2021 Design Contest Finalists


Shapely by Matt Golec and Arun Mehra

1st Place Score: 27.0000


Shapely is a creative, family-friendly game of making and guessing shapes. During play, you’ll be challenged to make shapes with fewer and fewer pieces. Racing to make a shape may nab you a better bonus, but going later in the round can make your shape easier to guess!

Matt Golec and Arun Mehra

Matt Golec and Arun Mehra live in the Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire. Arun is a foodie who works in international computing, while Matt writes, teaches, and is co-designer of the board game Penny Press.

Flipping Tables by Nicholas J. Reese

2nd Place Score: 26.1667

Flipping Tables

The grand opening of a new restaurant is coming up, and tragically their Maitre’d had to leave! They need to find a replacement quickly, but it’s imperative that the opening night goes smoothly. To make sure they have a great fit, all applicants are being asked to complete a short simulation to see how they handle the expectations of the job. Answer the phones, request help from the managers, and efficiently fill the Reservation Book to become the new Maitre’d at what’s sure to be the next hot dinner spot.

Nicholas J. Reese

By day Nicholas is an actor/singer based in New York City. Recently, however, he’s begun dipping his toe into the world of board game design. He had his idea for his first board game at the end of 2019 and once lockdown hit, designing board games was a great way to flex his creative muscles while the performance industry was shut down. You can find him on Twitter at: @NicMakesFun

Vendy, Vidi, Vici by Stefan Barkow

3rd Place Score: 25.8333

Vendy, Vidi, Vici

In Vendy, Vidi, Vici, players are Roman generals assembling armies from a vending machine in order to conquer regions for the glory of Rome. This simple to learn light game of puzzly drafting and spatial placement uses a unique, vending machine-inspired drafting system. Use your coin cards to recruit units, then conquer regions to assemble the highest-scoring province to win! 2-4 players, 20-40 minutes.

Stefan Barkow

Stefan Barkow lives in Indiana and designs games for humans. He’s on twitter as @foxbo_games.


Portents by Christopher Chan

1st Place Score: 27.6667


Portents is a tile-pushing, puzzle game where 1-2 fortune tellers try to make a future for themselves from a scattering of bird sacrifices on an occult altar.

Christopher Chan

Chris Chan is a Brooklyn-based art director and game designer. If he’s not being either of those things, he’s probably running or gardening. He’s thrilled to have come this far in the contest again and grateful to the many judges who make this experience so valuable.

Bioma by Fernando Cunha

1st Place Score: 27.6667


Bioma is a quick strategic game for 2-4 players where you control animals on a shared grid. Use predators to catch its prey and avoid laying the ground for the opponent’s turn. Move animals under the foliage and make surprise attacks in a game of quick turns and simple actions.

Fernando Cunha

Fernando Cunha is a creative director and game designer from Brazil. He is a co-organizer of Oficina do Playtest, a weekly playtest meeting for game designers, and ProtoBR, an online event for games in the late stage of development that connects game designers, audience, and potential publishers. Fernando is also a father of a little girl who loves to play – and create – games and is his main inspiration in this fun journey!

Plantae Mea by Louissia Bulver and Juliette Groussin

2nd Place Score: 22.1667

Plantae Mea

Plantae mea is the first “solo” board game to play with your own plants. Team up with your vegetal mate and help it to grow new leaves and stems. Mind the sun, the water and even you can become its ally as much as its enemy. A strategic tile placement and pattern building will allow the player to get the most points. But the plant can also turn the tables. Inspired by the variable player powers mechanism, the plant has its own ability sheet and action cards. So who will be your best plantmate?

