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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.

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Links: Tokyo Game Market Attendance, Games in the Media, and a Neurosis-Inducing Neural Network

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• Tokyo Game Market took place on Dec. 2-3, 2017, and this was the first time that the event lasted two days. Some exhibitors rented booth space on both days, and some were present only on one day and not the other, which isn't surprising given that many exhibitors come with a small quantity of games and sell out within hours of the show opening.

Arclight, the Japanese publisher that owns Game Market, reports a visitor count of 10,000 on Sat. Dec. 2 and 8,500 on Sun. Dec. 3. To put those numbers in context, Japanese publisher Kocchiya has posted the following summary of attendance numbers from 2012 to present:




The fourth column from left shows the attendance figure for each show. The light green highlights the early year shows in Osaka or Kobe, the pink highlights the spring shows in May, and the blue highlights the autumn shows in November or December. The column at right shows the percentage increase over the same show from the previous year.

The third column from left shows the total number of exhibitors at a show: 572 on the first day of the most recent Game Market, and 497 on the second day. Each Game Market day lasts only seven hours, so seeing even a small percentage of games on hand is tough to do in that time. Nevertheless, I plan to return to TGM in 2018, with the next Tokyo show taking place on May 5-6, 2018.

1843 is a bimonthly magazine about ideas, culture, and lifestyle published by The Economist, and in November 2017 it featured "Table-Top Generals", an article by Tim Cross that serves as an excellent introduction to modern games. An excerpt:

Quote:
One reason for the tabletop-gaming boom is simply that the products have improved. The best modern games are sociable, engaging and easy to learn, but also cerebral, intriguing and difficult to master. The slow triumph of what used to be called "nerd culture" – think smartphone gaming and "Game of Thrones" on television – has given adults permission to engage openly in pastimes that were previously looked down on as juvenile. And the increasing ubiquity of screens has, paradoxically, fuelled a demand for in-person socialising. Board gaming is another example of an old-style, analogue pastime that, far from being killed by technology, has been reinvigorated by it.

The revival began in the 1990s, says Matt Leacock, an American game designer responsible for Pandemic, as the internet began spreading into people's homes. Leacock was a programmer at Yahoo! at the time. Germany, he says, is the spiritual home of board-gaming. "For whatever reason there has always been a culture there of playing these things, of families sitting around the table at a weekend," he says. The internet helped that culture spread: "I remember we used to rely on these little hobbyist websites that would do amateur translations into English of all the new German games that were coming out," says Leacock. As with everything from Japanese cartoons to Jane Austen fandom, the internet helped bring together like-minded people all over the world.

• In October 2017, The New Yorker published an article by Neima Jahromi titled "The Uncanny Resurrection of Dungeons & Dragons" that summarizes the forty-year history of the game and its 5th Edition rebirth in a way that is 100% New Yorker. An excerpt:

Quote:
When mainstream American culture was largely about standing in a factory line, or crowding into smoke-stained boardrooms for meetings, or even dropping acid and collapsing in a field for your hundred-person "be-in," the idea of retiring to a dimly lit table to make up stories with three or four friends seemed fruitless and antisocial. Now that being American often means being alone or interacting distantly—fidgeting with Instagram in a crosswalk, or lying prone beneath the heat of a laptop with Netflix streaming over you—three or four people gathering in the flesh to look each other in the eye and sketch out a world without pixels can feel slightly rebellious, or at least pleasantly out of place.

Thirty or forty years ago, people reached through the dice-rolling mathematics of Dungeons & Dragons for a thrilling order that video games, and the world at large, couldn't yet provide. Today, the chaos of physical dice is reassuringly clunky and slow compared to the speed with which you nervously tally the likes under a Facebook post. Rejecting your feed for an evening isn't like rejecting the God-fearing community that reared you, but something heretical lingers in this lo-fi entertainment.

• Marcus Beard at UK site Best Play fed more than 80,000 games in the BoardGameGeek database into a neural network, then shared the results in an article illustrated with images seemingly shot through a Monopoly filter. An excerpt:

Quote:
[A neural network] takes a huge chunk of text and then attempts to figure out what the next character should probably be. It can then infinitely generate text that looks a lot like huge chunk you gave it — but completely original.

