December 16, 2020
The excitement of watching children beam with joy as they open new games is an unexpected memorable moment. It reminds us of the times when we were young and excitedly unwrapping holiday presents by the Christmas tree. We may not be playing the same games we did when we were children, but we’ve upgraded to playing board games by the fireplace with our family members.
Awesome board game makers in the golden state
The endless nights spent staying up trying to figure out the winning move gave you a rush of exhilaration unlike any other. As for the priceless memories you made with friends and family, you have board game companies to thank. Here are a few of our favorites based in the Golden State.
There isn’t a single person in the world who hasn’t heard of Mattel. The El Segundo–based toy manufacturing company is the one behind big brands such as Barbie, American Girl, Hot Wheels, and Creatable World—the first gender-neutral line of dolls.
Mattel is also a well-known card game manufacturer. Remember the evenings you spent playing Uno with your siblings during your winter family vacations? You can thank this company. As for board games, Mattel currently owns Balderdash, after purchasing the game from Hasbro; first released in 1984 under Canada Games, the board game is loved by people of all ages.
The board game company brought many other family-friendly games to American households. These games include Phase 10, Apples to Apples, KerPlunk, Gas Out, and Blokus. Mattel is not just a game maker; it’s a game-changer.
2. GMT Games
Founded in 1990, GMT Games is known for producing war, strategy, card, and family board games. The company, headquartered in Hanford, is a leader in creating graphically attractive games—these range from simple wargames for beginners to large and complex monster games for advanced players.
Started by Gene Billingsley, Mike Crane, and Terry Shrum, the board game company’s name derives from the initials of the founders’ first names. Some of the fascinating board games the company has invented include Chandragupta, Commands & Colors: Ancients, Here I Stand, Paths of Glory, Sword of Rome, SPQR, and Twilight Struggle.
GMT Games is such an impressive board game maker that The Washington Post described the company as the "modern hobby’s highest-profile wargame publisher."
3. The Ungame
The most popular non-competitive communication board game is The Ungame. Created by Rhea Zakich, the board game fosters listening and self-expression skills by bringing simple communication back into people’s lives. There are no winners or losers, which is why it’s called The Ungame.
Zakich came up with the board game idea when she was a young mother from Garden Grove unable to speak due to polyps found on her vocal cords. After making a full recovery, she realized that people spend so much time speaking but not actually communicating. She started writing down questions on cards to ask her husband and children. Soon enough, she had over 200 cards and decided to transform it into a board game.
The Ungame is the perfect icebreaker activity or a wonderful choice for a serious exchange of thoughts to strengthen one’s bonds with friends and family. The next time you take your family on a California fall vacation, play a round or two of this board game to nurture mindfulness and attentiveness.
4. Cryptozoic Entertainment
Irvine is home to one of the coolest board game companies in the country: Cryptozoic Entertainment. Founded in 2010 by John Nee, Scott Gaeta, Cory Hudson Jones, and John Sepenuk, this board game maker and card game manufacturer is fully committed to the idea that fans come first. This is why most of its products are highly sought-after by pop culture enthusiasts.
Besides card and board games, Cryptozoic Entertainment produces collectibles and trading cards that are both original and licensed. Many of the company's games are based on characters from DC Comics, Ghostbusters, The Walking Dead, The Lord of the Rings, and many other movies and TV shows with large followings. The board game maker also has a series of deck-building games called the Cerberus Engine Game.
Any game you purchase from Cryptozoic Entertainment makes a great last-minute holiday gift for children.
5. the op
The Op is the SoCal-based board game company behind all of your favorite custom-made board games. What started as themed board games that everyone would love became a million-dollar idea. The Op started creating products based on the Harry Potter series, Rick and Morty, The Office, Game of Thrones, and many other fan-favorite movies and TV shows.
After achieving success, The Op expanded from creating custom-made games to original puzzles, family games, and party board games. Hues and Cues, Blank Slate, and Furry Foodies are only a handful of the many games this company has released. Keep your family entertained with your favorite game from The Op when you’re visiting the best attractions in the Central Valley—your enthusiasm will radiate all over the place.
6. IDW Games
One of the best board game companies in the U.S. is IDW Games, founded under IDW Publishing in San Diego. After the division was launched in 2014, IDW Games became the company behind the top-selling card game of the year: Machi Koro—it earned a Spiel Des Jahres nomination and won the Geekie Award.
Now, IDW Games is a board and card game manufacturer based on licensed characters. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures: City Fall, Metal Gear Solid: The Board Game, and Ghostbusters x MIB: Ecto-Terrestrial Invasion are the most coveted titles. Bringing quality production and gameplay to American households, IDW Games remains one of the top board game makers in the U.S.
7. Renegade Games Studios
Renegade Games Studios is an Escondido-based board and card game manufacturer. Scott Gaeta, who’s also the co-founder of Cryptozoic Entertainment, is the president of this card, role-playing, puzzle, and board game company.
Established in 2014, the company released award-winning strategy games such as Lanterns: The Harvest Festival, Clank!: A Deck-Building Adventure, Kitty Paw, and The Fox in the Forest. The company's role-playing games include Overlight and Kids on Bikes.
As one of the leading board games companies in the industry, Renegade Game Studios shows no signs of slowing down and brings nothing but joy to players of all ages.
8. Aurosi Games
Aurosi Games redefined board games thanks to its luxury products. Established in 1985, the board game company creates high-end products that cater to game lovers with expensive taste. You’ll find lavish sets of backgammon, chess, poker, and Tic Tac Toe boards.
Each board is made with excellent craftsmanship and impeccable detail. The games make wonderful graduation presents or Father’s Day gifts. The purpose of the luxury products isn’t just to play a game—it’s to have something of value to pass on to the next generation. Don’t hesitate to replace your old chess or backgammon board; get a brand-new, high-quality set from Aurosi Games and make it a unique family heirloom.
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