February 17, 2020

With play test groups, board game cafes and Protospiels popping up all over the map, the game inventor community is stronger than ever! Still, there are plenty of amazing games and inventors out there not getting the attention they deserve. When Gray Matters Games founder and inventor, Joe Barron, recognized this gap in Fall 2019, he was inspired to create a design contest to help up-and-coming inventors. 



Barron says “There are so many fantastic game ideas that don’t make their way to the shelf because inventors don’t know how to take the next step.  This contest will allow the finalists to get in front of industry experts, get real-time feedback and potentially win a publishing opportunity.” 


After receiving over 60 submissions, the judges spent a month reviewing sell sheets and demo videos to narrow the options down to six amazing games. Each game will compete in the contest finale, which will be held at Fair Game Store in La Grange, IL on May 3rd.  Read more about the esteemed finalists and judges, including CHITAG’s own Mary Couzin, below.




From hilarious sayings, to life sized game pieces, to outwitting your friends and family, these games are well suited for the Gray Matters Games family. The finalists come from across the country with exciting games that deserve to come to life and earn a space on the shelf. The competition will be close! Meet the individuals behind each game:



Kyle Hanley – Great Minds – Kyle was born and raised in Allentown, Pennsylvania. In 2015, he tried a little game called Pandemic and he's been hopelessly obsessed with the hobby ever since. He currently writes and maintains a board game blog on WordPress called Boar & Arrow. His other passions include video games, craft beer and procrastinating when he should be writing.





Eric Slauson – Wacronyms – Eric is a card and board game designer interested in creating memorable social experiences that challenge what games can be. His goal is to craft experiences that give players something to take away from the table, whether it's a new piece of art, an inside joke among friends, or a bit of trivia knowledge. His games Tattoo Stories and Nerd Words: Science are available now, and his new titles Monsdrawsity and Everybody Poops are coming soon. 



Emilia Zywot and David Marron – It's a Trap – Emilia and David are up-and-coming board game designers with “It’s a Trap!” Being their first co-design. After meeting at a local board game group and playing hundreds of games together, Emilia and David connected on the design, mechanics, and vision for their games. While not designing or playing board games, Emilia is completing her Ph.D. In Phar