Of course, the ground-breaking technology was crying out to be used on the ground-breaking medium of board games. We've combed through the BBG.com database many times before, so we've got a bank of over 80,000 board game titles, ratings, details and release dates to feed into the neural network.

After six hours of training on this 4mb text file (!), here's what the brain-simulating model was able to generate:

Quote:
Park Glorie (2000) 2-4 players Rating:6
Onth & Gean (1981) 2-2 players Rating:7
Minos's Brin-Mini (2006) 2-4 players Rating:6
Munchkin Park Kings (2008) 2-4 players Rating:6
Flip' El Gays (1964) 1-7 players Rating:4
Power Grid: Fordia (2010) 2-4 players Rating:8
The Besterin Landing: Sentinels of the Alest Tente in the Dark 2 (2001) 4-10 players Rating:5
Secrets! Hall (1988) 2-4 players Rating:6

And another:

Quote:
We can make the output even more boring if we want. When the randomness is turned down all the way, the neural network chooses only the most probable set of characters to insert in the title.

Quote:
Star Wars Miniatures (2009) 2-4 players Rating:6
The Game (2009) 2-4 players Rating:6
Carcassonne: The Card Game (2009) 2-4 players Rating:6
The Card Game (2009) 2-4 players Rating:6
The Game (2009) 2-4 players Rating:6
The Game of Heroes: The Card Game The Card Game (2009) 2-4 players Rating:6
Carcassonne: The Card Game (2009) 2-4 players Rating:6
Star Wars Miniatures (2009) 2-4 players Rating:6


…and the list goes on and on in this manner. I like to imagine a world where there are only three games to choose from: The Game, The Card Card and Star Wars Miniatures. All are mechanically identical and decidedly mediocre.


#1 on the charts, baby!
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Sat Dec 9, 2017 1:00 pm
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Links: More Games of the Year, and Catan on Film?

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• The Toy Association, a non-profit association that represents manufacturers and distributors of toy and "youth entertainment" products, has announced its nominees for their "toy of the year" awards, and the nominees for the TOTY game of the year include Happy Salmon, Beasts of Balance, and ThinkFun's Roller Coaster Challenge (which isn't a game, but which is as excellent as most other ThinkFun solitaire puzzles). Four other titles are nominated as well, including Hearing Things, which is yet another Hasbro title based on viral video activity, specifically "The Whisper Challenge" on Jimmy Fallon's The Tonight Show.

Two other games show up in the "innovative toy of the year" category: Hasbro's DropMix and Competo's KLASK, which is distributed in the U.S. by Buffalo Games. Until January 5, 2018, you can vote for a nominee in these categories or any of the other categories, with the winners being revealed on Friday, February 16, 2018, the day before NY Toy Fair opens.

One interesting aspect of these awards is that in previous years The Toy Association had categories for "boy toy of the year" and "girl toy of the year", something I called out back in 2016:




I'm pleased to see that these categories no longer exist. We don't need to place fences around who can play with which toys (just as we shouldn't place such fences around which games are appropriate for which segments of the gaming audience), and kudos to The Toy Association for recognizing this.

• In mid-October 2017, Richard Gottlieb of Global Toy News profiled Thames & Kosmos, which began as an independent company in 2001 and which now serves as the English-language publisher of games from German company KOSMOS. An excerpt from the interview with T&K president Ted McGuire:

Quote:
Kosmos invested in and became the majority owner of TK in 2013. Along with this transaction, TK got access to most of Kosmos's board game and magic kit catalog. We have closely aligned our product portfolio and strategy with Kosmos (of course, with variations for difference in the markets). Kosmos has extraordinarily successful board game and magic lines, so it naturally makes sense to offer those in the North American market as well.

Beyond that, board games and magic kits are another way for us to teach kids important skills — in fact, entirely different sets of skills than what we can teach through science kits. So, with board games we can teach kids about strategic thinking, math, logic, and social skills, and with magic kits, we can teach kids presentation skills and eye-hand coordination skills, for example. Every product Thames & Kosmos puts out into the market has an educational aim behind it. At our core, we teach people how to learn and to be curious.

