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Will 2011 be the break through for Finnish board game designs?

Antti Koskinen
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This is a question which boggles my mind not just because there has been interesting news on upcoming games from Finnish designers but also because I've played four unpublished prototypes during the last week. Finland is a small country and domestic market for board games is relative to the size of the nation.Therefore we don't have too many companies producing games in Finland and we have even smaller amount of games from Finnish designers which have caught general attention in Finland. Historically Finns have been active to export goods and services and it seems that this is what's happening also in board game design at the moment.

Nürnberg Toy Fair began an interesting year for Finnish board game design with announcements from eggertspiele and Queen Games of new releases designed by Finnish designers. Principato by Touko Tahkokallio is actually one of the first games from Finnish designer which has been published directly in a foreign board game company. Hopefully this opens doors for other Finnish designers as well and it teaches the other Finnish designers a lesson to be learned - you have to be active outside Finland in order to get your games published.

Kairo by Kimmo Sorsamo continues the success of The Club and Hornet which were published in Finland but distributed world wide. This is a solid way for the few Finnish board game companies to produce games also for the domestic market. Risks of the new game decrease when you are able to sell the rights of a game to other markets and while the domestic market is limited in size I think this will be a continuous model to get the games out in the future.

I was very glad to hear that plans to publish Eclipse in 2011 because I am really fond of the game. Eclipse is also interesting because the focus of the game is solely in foreign markets (game is published in English). It's not the first game which has been designed an an export product - Tuonela Productions has done it with their products before and while their games have not been big hits they've done it multiple times. Tuonela is bringing out The Capture of Sampo in 2011 which continues the line of thought they've had in their business.

Finally, there's also the private entrepreneurs who surprise everybody with their games. Last year is was Mindwarrior Games and Hyptic who published games nobody had heard of but were glad to do so. BGG Geek of the Week Timo Multamäki also published new game with his Dragon Dawn Productions Ltd and The Phantom League has even had smallish hype here in the Geekland. I'm pretty sure there's going to be surprises also in 2011 but that's something we have to wait and see.

I've continued my rant for far too long but have not talked about the prototypes which lead to the chain of thoughts. All four prototypes were promising but in different stages. One of them probably comes out in 2011 from a foreign publisher and hopefully the other three will reach the final stage of the design process and find their ways to the gamers' tables.
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