Crash Games

The Creativity Hub, the folks behind the popular Rory’s Story Cubes line, have plans for the new year that include new games and some new people.  The new people being brought on board are Patrick Nickell, founder of Crash Games, and Michael Fox from the Little Metal Dog Show podcast.  Both of them have many years of experience in the gaming industry and the Creativity Hub hopes to leverage that experience as they oversee the game development process.  And we will get to see if the change bears fruit as two new game releases are slated for this year that will be overseen by them.  Nothing is known about them as of yet but they will be showcased at the New York Toy Fair and other game fairs as the year goes on, ending with their release at Essen.  So keep an eye out for more information as it becomes available, and wish both Patrick and Michael the best of luck in their new positions.  You can read the full press release from The Creativity Hub below.


The Creativity Hub has built a reputation these past few years for designing intelligent, playful games that are full of heart. Rory’s Story Cubes® is connecting millions around the world through the power of storytelling, while The Extraordinaires® Design Studio is helping children develop the empathy and creative thinking skills they need to navigate an increasingly complex and divided world.

It’s easy to become complacent, but the world is ever changing. With that in mind, we have set ourselves a design challenge for 2017, to build upon what we’ve done in the past and push our mission further. We plan to develop game titles that bring people together, challenge assumptions and encourage players to view themselves and the world around them in new ways.

And we’re really, REALLY excited.


“We never set out to become game designers; we just wanted to share Rory’s Story Cubes® with the world. However, its runaway success has taught us many lessons about game design, manufacturing and what it takes to create a successful play experience.” – Rory O’Connor, co-founder of The Creativity Hub


With that in mind, we are proud to announce that Patrick Nickell (Founder of Crash Games) and Michael Fox (Little Metal Dog Show) will be joining us, bringing with them their years of game industry experience to this brand new direction for the company.

Patrick and Michael will be responsible for overseeing the game development pipeline, starting with two brand new releases at this year’s Essen Spiel in Germany.  We’ll be previewing these new games to a select few at shows and conventions in Europe and the United States, beginning with the New York Toy Fair later this week. If you’d like to check them out, you can contact us to organise interviews.

We will also be drawing on their experience to further develop retail and distribution channels in North America for The Extraordinaires® and StoryWorlds™ product lines.

Once again, we’re really excited. We’re planning to explore new concepts and create new things that are rarely seen in the world of tabletop gaming, and that is what drives us. We can’t wait to show you what we’re working on, and hope you’ll join us for this incredible journey.

It is a sad fact of business that not all of them will succeed, and unfortunately the dark specter of failure is looming on Crash Games.  For various reasons Crash Games is in a financial tight spot right now and so they are turning to the board game community to help them out.  With this final Kickstarter they are hoping to raise the needed money to be able to pay their game designers and their manufacturer what they are owed.  So if you are interested in either of the below games, or just want to help, I highly recommend you go to the campaign page and pledge your support.  But enough of the doom and gloom, lets get to the games.

The first of the two games being offered is Backyard Builders Treehouse, a drafting game all about building the best treehouse possible.  On your turn you have a hand of five cards, you will pick a card to add to you treehouse and then pass the cards.  The next player will draw a card to bring the hand back up to five and do the same, continuing around until the end of the round.  As for placing cards in your treehouse, whenever you want to place a new card you have to match the top value of the previous card to be able to add it.  And that’s it, you go around until you reach a set height based on the number of players and then add up the point totals on the cards.  One thing that makes it not a pick the highest card affair is that you get bonus points for having a run of the same color, thus giving you some options when picking cards.  Also of note is that the art is done by Vincent Dutrait so you know it will look stunning.

The second game being offered is the set collecting, fishing game called Fish Frenzy.  In the game you will be bidding on different boats in order to collect the fish cards below them to get majorities in the different fish types.  However, if you want to get the fish from a boat that is already occupied, you will have to give up some fish tokens in order to bump the other player out.  You will bid back and forth between the person already there until someone comes out on top, at which point the loser moves away, leaving their bid fish tokens behind.  At the end of the round all bid fish tokens go away, so not too many bid wars are going to break out.  Once everyone has placed you can either collect all the fish for end game scoring, or you can eat the fish getting you back some of those precious fish tokens.  After adding two cards to each boat the next round begins again.  At the end you will get 3 points for each fish type you have the most of, and 1 point for the ones you have the second most of, most points at the end is the winner.


ion award

Each year at SaltCon,  in Layton-Utah, the winners of the Ion awards are announced. The Ion awards are given out to unpublished game prototypes that show excellence in game design.  49 entries were whittled down to just four in each category – light games and strategy games.

The award in the strategy category was given to Brian Kelley for his game Scarlet Pimpernel. In the light games category it was given to Adam Wyse for his game Cypher (not to be confused with the game already released by AEG).  Both winners are in talks with publishers so they won’t be unpublished prototypes for much longer.

Congratulations to both of them and you can read the full press release below as well as see who the judges were for the awards this year.


For Immediate Release, 2016

The 2016 Ion Award Competition was held at the SaltCON board game convention on March 3, 4, and 5 in Layton Utah. The award is for unpublished board game prototypes that show excellence in game design. We are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s awards:

Best Strategy Game was awarded to Scarlet Pimpernel designed by Brian Kelley.