• In mid-October 2017, Variety reported that Sony Pictures was in negotiations to adapt Catan into a film, with Gail Katz — who acquired the film rights in 2015 — serving as producer. From the article: "We're excited to be working with Sony to bring the iconic world of Catan to life," Katz said. "As huge fans of the game, we're struck by the endless possibilities of stories that it could inspire. It's not every day that you have the opportunity to work in a world beloved by millions of people, and expand its story for the screen."
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Sat Nov 11, 2017 1:05 pm
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WizKids Signs Licensing Deal with Games Workshop

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In case the early 2018 release of Warhammer 40,000: Heroes of Black Reach from Devil Pig Games (as detailed here) won't satisfy your desire for games set in a far-flung ultra-violent future, you're in luck as WizKids has announced a multi-year partnership with Games Workshop that will "extend the Warhammer 40,000 universe IP across multiple categories, including Dice Building Games™, board games and more!"

Here's the rest of the press release from WizKids, which indicates that the publisher has a license for more than just Warhammer 40,000:

Quote:
"We're thrilled to be working with Games Workshop and the Warhammer 40,000 license," said Justin Ziran, president of WizKids. "This beloved franchise is known the world over and our partnership will allow us to create amazing products and experiences for fans everywhere."

The multi-year deal will span numerous categories and include the most iconic Warhammer 40,000 characters and more. WizKids will create two new board games, along with dice games based in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, with additional plans to republish classic board games Fury of Dracula and Relic.

WizKids will begin rolling out the new product lines in mid 2018.
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Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:37 pm
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Kingdomino Wins 2017 Spiel des Jahres; EXIT: The Game Escapes With Kennerspiel

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Nearly two months after announcing its nominees, the jury for the Spiel des Jahres — Germany's annual game of the year award, which is the game industry's largest prize as it typically leads to additional sales of hundreds of thousands of copies — has proclaimed Kingdomino from Bruno Cathala this year's winner, beating out Magic Maze and Wettlauf nach El Dorado. Kingdomino is published by Blue Orange Games, with Pegasus Spiele being the German licensee.




Minutes before announcing the Spiel des Jahres winner, the jury gave the 2017 Kennerspiel des Jahres — an award aimed at enthusiasts who already have some familiarity with modern games — to EXIT: The Game, specifically the first three titles in this series: The Abandoned Cabin, The Pharaoh's Tomb, and The Secret Lab. These titles were all designed by Inka and Markus Brand and published by KOSMOS, and three more titles in the EXIT series have already been released in Germany, with even more on the way. The other two nominees for KedJ were Raiders of the North Sea and Terraforming Mars.




The Kinderspiel des Jahres —the children's game of the year in Germany — had been awarded on June 19, with Brian Gomez' penguin-flicking game Ice Cool, published by Brain Games, taking home the prize over Captain Silver and The Mysterious Forest.


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Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:26 am
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Plan B Games Purchases Eggertspiele; Licensing Situation Currently Unclear

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In February 2017, while previewing upcoming games at Spielwarenmesse in Nürnberg, Germany, I played a sample game of Century: Spice Road with Plan B Games owner Sophie Gravel. Gravel used to own F2Z Entertainment, which consisted of the publishing brands Z-Man Games, Filosofia, Plaid Hat Games, and Pretzel Games along with various distribution contracts, but in the second half of 2016 she sold F2Z to Asmodee, keeping only Pretzel Games and one title then under contract with Z-Man Games — the aforementioned Century: Spice Road, with which she launched Plan B Games at the Origins Game Fair in June 2017.

Aside from demoing the game, I talked with Gravel about her general plans for Plan B Games, and she mentioned that it was a relief to start over and be in charge of a small company once again. Thus, it was something of a surprise to hear (via Spielbox) that Plan B Games has acquired German publisher eggertspiele. I asked Gravel about the change of course for Plan B, and she said, "When an opportunity appears, it is almost impossible for me not to grab it."

To be precise, Plan B Games Europe GmbH has been founded in Germany, and this is what acquired eggertspiele. Spielbox notes that "Eggertspiele founder Peter Eggert intends to actively contribute to the development and distribution of new games for three more years", and Gravel confirms this. "The whole eggertspiele team is staying on board. We need them to continue developing great games!" The next releases from eggertspiele, which are scheduled to debut at SPIEL 2017 in October, are Heaven & Ale from Michael Kiesling and Andreas Schmidt and Reworld from Wolfgang Kramer and Michael Kiesling. Gravel notes that the design and development of these titles was completed by the eggertspiele team, but now "sales and marketing of these two titles will be entirely assumed by the Plan B team".

