strengthen and expand its global fulfillment operations and client services. Each company was already a leader in the industry, so the combination creates a dominant coast-to-coast company with warehouses strategically located across the country.

Jeff DeBoer, Owner & CEO of Funagain Games, commented, "This acquisition supports the strategy we set over a year ago to provide comprehensive services to clients including marketing, global fulfillment, warehousing, ongoing fulfillment, wholesale distribution, specialty online retail and liquidation services. The expanded business will serve hundreds of board game publishers from around the world, shipping hundreds of thousands of parcels annually. The combined facilities provide increased capacity for campaign fulfillment and ongoing shipping. Facilities are planned to expand further in 2020 and beyond to accommodate growing client demand."
In the press release, Yarrington notes that he will "turn my attention solely to focus on publishing". [Disclosure: As explained in this July 2019 post, BoardGameGeek is partnering with Funagain Games on Cardboard Caravan, a delivery service intended to help people acquire games from conventions they didn't attend, with this service first being offered for games sold at SPIEL '19.]
Twitter Facebook
11 Comments
Sun Sep 1, 2019 1:00 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
126 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Nominations Announced for the 2019 International Gamers Awards

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
The International Gamers Awards is an annual award meant to recognize "outstanding games and designers, as well as the companies that publish them", with the distinctive element to the IGAs being that the committee members come from countries around the world, so ideally their choices represent an indication of games with a broad appeal to multiple audiences.

With that in mind, here are the 2019 IGA nominees for the multiplayer category:

Architects of the West Kingdom, by Shem Phillips and S J Macdonald (Garphill Games)
Blackout: Hong Kong, by Alexander Pfister (eggertspiele)
Brass: Birmingham, by Martin Wallace, Gavan Brown & Matt Tolman (Roxley)
Coimbra, by Flaminia Brasini & Virginio Gigli (eggertspiele)
Gùgōng, by Andreas Steding (Game Brewer)
Hadara, by Benjamin Schwer (Hans im Glück)
Just One, by Ludovic Roudy & Bruno Sautter (Repos Production)
Key Flow, by Richard Breese, Sebastian Bleasdale & Ian Vincent (R&D Games)
Newton, by Simone Luciani & Nestore Mangone (Cranio Creations)
Res Arcana, by Tom Lehmann (Sand Castle Games)
Root, by Cole Wehrle (Leder Games)
Teotihuacan: City of Gods, by Daniele Tascini (NSKN Games/Board&Dice)
Underwater Cities, by Vladimír Suchý (Delicious Games)
Wingspan, by Elizabeth Hargrave (Stonemaier Games)

And the 2019 IGA nominees in the two-player category are:

Gettysburg, by Mark Herman (RBM Studio)
Kero, by Prospero Hall (Hurrican)
KeyForge: Call of the Archons, by Richard Garfield (Fantasy Flight Games)
Lincoln, by Martin Wallace (PSC Games)
Nagaraja, by Bruno Cathala & Théo Rivière (Hurrican)
Napoleon Saga, by Frédéric Romero (Oeuf Cube Editions)

The winner in each category will be announced in late September 2019.

(Disclosure: BGG owner Scott Alden is an IGA member, as is yours truly, but I haven't voted in roughly a decade. Mostly I kibitz and provide email addresses when nominees and winners need to be notified.)
Twitter Facebook
26 Comments
Sat Aug 31, 2019 4:00 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
86 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Asmodee Acquires Lion Rampant Imports, GoKids, Skyship, and Searainbow Group

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
On August 7, 2019, Asmodee closed a deal to acquire Canadian distributor Lion Rampant Imports, which was founded in 1992 by Rose Kriedemann and Ross Fleming. (Aside from being a distributor, Lion Rampant Imports served as a publisher of sorts for multiple titles from Schmidt Spiele and Zoch Verlag, putting those titles onto the North American market exclusively through LRI with those versions of the games bearing the LRI brand.)

Here's an excerpt of an August 9, 2019 press release announcing the deal on Asmodee's website:

Quote:
Lion Rampant's diversified catalog is composed of a full range of hobby, family board, educational and strategy games as well as supplies and miniatures. The company has a strong coverage in Canadian English-speaking territories which will enable Asmodee to consolidate its undisputed leadership in this market.

