DAU BARCELONA AWARDS
On Saturday, 23 November 2019, the Sant Andreu Theatre will once again host the Dau Barcelona awards gala, in which the work of those who create and popularise board games will be recognised. These awards are considered prestigious among specialists across the globe.
Since 2013, these annual awards have included: an award for a life dedicated to games, for the best creator of the year, and for the best new creator of the year.
Special award for a life dedicated to games
The winners of this award from the past two years, Dan Glimne, from Sweden, and Irving Finkel, from the UK, have nominated Philip Orbanes, an American game designer and editor and author of several books about the game Monopoly, as the winner of the 2019 award.
Best creator of the year
The winners of this award and the "best new creator of the year" award from the past three years (Wolfgang Warsch, Inka and Markus Brand, and Rob Daviau, for the first award, and Eloi Pujadas and Joaquim Vilalta, Eugeni Castaño, and François Gandon, for the second) will pick the best creator of the year, from among those who created at least one new game between November 2018 and October 2019.
Best new creator of the year
Simultaneously, a panel comprised of Spanish bloggers, Youtubers, and Instagrammers who specialise in games, will choose the winner of the Best New Creator of the Year, from among creators that released their first game between November 2018 and October 2019.
Hispa award for the creator of the best original Spanish game
In addition, at the awards ceremony, Hispa, the Spanish association of board game publishers, will recognise the best Spanish game, as chosen by a panel of game critics from around the world.
Hall of fame
As a new feature this year, the winners of the Dau Award for a Life Dedicated to Games (among which we have the likes of David Parlett and Tom Werneck, in addition to those mentioned above) will induct four historical figures into the Hall of Fame. From now on, two more historical figures will be added each year.
Dau Barcelona 2019 Award for a Life Dedicated to Games
Philip Orbanes' life has revolved around games, especially Monopoly. He himself confesses that when he played it for the first time at the age of 8, it changed his life, and that then, for the first time, he felt like an equal, seated at the table with his uncles and aunts. It changed his life so much that he became one of the top experts in the world of games, even though he admits that he hasn't played as many matches as you might think, since many people don't dare play against him. Orbanes is also the inventor and creator of several board games.
In 1979, one of his dreams came true, and he began working for Parker Brothers (the company that publishes Monopoly) as the Vice President of Research and Development, a position he held until 1990. He spearheaded Parker Brothers' introduction into the world of video games, and gave new life to classic games such as Cluedo and Monopoly, thanks to alliances with other brands and licensees.
At Parker Brothers, he had the opportunity to become a judge for the United States, Canadian, and world Monopoly championships, which allowed him to travel and meet players from all over the world. He continues acting as a judge for Hasbro, which acquired Parker Brothers, and thus, the rights to Monopoly, in 1991.
Orbanes has also published almost a dozen books about Monopoly and its relationship with the games industry, including The Game Makers: The Story of Parker Brothers from Tiddledy Winks to Trivial Pursuit, The Monopoly Companion, and Monopoly®: The World’s Most Famous Game & How It Got That Way, in which he explains how the game is interconnected with the economy and with business and how it managed to become a household name worldwide.
In 1995, he co-founded the company Winning Moves. After eighteen years as its president, he is now vice president of the company, which publishes and re-launches classic games and puzzles, such as Cluedo, Scattergories, the Rubix Cube, and Twister.
Orbanes is also the president of the Association for Games and Puzzles International (AGPI), which brings together game experts, scholars, collectors, and historians. In addition, he has participated in, and still collaborates with, dozens of radio and television programmes to publicise games and promote his industry.
Here you are the Introductory Speech about Philip Orbanes by Dan Glimne and the Thank you Speech by Philip Orbanes.
Introductory speech about Phil Orbanes
By Dan Glimne
Ladies and Gentlemen, Fellow Players,
Again it is time to introduce this year’s recipient of the Dau Barcelona Premi Especial Award. And I remind you, like I did last year, that this is NOT just any trophy in the games world. The rules clearly stipulate that it shall be given to “una vida dedicada al joc”, meaning “a life dedicated to games”.
And why should there not be lives dedicated to games? Countless lives, throughout the history of civilization and human culture, have been dedicated to art, to music, to literature et cetera. And we show that we appreciate such a ceaseless toil, not least through recognized awards: the Nobel Prize; the Polar Music Award; le Prix Goncourt; and so on – and now also the Dau Barcelona Premi Especial Award.
This year’s winner of the Premi Especial Award is Phil Orbanes, from the United States of America. And he had his life changed – although he was far too young to recognize it then – already at the age of 8. After playing various children’s games before that age, and not finding any challenges in them, one day he was invited by his older relatives to play a quite different game: Monopoly.
That game was an eye-opener for him. Suddenly, here was something with an entirely different depth: a game with strategy and tactics, with options, and in which by skillful play he could hold his own against grown-ups. Quite taken with the experience, young Phil asks his mother to buy another skill-demanding game: Cluedo, which she does. But when Phil asks her to buy a third game, he is told to have patience and wait for his birthday, two months away.
But the urge for games has been awakened in Phil Orbanes. A door has been opened for him, into another world; and if he can’t get any more factory games right away, he will simply have to invent his own. One neighbour gives him several large Coca-Cola posters, which are blank on the back so he can draw up his own gameboards; and another neighbour supplies him with numbered cards from another incomplete game, which are put to use as a game mechanism of sorts; and so young Phil invents his first own game, a race game with toy cars and which his friends enjoy a lot.
