November 1, 2021 – In a surprising twist that is being billed as rethinking their distribution strategy, Iello France cuts ties With Iello USA. An article posted on ICv2 claimed the French board game company is done with the US counterpart and its COO, Stephan Brissaud. They go on to speak of official word from Iello France.
The company “…has decided to rethink the distribution of its products IELLO and LOKI in the United States and in Canada,” it said in its announcement. “Consequently, IELLO, through its legal advisor, terminated the distribution agreement, effective December 31, 2021, which authorized IELLO USA to distribute IELLO products in the United States, ending any collaboration with Mr. Stephan Brissaud, COO of IELLO USA. IELLO reserves the right to communicate at a later date on the reasons which led to these decisions.”
It seems pretty interesting that they not only give a vague “rethinking” announcement when making a big move but that they are calling out the COO specifically. Brissaud is the president of the board of directors of GAMA (Game Manufacturers Association). He has been in some hot water in the past. In 2018, Brissaud, then President of the organization, was censured by the GAMA board over an incident at a Gen Con where he pushed past security when asked to present his badge which got him expelled from the event. Iello has made no indication if this had anything to do with their decision.
What exactly is going to happen now and in the future is unclear but the Iello US website has been down since October 19, 2021. On that day we at Board Game Halv reached out to Iello about this change and have not heard any response back.
Created in 2004 in Nancy by Cédric Barbé and Patrice Boulet, today IELLO is a globally recognized board game publisher and distributor. The business has grown from mail order collectible cards to acting as a wholesaler distributor. In 2008, it diversified again by beginning to co-publish, a work that includes translating and adapting games to the French culture. This new activity naturally evolved in 2009 into its current state: publishing their own games.