"We are thrilled to establish a deeper partnership with Lion Rampant and strengthen our position in Canada and in the US. Lion Rampant and Asmodee had been working together for more than 10 years and this step will allow us to provide our clients with an exhaustive and customized range of products to fulfill any needs." said Stéphane Carville CEO of Asmodee Group.

"We are proud to join the Asmodee Group, this will enable Lion Rampant to embark on the next leg of its existence and continue to prosper and consolidate its position as a true retailer partner" said Ross Fleming, CEO of Lion Rampant.
• On August 7, 2019, Asmodee also announced the acquisition of Kids Power International, a Taiwanese distributor that releases games under the brand GoKids. I first wrote about this deal in November 2018 when Asmodee had already "entered exclusive discussions" to acquire Kids Power International. Now the deal is complete, with Asmodee announcing it as follows:

Quote:
Established in 2010, GoKids is one of Taiwan's leading board game companies. GoKids publishes and distributes board games in the fast growing Taiwanese and Hongkongese markets. Its partnership with Asmodee started in 2011.

"Our vision of getting people together through a fantastic entertainment experience will be strengthened as we become part of Asmodee. The passion for telling incredible stories is mutual. We are very happy and proud to join such a great and experienced team" said George Tsai, CEO of GoKids.

The acquisition of GoKids allows Asmodee Group to strengthen its product line and consolidate its leading position in Greater China. It is also a stepping stone in the Group's international development in Asia.

"After 7 years of successful partnership with Gokids, I believe this acquisition will accelerate our presence in Greater China, particularly in the family and education segments." said Frederic Nugeron, Regional Manager Greater China of Asmodee Group.

"We're delighted to welcome GoKids to the Asmodee Group," said Stephane Carville, President of Asmodee Group. "With their great game portfolio and impressive experience on local distribution, we are strengthening our presence and development on Asian market."
• Furthermore, in July 2019, Asmodee acquired Chilean distributor Skyship, and here's that press release:

Quote:
Founded in 2014, Skyship started its activities from the beginning with Asmodee Iberica and pursued its collaboration with the Group in 2016 through a new partnership with Fantasy Flight Games. Since then, the distributor has kept on rising in the Chilean market and chose to strengthen its link with the Group.

"We are very happy that Skyship is now part of Asmodee. The experience and global capacity of Asmodee, with our regional knowledge, will quickly generate a positive impact on the gaming market in Chile and Latin America. People want to have fun, dream and tell stories through board games; and this union is a great step so that each time, there is more fun for everyone." said Juan Luis Arias, Skyship Manager.

Asmodee has recently step a foot in the South American Market with the acquisition of the Brazilian distributor Galápagos Jogos, displaying its willingness to strengthen its international presence. Asmodee has offices in 16 countries: USA, Canada, France, UK, Germany, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Brazil, Taiwan and China. The company also relies on 13 publishing studios spread around the world and distributes products in over 50 countries.

"We are delighted to welcome Skyship into the Asmodee family. We fully trust Skyship team to increase our catalogue presence on the Chilean market and to bring our South American platform to a new level." said Stéphane Carville CEO of Asmodee Group.
• I covered Asmodee's acquisition of Galápagos Jogos in August 2018. You might note that reference to "13 publishing studios" in the press release above, while in a a January 2019 post that number was "14 publishing studios". HeidelBÄR Games left Asmodee in April 2019, which is why that number is lower now, but easy come easy go. Besides, Asmodee can always pick up something else to make up the difference, which brings us to this final acquisition notice (for now), which also dates to August 7, 2019:

Quote:
Established in 2004, Searainbow Group started in China as Forever Bright, a producer of innovative educational toys and related specialty items. The company also distributes toys and games to the Asian markets through its subsidiary Wisdom Warehouse. In 2015, Searainbow acquired one of the UK's market leaders in educational games, The Green Board Game Company. In 2018, the acquisition of Lagoon made Searainbow Group a strong publisher of games and puzzles for gift for UK gift shops.

