The Chicago Toy & Game Group revealed the winners of its 12th annual TAGIE Awards last month, the event created to recognise the top toy and game innovators from around the world.
The TAGIE Awards are the preeminent awards programme, honouring innovation and excellence in the industry. Winners were announced at a playful Gala event, The Power of Magic, on November 22, 2019 at the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom in Chicago.
Attended by nearly 500, the Gala event kicked-off with magic, music and a rocket, with industry innovators in the spotlight. Mark Setteducati (magician, author and inventor of magic, illusions, games and puzzles), John Railing (magician and author) and Max Temkin (magician and co-founder of Cards Against Humanity) impressed attendees with an array of magic tricks.
In addition, Robert Victor, and his team at Kite and Rocket Research, led the inaugural launch of their latest creation, the World’s Largest Kid-Powered Rocket.
But the main event was the awards ceremony, hosted by Karri Bean, senior licensing manager, Disney Parks Experiences & Products, alongside the new Star Wars D-O Remote Control Droid from Hasbro.
The evening’s keynote address was delivered by Richard Dickson, president and COO of Mattel and the evening was culminated with the Lifetime Achievement Award honouring the industry legend Ivan Moscovich.
“The TAGIE Awards Gala is always an inspiring evening as we celebrate the amazing innovators behind some of the most successful toys and games,” said Mary Couzin, founder and president, Chicago Toy & Game Group. “This year was especially memorable as Ivan Moscovich shared his life journey from surviving concentration camps as a teenager, to becoming one of the most prolific inventors in the industry over the past seven decades.”
The official 2019 Toy and Game Innovation (TAGIE) Award winners are:
Toy Innovator of the Year (Sponsored by American Specialty Toy Retailing Association; ASTRA)
Ryan Kratz and Gil Zalayet for Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Batmobile RC Vehicle (Mattel)
Game Innovator of the Year (Sponsored by The Michael Kohner Corporation)
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)
Rising Star of the Year
Urtis Šulinskas for Planet (Blue Orange) and Pigasus (Brain Games)
Young Inventor of the Year (Sponsored by Hasbro)
Ellie Skalla for Galactiquest (Goliath)
Innovative Arts & Visuals of the Year (Sponsored by Oxford Games)
Christian Castro for New Phone Who Dis? (What Do You Meme)
Innovative Marketing Team of the Year (Sponsored by Rummikub)
LEGO Marvel Team for LEGO Marvel Avengers End Game Construction Sets by LEGO Campaign
Innovative Retailer of the Year (Sponsored by The Toy Association)
Exploding Kittens for Throw Throw Burrito Kickstarter
In addition to the winners determined through nominations and public voting, honours were given in the following closed categories:
Lifetime Achievement Honoree Award (Sponsored by Mattel)
Ivan Moscovich, 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.
Hassenfeld Family Initiatives Humanitarian Award (Sponsored by Hassenfeld Family Initiatives)
Spin Master for The Toy Movement
Hasbro for sustainable packaging commitment
Disney for Disney Team of Heroes