News & Interviews

Over 400 Interviews, Articles and Stories! Over 350 authors! 5 Newsletters!

Newsletters for industry, consumers, social media influencers and educators cover many aspects of play and

the interesting stories behind the playthings we love! 

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Business of Play News

Industry News - interviews, news, information about get-togethers we're hosting and more.

Importance of Play News

For consumers and anyone interested in toys and games and 

meeting the people behind the the products.

 

Legends and Legacies Profiles

There are many great stories and then there are those which are EPIC! 

ChiTAG White Papers

Interested in getting into the toy and game industry?

Our Inventor & Innovation Conferences Experts weigh in on industry topics. 

Interview with Lisa Guili, General Manager at Educational Insights

Lisa Guili, General Manager at Educational Insights Talks About Acknowledging Inventors Educational Insights includes the game or toy inventor’s name, photo and bio on their packaging. They do the most comprehensive job of featuring inventors of anyone we’ve seen. We decided to find out how this decision came about, and what kind of effects it’s had for the company. We’ve checked in with the General Manager, Lisa Guili. Lisa, Educational Insights puts the inventor’s name, photo and bios on their packaging. Was that your idea? How did it come about? It sure was! It came from my journalism days (learning that everyone has a story) and was prompted by my meeting Tim Walsh at NYTF 2009. He had a

5 Things I’m Going to Do to Get the Most Out of the Spielwarenmesse (Nuremberg Toy Fair):

By Mary Jo Reutter, game and toy inventor. I’m no newcomer to toy fairs—I’ve done the New York Toy Fair a dozen times—but coming up Feb. 1-6 will be my first trip to the granddaddy of all toy fairs, the Spielwarnmesse in Germany. While I know how to pack for a trip to Europe (ready with my power adapter!) and I’m excited about the games I’ll be pitching, I wanted to make sure I experienced the event to the fullest. So I asked some fellow toy inventors who’ve been before for their advice and came up with a list of five “must-dos” for a Nuremberg “newbie.” 1) Check out each of the 18 different halls. You might think, “of course you’ll check them all out,” but there are supposed to be more than

Interview with Brian Hersch, Inventor of Taboo

Brian Hersch. Co-Owner Hersch Games. Inventor of Taboo, Midnight Outburst and others. Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry? It was a complete fluke. I was a founder of a real estate development company who just happened to be a really good Trivial Pursuit player when it first came out. Some too-easily-impressed friend commented that I was creative and could probably invent a game. I did what a business-guy does; I had a market research report done about party games and Trivial Pursuit. The results pointed to an entirely alternate universe, and I became a game inventor. What trends do you see in toys or games that excite or worry you? I love the current counter trend away fr

A PRICELESS PERSPECTIVE – IN THE EYES OF OUR CONSUMER

By Phil Sage, Director, Global Product Acquisition and Inventor Relations, Hasbro Inc. There are so many memorable stories which carve you as a designer, creator and leader, in what many regard as one of the most fun and rewarding industries in the world. You class yourself privileged, when you talk of experiences at pioneering companies such as Hasbro and Lego, the ability to work on their breadth and depth of global brands, learn something new every day, week in week out, it all molds you as a professional. It’s not only the fun creative stuff, it’s the critical conversations with senior decision makers, the nervy presentations to key stakeholders, the meetings with external partners twice

I Have the Next Big Thing

By Mike Hirtle Formerly Head of Product Acquisition at Hasbro President, Paladin LLC The problem is that I can’t get anyone to see it. My new job involves looking for inventor concepts for three client companies. A big concern that everyone had in the beginning was “Who gets to see the next big idea first?” Nowadays, with video presentations, everyone is looking at everything at the same time, so the real question is who will recognize the next big idea first. The next big idea will be one that a company likes and wants to try. Then through good design and development, good marketing and great luck it will turn into the next big thing and everyone will say they knew it

Designing for a Board Game and a Mobile App

By Tom & Jean Greenawalt Both physical board games and mobile app games provide hours and hours of entertainment value. This paper lists some of the benefits of designing a game that crosses over into both categories. Designing such a game can be challenging. This paper describes some of the game features we feel are important in order to meet these challenges. We are using the term board game in a more general sense to include games such as card, strategy, word, party, and trivia games as well as the more precise definition of a board game where pawns advance on a playing surfface. In general, we are talking about games that require the handling of physical elements, such as cards o

The Business of Fun.