What does this new arrangement mean for eggertspiele's current licensing partners: Stronghold Games, which releases English-only titles in the U.S. and elsewhere; Gigamic, which releases eggertspiele titles in French; and Pegasus Spiele, which has served as a co-publisher and distribution partner to eggertspiele for many years? After all, Plan B Games is a Canadian company that serves the English and French markets. Regarding the first two publishers, Gravel says, "At this point, I am not entitled to answer these questions as these issues concern eggertspiele and must be dealt with by them." Mathilde Spriet, who heads the communication and editorial departments for Gigamic told me, "Discussion with eggertspiele, Plan B and Gigamic are happening right now, thus I do not have any official answer to give you. I hope we we will know more in the next days." (I've received no responses so far to questions sent to eggertspiele. Stephen Buonocore at Stronghold Games has declined to answer questions for now.)

As for sales in Germany, Gravel says, "Eggertspiele is looking into a few options for the German language market. A decision should be made shortly." Historically eggertspiele and Pegasus have released games with rules in both German and English, but it's unclear whether this practice will continue in the future. "As for the English version, Esdevium has chosen to pass on this opportunity, so they [i.e. eggertspiele] are evaluating other options for a localized European EN version," says Gravel.

Circling back to Century: Spice Road, that title is licensed to ABACUSSPIELE in Germany, and Gravel says there are no plans to change that arrangement at the moment.

Update, July 7, 2017: Mathilde Spriet from Gigamic has sent me this update on the situation: "We should keep our current eggertspiele titles in our catalog, and for the future titles it will be discussed game by game." (And I believe "we should" is a Frenchism for "we will". I know that I always blew modal verbs when I was studying French because it's tough to know exactly what to use when.)
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Thu Jul 6, 2017 4:20 pm
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Gen Con 2017 Preview Now Live

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The 2017 Origins Game Fair is over, so it's time to look ahead to Gen Con 2017, which takes place August 17-20 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

I'd say more about one or both of these shows, or the rate at which titles will be added to the Gen Con 2017 Preview over the next two months (which starts at 146 titles while the previous two years had about 550 on them), but I got sick at the end of Origins — bad sandwich, I think — and can barely think straight, so just have at it!
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Mon Jun 19, 2017 6:54 pm
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Links: Diana Jones Award Announces Nominees, Go Machine Goes, and HABA Asks for Submissions

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• The nominees for the 2017 Diana Jones Award for Excellence in Gaming have been announced, and as usual they cover an interesting cross-segment of the gaming community. The nominees are:

Gloomhaven, with which users of this site are probably familiar
Terraforming Mars, ditto
Gen Con, the largest game convention in the U.S., which celebrates its fiftieth anniversary in 2017
End of the Line, a LARP by Bjarke Pedersen, Juhana Pettersson and Martin Elricsson that DJA describes as "the most interesting thing to happen in Vampire for a long while [combining] two decades long traditions of LARP, American Masquerade and Nordic style LARPing."
The Romance Trilogy, a set of role-playing games from Emily Care Boss and Black and Green Games
The Beast, a card game from Aleksandra Sontowska and Kamil Węgrzynowicz published by Naked Female Giant (and available at DriveThruCards); here's a description of this creation from DJA, which falls far outside BGG's definition of a game, but which sounds enticing all the same:

Quote:
The Beast is an unsettling, erotic journaling game for one player. Each day for twenty-one days you turn up a card with a prompt on it and write a response in your journal. The game takes you deep into imagining a disturbing, secret sexual relationship you have with a beast. If there's one thing you don't see much of in hobby games, it's meaningful interior narratives, but The Beast's weird, unique brew of dark transgressions, playing as a fictional version of yourself and journaling the results, somehow surfaces real untold truths in us about how the world works, and how relationships work, and what's important in life. The Beast is memorable, transgressive, and procedurally and thematically unlike anything else you may have played.

