Darwin Bromley, the founder of Mayfair Games, arguably the company that began the expansion of German-style board games in the U.S., passed away on January 1.  Bromley played a key role in the early days of the hobby games business in the U.S.  He founded Mayfair Games in the early 80s (variously described by different sources as 1980 or 1981) with his brother Peter and published Empire Builder, which he co-designed.

Among other lines published by Mayfair during Bromley’s tenure as CEO were fantasy roleplaying adventures Role Aids and the DC Heroes roleplaying game.  In 1995, he made what may end up being his most momentous move by hiring Jay Tummelson (later founder of Rio Grande Games) and directing him to license German board games for U.S. sale.  Among that first batch of games licensed by Mayfair was Settlers of Catan, now one of the biggest franchises in hobby board games.

Early last year, Bromley donated his game collection, along with the collection of his brother Peter (who passed away in 2016, see "R.I.P. Peter Bromley") to the National Museum of Play (see "Mayfair Founder Donates RPG and Game Collection to National Museum of Play").

We asked Will Niebling, who introduced us to Bromley in the early 80s and who succeeded Bromley as Mayfair CEO when the company was sold in 1997 (see "Niebling Retires as Mayfair CEO") for his comment on Bromley’s passing.  "I had the pleasure of working together with Darwin Bromley for many years, both during his tenure as the President of Mayfair Games and from the earliest years of the GAMA organization," Niebling wrote.  "The world and the game industry are a better place thanks to his contributions.  He will be sorely missed."