The Chicago Toy & Game Group Reveals 2014 TAGIE Winners

TAGIE.AwardsThe Chicago Toy & Game Group has crowned this year’s recipients of the 2014 Toy and Game Inventor of the Year (TAGIE) Awards. More than 400 guests representing 23 countries gathered at Chicago’s historic Navy Pier Grand Ballroom last Friday to toast today’s top playthings.

The Chicago Toy & Game Group acknowledged the following winners from nominated categories:

Excellence in Game Design: Oliver Morris, designer of Gravity Maze

Excellence in Toy Design: Ian Bernstein, Adam Wilson, and Sphero team, inventors of Ollie

Rising Star Designer: Alice Taylor, designer of Makies [Read more...]

Laura Robinson to Host ChiTAG’s Toy and Fashion Show

LauraRobinsonProducer, actor, and game inventor Laura Robinson will host playCHIC, the innovative play-inspired fashion show, at the upcoming Chicago Toy & Game Fair. In addition, Robinson will serve as a keynote speaker at the Toy & Game Inventor Conference. Both events are part of Chicago Toy & Game Group’s (ChiTAG) annual week of toy and industry-related events.

PlayCHIC combines fashion with top toys during ChiTAG’s Chicago Toy & Game Week. In its third year, the runway show will pair couture designers with familiar toy and game brands to pioneer unexpected and creative designs.

Robinson is the co-owner of Out & About Productions LLC, partial creator of, and contributing producer for Celebrity Name Game, and previously starred in shows like Night Heat, Cheers, and Frasier. As a toy and game inventor, Robinson co-created the board game Balderdash in 1984, which has since has sold more than twenty million copies worldwide.

The 2014 playCHIC show will take place on November 20 at Alhambra Palace Restaurant in Chicago.

ChiTAG Group Brings Largest Toy and Game Inventor Event to Chicago Toy & Game Week

CHITAGHosted by the Chicago Toy & Game Group (ChiTAG), the International Toy & Game Innovation Conference (T&GCon) is a networking and educational opportunity in which both industry leaders and those looking to get involved in the industry and/or have their product licensed can come together to share key insights and ideas.

The conference, scheduled to take place on November 20 and 21 at the Navy Pier in Chicago, also includes the International Summit for Professional Inventors (I-SPI), and the Inventor Relations Summit (IRS), which is part of I-SPI. Attendees will have the chance to meet top executives from Hasbro, Spin Master, Ravensburger, NASA, Patch Products, and more.

At T&GCon, new inventors will have opportunities to show their ideas to dozens of toy and game industry companies. Meanwhile, at I-SPI, aspiring inventors can meet colleagues from around the world, experience new technology, meet with manufacturers in private offices, and more. Finally, at IRS, attendees can discover new ideas, products, and innovation from different inventors and companies, as well as discuss ways to strengthen both the inventor community and the industry as a whole.

Registration includes a ticket to PlayCHIC, the toy, game and entertainment brand-inspired fashion show on the evening of November 20, as well as a ticket to the Toy & Game Inventor of the Year Awards. Interested parties can visit the official T&GCon site to register.

Chicago Toy & Game Group to Honor The Kohner Family at TAGIE Awards

ChicagoDuring the 2014 Toy & Game Inventor of the Year (TAGIE) Awards, the Chicago Toy & Game Group will present this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award to The Kohner Family, which includes brothers Frank and Paul Kohner and Paul’s son, Michael Kohner. The latter will accept the award on behalf of The Kohner family, which has worked in the toy and game industry for almost 75 years.

In 1940, Paul Kohner founded Kohner Brothers alongside Michael’s uncle, Frank Kohner, and what began as a wooden bead company quickly transformed into a toy-making endeavor. The Kohner Brothers cemented their place with the introduction of the game, Trouble, featuring the Pop-O-Matic dice device.

In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award, the In Memoriam award will be given to the family of Bill Goodman, while Hasbro Co. will receive the 2014 TAGIE Excellence in Character Design award for the Transformers toys in celebration of the brand’s 40th anniversary. The TAGIE Awards are scheduled to take place in the Grand Ballroom of Chicago’s Navy Pier on November 21.

Jenga Creator Leslie Scott to Speak at T&GCon

ChicagoAs reported by the Chicago Toy & Game Group, Leslie Scott, the inventor of Jenga, will be a keynote speaker headlining the 2014 Toy & Game Inventor & Innovation Conferences (T&GCon, I-SPI & IRS) on November 20 and 21 at Chicago’s Navy Pier. To celebrate Scott’s involvement at this year’s T&GCon, attendees of the conferences will receive a copy of her book, About Jenga: The Remarkable Business of Creating a Game that Became a Household Name.

T&GCon is open to anyone interested in getting involved with the toy and game industry, while I-SPI and IRS are invitation only events that bring together seasoned professionals. Anyone interested in an application to attend I-SPI and IRS can visit www.inventorsummit.com.

