Mark Johnson's occasional & opinionated podcast about family strategy boardgames

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Gamewright euros (and testing Twitterfeed)

Gamewright is mostly known for mass market kids' games that are notably better than what you usually find on the shelf at Toys R Us or Target. They also do an amazing job at sneaking a little educational value into some of the titles (often math), while others are just silly fun.
Another sneaky move they pull off is bring eurogames by award-winning designers to America by skillful retheming of the games. That's how we got Turn the Tide (aka Zum Kuckuck by Stefan Dorra/FX Schmid), Loot (aka Pirat by Reiner Knizia/Amigo), and Ka-Ching (aka Combit by Palesch & Rösner/Winning Moves). That's fantastic! Our only quibble might be that they keep the designers of these games almost a secret, putting their credit in small print at the end of the rules, and on the back of the box.

I just received a batch of new & old Gamewright games, many of which I hope to try soon and discuss along with previously played Gamewright titles in an upcoming podcast. While reading the rules to one, I thought how the mechanics sounded similar to Circus Flohcati or Cheeky Monkey. Sure enough, I looked hard and found it was designed by Knizia. Another one is an American version of the newest game in the Schmidt Spiele EasyPlay line.

Has someone made a Geeklist of these clandestine eurogames brought over by Gamewright? I didn't find one.

(With this post I'm also testing my new Twitterfeed linkage. Could be the best of both worlds if I can do a "full" blog post here and have it picked up on twitter.)



Blogger Scott said...

Good idea to link to blog posts on twitter. I get the podcast feed and rarely visit the website, but enjoy reading your comments.

2:03 PM  
Blogger jtakagi said...

This is a really interesting observation that I had thought about previously, but not looked into in depth. Here's what I found - Gamewright has some good connections, with some of the biggest/most fun names in kids games like:

Heinz Meister - Hula Hippos (was Haba's "Maus nach haus" and another Gamewright exclusive game

Jacques Zeimet - Match of the Penguins (was Schicki Micki, from Zoch)

Reinhard Staupe - Top Speed (was Adlung), Check Out (was Amigo) and Big Top (was Barnyard Critters from RGG and Amigo)

Roberto Fraga - Pounce (was GoGoGo, from Drei Magier Spiele)

Haim Shafir (of Halli Galli fame) - Cuckoo Zoo (was Cocotaki, from Amigo) and also another Gamewright exclusive game)

Karsten Adlung designed two games that seem exclusive to Gamewright (Step to It and Stampede)

Reiner Knizia - Polar Derby seems to be the one you mention, a dice equivalent to Cheeky Monkey/Zirkus Flohcat

There are a lot of one off titles, like the ones you mention, but also

On the Dot (was Vitrail, published by Cocktail Games in France, who have published a few of Fraga's games)

Quarx (was Dots, from Adlung, the connection seems obvious)

Duck Duck Bruce (was Kleine Fische, an older Goldsieber title)

Panda Monium (was Concerto Grosso, from Amigo)
Hiss (previously published by Amigo)

Leaping Lizards (was released by Kosmos under the name "Klapper Hexen"

But the most interesting one was the Ugly Doll Card Game, which is designed by an American author, but supposedly inspired by a game called Hatz Fatz, which was designed by the Ostertag brothers, who designed Kaivai.

3:35 PM  
Blogger jtakagi said...

btw I found this post from Twitter, so it works!

3:40 PM  
Anonymous Mark Johnson said...

Hi Mark. By an interesting coincidence we share the same name, and I import Gamewright games in to the UK completing the development circle as the mainland euro versions are very rarely distributed here.

Great blog.


4:08 AM  

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