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Former Z-Man Games exec Sophie Gravel rejoins Pandemic and Carcassonne publisher as studio head

After founding Azul and Century: Spice Road studio Plan B Games.

The former president of Pandemic, Carcassonne and Love Letter maker Z-Man Games has rejoined the publisher as its new head of studio.

Gravel previously headed up the Pandemic label after it was acquired in 2011 by Filosofia, the board game company Gravel founded in 2002. Filosofia was later rebranded as F2Z Entertainment and was itself purchased by tabletop giant Asmodee in 2016, bringing Z-Man under the enormous umbrella of the Fantasy Flight Games, Catan Studio and Days of Wonder owner.

During her previous tenure heading up Z-Man, Gravel played a major role in launching the second edition of Pandemic - Matt Leacock’s hugely successful co-op board game - as well as its influential legacy game spin-off, Pandemic Legacy: Season 1.

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Gravel departed F2Z and Z-Man following its acquisition by Asmodee, founding Azul and Century: Spice Road publisher Plan B Games in 2017. Asmodee acquired Plan B earlier this year, bringing Gravel back into the orbit of the tabletop behemoth.

Now, Gravel has returned to lead Z-Man as its head of studio, replacing outgoing studio head Steve Kimball, to whom Gravel previously handed the reins in 2016, as he moves to become director of special projects across Asmodee’s various studios.

In a statement, Gravel echoed Kimball’s comments earlier this year that the no-longer-indie publisher will focus on expanding its most popular brands such as Pandemic, Carcassonne and Love Letter. Gravel added that the studio will also take its “signature approach of building games that are different, unexpected, and special into new games and projects”.

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