Design Contest Finalists 2020

Here are the 7 finalists for the 2020 design contest.

Just Dandy!

by Chace Daley

Just Dandy! is a lightweight 2-5 player tile placement game for ages 8+ that takes 20-30 minutes to play. In Just Dandy! you control Dandelions trying to prosper in a world full of looming dangers. Your dream is to reach high in the sky, unveil your flower, and bask in the sun. The player who best accomplishes this wins the game!

Chace Daley lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma with his wonderful wife and 3 awesome kids. He is an attorney by trade but had an idea for a board game and accidentally fell into the wormhole of game design. The ideas haven’t stopped and he’s been blown away by the creativity and collaboration that exists in the board game community. He recently started Gusher Games Design Studio in Tulsa to put his designs out into the world (


by Alexandre Larrain and Elena Marimon Munoz

Scission is an engine building, last-person-standing battle card game that includes resource allocation mechanics. It is set in a steampunk universe. A game lasts about 45 minutes, and can be played by 2 to 4 people, ages 12 and up. Scission introduces original card racks that hold cards in upright position, revealing partial information about your army to other players. Although highly strategic, it works great for casual play.

Elena and Alex are based in London. They have been designing Scission together for the past two years. Outside board gaming hours, Elena is a physicist and Alex works as a developer.


by Robert Fisk

As a promising young Watchsmith in Victorian England, you and up to 4 of your other siblings have been given 36 hours to prove who is worthy of taking over the family watchmaking business. Watchsmiths features a light engine builder, worker movement, resource management, action selection game.

Being an avid gamer, Robert dove headfirst into game design on a long cross country flight and has been obsessed ever since. Robert has one signed game coming out this fall and really enjoys exploring the design world. In his personal life Robert works for a nonprofit organization that helps homeless and displaced youth find permanent housing as well as occupational and educational opportunities.

Drawing Conclusions

by Perry Kleinhenz

Drawing Conclusions is a team based drawing party game. Players are split into two teams and are each given a piece of paper, a crayon and 30 seconds to draw a picture. Then each team gets one chance to guess each player’s drawing. However your opponents are the first ones to guess your drawing, your team only gets a chance if your opponents guess wrong. This makes the game not one of pure artistic skill but of ambiguity, bluffing, deduction and guesswork.

Perry Kleinhenz is a mathematician. He enjoys games of all kinds, right now his two favorites are Wavelength and Wingspan. You can find him on Twitter @PerryKleinhenz.


by Jeremy Lounds

Priceless crystals have been discovered on the peak of a mysterious mountain. Can you strategically maneuver your 6 explorers and retrieve the treasure before your rival? To secure a  crystal, you must push it off the edge of the unique 3D board. Plan carefully! Moving reduces the strength of your explorer, limiting their reach and leaving them vulnerable to being pushed around by others. Duwen is an abstract strategy game for 2 players, ages 12 and up, and plays in 15 to 30 minutes. Replay-ability is no problem either, with 11 unique, modular board pieces for virtually limitless board arrangements.

Jeremy is an IT professional by day and a designer by night, as time permits. He enjoys creating tabletop games, web apps, and flavor-of-the-month art. His desire is to live “coram Deo” and be a reflection of God’s love and mercy, no matter where his career and hobbies take him. Jeremy’s favorite tabletop games are chess, Hive and Carcassonne. He is looking for a publisher for his award-winning card game, Fruit-for-All. His very first game, DECO, is available for purchase on The Game Crafter.

Nomads: Origin Stories

by Piotrek Chojnowski

Nomads: Origin Stories takes you on a journey to the beginnings of mankind. Inspired by Yuval Harari’s Sapiens, it is an epic experience of human advancement through exploration, discovery and survival. This dice worker-placement game involves area control, player development and skillful interaction with other tribes. Lead your people to inhabit the constantly changing world around you while forming human DNA, inventing tools, creating art and building shelter along the way. How will you shape humanity’s future? (2-4p / 2h / 12yr+)

From the youngest years I loved escaping into imagined adventures pretending to be a knight or a warrior while roaming the perilous world in a saddle. Growing up in Poland, Talisman by FFG (Might & Magic overseas) was the first game that helped me realize my dreams and really captured my imagination. In my teenage years, it was the RPG video games (Baldur’s Gate, Fallout etc.) that fulfilled the longing of living out what seemed impossible in the real world. Fast forward to 2010’s, my professional career of a UX product designer has been very fun and creative but also proved to be very… digital and screen-heavy. Rediscovering modern board games felt like coming home again! The tangible feeling of physical game pieces and, more than anything, the presence of people around the table is what I enjoy the most in games. Being a creative with a passion for constant side projects, starting to design my own worlds and games was the most natural next step. I started playing with my own designs around 2012 and since then have been working on and off on at least 8 various board game design projects. I love designing heavier games with a strong immersive theme, as those are the types of games I enjoy playing the most myself. However, having 3 small kids got me to also appreciate the elegance and simplicity of family games, which I have come to enjoy just as much with my little ones. It’s been an awesome journey getting into the hobby and creating games for others to enjoy feels like a big honor and so much fun! Especially seeing how inclusive and welcoming it is to people of various paths and backgrounds. It’s a tiny glimpse of heaven on earth and I couldn’t pass on that opportunity.


by Ellie Dix

Catastrophic asteroid attacks are threatening your moon, and those of your neighbours. In this cooperative ‘write and erase’ network builder, you must optimise the ever-changing landscape of your individual moon and exploit its resources, before the moon is destroyed. Use your asymmetric powers to help your closest allies, for all races must make the journey to Uranus to be saved.

Ellie is on a mission to get more families playing board games. She firmly believes that board games have positively influenced her ability to interact with others, manage failure, work creatively with available resources, experiment with multiple paths to success, solve interesting problems, adapt to changing situations and make decisions quickly. A teacher and educationalist, Ellie was previously owner and Director of Pivotal Education, the UK’s largest team of school behaviour specialists. A mother of two teenage boys, Ellie is now putting all her understanding of behaviour, experience with gamification, teaching skills and game-playing history to use, by helping other parents to introduce board games to family life. Ellie’s book, The Board Game Family: Reclaim your children from the screen, published in 2019, is a roadmap to integrating board gaming into family life, filled with inspiring ways to engage even the trickiest of teenagers and manage game nights with flair. Ellie is the owner of The Dark Imp, a publishing company specialising in games for families aged 8+. Her previous games include the big box games Gnome Grown & Doughnut Dash and mint tin games Don’t Count Your Chickens & Top Cake. She enjoys creating games in unusual formats that might attract families who don’t normally play games – games on coasters and placemats and The Dark Imp’s first campaign for Ellie’s Cracker Games has recently funded on Kickstarter.