• AlphaGo, an AI developed by DeepMind (a company purchased by Google in 2014), defeated the world's top-ranked Go player, Ke Jie, in a series of matches in China in late May 2017, and now having bested the best the program will play Go no more. In a blog following the 3-0 victory by AlphaGo, DeepMind CEO and co-founder Demis Hassabis wrote:

Quote:
The research team behind AlphaGo will now throw their energy into the next set of grand challenges, developing advanced general algorithms that could one day help scientists as they tackle some of our most complex problems, such as finding new cures for diseases, dramatically reducing energy consumption, or inventing revolutionary new materials. If AI systems prove they are able to unearth significant new knowledge and strategies in these domains too, the breakthroughs could be truly remarkable. We can’t wait to see what comes next.

As a parting gift for Go players, DeepMind offered the following:

Quote:
Since our match with Lee Sedol, [a world champion that AlphaGo defeated 4-1 in 2016], AlphaGo has become its own teacher, playing millions of high level training games against itself to continually improve. We're now publishing a special set of 50 AlphaGo vs AlphaGo games, played at full length time controls, which we believe contain many new and interesting ideas and strategies.

We took the opportunity at the Summit to show some of these games to a handful of top professionals. Shi Yue, 9 Dan Professional and World Champion said the games were "Like nothing I've ever seen before — they're how I imagine games from far in the future." Gu Li, 9 Dan Professional and World Champion, said that "AlphaGo's self play games are incredible — we can learn many things from them." We hope that all Go players will now enjoy trying out some of the moves in the set.

Those quotes will resonate with anyone familiar with Hikaru no Go and the main character's quest for the "divine move"...

• The U.S. division of HABA is running a game design contest that's open until July 31, 2017. To participate, you need to purchase a $3 design kit from HABA that includes random bits from various HABA titles, then create something for 2-5 players that plays in 15-45 minutes using at least three of the elements in the kit. If HABA doesn't sell its two hundred design kits prior to mid-June, it will bring copies of the kit to the 2017 Origins Game Fair. Sounds like a late-night challenge for fairgoers!

• The city of Nürnberg, Germany contains seven municipal museums as well as various historic sights and collections, including the German Games Archive, which contains more than 30,000 parlor games. How did I not know about this before?! Apparently I need to stay in Nürnberg a day or two after Spielwarenmesse ends in 2018 so that I can check this out.

Aside from that archive, games show up in other places as well, with Ken Fisher's card game Wizard being featured as the "showpiece of the month" for June 2017. BGG admin Emile de Maat was visiting the city in late May 2017, and at the Stadtmuseum im Fembo-Haus he ran across a "games with antiquity" exhibit (depicted below) that features modern games about olden times. On June 13, 2017, the Stadtmuseum im Fembo-Haus will feature a presentation by Reiner Knizia titled "The World of Games". Lots to check out in that city!

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Wed Jun 7, 2017 6:07 pm
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Asmodee North America to Go Exclusive with Alliance Game Distributors

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In December 2015, Asmodee North America announced a plan to reduce the number of distributors that it deals with for the hobby game market to five: ACD Distribution, Alliance Game Distributors, GTS Distribution, PHD Games, and Southern Hobby Supply. As of August 1, 2017, that number will be reduced to one, with Alliance Game Distributors signing a multi-year agreement with ANA that's "aimed at broadly increasing support for U.S. hobby games retailers", to quote from the press release. Here's the rest of it:

Quote:
This includes the creation of a large, dedicated Asmodee Specialist Team at Alliance, significant updates to Asmodee's sales policies, and a number of upcoming retailer initiatives designed to support and grow the market.

More information on updated Asmodee sales policies and details about upcoming retailer initiatives will be made available in late June.

"This is an amazing and transformational deal," said Christian T. Petersen, CEO of Asmodee North America. "We at Asmodee have long enjoyed a terrific and productive relationship with the great people at Alliance. This deal joins the combined experience of both organizations to craft a communications and distribution infrastructure that we believe will positively affect both retailers and consumers in the hobby games market."

"We are truly honored to be part of this historic agreement," said Daniel Hirsch, president of Alliance Game Distributors. "Alliance has enjoyed a very close relationship with the companies that make up Asmodee North America for over 20 years. We are both proud and grateful that Asmodee has placed its trust in us for the stewardship of its brands."

