Gaiagames from Könnern in Saxony-Anhalt are unique in many ways. Gaming collective, sustainability and conscious and appreciative action are some of the pillars on which Gaiagames is built.
This article is the first in a series of presentations by the publisher. The focus here should be on publishers that focus on a specific topic and/or have special unique selling points. Gaiagames is the starting point. Kevin from Gaiagames was so kind and available to chat.
Founded in 2015 as a one-man company, Gaiagames attaches particular importance to one topic: sustainability. The games are produced regionally in Germany in the most environmentally and socially compatible way possible, are related to socially relevant topics and are all cooperative. They are also completely plastic-free, printed CO²-neutrally on FSC-certified and recycled paper, contain environmentally friendly colors and are produced with as little waste as possible. There is also the crucial point that they are fun. The games shouldn't draw attention to the topics with a raised index finger, but convey the topic and its message in a playful way. That is important to the collective.
The pricing policy is probably unique in the board game world. Ecogon for example, is available in the shop for 32 euros. However, since the game should actually cost between 35 and 40 euros from an economic point of view due to the environmentally friendly production in Germany, there is also the possibility of purchasing the game with the higher “soli price” and thus supporting the publisher.
From a one-man company to a collective
In 2015, Micha Reimer had the idea for Ecogon. When the game was well received, a successful crowdfunding campaign and the founding of Gaiagames followed. However, before he could celebrate the five-year anniversary as a sole proprietorship, something new arose. Gaiagames became a collective. This idea was born from Micha's collaboration with Kevin Luhn on the game Fish'n'Flips. It was clear that it should not be a classic company. This is how Gaiagames came about as a collective and today consists of landscape caretaker Micha, adventure educator Kevin and Nils, who works in the sustainable construction industry. The trio live together in a house project in Könnern. Collectively, they have committed themselves to 5 basic principles: form of decision-making, equality, sustainability, appreciation and openness.
Game development always starts with an initial idea and a theme. Then it's usually very playful. Cards are made. This is then used to work on the idea further. Things are tried and discarded in order to end up with a game that offers the greatest possible fun with as little material as possible.
What's in Gaiagames?
Gaiagames are dedicated to cooperative games that also offer an opportunity for learning. Of course, the fun of the game comes first. It all started with Ecogon. This is a tile placement game in which the players build an ecosystem together. Established animals ultimately bring the necessary points to have created a stable ecosystem. With beginner and advanced variants and a possible competitive mode, the game offers many possibilities, which are further increased with the “Stille Wasser” expansion, which is also available as a stand-alone version. This adds shore and water habitats to the land habitats of the base game.
The card game Fish'n'Flips is about rescuing sea creatures from the fishing nets. The game includes eight sea creatures and various rescue missions of varying difficulty. In the missions, rescuing the animals is made more difficult by garbage cards. First and foremost, Fish'n'Flips is a puzzle game in which the cards are laid out in a memory-like manner. Players flip and swap cards to form swarms, as only by working together can they make the sea creatures escape.
In addition to the three big games, Gaiagames have something special in their program: games in postcard format. These can be sent according to the form and of course played. In order to conserve resources, there is only the “game board” here. Markers and other game material can be assembled from items that you already have at home in other games, for example. All of their games are assembled by Gaiagames themselves.
More than just games
In addition to the games, Gaia Games also offer workshops. In these, a game is developed out of “nothing” with the participants. At the end of these workshops, the participants not only have a game idea in their luggage, but also have the necessary tools that are useful for (further) development. Breaking down a topic into a game ensures that a more direct path to a solution can be found through the simplification.
They also offer advice on game design or help with the implementation of a vision. For example, Kevin developed the AVICHROM card game for his album of the same name together with Ronald Hild and DJ Dominik Eulberg.
Gaiagames News: What's Coming?
With the forthcoming release of the second edition of Ecogon - still water August is of course not the end for Gaiagames. The general scarcity of resources and the problems in the supply chains have also left their mark on Gaiagames. Originally planned for SPIEL 2022, the third title in the Ecogon series Ecogon - Invasion be pushed back a bit. Here, as the title suggests, players encounter invasive species such as the raccoon. In addition, the in Ecogon Originally included competitive mode revised. In addition to the analog expansions, a digital version of the base game is also in development.
Even before the release of the Kennerspiel des Jahres 2021 Paleo, Gaiagames was busy working on its own Stone Age game. Here the players discover the world through decks of cards, similar to Paleo. However, the feel of the game will be very different here. There are small mini-games in the game for the individual actions. These focus on the real skills of the players. For example, it is about accuracy, speed or dexterity.
Two other titles are still in an early stage of development. There is one game with the working title "Pollinators" and another with the working title "Flower Defense". This is a deck builder with the twist that your own deck of cards is built by the other players.
Anyone who would like to meet the team in person will have the opportunity to do so at SPIEL in October at the latest. Here Gaiagames will sit, stand and play in the "future-proof-corner". Together with other ecologically oriented publishers they are in the Gamechangers initiative. In addition to Gaiagames, the publisher Spielköpfe, for example, is also represented there, which campaigns against discrimination in any form.
If you don't want to wait until then, you can also get a first picture of Gaiagames in this Make contribution from MDR who visited the collective last year.
Last updated on 5.08.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API