Kickstarting a Canadian Success Story

Kickstarter.com is an innovative American crowd-funding site for a wide variety of creative projects. Boardgame projects have proven particularly successful there, however, generating over $1.1 million so far in 2011. Unfortunately, creatives from outside of the U.S. face a number of technical, logistical, and accounting hurdles when attempting to set up projects on the site.

Canadian publisher Valley Games has managed to overcome those hurdles, however, and this morning launched a $13,000 Kickstarter project for D-Day Dice, a cooperative dice-based wargame by Quebecois designer Emmanuel Aquin. Less than 19 hours later, the project is already 107% funded, a remarkable accomplishment. The project remains open for funding for another 39 days, officially closing on December 9.

Games Stores Across Canada

So how many independent boardgame stores are there across Canada (not including large chains like Chapters, WalMart, or Toys R Us)? When I first launched the Canadian Heritage Collection a little over a year ago, I counted a little over 300 online and brick and mortar retailers.

One of the resources I came across at the time was an excellent BoardGameGeek Geeklist by Shawn Woods of Halifax, where he maintains a running tally of Canadian Game Retailers. While it's not comprehensive, he's been updating it again lately and is currently sitting at around 130 stores. If you spot any gaps where your friendly local game store should be, you can correct the issue by sending him a Geekmail via the BoardGameGeek website.

Canadian Games at Essen

The giant boardgame trade show, Internationale Spieltage (aka Essen Spiele), is currently underway in Germany and Canadian games are there in force. We've been keeping an eye out for how various Canadian games are faring in BoardGameGeek's GeekBuzz metrics, which attempt to gauge the popularity of the various games present at the fair.

Most popular right now among the games we're tracking are Belfort (averaging 4.8 stars out of 5), Jab: Real-Time Boxing (4.6 stars), D-Day Dice (4.2 stars), Qu├ębec (4.1 stars), Undermining (4.1 stars), Quarriors! (3.9 stars), Ticket to Ride: Team Asia & Legendary Asia (3.6 stars), Alba Longa (3.3 stars), Pamplona: Viva San Fermin! (3.3 stars), and 1812: The Invasion of Canada (3.3 stars). That last one, by Ontario-based designers Beau Beckett and Jeph Stahl, is new to us so we're glad to now have it on our radar.

BoardGameGeek is also doing a great job of posting video interviews and rules explanations with the designers and publishers. Check out some of the Canadian Content below:

Canadians in the Awards!


Essen Spiel, the big German tradeshow for the boardgames industry, is just about to begin. A lot of awards are announced in the weeks leading up to the show as a means of celebrating the year that was before shifting focus on all the brand new games surging onto the market for the holiday season. As a result, now's an excellent time to get a sense of the many Canadian games that have been receiving special recognition over the course of 2011.


I'd like to start right here with some Canadian-specific awards. I spent last weekend at FallCon in Calgary, where the Canadian Heritage Collection is kindly recognized as an official sponsor. For the past two years, they've run the Canadian Game Design Award to recognize new, unpublished Canadian designs and ensure they get into print. A single finished copy of 2010's winning prototype, Octopus' Garden (Roberta Taylor / Valley Games), was was flown in hot of the presses for the show and was looking gorgeous. Ask your distributors about it - it's a wonderful family game and should start finding its way onto store shelves soon. As it turns out, 2011's big winner, Undermining (Matt Tolman / Z-Man Games) will be on store shelves around the same time. Newly Canadian publisher Z-Man Games signed it after the game's entry into the contest and launched the game this morning at this year's Essen. Congratulations to Matt and Roberta, Valley Games and Z-Man! Having played both games in their pre-published form, everyone's in for quite a treat with these two well-deserving designs. Interestingly, both games were also manufactured by Vancouver's Panda Games. So congratulations to them as well. Also note that the Montreal-based Ludor Prize is in the final stages and will be announcing a winner any day now.

2011 CHC Master Catalogue now available!

Welcome back, everyone! As you can see, I've been busy restructuring the site and giving it a fresh coat of paint. I encourage you to check out the new Gaming Canadian page for a big list of useful links that really highlight the depth and diversity of the Canadian board game industry. If you know of more links I should be adding, please let me know and I'll be happy to add them.

Even more importantly, the hard work of September is done and we now have a brand new 2011 Master Catalogue of Canadian Games. It's bigger than ever and full of plenty of new and revised "Did you know..." trivia callouts providing insights into the Canadian industry. A big thanks to all the advertisers who helped make this year's catalogue possible and I look forward to everyone's feedback on how we can continue to improve the catalogue in future years.