"We are delighted to be joining Asmodee. The resources of a larger group will provide exciting development opportunities, including entrance to more markets and the ability to offer customers a broader and better range of products" said Jessie Min, Searainbow Group founder.

The acquisitions of The Green Board Game Company and Lagoon allows Asmodee Group to offer a wider product range, as well as strengthen its educational games publishing and distribution on the European market. The Forever Bright and Wisdom Warehouse acquisitions will also bolster Asmodee's development in Asia.

"As a group, we are eager to offer the best games and tell amazing stories to both children and adults," said Stephane Carville, President of Asmodee Group. "The great pedigree of educational games in Searainbow's portfolio will enable us to strengthen our offer with additional transgenerational ranges in both Europe and Asia. We are delighted to welcome Searainbow in the Group."

"With Searainbow's strong games portfolio and successful distribution experience, we will strengthen our presence in Asia, particularly in the children and educational market." said Frederic Nugeron, Regional Manager Greater China of Asmodee Group. "Searainbow's success in the online space and the combination of our operations will be a great asset for Asmodee in Asia."
Twitter Facebook
41 Comments
Mon Aug 12, 2019 7:04 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
218 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Just One Wins the 2019 Spiel des Jahres; Wingspan Takes the Kennerspiel

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
The 2019 Spiel des Jahres nominations were announced on May 20, and after two months of guesses and second-guesses the German jury that oversees the prize has awarded the 2019 SdJ to Just One from Ludovic Roudy and Bruno Sautter from Repos Production.

Just One is a quick-playing co-operative party game in which all players but one see a word, then everyone writes down a one-word clue to show to the guesser — but if players write the same clue word, then that word isn't shown to the guesser, making it harder for them to guess. The game lasts thirteen rounds, and you need to guess correctly in all rounds for a perfect game.



Co-designer Bruno Sautter at the award ceremony with juror Bernhard Löhlein


I give an overview of Just One in this video from August 2018:




The winner of the 2019 Kennerspiel des Jahres — the game of the year for enthusiasts, that is, for those already comfortable with learning and playing new games — is Wingspan from Elizabeth Hargrave, Stonemaier Games, and (in Germany) Feuerland Spiele.

I've yet to play Wingspan, so I must crib a description from the BGG page for this space: In the card-driven, engine-building board game Wingspan, you are bird enthusiasts — researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors — seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions). These habitats focus on several key aspects of growth: gaining food tokens via custom dice, laying eggs, and drawing from hundreds of unique bird cards.



Designer Elizabeth Hargrave with Feuerland's Frank Heeren


For those who want to know more about the game, Rodney Smith from Watch It Played has produced a detailed rules overview of Wingspan:




And you can watch an entire Wingspan game being played in this GameNight! video, with a rules explanation up front and a post-game discussion:




Congrats to the winners!


The consolation prize for "best-dressed attendee" goes to LAMA designer Reiner Knizia
Twitter Facebook
59 Comments
Mon Jul 22, 2019 11:01 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
74 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Shortlist Announced for the 2019 Diana Jones Award

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
Gen Con 2019 opens in less than two weeks, and one of the last things that happens before that show opens is the crowning of the winner of the Diana Jones Award.

This year marks the 19th presentation of the Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming, and as noted on its website, "It is presented annually to the person, product, company, event, movement or any other thing that has, in the opinion of its committee, best demonstrated the quality of 'excellence' in the world of hobby-gaming in the previous year." (Disclosure: BGG won the Diana Jones Award in 2010.)

On July 16, 2019, the shortlist for the 2019 DJA was announced, with the items on it consisting of:

Dungeons & Dragons: Art & Arcana, a book by Mike Witwer, Kyle Newman, Jon Peterson, and Sam Witwer from Ten Speed Press
Holding On: The Troubled Life of Billy Kerr, a board game by Michael Fox and Rory O'Connor fromHub Games
The Mind, a card game by Wolfgang Warsch from NSV and Pandasaurus Games
Star Crossed, a role-playing game by Alex Roberts from Bully Pulpit Games

The winner will be announced the evening of Wednesday, July 31, 2019.