Asmodee has declined to participate in interviews about this deal until late June 2017 when it announces the new sales policies. It has noted that new releases and restocks will be available from the five currently authorized distributors until August 1, 2017, after which Alliance will be the only source for such items in the hobby game market.

In some ways this is a return to old habits for parts of ANA as design studio Days of Wonder was exclusive with Alliance for many years and remained exclusive for a period after being purchased by Asmodee in mid-2014. Z-Man Games was exclusive with Alliance until January 2016 when it opened distribution to four other companies, namely the four non-Alliance companies listed above. (Asmodee subsequently announced negotiations to purchase Z-Man owner F2Z Entertainment in July 2016, completing the deal in October 2016.)

So what now? The four non-Alliance distributors will lose some percentage of their business, and whether they survive or not will depend on what that percentage is and what they do in response to this loss of revenue. Hobby retailers who previously dealt with a non-Alliance distributor for titles that originate or are distributed by Asmodee North America must now deal with Alliance — unless they purchase directly from ANA, of course, which might be where this path leads to in the end. After all, ANA has gone from a dozen distributors to five to one in a couple of years. Why stop there?

At the same time as the December 2015 announcement about its distribution, ANA made changes to how it interacted with online retailers, both prohibiting general retailers from selling ANA titles online and lowering the discount at which online retailers could purchase games, thereby effectively raising prices of games sold through those outlets. This change to a single distributor will give ANA still tighter control over its inventory, better allowing them to know who sells what and for what price.

As for what happens with other publishers in response to this, specifically CMON Limited, which is positioning itself as the Avis of the hobby game industry, we'll have to wait and see...
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Thu Jun 1, 2017 6:00 pm
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IELLO Adopts Minimum Advertised Pricing Policy, While CMON Limited Updates Theirs

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On Wednesday, May 24, 2017, CMON Limited announced a new unilateral Minimum Advertised Pricing Policy (MAPP), and here's the announcement in full:

Quote:
Today, May 24, CMON, Inc. announced it has adopted a unilateral Minimum Advertised Pricing Policy (MAPP) that will go into effect on June 1, 2017. Along with the new policy, CMON has restructured its existing hobby distribution network in the U.S. effective immediately. By unilaterally imposing restrictions on minimum prices advertised by CMON's new distribution network and retail partners, CMON products' perceived value in the customers' eyes will be enhanced, which is in the best interest of consumers and CMON's partners.

With the adoption of the unilateral MAPP, CMON has restructured their U.S. hobby distribution network to ensure efficient and effective distribution of their products to consumers in accordance with the new policy. As of May 24, 2017, the current hobby distributors CMON is working with include Alliance Game Distributors, ACD Distribution, and Peachstate Hobby Distribution (PHD).

The CMON MAPP will only apply to CMON branded products within the U.S., and products with a Minimum Advertised Price will appear on the current MAPP price list hosted on CMON.com. Adherence to the MAPP is non-negotiable for CMON product resellers, and will be strictly enforced by CMON to ensure the CMON brand maintains a high value in the consumer mindshare.

A copy of the CMON MAPP will be available at CMON.com/mapp and the CMON MAPP price list will be available at CMON.com/mapp-prices.

Those latter two URLs don't lead anywhere at this time.

Note that this isn't the first MAPP from CMON, which in mid-2014 introduced an agreement that retailers had to sign in which they agreed that their minimum advertised price "for all CMON Box Games shall be no less than 80% of the MSRP provided by CMON", with that policy applying to "all CMON Box Games released during the preceding 12 months", which at that time included Zombicide: Prison Outbreak, Zombicide: Toxic City Mall, Rivet Wars, Kaosball, Dogs of War, Xenoshyft and Arcadia Quest.