Best Light Game was awarded to Cypher designed by Adam Wyse.

It was announced that both finalists were in talks with publishers. For the last 6 years, the Ion Award winners have received publishing contracts. There were 49 total entries in the competition. Four finalists competed in the Light Game category and four in the Strategy Game category at SaltCON.

We would like to thank our finalist judges:

In the Strategy category we would like to thank Jason Grantz of Eagle-Gryphon Games, Andy Van Zandt of Tasty Minstrel Games, and Ryan Laukat of Red Raven Games.

In the Light Games category we would like to thank Daniel Peterson of Mayday Games, Patrick Nickell of Crash Games, Michael Coe of Gamelyn Games, and Tim Fowers of Tim Fowers Games.

Thank you to all the entrants, and to the community for supporting the Ion Award! We are proud of the efforts of the designers and wish them the best of success in the future. The Ion Award is a game design award for unpublished games and their designers.  It is held annually, with the final judging taking place at SaltCON. SaltCON is the premier board game convention in Utah, featuring the Ion Award Game Design Competition, as well as board game tournaments, demos, exhibitors, and open gaming.  SaltCON 2017 will be March 2-4, 2017.

Past Ion Award winners can be found found by following this link.



Patrick Nickell, owner/founder of Crash Games, announced that they are merging with Geek Chic and will now be Crash “of” Games and sport a new logo (which, I personally think, is really nice).

Crash Games has pretty much been a solo operation (with some support) however this new merger will provide extra help along with added decision making. Patrick also announced that, although appreciative of the Kickstarter support Crash has relied upon up to this point, that more formal publishing opportunities will be afforded to them and the KS model will no longer be used.

There was quite a bit of enthusiasm behind the announcement and you can listen to it here:

crash toys

Crash Games, publishers of games like Council of Verona and Pay Dirt, has just released their latest game, Pirate Den.  Pirate Den is a bluffing card game for 3 to 5 players ages 14 and older. In Pirate Den, each player is a pirate captain trying to plunder the gold of whatever ship passes his or her way.  Each turn individuals will play a card face down and then, at the same time, reveal and execute them in their initiative order.  The actions will be to either take gold from the supply, from other pirates, or bury your treasure to protect it and get back used cards.  It’s all about when you play cards because a lucky play could get you lots of gold.  Once someone has buried five treasures the game will end and points are counted and the most points wins.

In celebration of the holiday season and the game’s release, Crash Games is donating over 1000 copies of the game to Toys for Tots, a U.S Marine Corps charity that provides toys for kids in need during the holiday season.  This donation is especially important because the age range that gets the least attention in the toy drive is 10-17, and so 1000+ games being donated that are meant for that age range will make a lot of older kids and their families happy.  So thank you Crash Games for your generosity, and I hope everyone reading this has a happy holidays!



Everett, WA 12/11/15 – In an effort to unite friends and family this holiday season Crash Games, LLC is set to donate over 1000 Table Top Board Games to the Toys for Tots Program. Kids aged 10-17 are often overlooked when it comes to toy and gift donations through charity organizations. Board Games are a fantastic way to involve kids of all ages by bringing everyone to the table to play a fun and engaging game. This month Crash Games released its newest publication “Pirate Den” a fast paced Pirate themed Bluffing Game that has players acting as Pirate Captains raiding the wealthiest shipping companies in the golden era of piracy. Pirate Den is a highly interactive, social deduction game where players steal loot from the shipping companies and each other too. Crash Games is set to donate 1000 Copies of Pirate Den to the Toys for Tots Foundation.

Crash Games is an independent table top board game design, development and publishing company based in Everett, Washington. Crash Games’ mission is to bring families and friends together through the social and engaging play of modern board games. The Board Game Industry has grown tremendously from beloved classics like Monopoly and Risk and seen a tremendous resurgence in independent publishing thanks to games like Settlers of Catan, Ticket to Ride and Carcassonne. Crash Games is set to publish six board games in 2016 to add to its existing catalog of 10+ games.

Crash Games, LLC was founded in 2011 by Patrick Nickell. As a child Patrick grew up in the foster care system in California and received gifts from organizations like Toys for Tots as his Christmas Parents. “Growing up Christmas was a tough time for me. Crash Games has a tremendous opportunity to return the generosity that I received as a child and to do our part to make Christmas special for thousands of children in the Seattle Metropolitan area.” Patrick Nickell has a background in radio broadcasting and journalism and has been published in The Arizona Republic, The Rim Country Gazette, as well as other print media and featured in a multitude of broadcast media.

pirate den

Pirate Den was a successfully funded Kickstarter game that was supposed to ship to backers sometime around October of last year (according to the campaign). Originally created by Gamesmith, Pirate Den was a short 3-5 player “pirate” themed bluffing game that sported some really good artwork. It’s designed by Richard James and Boyan Radakovich. That’s about where the fun ended. To date, the game was never published and backers were left without their funds.

Well, Patrick Nickell, owner of Crash Games, announced that Crash would be fulfilling the campaign. Recently announced, via a Kickstarter update. You can click here for a link with more information.