Twitter Facebook
61 Comments
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:30 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
107 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Links: Tariff Talk, First Loves, and The World's Best Vending Machine

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
• Designer Mike Selinker and publisher Scott Gaeta of Renegade Game Studios have written about the potential tariffs that the U.S. government might impose on goods coming from China, a change in economic policy that could have a huge impact on the game industry. An excerpt from Selinker's article in Polygon:

Quote:
When a company has to consider the cost of making its games, it adds all of that printing and shipping together. Then they typically multiply that price by roughly five, and that ends up being the price the consumer pays. That's because in distribution and retail, the publisher only gets about 40 percent of the retail cost. If printing and shipping their game takes 20 percent of retail, the creator of the game has to live on that 20 percent that's left from the 40 percent they receive from a distributor. It's a brutal business with the thinnest of margins.

Tariffs get imposed on the "first sale" price — that is, at the point of import, before the publisher gets the goods. So if printing and shipping what was once an $80 game takes $16, then an additional 25 percent adds $4 to the cost. Multiply that new number of $20 times five and now to the publisher it's a $100 game.
And an excerpt from the article on Gaeta's personal blog explaining why as a preventative measure Renegade is cutting titles from its publication schedule:

Quote:
Making hard decisions like cutting games we love isn't fun but making a business decision that assures we are a healthy company is what separates the publishing hobbyist from the professionals in this industry. It's easy to let your passion for a game cloud your judgement but even without tariffs you should not be producing games that don't make good business sense. It sounds harsh but your long-term viability depends on it. We all love what we do and want to make things we love but you can't have it both ways for long if you continue to make products that don't make sense from a business point of view. Check your P&L's (you do create P&L's for every product, right?) and be honest with yourself.
However, as of Tuesday, July 2, 2019, those tariffs are on hold according to The Wall Street Journal, with the non-paywalled Gizmodo relaying this info as follows: "The Trump administration has halted its plans to impose additional tariffs on $300 billion 'List 4' goods, which would have included a 25 percent tariff on select tabletop games and accessories, toys, and video game consoles. The tariffs were designed to escalate Trump's ongoing trade war with China (of his own making), but following his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping over the weekend, he decided to postpone."

Even so, I think these two articles give an interesting window into game production, so here they are just the same.

• In April 2019, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) profiled eight game designers who have an engineering background or who current work as an engineer: Bruno Cathala, Phil Eklund, Geoff Engelstein, Scott Almes, Haim Shafir, Joan Wendland, Adam Wyse, and Tunca Zeki Berkkurt.

• In February 2019, Make magazine ran an article by Elan Lee about the making of the Exploding Kittens vending machine that has become a fixture at conventions such as Gen Con, PAX Unplugged, and the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con. I've mentioned this in passing previously, but to repeat myself: The Exploding Kittens vending machine is a work of genius and something that game publishers should look to for inspiration regarding their own convention booths. An excerpt:

Quote:
The first year we went to Comic-Con in 2016, we did what we were supposed to. Our booth looked just like everyone else's, and we got buried beneath a torrent of other peoples' plastic toys, cookie cutter games, and utterly forgettable booths. We accomplished nothing. By the time we started prepping for year two, we knew we had to come up with something better.

We started deconstructing the notion of a "booth".

Q: What does a transaction look like?
A: Give money, get product.

Q: How long is each interaction?
A: 20 seconds.

Q: What are the physical attributes?
A: Audience-facing attractors, sample products displayed, prices listed, hidden inventory.

Basically, every booth is a vending machine but designed by someone who doesn't realize they're building a vending machine. To succeed at conventions, we realized, we had to build the world's best vending machine. So we did.
And another:

Quote:
We had to learn a lot in a very short amount of time. We learned that balloon animals were a huge crowd favorite, and so we had to frantically watch YouTube videos backstage to learn how to make them. We learned that in many states you have to be a registered grocer to have produce delivered to a convention hall, so Exploding Kittens is now a registered grocer in 14 states. We learned that we could interact with the audience on a personal level, like when we spotted someone dressed as Daenerys Targaryen (the Mother of Dragons from Game of Thrones) in line, we bedazzled an entire watermelon so that when she got to the front of the line, we could instantly deliver a dragon egg and blow up her brain.

