Final nominees for the Toy & Game Innovation Awards revealed

The final nominees for the 12th Annual Toy & Game Innovation Awards, hosted by The Chicago Toy and Game Group, have been revealed.

Voted on by industry experts, retailers and consumers to honour the top toy and game innovators from around the world, the TAGIEs are recognised as one of the most prestigious award ceremonies in the design industry.

Fans can visit to vote for nominees in each of the seven categories. Voting is open now through October 30.

“The Toy & Game Innovation Awards celebrate the people behind the most successful toys and games,” said Mary Couzin, founder and president, Chicago Toy & Game Group. “Our mission is to honour and celebrate the inventors and industry experts who stand out in the toy and game industry for their exceptionally innovative spirit of fun, philanthropy and humanitarianism.”

The finalists were selected from hundreds of nominations submitted from around the world. One winner from each category will be honoured at a Gala event, The Power of Magic, taking place in Chicago on November 22, 2019 during Chicago Toy & Game Week.

The 2019 TAGIE nominees are:

Toy Innovator of the Year

  • KID Group for Demolition Duke (Spin Master)
  • G2 Inventions for Juno the Elephant (Spin Master)
  • JMP Creative for Crayola Glitter Dots (Crayola) and for Foodie Roos (Maya)
  • Peggy Brown for Lunch Pets (Wicked Cool Toys) and My Buddy Wheels (Y-Volution)
  • Daryl Tearne for Owleez and Monster Jam Mega Grave Digger RC Truck (Spin Master)
  • Bang Zoom for Pulp Heroes (Far Out Toys) and Mr Potato Head Lips Are Moving and Yellies (Hasbro)
  • Ryan Kratz and Gil Zalayet for Imaginext® DC Super Friends™ Transforming Batmobile™ RC Vehicle (Mattel)

Game Innovator of the Year

  • Adam Borton for Oops Scoops (YULU)
  • Dominic Yard & Gil Zalayet for Freeze Fall (Goliath)
  • Rob Daviau, Bob Driscoll, Don Ullman for Heist (Megableu USA)
  • Brendan Boyle & Adam Skaates (IDEO) for Plumber Pants (Hasbro) and Pictionary Air (Mattel)
  • Kim Vandenbroucke (The Brainy Chick) and Andrea Sambati (Memento) for Peeing Pup (Hasbro)
  • Kane Klenko for Pandemic: Rapid Response (Z-Man Games), Cosmic Factory (Gigamic), Dead Men Tell No Tales: The Kraken (Minion Games), Proving Grounds (Renegade Game Studios), Slap It! (Renegade Game Studios)
  • Pat Marino for Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game; Court of the Dead: Mourners Call Board Game; Talisman: Batman – Super Villains Edition; Harry Potter: Death Eaters Rising; Star Wars: Dark Side Rising with USAopoly/The Op

 Rising Star Innovator of the Year

  • Joe Barron for Wolf (Gray Matters Games)
  • Nir Doron and Gilad Podg for Candylocks (Spin Master)
  • Urtis Šulinskas for Planet (Blue Orange) and Pigasus (Brain Games)
  • Sjaak Griffioen, M. Oskar Van Deventer and Wei-Hwa Huang for Marble Circuit (MindWare)
  • Claudia Miranda Montealegre for Imaginext® Scooby-Doo™ Haunted Ghost Town (Fisher Price)
  • Mike Szalajko & Alex Mackey for What The Film?! and Camping with Sasquatch (Lethal Chicken Games)
  • Disconifty for Boxy Girls (Jay at Play), Rescue Runts, Funlockets and Shimmer Stars (KD Kids), Twisty (Spin Master) and SuperDeker

