Friday, August 14, 2009
Name of the Game: Israeli Games Fair
Israel is gearing up for its first multi-game game convention.
What: Spearheaded by SmartZone, an Israeli importer and publisher, the Israeli Games Fair ("Name of the Game") is supposed to be modeled on the Essen fair.
When: It will be three days (three freakin' days!) long during Hol Hamoed Sukkot.
Where: In the Afula industrial area. Partial sponsorship by the Afula municipality.
See the site for more details.
What to Expect: Expect there to be a bunch of publishers exhibiting and selling games, as well as organized game activities.
Vendors: Current participants include SmartZone, FoxMind (publisher), SilverStars (Eurogame and RPG importer), Bubima (wooden games, puzzles, and toys), Kapla (wooden games, puzzles, and toys), ToySmart (publisher), and hopefully more. Notably absent is KodKod (they rarely do anything in Israel; either they don't care or they're too big to care) and Haim Shafir (I think he has a conflicting event).
Conflict: Hol Hamoed is a typical time to organize large scale events such as this. Unfortunately, that also means that other events that might attract the same or similar crowd will also be happening during this time. ICON (link is to the English site, but the Hebrew site has more info), the Sci-Fi and RPG convention, which also usually has a strong CCG and board game showing, will also take place over three days during Hol Hamoed in Tel Aviv. And I will also be hosting my usual bi-annual Games Day on one day during Hol Hamoed.
Smart Zone is one of the few Israeli companies that are really trying. These guys really love games and puzzles and they're doing their best to make new and better ones, while still facing the reality of selling to a public that hasn't progressed past Ricuz (Hebrew Monopoly clone from the 1950s) and Backgammon.
The above Cobra Cubes is a representative puzzle/game in the genre that includes Rush Hour and Tangrams. It's by Ariel Laden, an Israeli designer. It's pretty elegant: just four cubes that you have to rearrange in a bunch of ways to fit 40 increasingly difficult puzzles (can't speak for the difficulty of any of them). They did a previous game, World Passport, which was also a simple and elegant game in this genre.