Hey Pirate Den Backers!

Patrick from Crash Games here. I had wrote a pretty long update regarding Crash Games involvement with Pirate Den and I want to scrap that and make this as concise and clear as possible.

To stay up to date on Pirate Den you can subscribe to Pirate Den Updates List. This subscription is ONLY regarding Pirate Den and nothing else.

The link to subscribe is here:

Pirate Den is now the property of Crash Games.

Crash Games had zero involvement with Pirate Den prior to purchasing the rights to the game several months ago (outside of being a backer). Since that time I have re-laid out the entire game, vastly improved the production value and prepped the files for manufacturing all on Crash Games dime.

Fulfilling the commitment of providing the original backers with their copy of Pirate Den (of which I am a backer) is at the top of my list.

I personally submitted files to put Pirate Den into manufacturing several weeks ago with Panda Games Manufacturing and next week I will have the PPC (pre-production copy) in hand.

Pirate Den is currently slated for Q4-2015 delivery to Crash Games and I will fulfill it to backers while absorbing those extra manufacturing and shipping costs.

Crash Games will NOT be asking you for money.

It will be difficult to manage the process of obtaining your shipping information but I have some ideas about how to make this possible, I’m actively working on a solution and I will report back.

I understand this process has been very frustrating. Crash Games is known for quality games and for good and transparent communication so rest assured if you are a backer you will be getting Pirate Den and you will not be kept in the dark throughout the process.

I will be in touch next week once I have the PPC in hand. Until then get excited!

Patrick Nickell, Founder
Crash Games, LLC


IMAG0805Day two started out fresh, having rested and recouped from an exciting day 1. The Dice Tower crew grouped up to start a very busy day. I had the pleasure of getting to visit with Chaz Marler from Pair of Dice Paradise. Many of you know Chaz from either his board game reviews or his Board Game Breakfast segment (Head in the Clouds with Chaz Marler). I’m here to tell ya, he’s a great guy, a hard worker, and just a ton of fun to hang around.



Upon entering the convention, I had the pleasure of meeting up with Patrick Nickell, owner of Crash Games. Patrick is well known in the board game community and just a great guy. He’s located at booth 2828 and is demoing several games in his line-up, including his newest release, Dead Drop. You can learn more about the successfully Kickstarted game here. I personally own a copy of Yardmaster and it’s one of the few games I can get my wife to play with me.

One of the hardest games to get your hand on over at the Asmodee booth is Mysterium. Mysterium is an English version of the Polish game Tajemnicze Domostwo. It’s a cooperative game where one player takes on the role of a Ghost trying to describe where he/she was murdered via giving out various clues while others try to deduce the location – all done via Dixit-style cards. It’s a gorgeous game and their demo booth is a must grab for anyone remotely interested in the game.


Another game that had a TON of hype around the convention was Pretzel Games’ fun dexterity game, Flick ’em Up. Pictured above is the upcoming expansion, Stallion Canyon, which features ramps, horses and about 5 new scenarios. Players will have to rope in wild horses using a lasso and then use those horses in further scenarios. Keep your eyes on this one, it’s sure to add to the fun of the base game.


A huge hit at the Arcane Wonders booth was Board Game Theatre’s Kevin and Matti in their Sheriff of Nottingham regalia. Come by Arcane Wonders’ booth at 1:30 to get a look!!


Don’t forget to come by the Dice Tower booth, located at booth 3030. You can pick up a free fortune cookie and Dice Tower badge sticker. Stop by at 10am to meet Tom, Eric, Zee, and Sam!! There’s still plenty of promos left including 3 Mage Wars, 2 Sheriff of Notthingham, Spyfall, Robinson Crusoe, Core Worlds, and Nothing personal promo packs. We have t-shirts, dice towers, various dice and the Arcadia Quest Tomrick mini If nothing else, stop by to say hi!





pay dirt

Pay Dirt, designed by Tory Niemann of Alien Frontiers

Pay Dirt is an engine building, worker placement game set in frigid Alaska for 2-4 players. Players are competing to manage and grow their entire mining outfit while acquiring the most gold before the ground is too frozen to dig. The Alaskan countryside is an inhospitable environment, so players will face hardships that affect their entire outfit – not to mention the ever-dropping temperature that will shut down their operation.

In Pay Dirt, players start with a small basic crew, an unimpressive claim, mediocre equipment and just a little bit of cash to make a go in one of the toughest competitions this side of the globe. Gold mining isn’t cheap and players will have to sell their gold throughout the game to keep the equipment running and their workers happy. Through clever use of their equipment and workers, players can make their mining outfits more efficient and dialed in to their preference of play. Will you recruit heavily and stack your camp with workers or will you keep your eyes on better and more efficient equipment? Will you have what it takes to hit to strike it rich and hit Pay Dirt?

pay dirt board

The closing date on Kickstarter is April 11,  2014, the funding goal for the project is $35,000 and the current pledged amount is $ 12,440.  Pledge $50 and get 1 copy of Pay Dirt with shipping included anywhere within the U.S. The estimated delivery date is Oct 2014.