Such is the beginning of his life devoted to games; just like so often for all of us, one thing leads to another, and it is not until much later that we turn around, look over our shoulder, and can see that all those small and large steps eventually formed a path. Now, several decades later, Phil can look back on a distinguished career during which he has authored over half a dozen books on games; served as Director of Games at Ideal Toy; as Senior Vice President of Development and Research at Parker Brothers; and as President and Vice Chairman at Winning Moves Games. He has also appeared on dozens of radio and TV programmes showcasing games and the games industry; and currently serves as president of the Association for Games & Puzzles International, a leading group of games and puzzle scholars, collectors, and historians.
And throughout this long and varied career, Phil has never forgotten his first love in the field of games: Monopoly. He has served as Chief Judge for a number of US, Canadian and World Monopoly Championship Tournaments, and still does for Hasbro, the current owner of Parker Brothers and the Monopoly game. He has written several books on the history of the game; he once wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review with the wonderful title “Everything I Know About Business I Learned from Playing Monopoly”; and Phil is also the inventor of the Speed Die, used by many millions of players in the modern versions of Monopoly around the world.
So to sum it up: Phil Orbanes has been chosen as the recipient of this year’s Dau Barcelona Premi Especial Award for his eminent work, over decades, of furthering the culture and enjoyment of games, through a number of media – you will for example find him speaking out in various documentaries on Youtube – as well as via books and articles, and via leading posts within the games industry. For these countless efforts during a life dedicated to games, he deserves recognition – and so, ladies and gentlemen, I shall ask Phil to step forward and accept his award!
Thank you Speech
Philip E. Orbanes
I am very honored to be this year’s recipient of the wonderful Dau Barcelona Premi Especial award because it caps off my career and reassures me that I made the right decision fifty years ago to dedicate my professional life to games.
I was introduced to this world at a young age by my youthful aunts and uncles, and my parents. I learned to play classics like checkers, Parcheesi, and Scrabble --- and especially Monopoly. Soon after playing Monopoly at the age of eight, I invented my first game. I did so as if were as natural as throwing a ball. I continued to invent games during my teen years and when I was ready to enter college, I started my own little game company, which I named Gamescience Corporation because it would market games that were realistic simulations of events and activities in real life.
I have often reflected on the impulsive decision to start Gamescience and wondered, “What was I thinking?” diverting some of my very limited savings needed to pay for college. If I wasn’t young, overly confident, and extremely naïve, I would never have made such a choice. But had I been wise, I would not be here with you this evening!
Fortunately, I sold my little firm before I graduated and gained employment in the games industry in New York City. My inventing skills were in demand, and gradually I learned how to make good business decisions. I had the advantage of meeting several people whose example I followed. And even more whose conduct showed me what not to do.
I reached the “big time,” if you will, just before my 29th birthday when I accepted the position of director of board games at Ideal Toy Company. At the time, Ideal was very powerful, a rival to the world’s largest toy company, Mattel. However, it was highly chaotic, and its home in New York City was a harsh environment. I invented many games for Ideal but never received credit or extra compensation.
But Ideal tempered me well for the dream job I would soon begin in beautiful New England – running product development at Parker Brothers, the firm known for so many classic games, especially Monopoly, but also Clue, Sorry, Risk, Boggle and Mille Bornes. I would leave my mark on all of these during my twelve years there.
In 1987, Parker Brothers became embroiled in a corporate takeover, and eventually was purchased by Hasbro. Post- Parker, I ran my own toy and game R&D firm for five years before Tom Kremer, of Rubiks Cube fame, invited me to become the managing partner at a new game company whose goal was to publish fine-playing games for discerning game players. It lacked a name and I came up with one: Winning Moves games. I told my wife, Anna, that it might be fun to run Winning Moves for 6 or 7 years. Well, Winning Moves is about to celebrate its 25th year. Our older son has managed the company for the past six years, along with the talented group of employees I had the pleasure of hiring and training with the benefit of my experience.
During my career, I invented serious board games like Cartel and Infinity, hi-tech games like Electronic Detective for Ideal Toy, many enhancements to Monopoly -especially the Speed Die and the Monopoly Mega edition- and developed No Stress Chess for Winning Moves, to name a few.
Looking back, three fine gamers taught me lessons that have never left me. Sid Sackson, the great chronicler and inventor of games, taught me “less is more when writing rules.” Waldemar von Zedtwitz the co-founder of contract bridge and a life master bridge, chess and backgammon player, taught me “never take you eye off the goal. Even a slight advantage can deliver you there.” And finally, Tom Kremer, founder of Seven Towns and the global Rubiks business, drove home the point that “Most people don’t realize that life is a game. Play it well, watch your opponents every move, play to win.”
The idea that “life is a game” appeals to me. It became the inspiration for my latest book, named Tortured Cardboard (which is a humorous slang expression for “Board games”). Tortured Cardboard is my thesis, after 50 years. I show how all great games are conceived during chaos, survive by chance, most importantly impart wisdom, and also gain immortality.
This award is not a fleeting memento to me. It is timeless. My family will treasure it forever.
Thank you so much. Muchas Gracias. Moltes gràcies, mis amigos!