Zev Shlasinger
WizKids recently announced the hiring of game industry veteran and founder of Z-Man Games Zev Shlasinger (see "Zev Shlasinger Joins WizKids").  While WizKids is known for its collectible games, miniatures figures and licensed board game properties, the move seemed surprising given Shlasinger’s background in producing American editions of European board games.  WizKids invited ICv2 to ask questions via email about the move, and CEO Justin Ziran shared details about the company’s upcoming expansion into the traditional board game market.

Since Zev was announced as heading up the Board Games division, what are the other WizKids divisions and who heads them up?
Bryan Kinsella, COO of WizKids, heads up Collectible Games (HeroClix and Dice Masters), RPG figures, and Non-collectible Miniature Games while overseeing many parts of our operations at WizKids.

Alexis Mueller and I oversee our Digital Group responsible for the WizKids Event System, WizKids Digital Games and outbound digital game licensing.

Will WizKids now be buying original game designs?
Yes, as the business expands we’ll be looking at original game designs, new platforms, as well as in-house designs.

Does the company plan to start importing European designs?
We’re looking at all our options and importing Euro game designs is part of the plan.

Did Zev bring the Shadowfist license with him?
While the Shadowfist license isn’t part of our immediate plans, I know Zev’s been interested in doing a game based on the property.

Will Zev be supervising the licensed Dungeons & Dragons board game production?
Zev will be supervising the development of all new games (pending licensor approval) as well as the board games/strategy games we currently have in market.

Does the new expanded games division plan to develop more licensed games based on WizKids’ existing licenses?
Absolutely.  That being said, you can expect to see a portfolio approach in terms of licensed and non-licensed games as well as a variety of game styles not limited to Euro, Thematic, Adventure, Card and Family style games.

Vlaad Chvatil (Mage Knight Board Game, Codenames, Star Trek: Frontiers) just had a major hit (see "'Lanterns' and 'Codenames' Chosen for 'TableTop''"), does WizKids plan to continue a relationship with him?

We’re big Vlaada fans as well.  If Vlaada has time, we would love to partner with him again.