 Young Inventor of the Year

  • Ellie Skalla for Galactiquest (Goliath)
  • Gimena Servin for Husks (Ribbiting Games)
  • Edie Placenza for Goo on My Shoe (PlayMonster)
  • Tiggy Sliwinski for Draw Into Crime (PlayMonster)
  • Joseph Howard for FLING! The Flyin Disc (Grip Toys)
  • Harper Miller for The Dreamimals™ (The Dream Pillow™)
  • Samaira Mehta, Aadit Mehta -(CoderMindz) The World’s First Ever Board Game that teaches Artificial Intelligence (AI) Concepts

Innovative Art and Visuals of the Year

  • Andreas Hoenigschmid  (GeoBender) for Shashibo (Fun In Motion Toys)
  • Christian Castro (What Do You Meme?) for New Phone Who Dis? (What Do You Meme)
  • Luis Diaz (Idea Monster) for Chuckle & Roar line of games, puzzles, and toys (Buffalo Games)
  • Jessica Livingstone, Vanessa Wilson, Johnlee Raine, Dave Sarrafo & team for Hatchimals Pixies (Spin Master)
  • Carol Rouillard, Maria McLane, Tamara Allegra-Smith, Todd Brainard, Pete Thomas, Kyle Nicholson (Hoyle) for Super Me, Monkey, May I? (Hoyle)
  • Matt Nuccio and Chris Nuccio (Design Edge) for The Artsbot- Arts & Craft Kits
  • Prospero Hall for Trapper Keeper Game (Big G Creative)

Innovative PR and Marketing Team of the Year

  • Microduino for Itty Bitty Buggy and IdeaLab for kids – Everyone is an Inventor
  • LEGO Disney Girls Team for LEGO Aladdin Explore the World Together Campaign
  • The OP Marketing Team a rebrand (from USAopoly) and over 20+ product launches.
  • LEGO Marvel Team for  LEGO Marvel Avengers End Game Construction Sets by LEGO Campaign
  • Freeman PR for PLAYMOBIL’s Mars Space Station,  YULU’s SNAPSTAR’s and Zing’s HyperStrike campaigns
  • Egils Grasmanis, Anna Peipina, Liga Lugovija (Brain Games Marketing Team) for Win a Trip to Antarctica (Brain Games)
  • Keeley Tobin, Nikki Kennamer, Kristina Timmins, Crystal Flynn, Allison MacIntire and Sarah Madey (Hasbro) for Yellies (Hasbro)

Most Innovative Retailer Award

  • The Grommet for Empowering Inventors and Makers
  • Exploding Kittens for Throw Throw Burrito Kickstarter
  • Building Blocks for Supporting Inventors and Community Involvement
  • Mastermind for Amazing Demos and Try Me Features at their Retail Stores
  • Target for their “Cartwheel” app, Story-telling on the Sales Floor and “Flex Fulfill” Options
  • Camp, The Family Experience Store for Combining Play and Product Throughout its Stores
  • Wonder Works for interactive play and free annual family events Wonderfest and Elfstravaganza

In addition to the TAGIE winners, the Lifetime Achievement Honouree will be recognised at the Gala event. Richard Dickson, President & COO of Mattel, will introduce this year’s Honuoree, Ivan Moscovich. Ivan is a five-time concentration camp survivor and one of the most prolific inventors in the industry. He has licensed 111 puzzles, toys and games, and written 69 books, and was the founder and director of the Tel Aviv Science Museum, which was the inspiration for the San Francisco Exploratorium. It was at the Tel Aviv Science Museum, where he met Elliot and Ruth Handler, the founders of Mattel and designed the popular Brain Drain series for them.

  Mattel is the presenting sponsor for this year’s TAGIEs Gala. Other sponsors include Hasbro, The Michael Kohner Corporation, Oxford Games, Cartamundi, ASTRA, The Toy Association, Longshore, ThinkFun and Hassenfeld Family Initiatives, among others.

The TAGIEs Gala will take place Friday, November 22nd, 2019 with a playful evening of entertainment that includes cocktail hour, a seated dinner, awards program, PlayCHIC looks featured throughout the evening, music by Skip Towne and the Greyhounds and Toy Train Wreck. Gala tickets are available here.

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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