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Scythe publisher cuts off economic ties with Russian partners, writes-off Ukrainian payments

“Stonemaier Games stands with Ukraine.”

Stonemaier Games, the studio behind tabletop titles such as Scythe, has released a statement in support of Ukrainian board game companies.

On the publisher’s blog, Stonemaier confirmed that the studio “stands in solidarity with Ukraine” in the wake of the country’s recent invasion by Russia. The company has reportedly “cut off all economic ties” with its Russian localisation partners, labelling it a “bittersweet decision” that has no reflection on the CEOs of the companies themselves but stating that Stonemaier “cannot provide any form of revenue for a government that invades another country”.

The decision to end its business with Russian localisation partners has resulted in Stonemaier halting production of multiple in-progress print-runs of the studio’s games, whose identities the company has not yet revealed. Stonemaier has admitted that the decision will cost the company between $30,000 (£22,000) and $65,000 (£48,000) but commented that “it is nothing compared to the horrors faced by the citizens of Ukraine right now.”

Scythe strategy board game box artwork

In addition to cutting economic ties with its Russian localisation partners, Stonemaier has written-off any payments owed to them by Ukrainian localisation partners, noting that “there are much more important things for those companies to do with those funds right now.”

Stonemaier Games is a studio co-founded by Jamey Stegmaier – the creator of Scythe – and Alan Stone, co-designer of Viticulture, that has published board games such as the popular family board game Wingspan, which recently made an appearance on the long-running British soap drama Coronation Street, and the legacy board game Charterstone.

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Several tabletop publishers, designers and retailers across Ukraine have reached out to the public for support in response to the recent Russian invasion. The Ukrainian studios include Desktop Games – which localises titles from US publisher Fantasy Flight Games, which releases the likes of Arkham Horror: The Card Game and the Star Wars: X-Wing miniatures game series – Bombat Games, a studio that releases various family titles, and Geekach Games, which is currently based in the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv.

An update included in Stonemaier’s blog after its initial publication appears to respond to comments made to the post and on Facebook, highlighting that “there is a line to be drawn” when it comes to real-world events and that the studio feels “for the people of Russia who do not support Putin’s decision” and may “revisit” the decision to cut stop business with Russian localisation companies in the future.

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Alex Meehan

Senior Staff Writer

After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.