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D&D and Monopoly maker will publish last year’s winning card game from the Women Innovators of Play

The second annual event makes good on Hasbro’s promise to invest in one of 2023’s winners.

Lots of paper money from Monopoly
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Toy and tabletop game giant Hasbro has announced its second annual Women Innovators of Play, which includes a suite of professional talks and programming alongside another competition to find the best unpublished board games designed by women in the tabletop industry.

First launched in late 2023, the initiative claimed to “promote a more inclusive and equitable toys and games community, encourage more women’s participation in the space, inspire the next generation of young women and girls to unleash their creativity, and increase awareness and exposure to creative career paths”, according to a press release. Somewhat stymied by the public’s declining trust and approval of Hasbro in the wake of the OGL debacle and 1,100 staff layoffs at the end of last year, the program still proposes some positive change worked within the corporate structure.

Last year saw three winners take home $10,000 and mentorship by women business leaders within Hasbro and other toy and game design companies. One of those three, Ellie Dix, earned a full partnership that will see her game submission developed into a fully fledged title under Hasbro’s tutelage. We still don’t know anything about the design beyond the fact that it’s a family-weight card game - perhaps because Hasbro is protecting the intellectual property of a game it might now contractually own, or at least manage.

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“We are on a mission to attract more women and girls to the toy and game industry, and I could not be more inspired by the response to our Women Innovators of Play event and Challenge,” said Kim Boyd, Hasbro’s president of global brands and franchise management.

Over 130 separate designs were submitted to 2023’s challenge by solo women designers or leaders of teams primarily composed of women. The panel of judges critiqued all of them on innovation, fun factor, playability and their mass marketability, eventually choosing three winners who were transported to Hasbro’s Rhode Island headquarters for a ceremony and mentorship day.

2024’s Women Innovators of Play will bring that challenge back in pretty much the same form in October of 2024, though the corporation did not explicitly state how much prize money would be offered. A separate Girl Innovators of Play bootcamp, in coordination with the Girl Up organisation, is angled at a younger audience and will include separate design challenges and programming throughout August. More information about the challenge and related events can be found on Hasbro’s website.

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