Last week the world watched in shock when the Russian army invaded Ukraine. However, that shock was quickly replaced with anger and growing support for the Ukrainian people. Since that time, a number of board games designers and publishers have come out against the Russian invasion. In fact, many have publicly announced actions they will be taking in direct response to the invasion.
Stonemaier Games (Wingspan, Scythe) announced that they will be cutting off all economic ties with their Russian localization partners. This includes halting the production of several print runs that were in progress, which will cost the publisher somewhere between $30,000 and $65,000. Not only that, but they will also be forgiving any payments owed to them by their Ukrainian localization partners.
Portal Games (Imperial Settlers, Neuroshima Hex), a Polish game publisher, put a page on their website announcing the many actions they will be taking. These include:
“…transferring 100% of the profit from the sales of 500 copies of the Polish edition of the game Mysterium. The game was designed by two Ukrainian designers, Oleksandr Nevskiy and Oleg Sidorenko. Mysterium (Tajemnicze Domostwo in Polish) is one of Portal Games’ biggest best-sellers. The game just got released in the brand new edition. Portal Games is proud to have a chance to transfer profit from the game to help the people of Ukraine.”
Among other things, Portal will also be creating a new addon for their current Gamefound Campaign that will see all the proceeds from the add-on being directly donated to the Proliska Humanitarian Mission in Ukraine. You can visit their support Ukraine page on their website to see their other initiatives.
Lucky Duck Games (Chronicles of Crime), another Polish publisher, announced on their Twitter feed today that they will be matching all donations (up to $12,000) to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Veteran board game designer Bruno Cathala (Five Tribes, Kingdomino) announced on his Facebook page that he is calling on all publishers of his games to stop their transactions with Russia. Furthermore, he will not sign any more contracts with worldwide rights, explicitly saying his games can be in every country except Russia.
While not a board game, 11 Bit Studios, a video game developer, has announced that until March 3rd, all proceeds from the sale of their This War of Mine video game on all platforms (which does have a board game adaption) will be donated to the Ukrainian Red Cross.
New Polish publisher Go On Board (Titans, Valhalla) announced in a Youtube video that they will donate 100% of the proceeds from their website for the next 7 days to the Ukraine.
Call of Cthulhu publisher Chaosium has made their Does Love Forgive scenario a “pay-what-you-want” option on Drive Through RPG for the next two weeks. They have stated: “If you download it, instead of paying us, we encourage you to make a donation to organizations supporting people seeking safety from the conflict in Ukraine”
Finally, for those looking to support Ukrainian designers and publishers, a user on Board Game Geek has compiled a list of board games by Ukrainian designers.
I’m sure there are other designers and publishers who will be taking a stand and we’ll update this article as news comes to light.