2022: SAZ Academy | FAQ | 600th member
The SAZ Academy enjoys great demand as an online training forum. With the new FAQ section on our website, we are achieving our goal of appealing in particular to game designers who still have little experience. The Model License Agreement published in 2020 serves successfully as an orientation for publishers and game designers. In December 2022, we welcomed the 600th member of the Game Designers Association.
2021: CODE OF RESPECT AND RESPONSIBILITY | COALITION AGREEMENT: GAMES INTO THE National Library
Initiated by the SAZ, an international group of game designers has created a Code of Respect and Responsibility to promote respectful as well as careful treatment of themes and content in analog games. In November, our demand to include analog games in the collection catalog of the German National Library was anchored as target in the coalition agreement of the new German government.
2020: Initiatives of SAZ and their achievements
The German Directory of Available Books (VLB) launched a project to categorize games in a standardized way so that they can be included comprehensively in the future. This will strengthen the book trade distribution channel and improve the data situation for our library royalties. The FDP brought a motion to the German Bundestag to include games in the German National Library.
In addition, the SAZ published a new Model License Agreement "Games" as a benchmark for the entire industry as well as a "Mirror of Royalties and Contract Terms" for its members.
2019: 500th member | Many new guides published
At the Nuremberg Toy Fair, we welcomed our 500th member. During the year, a number of guides were published to support our members with the topics: VG WORT & library royalties, taxes, social security, double taxation of royalties, and better contracts.
2018: Premiere: Dialogue between game and politics
At the International Fair SPIEL'18 in Essen on 25 October, a public discussion between representatives of analog games and politicians took place for the first time. The Game Designers Association (SAZ), together with the German Cultural Council, had invited cultural politicians to a panel discussion in order to raise public awareness of the "cultural asset of games".
2017: SAZ-Italia founded | New web presence of SAZ
In Italy, the first regional group outside of Germany was founded to better represent the interests of Italian game designers and in line with national specificities. Following the redesign of the SAZ website, a complete Italian version was launched at the end of the year.
2016: German Federal Tax Authority and Ministry of Finance ACCEPT COPYRIGHT FOR GAMES
The discussion with the German Federal Tax Authority (BZST) in Bonn and the Federal Ministry of Finance in Berlin lasted nearly eight months until the distinction between industrial property rights and licensing agreements based on copyright had been clearly defined. Particularly Italian game authors, whom until then had often been deducted withholding tax in Germany, profit from this primarily.
2016: STATUS OF GAME DESIGNERS IN THE GERMAN SOCIAL INSURANCE FOR ARTISTS CLARIFIED
The long-standing legal uncertainty about the obligation by work users to pay a social security levy on royalties is now history. After a legal dispute with a German publisher who refused to pay this levy, the SAZ was able to include game authors and game designers in the catalog of the creative activities of the Künstlersozialkasse KSK (Social Insurance for Artists).
2015: GAMES IN THE GERMAN NATIONAL LIBRARY / BYLAW REFORM
The SAZ was able to convince the Spieleverlage e.V. (German Association of Game Publishers) as well as the German Cultural Council for their demand, already published in 2014, to include games in the collection catalog of the German National Library – see as well Themes. The City of Nuremberg's Culture Committee was delighted about the idea of using the German Games Archive in Nuremberg as a center of excellence.
In June, after a long-standing discussion, the SAZ's General Assembly passed a comprehensive reform of the bylaws, which also cleared the way for the position of a managing director.
2014: GERMAN MINISTERY OF JUSTICE TREATS GAMES AS EQUAL TO OTHER CREATIVE WORKS
In response to a request from the member of parliament Ansgar Heveling (CDU) the Parliamentary State Secretary and member of parliament Christian Lange, on behalf of Minister Heiko Maas, confirmed that "games and game rules may be covered by the protection of copyright law. … As for other works, this is a question of the individual case."
2013: SUCCESSFUL NEGOTIATIONS WITH RAVENSBURGER / ADMITTANCE TO COPYRIGHT ORGANIZATIONS
Since 2012, the SAZ has been negotiating hard, and finally successful with the Ravensburger Spieleverlag about the contents of their new license agreement for game designers. In August 2013, these negotiations were concluded with a largely positive result.
In the same year, the SAZ became an active member of the Initiative Urheberrecht and a supporting member of the Munich Institute for Authors and Media Law in order to intensify its lobbying activities in this area. See as well here.