Peter Cartlidge Director Fuse London Ltd. We are a powerhouse London based design and development group specialising in creating, developing and licensing 'sticky stuff' for big and little kids everywhere. Our team includes some of the world's leading innovators in the toy, brand creation, and kid's entertainment industries, and has a wealth of experience, global success and satisfied licensees and clients. But it's not all about us. We believe partnerships are core to success and place huge value on our long standing relationships with some of the world's leading youth brands, companies, co­developers and creative talents. Toy Knowhow and Licensing Fuse is a product­led

"Thinking of You": Designing for the End User

By David Yakos President Salient Technologies Standing in the greeting card section of my local box store, I noticed a lot of “Thinking of You” cards. Tasked with finding an appropriate birthday card, I thought, “You really have to be an intentional and thoughtful person to get a ‘just‐because’, Thinking of You card for someone.” You know the cards… they’re sappy, like, “The other day I was smiling for no reason, but then I realized I was thinking of you”; or snappy, like, “Just thinking of you… which reminds me… you owe me twenty bucks.” As product designers, we have to take this intentional and thoughtful approach in crafting our ideas if we really want to connect with the End User

Desktop 3D printing - Thoughts from a New User

By Steffanie Yeakle Partner Les Fées Hilares Background: Working for Creata in 2003, I saw pictures of a Nemo Happy Meal prototype being 3D‐printed and was amazed ‐ what magic! Fast‐forward to 2013, in the 10 years that had passed I’ve become an independent games inventor, seen 3D printers in action, spent a long time on research, taken the plunge and finally received my Solidoodle 2. Here is what I have learned: In Early 2013, 3D printing wasn’t yet consumer‐ready, and one year later I don’t think it is very different, but if there is a great on‐line community around your printer you will be OK. When I tried out my new printer with a simple test file, the printer made a blobb

Take Notes

By Kim Vandenbroucke Inventor, Innovator and Blogger Brainy chick, Inc. and The Game Aisle When I started in this business I had a co‐worker who carried a little notebook with him and wrote down every idea he had – the good ones, the bad ones and the myriad of those in between. I quickly followed suit and found it to be one of the best habits I could have ever developed as an inventor and designer because ideas can be fleeting. One minute it’s there and the next your cell phone beeps with four new txt messages about a gif with a dog and a baby, and before you know it the idea has moved on. Poet Ruth Stone said she could feel the poems coming through the air at her and she kn

The Board Game Theory

By Joe Herbert, The Herbert Brothers To the tune of the theme from Big Bang Theory: The board game universe was in a non‐ existent state, then, over five thousand years ago Senet was invented. Wait... That Egyptian game was cool. Board games began to rule. Then came Higinbotham’s video console. We built pong. We built the Internet. Apps, tablets, history, unraveling the mysteries – that all started with a board GAME! Penny: Wow, Sheldon. I had no idea you made a board game. Sheldon Cooper: Oh, Research Lab is more than just a board game. As it saays on the box, "the physics is theoretical, but the fun is real." Leonard Hofstadter: We must not be playing it right. If you look at inven

THINGS WE HAVE LEARNED ALONG THE WAY

By Jon Meyers and Dean Tzembelikos, formerly of Basic Concept Toys As 2nd and 3rd generation toy people, the industry has played an integral part in our childhoods, adult lives, and professional careers. Over the years, we have grown from bright-eyed onlookers (and occasional photo shoot, cost-saving “talent”), to operations specialists in the Far East (Jon with Bandai in the early 90s), then International sales reps (Jonando HK Ltd, most notably working with SpinMaster, WowWee, Irwin Toy, and a long list of smaller toy companies), to building and manufacturing our own brand of toy products, under Basic Concept Toys. The path leading up to the present day has been wrought with successes, fai

CRAZY FUN LUCK

By Susan McKinley Ross, Game Designer, Idea Duck Hey! Congratulations! You’re a game designer! Whoo hoo! Doesn’t it just boggle your mind? It still boggles my mind and I’ve been designing toys and games since 1999. I don’t think it will ever stop amazing me that I get to do this work. My Mom has a photograph of me and my game Qwirkle on her fridge. The photo was taken the day that my first copy arrived. I’ll never forget how thrilling it was to see the finished game for the first time. Generally when I tell people what my job is, they look at me like I’m crazy and/or like I’m lucky. I understand their reaction. It was kind of crazy to start a toy and game design company and think that I coul

MY 3 CENTS!

