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Plan B Games Purchases Eggertspiele; Licensing Situation Currently Unclear

W. Eric Martin
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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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