The Cardboard Edison Award recognizes great unpublished board games

Announcing the winners of the 2017 Cardboard Edison Award!

2017 Cardboard Edison Award judges with first-place winner Castell

2017 Cardboard Edison Award judges with first-place winner Castell

First Place: Castell

Based on the Catalonian tradition called Castell where teams of people gather at periodic festivals to participate in human-tower-building competitions. Players run Castell teams, moving through the various regions of Catalonia, recruiting Castellers to their team, learning tower-building skills, doing local performances and participating in festivals.

Judges' feedback for Castell

The puzzle of mixing the ability upgrades to maximize your tower scoring potential is phenomenal. This game pushed all of the happy buttons in my brain.

Theme is truly unique and building your tower is extremely satisfying.

The Castell-building aspects were magnificent and engaging; everything else in the game supported that extremely well.

This game is outstanding! Bravo! This game is going to be a huge success and I cannot wait to own a copy!

Aaron Vanderbeek

Aaron Vanderbeek

About the designer: Aaron Vanderbeek / @_beek

Aaron is a video and board game designer and longtime resident of San Francisco, California. He has worked as a game designer for SilverTree Media, Electronic Arts, ngmoco:), ZipZapPlay, Popcap, and is now Executive Producer at Super Lucky Casino. Besides nurturing an overwhelmingly large collection of board games, other interests include world travel, playing piano, vegan cooking, and studying languages.


Second Place: Cobblestone Market

Cobblestone Market is a tableau-building game where players compete to create the most efficient farm. Plant crops to increase your harvest and sell goods at the market for the best price. Invest in animals, which boost your score but also take up space. Use your unique power to become the best farmer!

Judges' feedback for Cobblestone Market

I thoroughly enjoyed this game from start to finish. Decisions were interesting but not overly complicated. Turns were snappy.

As soon as the game ended, I wanted to play it again. This game is solid, engaging, fun and balanced. I honestly loved it!

Easy to play, and great gateway economic game.

I loved this game. Straight up.

Dave and Jessica Berlin

Dave and Jessica Berlin

About the designer: Dave Berlin / @galvanizedgames

Dave has been playing games since childhood, and recalls designing games for his TI-83 calculator instead of doing his math homework. He took a break from board games for 25 years to play every video game he could, but eventually found his way back to cardboard after a friend bought him Settlers of Catan. He’s been designing board games since 2013. His wife Jessica is an avid gamer who playtests, develops, and mostly suffers through all his designs. They live in San Diego with their two sons.


Third Place: Jane Austen's Dreams

Jane Austen's Dreams is a medium-weight strategy game. You'll play a heroine trying to develop your story so that Jane Austen will wake up and write you into existence first. It includes a unique movement mechanic, pick up and deliver (but where other characters are the goods), and a mash-up of six novels.

Judges' feedback for Jane Austen's Dreams

Great theme, with really solid mechanisms to match. This hits all the "originality" buttons.

The integration of theme and mechanics was seamless. I honestly felt like a character in a Jane Austen novel while at the same time a gamer trying to win the game. I have no idea how you created such a magical experience!

The theme is immaculately integrated, and the card text. Oh my god you two, the card text. You have nailed the theme of this game so hard.

I especially appreciated the power of choice in the endgame; being able to make the choice to remain a strong, independent woman that don't need no man was refreshing.


Teresa & Andrew Jackson

Teresa & Andrew Jackson

About the designers: Teresa & Andrew Jackson / @teresawjackson

Teresa used to work in newspapers until she quit work to stay home with two little ones. Andrew teaches middle school math and science. Boredom (for Teresa) and the inability to find childcare led them to serious gaming. Teresa started reviewing games, and the two of them started working on games together. Jane Austen's Dreams is their first design, and they have many more in various stages of completion. They live with their two kiddos and ridiculously hyper dog in Central Oregon.


Bomber Boys

Designer: Steven Aramini / @stevenaramini

Using dice rolling, hand management and action selection, command your B-17 bomber through a treacherous bomb run to successfully destroy the target!


