Toy and Game Innovation (TAGIE) Award Winners Announced at 2019 Chicago Toy & Game Week


The Chicago Toy & Game Group revealed the winners of the 12th annual TAGIE Awards, recognizing top toy and game innovators from around the world. The TAGIE Awards are the preeminent awards program honoring innovation and excellence in the toy and game industry. Winners were announced at a gala event, The Power of Magic, on November 22, 2019 at the Navy Pier Grand Ballroom in Chicago.

The official 2019 Toy and Game Innovation (TAGIE) Award winners are:

TOY INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR  (Sponsored by American Specialty Toy Retailing Association; ASTRA)

Ryan Kratz and Gil Zalayet for Imaginext DC Super Friends Transforming Batmobile RC Vehicle (Mattel)

GAME INNOVATOR OF THE YEAR (Sponsored by The Michael Kohner Corporation)

Kane Klenko for Pandemic: Rapid Response (Z-Man Games), Cosmic Factory (Gigamic), Dead Men Tell No Tales: The Kraken (Minion Games), Proving Grounds (Renegade Game Studios), Slap It! (Renegade Game Studios)


Urtis Šulinskas for Planet (Blue Orange) and Pigasus (Brain Games)

YOUNG INVENTOR OF THE YEAR (Sponsored by Hasbro)

Ellie Skalla for Galactiquest (Goliath)


Christian Castro for New Phone Who Dis? (What Do You Meme)


LEGO Marvel Team for LEGO Marvel Avengers End Game Construction Sets by LEGO Campaign

INNOVATIVE RETAILER OF THE YEAR (Sponsored by The Toy Association)

Exploding Kittens for Throw Throw Burrito Kickstarter


In addition to the winners determined through nominations and public voting, honors were given in the following closed categories:

Lifetime Achievement Honoree Award (Sponsored by Mattel)

Ivan Moscovich, a five-time concentration camp survivor and one of the most prolific inventors in the industry. He has licensed 111 puzzles, toys, and games, and written 69 books, and was the founder and director of the Tel Aviv Science Museum, which was the inspiration for the San Francisco Exploratorium. It was at the Tel Aviv Science Museum where he met Elliot and Ruth Handler, the founders of Mattel, and designed the popular Brain Drain series for them.

Hassenfeld Family Initiatives Humanitarian Award (Sponsored by Hassenfeld Family Initiatives)

Spin Master for The Toy Movement

Hasbro for sustainable packaging commitment

Disney for Disney Team of Heroes

In Memoriam (Sponsored by ThinkFun)

The following creatives who have passed were recognized: Theor Coster, Alan Roach, Jerry Robson, Loren Taylor, Beau James, Emanuel Winston, Abe Mor, Dominic Laurienzo, Tom Kremer, Jerry Welch, Len Clark, Bill Dorman, Charles Lazarus, Omri Rothschild, Jim Muntz, and Ted Kiesewetter.


Mattel was the presenting sponsor for this year’s TAGIEs Gala.  Other sponsors include Hasbro, The Michael Kohner Corporation, Oxford Games, Hassenfeld Family Initiatives, ASTRA, Nextoy, Rummikub, Exploding Kittens, The Toy Association, Longshore, ThinkFun, and Cartamundi, among others.

“The TAGIE Awards Gala is always an inspiring evening as we celebrate the amazing innovators behind some of the most successful toys and games,” said Mary Couzin, Founder and President, Chicago Toy & Game Group. “This year was especially memorable as Ivan Moscovich shared his life journey from surviving concentration camps as a teenager, to becoming one of the most prolific inventors in the industry over the past seven decades.”