IELLO — or at least the U.S. branch of IELLO — introduced its own MAPP in May 2017, with that policy going into effect on May 15, 2017. An excerpt from that policy:

Quote:
IELLO acknowledges and understands that its current and continued success is directly related to the success of its network of authorized dealers (including without limitation all IELLO distributor, wholesale, and retail customers that resell IELLO products to consumers, known herein as "Vendors"). IELLO also recognizes and understands that its Vendors take great pains to deliver a first class experience to their customers, and IELLO desires to support its Vendors in furtherance of achieving their goals by protecting its image and reputation, promoting its brand and providing excellent resources that are key to maintaining the hobby culture for game enthusiasts. Therefore, it is in the interest of both IELLO and its Vendors to protect the Vendors’ ability to continue to provide an outstanding experience and exemplary service to their customers. In furtherance of the aforementioned dual interest, IELLO believes that it is also in the best interest of both IELLO and its Vendors to discourage advertising practices that would be detrimental to the service and support efforts of our Vendors. As a result, IELLO has developed and put into force this Minimum Advertised Price Policy ("MAPP") on a UNILATERAL BASIS. This MAPP shall in no way be considered or construed to be an agreement (or to create any contract) with or between any Vendor or other person or entity, and shall only apply to advertised pricing. It is in no way meant to regulate actual sales prices whatsoever.

Both IELLO and CMON Limited adopted "unilateral" policies, which means that the companies introduced their policies without prior and explicit agreement with those who retail their products, and while retailers are free to ignore these policies, they do so at the risk of not being able to carry these titles in their retail outlets in the future. From the IELLO policy:

Quote:
The decision to comply with this MAPP is left up to each individual Vendor, and if they choose to comply, all such Vendors are solely responsible for maintaining compliance with IELLO's MAPP. IELLO reserves the right, in its sole and absolute discretion, to suspend or discontinue selling Products (and otherwise discontinue doing business with) any Vendor that: (i) advertises any Products covered by this MAPP at a price in contravention of this MAPP; or (ii) takes any other action whatsoever in contravention of this MAPP.

The MAP for IELLO titles, by the way, is 80% of the title's MSRP, which matches CMON's earlier stated MAP and which is the same as Mayfair Games' MAP when it was introduced in 2007. (That MAP was later changed to 90% of a game's MSRP. I've written a lot about MAPs, both in 2007 when the policy was introduced and in 2016 when Asmodee changed its distribution structure to charge higher prices to online retailers.)
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Fri May 26, 2017 4:17 pm
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Kingdomino, Magic Maze, and Wettlauf nach El Dorado Nominated for the 2017 Spiel des Jahres

W. Eric Martin
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The nominees for the 2017 Spiel des Jahres — Germany's "game of the year" award, which typically boosts sales of the winner by several hundred thousand copies — have been announced, and they are:

Kingdomino, by Bruno Cathala and Pegasus Spiele, with Blue Orange Games being the publisher of origin
Magic Maze, by Kasper Lapp and Pegasus Spiele (originally Sit Down!)
Wettlauf nach El Dorado, by Reiner Knizia and Ravensburger




Seven additional titles were recommended by the jury of journalists and game reviewers that oversees the Spiel des Jahres, an annual award meant to honor a game that would be a great choice for play by German families (and by extension families everywhere). These titles are DEJA-VU, Dodelino, Fabled Fruit, KLASK, Shiftago, Tempel des Schreckens, and Word Slam.

The jury announced nominees for two additional awards as well. Titles up for the Kinderspiel des Jahres, Germany's game of the year for children, are:

Captain Silver, by Wolfgang Dirscherl, Manfred Reindl, and Queen Games
Ice Cool, by Brian Gomez and AMIGO Spiele (originally Brain Games)
Der Mysteriöse Wald (a.k.a. The Mysterious Forest), by Carlo A. Rossi and IELLO




The games nominated for the Kennerspiel des Jahres — an award aimed at enthusiasts who already have some familiarity with modern games — are:

EXIT: Das Spiel, a series of three escape room games from Inka Brand, Markus Brand, and KOSMOS
Räuber der Nordsee (a.k.a. Raiders of the North Sea), by Shem Phillips and Schwerkraft-Verlag (originally Phillips' own Garphill Games)
Terraforming Mars, by Jacob Fryxelius and Schwerkraft-Verlag (originally from FryxGames and Stronghold Games)




Four additional Kennerspiel-level titles were recommended by the jury: The Big Book of Madness, Captain Sonar, Great Western Trail, and The Grizzled.

The winner of the 2017 Kinderspiel des Jahres will be announced Monday, June 19 in Hamburg, while the 2017 Spiel and Kennerspiel des Jahres winners will be revealed on Monday, July 17 in Berlin.

Congratulations to all the nominees!
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Mon May 22, 2017 10:00 am
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