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Game Industry Happenings: Stackpole Resigns from GAMA, Asmodee Buys Something, and Uwe Mölter Retires

W. Eric Martin
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• On Sunday, January 5, 2019, game designer Michael Stackpole resigned from the Board of Directors of Game Manufacturers Association, a.k.a. GAMA, a position that he's held for eleven years as an Emeritus member following a three-year term as an elected member. Here's an excerpt from his public resignation letter:

Quote:
I feel the Emeritus role on the board is a crucial one, since board turnover requires a repository of knowledge so we can avoid the pitfalls of past mistakes, and maintain the benefits of what we have learned in past times.

I regret that I must now tender my resignation from that post.

I have not reached this decision based on any political divide within the Board. I have come to it because the Board is broken. Since June, the board has had more meetings than ever before, and has done less than ever before. In one recent meeting, it took the board 45 minutes to word a resolution empowering a committee to hire a lawyer to negotiate with another lawyer. Three-quarters of an hour, in a meeting scheduled for two hours, which stretched to four.

The board is broken when the organization's membership indicates its will; and then the board commissions a poll to second guess the membership's will. When that poll comes back confirming what the membership wants, the board hires a lawyer to tell them they can ignore the membership.

The board is broken when it, having previously enjoyed robust and detailed discussions about GAMA harassment policies, down to the minutia of the structuring of an investigative team to be in place at our shows, chooses only to censure an officer who physically assaulted a female security guard.

The board is broken when, in wishing to discuss me in email, without my being aware of the chain, they actually send it to a list which includes me. (Thought I'd let you know about that so you didn't think your emails were leaked to me.)
• In the "What did Asmodee buy this time?" slot in these round-ups, we have the news that in January 2019 The Asmodee Group acquired Bezzerwizzer Nordic, which is primarily known for the trivia party game Bezzerwizzer and dozen other titles that bear the "Bezzerwizzer" name, a word derived from the German "Besserwisser", which means "smart aleck" or "know-it-all". An excerpt from the press release announcing the deal:

Quote:
Established in 2006 by Birgitte and Jesper Bülow, Bezzerwizzer is one of the leading game publishers in the Nordics with its main titles Bezzerwizzer and Hint. Asmodee already distributes both games in Nordic countries.

"We are excited and proud to become part of Asmodee. Having built a strong Nordic position in trivia and party games, we are ready to bring our games to players in other parts of the world as a member of the Asmodee family, who shares our dedication to high quality board games." said Jesper Bülow, Bezzerwizzer Nordics CEO.

Bezzerwizzer becomes Asmodee's 14th studio and brings its expertise in developing successful trivia games with creative developing & marketing teams to the Group.

Asmodee has offices in 18 countries: USA, Canada, France, UK, Germany, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, The Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Poland, Chile, Belgium, Brazil, Taiwan and China. The company also relies on 14 publishing studios spread around the world and distributes products in over 50 countries.
Fourteen studios! Many publishers don't even have fourteen games in their catalog...

• Uwe Mölter is retiring from AMIGO Spiel after spending 25 years at the company as a game editor. Titles he's worked on include Bohnanza, 6 nimmt!, Wizard, and Elfenland. More recently, he brought ICECOOL to AMIGO, where it won the Kinderspiel des Jahres in 2017, and in 2018 he oversaw Krass Kariert, which won the 2018 Fairplay A la Carte award and Tief im Riff, a children's game that was claimed a Spiele Hit award from Austria's Wiener Spieleakademie.

• Netflix is being sued for trademark ingringement by Chooseco, the publishing company that holds the "Choose Your Own Adventure" trademark, over Netflix' use of the term in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch in December 2018. The lawsuit itself doesn't relate to the game industry in any way, but in the legal complaint filed by Chooseco, the company notes that the licensed Choose Your Own Adventure: House of Danger title from Z-Man Games has "sold over 150,000 units since its launch in June 2018". Thought that sales figure would be interesting to note since Z-Man usually doesn't publicize such things. (HT: Chris Cieslik)
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