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CHICAGO, Ill. (September 20, 2018) – The Chicago Toy & Game Group today announced the finalists for the 2018 Toy & Game Innovation Awards (TAGIEs). The TAGIEs, now in its 11th year, recognize the best and brightest innovators, designers and marketers in the toy and game industry. Following a public voting period, winners will be revealed Friday, November 16, 2018 at the TAGIEs ceremony and gala, held annually during Chicago Toy & Game Week (ChiTAG), the night before the start of the ChiTAG’s epic consumer fair at Navy Pier.

Visit to vote for the 2018 TAGIE winners through October 31st

Finalists in the following categories were selected by their industry peers. The public is now invited to place their votes to determine the 2018 winners. Voting is open online from now until October 31st.

Toy Innovator of the Year

  • Bang Zoom for Lil’ Gleemerz by Mattel

  • David Fuhrer, Richard Kimbrough, DiscoNifty​ for Twisty Petz by Spin Master

  • Latham Gaines - Power Dough by Canal Toys

  • Shoot The Moon for NERF Laser Ops by Hasbro

  • Sydney Wiseman for Fingerlings by WowWee

Game Innovator of the Year

  • Bang Zoom for Chow Crown from Hasbro

  • Don Ullman and Bob Driscoll for Don't Step In It by Hasbro

  • Jeff Foxworthy for Relative Insanity from PlayMonster

  • Rob Daviau and Justin D. Jacobson for Fireball Island: The Curse of Vul-Kar by Restoration Games

  • Seven Towns for Greedy Granny by Goliath Games

Young Inventor of the Year

  • Ethan Klein for House Architecture Set by 3duxdesign

  • Harper Miller for The Dream Pillow by Architec® Brands

  • Michael Nixon for The Amazing Annoyatron by EduKits International

Rising Star Innovator of the Year

  • Adam Borton for Flushin' Frenzy by Mattel

  • Art, Joe & Jim Seymour for Circuit Blox, Power Blox and Story Blox by eblox

  • Daryl Andrews for The Oregon Trail by Pressman Toy/Goliath Games

  • Jeff Lai for Maki Stack by Blue Orange

  • Jillian Lakritz for Yoee Baby Original Line: Puppy, Kitty, Fox, Lion, Monkey, Bunny

  • Krissa Watry for playPORTAL by Dynepic

  • Nick Metzler - Hail Hydra for Spin Master

  • Marissa Louie for Animoodles: Iris Unicorn, Hazel Sloth, Randy Orangutan, Brady Lion, Miguel Frog, Sophie Elephant

Innovative Art and Visuals of the Year

  • Elan Lee and Matt Inman of Exploding Kittens for Bears vs Babies

  • Geizi Guevara, Mike Freeth, Patrick Murray, Chris Wickman of Spin Master for The Cat Game

  • Jakks Pacific, Seven Towns and Make-a-Mask for Fan Heads

  • Prospero Hall for Disney Villainous by WonderForge

  • Sabrina Miramon (Illustration), Chris D’Angelo, Greg Stata, Kelly Miele (Graphic/Packaging Design) and Kathy Beyerle (Product Design) of ThinkFun for Shadows in the Forest

Innovative Marketing Team of the Year

  • JMP Creative's Social Media Team for Orbeez Wow World Campaign with Maya Toys

  • PlayMonster 5 Second Rule Marketing Team for 5 Second Rule

  • Lee Parkhurst, Jennifer Jens, Sunny Choi, Nicole Younger of Educational Insights for Sculptapalooza's Online Campaign

  • Hasbro Marketing and Rhett and Link for their online Influencer video campaign

  • Sydney Wiseman for Fingerlings by WowWee

In addition to the winners determined through nominations and public voting, a panel of industry experts selected these accomplished honorees for the evening:

  • Start-Up Award (NEW for 2018), Thijmen de Schipper and Jochem van Rijn, YULU Toys

  • Inventor Advocacy Award, Mike Meyers, Retired as Senior VP Hasbro Games

  • Lifetime Achievement, David Small and Paul Rago, Shoot the Moon

“The TAGIE Awards recognize individuals and teams from around the world that bring ideas for toys and games to life,” said Mary Couzin, founder and chief executive officer, Chicago Toy & Game Group. “This year’s nominees represent a broad cross section of the industry, including heavy hitters and upstarts alike.”

To vote for TAGIE Award finalists visit September 20th through October 31st. Tickets for the awards gala are available at for $250. For more information about ChiTAG Week November 17-18, 2018, visit or follow @ChiTAGWeek on social media.


About the Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc.

The Chicago Toy & Game Group, Inc. oversees toy industry initiatives designed to encourage and promote the power of play and invention in social, educational, and professional environments. Chicago Toy & Game (ChiTAG) Group initiatives include the Chicago Toy & Game (ChiTAG) Fair, the PlayCHIC Fashion Show, the Toy & Game Innovation of the Year (TAGIE) Awards, the Young Inventor Challenge, the New Inventor Conference, the Professional Inventors Conference, Play in Education Conference, and the Chicago Toy & Game (ChiTAG) Foundation. For more information, visit or email

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