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Yellow & Yangtze designer cuts ties with publisher due to alleged breach of contract

After planned reprints of Reiner Knizia’s games were cancelled due to apparent lack of sales.
Reiner Knizia Grail Games
Image: Grail Games

Reiner Knizia, the creator of classic board games such as Yellow & Yangtze, has revealed that they have cut ties with Grail Games due to a breach in contract.

In a tweet released last week, the veteran designer claimed that Grail Games - a studio that’s responsible for releasing several of Knizia’s games such as Medici and Stephenson's Rocket - had been spreading “misleading communication” regarding the decision to cancel upcoming re-releases of Knizia’s previous tabletop titles. The tweet went on to clarify that Knizia’s games were no longer being published by Grail Games because the designer had “terminated licenses for breach of contract.”

Dicebreaker reached out to Knizia regarding the tweet and received a response from the Operations Manager for Knizia Games, Karen Easteal, echoing Knizia's claim that Grail Games had committed a breach of contract. Easteal identified the “most significant breaches of contract” as being connected to the publisher making sales into “markets which had not been licensed to Grail Games/Matagot and which directly violate the exclusivity of valued business partners” across the globe. The infringement is reportedly being “brought before the courts,” by Knizia’s company against Grail Games.

This reveal follows an announcement made by Grail Games earlier this year that the studio would be cancelling a number of reprints of Knizia’s games - including the planned Medici Reformation project - due to lacklustre sales of the publisher’s previous re-releases of Knizia’s titles, with no mention of any infringement.

“I am immensely proud of Grail’s editions of Yellow & Yangtze, Medici and Stephenson’s Rocket, but these reprints and revisions, while great at getting BGGers to notice what one is doing, just… haven’t sold well,” said David Harding, founder of Grail Games.

The blog which announced the cancellation of the Knizia releases, has since been removed from the studio’s website, with the link to the page now leading to a 404 message. Dicebreaker has reached out to Grail Games for comment regarding Knizia’s tweet and the removal of the blog post, but has not received any response as of yet.

Besides Yellow & Yangtze, Tigris & Euphrates and Medici, Knizia is otherwise best known for designing the two-player board game Lost Cities - that has players competing to gather the most profits from a variety of archeological exhibitions - several auction games including Modern Art and High Society, as well as the co-op board game The Lord of the Rings.

Grail Games has yet to publicly address Knizia’s tweet or to confirm whether any breach of contract happened.

About the Author

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Alex Meehan

Staff Writer, Dicebreaker

Alex’s journey to Dicebreaker began with writing insightful video game coverage for outlets such as Kotaku, Waypoint and PC Gamer. Her unique approach to analysing pop culture and knack for witty storytelling finally secured her a forever home producing news, features and reviews with the Dicebreaker team. She’s also obsessed with playing Vampire: The Masquerade, and won’t stop talking about it.

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