We worked so hard to play with the crowd, and they played right back.

They wrote love notes to the machine, and one person actually proposed marriage (for which she received a massive bouquet of 50 red roses). People shared their stories all over the convention floor, in the hallways, and on social media. It was one of the biggest hits at every convention we brought it to.
• Designer James Hudson has launched a new video series on the GammaRay YouTube channel called "Starting Roll", with his first guests being Rodney Smith, Suzanne Sheldon, and Ivan Van Norman:



Twitter Facebook
14 Comments
Mon Jul 8, 2019 1:20 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
74 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Ticket to Ride Being Developed into a Television Series

W. Eric Martin
United States
Apex
North Carolina
flag msg tools
admin
designer
badge
Avatar
In an April 2019 post, I gave a short description of Asmodee Entertainment in relation to the founding of a fiction imprint within it: "Asmodee Entertainment is a newly formed platform of games publisher and distributor Asmodee. Its mission is to extend Asmodee's leading intellectual properties into TV/film, book and comics publishing, location based-entertainment, and consumer products, working in parallel with sister platforms Asmodee Boardgames and Asmodee Digital."

With that groundwork in place, here's a press release touting what seems to be the first television deal announced for an Asmodee property — Ticket to Ride:

Quote:
Propagate, one of the world's fastest-growing independent content creation and distribution studios, today announced the development of an adventure competition series with Asmodee Entertainment, a newly formed platform of leading global games publisher and distributor Asmodee, whose titles include Catan, Pandemic, Arkham Horror, KeyForge and Ticket to Ride.

Propagate and Asmodee Entertainment will develop a television series based on Alan R. Moon's best-selling adventure board game, Ticket To Ride. The iconic board game, published by Days of Wonder and Asmodee Studios, has been played over 65 million times online and sold over six million copies in more than 40 countries around the world. The television adaptation will be a winner-take-all travel competition series in which five teams take the journey of a lifetime as they seek to complete epic challenges and rack up the most miles by air, land and sea.

"Propagate has earned a reputation for identifying great stories wherever they are and turning them into unique and compelling filmed entertainment," said Propagate Co-CEO Howard Owens and President Greg Lipstone. "This project and partnership are perfect examples of that and we are thrilled to be in business with the like-minded people at Asmodee."

"Asmodee Entertainment will develop new and exciting entertainment experiences based on the vibrant universes of our popular games. We are delighted to bring one of our most iconic properties to life with the help of our visionary partners at Propagate. We look forward to future collaborations," said Asmodee's President Stéphane Carville.
In case you're not familiar with Propagate, here's the company biography from the press release:

Quote:
Propagate founders Ben Silverman and Howard Owens met at William Morris in the late 1990s. Silverman had pioneered the global format business by packaging and bringing to America a stream of hits including "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?," "Big Brother" and "Queer as Folk." Silverman and Owens founded Reveille in 2002 with the mission of building an independent American alternative studio based on the concept of creating and producing culture-defining television. With hits like "The Office," "The Tudors," "Ugly Betty," "MasterChef" and many others, Reveille became the gold standard of American independent television studios. Silverman and Owens founded Propagate in 2015 as an independent content studio inspired to create and influence culture.

With offices in Los Angeles, New York and Paris, and others soon to be announced, Propagate is one of the world’s fastest-growing independent premium content creation companies. Its emerging portfolio includes "November 13: Attack on Paris" and "Haunted" for Netflix, "Lore" for Amazon, "Charmed" for the CW, "In Search Of" for the History Channel and "Planet of the Apps" for Apple, with more on the way. Propagate’s expanding portfolio of companies includes Electus ("Running Wild With Bear Grylls," "Jane the Virgin," "Fashion Star"), Big Breakfast ("Adam Ruins Everything"), Notional ("Chopped" food series franchise), Hard Twenty, Incognito and talent management firms Artists First and Authentic Talent & Literary Management.
Twitter Facebook
124 Comments
Fri Jun 28, 2019 5:20 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [33]