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Still Waiting: An Update on Mayfair Games and Lookout Games

W. Eric Martin
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For those waiting for an update on the Mayfair Games situation, we're in a holding pattern at this point. As I noted in early November 2017, a number of Mayfair Games employees — Alex Yeager, Julie Yeager, and Chuck Rice — stopped being employed by Mayfair between SPIEL '17 in October and early November. Alex Yeager, along with Dan Decker, did appear at BGG.CON 2017 in mid-November to represent Mayfair Games at that show, but that was both Yeager's and Decker's final appearance in the Mayfair jersey.

As far as I know, the Mayfair employees who worked on marketing, public relations, and distribution have been released from employment, while the Mayfair development staff still appears to be doing its thing — and the development staff is pretty much Lookout Games, which Mayfair Games acquired in 2013. As I noted in mid-November 2017, Lookout Games' Hanno Girke has said that a revised version of Agricola: Farmers of the Moor is expected to appear in 2018, while the B-, C-, and D-decks for the revised edition of Agricola are due out in 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Since that post, Girke has confirmed on Nov. 28, 2017 that a new German version of 1830: Railways & Robber Barons is on the Lookout Games release calendar in 2018, and designer Matt Riddle has confirmed that a card game named Songbirds designed by him and Ben Pinchback will still appear from Lookout in German and English:


(The other Songbirds mentioned by Riddle is a SPIEL '17 version of Birdie Fight! from Taiwanese publisher Homosapiens Lab, a version that Daily Magic Games will release in the U.S. in 2018.)

In short, while Mayfair itself seems to have vanished from view, with scarcely any non-Lookout titles released in English in 2017, Lookout Games is rolling along with strong titles in 2017 and plenty on its plate in 2018 and beyond. (Regarding those Lookout releases, at BGG.CON 2017 Yeager told me that English-language versions of Lookout titles that debuted at SPIEL '17 (Nusfjord Riverboat, etc.) are in Europe and won't be shipped to North America until January 2018.)

To engage in rank speculation, all signs point to a buyout since a new owner would likely have their own systems in place for marketing and distribution, with the things being distributed still coming down the Lookout pipeline as they were originally planned. Lookout Games' releases in 2016 and 2017 have been hit after hit after hit, so perhaps Asmodee has decided that it acted hastily at the end of 2015 when it acquired only the English-language rights to Catan from Mayfair and left the rest of the company alone. I'd wager we'll find out what's happening once the calendar flips over to 2018 just one month from now...
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