By Joyce Johnson, Inventor/President, Joyce Johnson Designs, Inc. I am a kid at heart and I believe every person has a child within them, wanting to play or laugh or have a good time. My path as a game designer has been a heartfelt experience. I feel great joy in my heart when I license a game. I’ve been known to cry when my box of game samples arrive. I save every note I have received from a child, a parent, a grandparent, a teacher – thanking me for a game or for a play test. My supportive husband, Tim, will enthusiastically take my picture as I stand next to one of my games on a store shelf. Yes, I love what I do. The mission in my work is to bring joy and laughter to the world. Although

RECOMBINATION INNOVATION FROM TAIWAN

By Alex Li, Managing Director, Medici Creativity Co., Ltd. In recent years, toy makers often ask us, “What does your company contribute?” In other words, what is the contribution we provide in our toy concepts? It’s definitely a challenging question from the position of an inventor. Reminiscing just several years ago, we provided an electronic toy with touch application. At the time, toy companies thought it was fantastic and really innovative. However now, they say this is just what mobile phones can do. In fact, most technologies that are ready to market and cost effective to the consumers can already be done by mobile phones like iphones and android phones. So what can inventors like us d

KOREAN BOARD GAME MARKET

By Kevin Kim, formerly General Manager of Publishing and Development, Korea Boardgames now Owner, Mandoo Games I think that very little is known about the Korean board game market in the US. The Korean board game culture started to spread in 2002 with the game café boom. At that time, more than 300 game cafés were opened all over the country. Young people were fascinated with beautiful artwork, great mechanisms and playing games together regardless of gender, especially German style games. It was a particular culture of college students. However, because of several reasons – such as the poor profit model of game cafés, fantastic online games and a changing trend – 90% of game cafés stopped b

AN INTRODUCTION TO INTERNATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

By Richard Gill, CEO McGill and Associates The international marketplace for Toys and games is huge, at least as big again as the US! How should you approach this market? This is a big wide reaching subject and this article will serve as an introduction only – I will add region specific papers at a later date. When you present your concept to a large multi-national such as Mattel, Hasbro or Spin Master they will ask you to assign worldwide rights to them. This makes perfect sense for them and, in certain circumstance can make sense for you however, be aware of your rights. Never forget that in addition to the US based multi-nationals there are many overseas companies who have great penetrati

USING SOCIAL MEDIA THINKING TO ADVANCE BOARD GAME MECHANICS

By Anna van Slee, formerly Co-Founder, otherdoor entertainment now Director of New Brands, Sideshow Collectibles Five thousand years ago on a Saturday night in Egypt, a 32-year-old grandma probably eased her aching, linen-toga-swaddled behind into a well-worn wooden chair to play a board game with her grandkids. Today, I might play the very same game, but wearing blue jeans and sipping ice-cold beers, after a hard day’s work spent sitting in front of a computer. People have been playing board games since Homo sapiens have had time to think about anything beyond surviving from one moment to the next. Board games are one of the earliest expressions of culture, along with language and art. And

PROTECTING IDEAS: PERSPECTIVES FOR INDIVIDUALS AND COMPANIES

By Frank Sardone Partner Carter, Deluca, Farrell & Schmidt Whether you are an individual or a company, protecting ideas and documenting ownership of those ideas may be crucial to both your present and future success. We have all heard the story of an individual submitting an idea to a company, and then discovering, sometime in the future, that the idea they submitted was developed, produced and sold by the company without the individual’s permission or any payment to the individual. On its face, this does not seem right or fair. How can this happen? Was there anything the individual could have done differently when submitting the idea? Did the company actually do anything wrong? Did the

IP IN TOYLAND

By Adam Brookman and Keith Baxter, Intellectual Property Lawyers, Boyle Fredrickson, S.C. A great toy or game is founded on great ideas, but you can't own ideas, can you? Well, the answer is both yes and no and a basic understanding of IP (intellectual property) can be critical to success in the hyper innovative business of toys and games. The law provides a half dozen special forms of intellectual property rights relevant to the toy and game industry with widely varying eligibility requirements, ownership privileges, and, importantly in a fast-moving business, speed of creation. Trade Secrets are the fastest and generally easiest form of intellectual property protection. They require simply

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For educators, librarians, homeschooling families and parents

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