ChiTAG Welcomes New Advisory Board for Third Annual playCHIC Fashion Show

CHITAGThis year’s playCHIC advisory board is brand-new as the most stylish part of The Chicago Toy & Game Group’s (ChiTAG) Toy & Game Week is returning for the third time. playCHIC is a runway show that combines fashion with top toys.

This year’s playCHIC elite advisory board includes Anna van Slee, this year’s director of playCHIC and co-founder of Otherdoor Entertainment; Alison Ray, managing editor and founder of sassymomsinthecity.com; Gwen Austin, founder of RC Art Toys; Joan Severance, acclaimed model, actress, and game developer, who also walked in last year’s playCHIC fashion show; Mary Couzin, CEO and founder of ChiTAG; Moira Tuffy, who has developed brand identities and executed events for clients; and Peach Carr, self-taught Chicago designer on the eighth season of Project Runway and the second iteration of Project Runway: All Stars.

The 2014 playCHIC fashion show will hit the catwalk on Thursday, November 20.

Chicago Toy & Game Group’s Mary Couzin Selected to Judge DevelopHer Challenge

ChicagoMary Couzin, the founder and CEO of the Chicago Toy & Game Group, has been selected to sit on an eight-person panel of judges for the 2014 DevelopHer Toy & Game Challenge, which charges individuals and companies to create new science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)-based toys for young children, particularly girls.

Joining Couzin will be actresses and activists Geena Davis and Maria Bello, as well as Clare Munn, the CEO and founder of the social impact media company The Communication Group. Couzin and her fellow judges will critique games designed to challenge girls from the ages of three to 12.

Any individuals or companies with a valid prototype are eligible for entry to the DevelopHer Toy & Game Challenge.

Chicago Toy & Game Group Unveils Keynote Speakers for Its 2013 Toy & Game Innovation Conference

T&GConThe seventh annual Toy & Game Innovation Conference (T&GCon), designed by Chicago Toy & Game Group, will feature three keynote speakers to headline the sessions on November 21 and 22. Adi Golad, founder of Goliath Games, Dan Klitsner, founder of KID Group, and Philip Sheppard, acclaimed film and event composer, will each address conference attendees with inspiration and motivation. Sheppard will present Thursday morning and Golad and Klitsner on Friday. The two-day event will cover informational topics, including prototype presentation, global trends, sales distribution, and the changing nature of the play-scape.

T&GCon will take place at Chicago’s Navy Pier and bring together people in the toy and game industry. The conference offers invaluable opportunities for attendees to interface with one another directly to pool resources, leverage business leads, and generate exposure for games and toy inventions.

Chicago Toy & Game Group Expands Events in the U.S. and Abroad

The Chicago Toy & Game Group (ChiTAG) expanded its toy industry networking events to cities around the U.S., Canada, and the UK.

ChiTAG Networking Events were recently held in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Toronto with upcoming events planned for London on June 5, Chicago on June 11, and Nashville on June 18 during ASTRA Marketplace & Academy, as well as events slated for New York, Seattle, Boston, Indianapolis, Sarasota, Montreal, and more.

ChiTAG advocates toy and game inventors, and its Networking Events are one of the many ways the organization carries out its mission to bring the industry together to share information, foster collaborative opportunities, and promote the power of play and the toy industry as a whole.

Events attract professionals from all areas of the business including manufacturers, inventors, designers, sales reps, independent consultants, and more, who come together to share experiences and develop new business relationships.

Past and future events are co-sponsored and held in collaboration with companies including Spin Master, Mind Candy, ThinkFun, Mayfair Games, PlaSmart, Bananagrams, Endless Games, RoosterFin, DesignEdge, Patch Products, Educational Insights, Top Trumps, Joyce Johnson Designs, Peaceable Kingdom, Jukem Football, Dynamic Designworks/DDW Inc., OtherdoorEntertainment, Snakes & Lattes, and toy/game retailers across the country.

Admission to ChiTAG Networking Events is free, and RSVP’s are required. For more information on upcoming events, please visit www.chitag.com/us/networking-events or email the Chicago Toy & Game Group at info@chitag.com, or phone (847) 677-8277.

ASTRA, ChiTAG Partner to Offer Educational Sessions

Courtesy of ASTRA E-Bulletin

ASTRA is collaborating with the Chicago Toy & Game Group (ChiTAG) to provide toy inventors and specialty manufacturers with strategies for bringing new toy innovations to market.

Two educational sessions focused on the needs of inventors have been added to ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy, to be held from June 16 to 19 in Nashville, Tenn. These sessions are for toy manufacturers and inventors only, and any manufacturers or inventors who are exhibiting at or registered for ASTRA’s Marketplace & Academy may attend these sessions at no charge.

The sessions—“From Great Idea to Hot New Product: The Basics of Production, Packaging, and Promotion” and “What It Takes for Success: Leveraging Licensing, Social Media, Gamefication, and Marketing Opportunities”—represent the first joint effort planned by ASTRA and ChiTAG.