Reiner Knizia, the designer behind tabletop titles such as Lost Cities, has terminated all planned releases with publishers Grail Games, Matagot and Kolossal Games.
According to Knizia Games’ operations manager, Karen Easteal, “due to multiple breaches of contract, all licences with Grail Games, Matagot and Kolossal Games have been terminated”, meaning that “these publishers no longer have the rights to sell our games”.
Easteal concluded that “we [Knizia Games] very much regret that we had to take this step”, but the decision to terminate licences with Grail Games, Matagot and Kolossal was reached “to protect the exclusivity of our other business partners in their markets”.
Easteal’s reply echoes comments they made earlier this year on Knizia’s choice to cut ties with Grail Games and Matagot on account of the publishers making sales in “markets which had not been licenced” to them, with Kolossal now reportedly earning the same treatment.
When Dicebreaker reached out to the three publishers for comment, we received a reply from a media representative for Matagot, Kolossal, Devil Pig and Grail Games - stating that they were “trying to find an amicable solution with Mr Knizia”. However, due to the disputes, “all rights for the games he designed and published under Grail Games were returned to him”.
The media representative for Grail Games also confirmed that Whale Riders - a board game about establishing a trading empire on the backs of whales that was successfully funded via a Kickstarter campaign in July 2020 - could not be “further published” by the studio due to the licencing disputes with Knizia Games.
Earlier this year, Grail Games announced that it would be cancelling its planned reprints of Knizia’s games, including Medici Reformation - a remake of the beloved auction game - in response to what it claimed were disappointing sales. However, the blog containing the announcement has since been removed from the studio’s website, with Knizia tweeting that Grail Games had been releasing “misleading communication” regarding the reasons that his titles were no longer being printed.
Whether Whale Riders will receive a retail release via another company is yet to be confirmed.