Louissia Bulver and Juliette Groussin

Juliette and Louissia are two friends who met while studying design. Juliette, a graphic designer, specialises in sustainable design and ratatouille pasta. Louissia, a product designer, specialises in game design and chocolate banana pie. Among their common interests lie nature. Even though they have been living in different countries for several years, they have managed to stay in touch and have even created their very first board game together. Their ambition is to team up to create new games and objects combining their different skills. More than creating games, they want to create unique game experiences that touch through the senses and emotions and always have an educational value. For any contact, you can find them on instagram Louissiablv and Juliette.grrr

Coral Clash by Robert Elliott

3rd Place Score: 21.8333

Coral Clash

Coral Clash is a thematic “no elimination” Pure Strategy Arena game set in an archipelago for 1-4 players, taking 20-40 minutes. You control 2 Champions who try to stay afloat and knock opponents off a dynamically shrinking arena. Featuring rapidly escalating tension from the very first turn, lots of player interaction you win by being the player to cause an opponent’s last champion to fall into the sea even if you’re behind and down to your last Champion! This is a game that generates a lot of table talk! Each space of the Arena contains energy, keeping it afloat. These spaces can be interacted with and also lose energy each time a Champion leaves it, resulting in a tactical, tense and fast paced game with a natural game timer.

Robert Elliott

Robert lives in Northern Ireland with his wife, 3 kids a cat and a dog. Robert works in the Pharmaceutical Industry and loves heavy euro games but is quite bad at them.


run/hack by Mike Berg

1st Place Score: 27.3333


run/hack is a competitive cyberpunk strategy game for 1-4 players. Defend your servers while collecting bounty for cash to upgrade your gear, so you can hack into rival servers; all without being noticed. Mechanics include dice collection & manipulation, cards, missions, a randomized hex board, area control, and a distinctive action selection grid.

Mike Berg

Mike Berg is passionate about game design and the way play brings us together. With a background in video games and graphic design, board game design has settled upon him as his true calling like a warm sweater.

Oblivion Galaxy by Conan Daly

2nd Place Score: 25.3333

Oblivion Galaxy

Oblivion Galaxy is a game about the economics of trying to escape a dying galaxy, and the hard choices that must be made in desperate situations. You are the leader of a prophetic cult in a sci-fi far future, who has foreseen the approaching apocalypse. You must construct the means to escape the coming doom! A worker placement & recall game for 1-4 players, where players must build up and then sacrifice their engines to try & rescue all their acolytes, while the board is consumed from the outside in.

Conan Daly

Conan has been a gamer since being given a copy of Heroquest at the tender age of 9, and has been dabbling in design for 20 years. Originally Irish, he now lives with his family in South Wales in the UK. Having worked as a geologist and a museum curator in the past, Conan is now an escape room Puppetmaster and LARP Organiser while designing games at home and helping to bring up a toddler. Although enjoying a wide variety of games, Conan’s preference runs towards those of the heavier Euro-style, with interlocking systems that really get the mental gears whirring, which transfers over to many of his designs. His journey into the industry proper started in 2018, but became really supercharged after joining some of the online playtesting groups that have flourished during the pandemic. Conan’s boardgame and megagame designs can all be found at http://www.hexheartgames.co.uk.

Honour the Gods by Tom Fern

3rd Place Score: 21.1667

Honour the Gods

Honour the Gods is a narratively driven, medium/heavy RPG dungeon crawler, set in the realms of Norse mythology. 1-6 players journey through the Realm of Mists to save the World Tree from the Great Dragon, Nidhoggr. Featuring a 12 part narrative campaign, procedurally generated maps and encounters, fully customisable player characters and innovative tactical combat, exploration and honour-based experience mechanics.

Tom Fern

Tom is the director of Dragonstone Treasures, a games development company based in Truro, Cornwall in the UK. Tom is married, has two young children and two old dogs. A teacher of philosophy by trade, Tom has been playing RPGs and tabletop games for over 25 years, across a range of different genres and formats. He has used that breadth of experience to create several games, including Honour the Gods. Although he doubts he’ll be able to give up teaching anytime soon, becoming a full-time game developer is certainly an aspiration!