2013 GAME DESIGNERS ARE AUTHORS!
With a signing campaign on change.org, the SAZ was able to win nearly 5,000 supporters for its claim to the German Association of Game Publishers, to recognize game designers as authors and the SAZ as the negotiating partner. The managing director of the “Fachgruppe Spiel” had previously questioned the status of game designers as authors referring to them as "suppliers". More information can be found here.
2011: THE SAZ CELEBRATES ITS 20th ANNIVERSARY!
The SAZ was awarded the "Inno-Spatz" at the 30th Göttingen Games Designer Meeting for its dedicated commitment to the interests of the games designers. This prize has been awarded by the co-organizer and founder of the event, Reinhold Wittig, in cooperation with the city of Göttingen.
2011 Campaign start "Games also have authors"
With this action, the SAZ turned to publishers, the media and trade to underline the significance of the game authors and make the creative minds behind the games visible. In the following years, we were able to find that many publishers made the authors of the games more prominent and also the media called the author names in reviews more often.
2010: Touring EXHIBITION "HOW A GAME IS CREATED"
At SPIEL '10 in Essen, the SAZ presented its exhibition consisting of approximately 50 rollups for the first time. These rollups exemplify the creative process with its development phases up to the finished game for individual game designers and their work. This exhibition has toured Germany for several years and can now be lent at the Deutsches Spielemuseum in Chemnitz. Click on the image to open the full view.
2008: THE SAZ BECAME MEMBER IN THE GERMAN CULTURAL COUNCIL
The admission of the SAZ in the section Socio-culture and Cultural Education of the German Cultural Council has been an important milestone for the public recognition of the game as a cultural asset and is a good basis for promoting our goals socio-politically.
2004–2015 ALEX Media Prize
With this prize, the SAZ wanted to award works of journalists that give a better understanding to the general public in a convincing way, by describing the experience of playing and the social importance of games. The focus was primarily on outstanding contributions that illuminate a new or unusual aspect of playing, if possible, or deal with the subject in a special way.
2001: Deutscher Spielepreis – Special Prize
Merz-Verlag, the organizer of the International Spieltage in Essen and the German Games Prize, awarded the SAZ a special prize in 2001. The justification statement reads "Through its work since its founding 10 years ago, the Spiele-Autoren-Zunft e.V. (SAZ) has played a significant role in representing the rights and interests of largely anonymous game designers and has made it possible that the unique term “Autorenspiel” ("author’s game”) gained recocgnition in Germany."
1993: Members of SAZ receive free entrance to the Toy Fair in Nuremberg
In an agreement with the Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg, the SAZ board was able to achieve free tickets to the trade fair for game authors who are members of the SAZ. This rule still applies.
1991 founded – How it started
The gaming scene formed in Germany at the beginning of the 1980s. The Jury Game of the Year, which awarded its coveted prize since 1979, certainly contributed to this. In 1983, the first Game Authors Meeting took place in Göttingen - initiated by Karin and Reinhold Wittig. The first participants were, among others, Hajo Bücken, Max Kobbert and Wolfgang Kramer. In 1983, the first International Spieltage - organized by Friedhelm Merz - took place in Essen at the Volkshochschule.
The SAZ was born in Graz: the game designers Hajo Bücken, Wolfgang Kramer and Alex Randolph met at a games festival organized by Arno and Elfriede Hofer in Graz. They decided over a beer to go ahead and promote the founding of an association of game designers. For this idea they were able to recruit Erwin Glonnegger, Dirk Hanneforth, Max Kobbert, Wolfgang Riedesser, Johann Rüttinger, Klaus Teuber, Detlef Wendt, Karin Wittig and Knut-Michael Wolf as additional founding members.
The objectives were relatively clear: representation of the interests of the game designers, declaring of the designer names on the box cover, more fairness in the contracts with publishers, clarifying conflicts in advance, making game designers recognized as such, and promoting games as a cultural property.
After lengthy discussions about the child's name, it became then the "Spiele-Autoren-Zunft e.V." (Games-Authors-Guild ... literally translated), founded on October 17th, 1991 in Essen. Hajo Bücken was elected chairman, Klaus Teuber as his deputy and Dirk Hanneforth as treasurer. A chronology of all board members can be found here.