The Builders of Babel

Designer: Fabien Haond

The Builders of Babel is an interpretation and building game, where you have to get your tower built by the other players, communicating with them only through symbol cards, and interpret the instructions of the other players to build their tower. The player who manages to build the towers the most accurately, composing and interpreting the instructions to do so, will be declared the winner.


Frankenstein Academy

Designer: Patrick Marino / @GuildrlandGames

It is the final exam at Frankenstein Academy. Players must study quickly and then use their notes to navigate the test, competing to make the best monster possible using Igor workers in the lab.



Designer: Nat Levan / @OakleafGames

Improve the town of Iceburgh, built on sliding blocks of ice.


The League

Designer: Gabe Barrett / @BGDesignLab

The League is a board game in which players take on the roles of owners of new expansion football teams. During each game, players will hire free agents and coaches and draft new talent to build their teams. They'll improve their players in the preseason, upgrade their stadiums to bring in more ticket sales, and they'll compete in three seasons to win as many games as possible.


Lost Luggage

Designer: Tyler Lipchen / @tlipchen @pipdreamgames

Lost Luggage is a quick-playing tactical card game for 2 to 4 players. Its driving mechanism is inspired by the Tower of Hanoi stacking puzzle, and it also features card drafting and press-your-luck mechanics. Players take on the role of luggage porters trying to stack, sort, and deliver luggage to airplanes before they depart.


Masters of Sound

Designer: Josh Mills / @JoshuaJMills

In the time of 12-inch vinyl records, the whole album had to be great. In Masters of Sound, players take the role of album producers and must create the best 12-song tracklist possible for their new LP. Over two rounds (A-side & B-side) players draft songs from a central pool, the masters tapes, of Song Tiles until they’ve filled up both sides of their record, making sure songs smoothly transition into the next.



Designer: David Wilkinson / @wilk1dave

A party game of simultaneous charades for 4 to 31 players. Act out silly images Charades-style while looking for other players doing the same. Match symbols with others and after a certain number of matches, race to grab a Medal card!


Palooka Precinct

Designer: Glen Dresser / @glendresser

A cooperative deduction game where players work together to solve logically complex mysteries. Players take on the roles of detectives, and by playing cards and taking corresponding actions, they move about the city, interrogating suspects, following up leads, and arresting fugitives.



Designer: Jessiel Cabasan

Panacea is a worker placement game where players compete against each other by creating and selling pharmaceutical drugs, ultimately hoping to develop a drug that cures without any side effects.



Designer: Michael G. Brown / @mbrown1800conta

Polynesia is an economy-driven strategy game set in the islands of the Pacific. By carefully choosing what gods their people worship, what leaders they follow, and how they spend their time, players determine how their culture grows and who becomes the dominant culture of Polynesia.


Spell Bound Books

Designer: Patrick Marino / @GuildrlandGames

Spell Bound Books is a game about a magical bookstore where all the books have been hexed. Players compete to use magic to unscramble the stacks of books and fill customer orders.


Striking Flint

Designer: John du Bois / @JohnduBois

December 1936. Flint, Michigan. The newly formed Auto Workers’ Union has been ignored by Generic Motors, the city’s largest employer. As a final effort to gain leverage, you and your fellow AWU members must shut the factory down with a sit-down strike – a strike where the workers go to work and occupy work stations so that production can’t be completed. A cooperative worker placement game for 1-4 players.



Designer: Andrew Juell

Develop strong colonies to secure lucrative shipping lanes...but the fiercer the competition over each island, the more valuable its trading partners become. Indirectly influence your way to establishing an empire...or perhaps spark a revolution!


V.I.P.E.R. Ops

Designers: Harvey & Carlie Cornell / @dragonphoenixgm

You direct a super-secret team, known only to a few government officials. As a director of V.I.P.E.R. (Victory through Infiltration, Political Espionage, and Reconnaissance) Ops you will vie with other directors for the best missions. You'll gather resources such as operatives, agents, gadgets, deployment assets, and intelligence to gain recognition. But plan well, because the other agency directors are competing with you for the same resources and only the most cunning director will be named the new chief director!


Wages of War: The Uncooperative Siege Game

Designer: Ben Mora / @MoraGames

Uncooperatively attack the castle in this strategy game of medieval siege warfare!

Judges for the 2017 Cardboard Edison Award

Click photos for bios.