board game news

In a controversial piece of board gaming news, Michael Stackpole has resigned from the GAMA board of directors after many decades of service. Michael Stackpole is an Origins award winning designer, a video game writer and designer, fantasy author, and has been a vocal and active advocate on the side of board gaming for 30+ years. In a letter of resignation made public, Stackpole states “I have not reached this decision based on any political divide within the Board. I have come to it because the Board is broken.” He further goes on to cite recent problems within GAMA, including ineffectiveness to pass decisions, and the mismanagement of a highly publicized altercation between an officer and a security guard during Gen Con 2018. For more information, you can read Michael Stackpole’s letter on his webpage here.

It is with a very heavy heart I report that we have recently lost a giant in the industry, Darwin Bromley. Darwin started as the co-designer of Empire Builder (1982), one of the first popular route connection games, and founded the company to distribute it, Mayfair Games. Later, Mayfair was almost single-handedly responsible for bringing European style board games to the U.S., distributing the English versions of Catan (then Settlers of Catan), Agricola, and many many others until Asmodee bought the company in 2016. Numerous outpourings have come from the gaming community, best summed up by famed Munchkin artist John Kovalic, who called Darwin’s passing “the end of an era.” I know that my life would be very different if Mr. Bromley had not made all those boxes, now in my shelves, available and popular on these shores. Thank you Mayfair Games. Thank You, Darwin Bromley.

Van Ryder Games, publishers of Hostage Negotiator (2015), Saloon Tycoon (2016), and the upcoming Detective: City of Angels (2019), have issued a press release announcing their first ever Vendor Awards, recognizing the best of their industry partners. According to Van Ryder Head Honcho A. J. Porfirio, the awards were based on excellence in communication, relationship, service quality and price. A special shout out to , and congratulations to The Dice Tower Convention for winning Top Convention, and congratulations to all of the winners:

John Kovaleski, the original founder of Gale Force 9, has announced the formation of Monster Fight Club, a new board game and accessory company. Kovaleski has partnered with long time Gale Force 9 designer Aaron Dill (Firefly: The Game, Star Trek: Ascendancy)and “office overlord” Peter Przekop on this venture. Monster Fight Club will feature an in-house digital design studio, master class resin casting facility, as well as new board game product development. Gale Force 9 is well known for 20 years of creating quality board games from famous IPs, including Firefly, Star Trek, Homeland, and Spartacus, among others. For more information, check out the Monster Fight Club webpage and their presence on Facebook.

Fantastic news for anyone lucky enough to attend the Essen Spiel Game Convention in Germany at the end of the month – Board game publisher Pegasus Spiele is once again hosting a fantastic game night, this year taking place Thursday October 25 and Friday October 26, from 7pm – 1am. The event will include a library of over 50 games for lend, including such hits as Azul, Reef, Sagrada, and many more. Additionally, new and notable games from associated publishers Plan B Games, Eggertspiele, Frosted Games and Portal Games will be available to play, such as Blackout: Hong Kong, Camel Up 2nd edition, Azul: Stained Glass of Sintra, Monolith Arena, Detective, Men at Work, and several others. Guests of honor this year include 2018 Spiel des Jahres winner Michael Kiesling (Azul), Roberto Fraga (Captain SonarDr. Eureka), and Yohan Lemonnier (Captain Sonar). For more information and schedule of events, check out Pegasus’ announcement here.

The Strong National Museum of Play, home to all things toy, has announced the nominees for the 2018 National Toy Hall of Fame. The eventual winner will shared these hallowed grounds with the like of last years Whiffle Ball, Clue, and Paper Airplanes, as well as some pretty strange winners, such as my personal favorite, the STICK (really, it won in 2008). This year’s nominees are no less eclectic, and include board games UNO, Chutes and Ladders, and Tudor’s Electronic Football – remember the vibrating football game from the 1960s? Also included are Chalk, American Girls Dolls, Fisher-Price Corn Popper, the Magic 8-Ball, Tic-Tac-Toe, Sleds, Pinball, Tickle Me Elmo, and … Masters Of The Universe! For the full list, check out the website here. Set your alarms, the new inductees will be announced on Thursday, November 8 at 10:30am.

According to Reuters, the board gaming super-giant, the 800 pound gorilla, Asmodee is investigating a sale to an unknown buyer. Asmodee, the France based company owned by private equity firm Eurazeo SE, is currently worth an estimated 1.5 Billion euros (almost 1.8 billion US dollars). Among other things, Asmodee owns the board game companies Fantasy Flight Games and  Days of Wonder, F2Z Entertainment properties Z-Man Games and Plaid Hat Games, and the French publishing rights to the Pokemon Trading Card Game and Wizkids!. This includes the rights to some of the most popular games on the market, such as  Catan, Ticket to Ride, and X-Wing. The identity of proposed buyer(s) has not been disclosed at this time, pending further deliberations. For more information, you can read the original Reuters article here.

Retailer Toys R Us has been battling problems for a while, and those now appear to be coming to a head. The game giant, once thought everlasting, has recently announced they will close all 800 of their US stores. The toy and game superstore declared bankruptcy six months ago, and despite efforts to reduce their sizable debt, Geoffrey the Giraffe’s home will soon be no more. Toys R Us currently owes $7.9 billion against their assets of $6.6 billion, mostly owed to Bank of New York, Mattel and Hasbro, although the list of creditors includes 100,000 entities. The Canadian arm of Toys R Us is in negotiations to be sold to a group of toymakers lead by Isaac Larian, chief executive of MGA Entertainment. You can read the full article from the Washington Post here.

Fans of the 2011 Calliope Games hit Roll for It! are in for a treat, because an app version of the addictive dice and card game has just been released. Roll for It! combined dice collection with playing cards, which dictate what dice are needed. Players take turns matching dice to target cards, or take a turn to reclaim dice, earning victory points dictated by the card. The app version is available for both iOS and Android systems.

In other digital news, the board game company IELLO has announced that they will be a sponsor of the eSports group Tuxedo eSports. Tuxedo is currently the only eSports organization to form out of the indie fighting game Rivals of Aether. You can read the full press release from IELLO here.

Eggertspiele has released a press release unveiling its new logo in the wake of being acquired by Plan B Games. Now inside Plan B Games Europe, Eggertspiele will be branding themselves as a publisher of “medium to heavy complexity European strategy games”. As part of their rebranding, Eggertspiele have updated their fox mascot Jeffrey into a more contemporary, cleaner design. Eggertspiele is the German publishing house behind such modern classics as Mombasa, Camel Up, Village and Great Western Trail.

For more details, you can read the press release on Eggertspiele’s facebook page here.