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Company of Heroes board game co-designer passes away

Chris Gabrielson died during last week’s Essen Spiel board game fair.

The co-designer of the Company of Heroes board game has died.

Chris Gabrielson passed away during last weekend’s Essen Spiel board game trade fair in Essen, Germany, his brother Brian wrote in an update to Company of Heroes: Board Game’s Kickstarter page. No further details were given on his passing.

Gabrielson was the founder, lead designer and owner of Bad Crow Games, the studio behind the tabletop adaptation of the popular World War II real-time strategy PC game.

The publisher first released a Company of Heroes board game in 2021, following a Kickstarter campaign that successfully raised $830,882 in the summer of 2019.

A second edition of the board game raised $1.2 million on Kickstarter earlier this year, ahead of a planned release next summer.

How to play Company of Heroes: Board GameWatch on YouTube

As well as the Company of Heroes games, Gabrielson was the designer of 2018’s Mech Command RTS, a team-based robot-battler played in real time using LED pointers attached to the base of each miniature to indicate line-of-sight.

“This is something that no one can ever prepare for, much less a company like ours,” Brian said. “For BCG he was the driving force and mastermind behind all of our projects. It was his passion, creativity, and quest for perfection that made the company what it is.”

The Company of Heroes board game was widely praised upon its release, earning plaudits for its faithful adaptation of video game developer Relic’s 2006 RTS gameplay to the tabletop - without relying on an overly complex ruleset - and its inclusion of miniatures to represent players’ troops, tanks and buildings.

Brian said that remaining decisions regarding the game’s upcoming second edition would be handled in partnership with fellow studio co-owner Bryan Green, asking Kickstarter backers for “patience” in the wake of the tragic news.

“Our greatest wish is to deliver the game and honour Chris’s memory,” Brian wrote.

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Matt Jarvis


After starting his career writing about music, films and video games for various places, Matt spent many years as a technology, PC and video game journalist before writing about tabletop games as the editor of Tabletop Gaming magazine. He joined Dicebreaker as editor-in-chief in 2019, and has been trying to convince the rest of the team to play Diplomacy since.