Company of Heroes 2nd Edition of the Board Game.
Image Source: Bad Crow Games

This year’s SPIEL event in Essen, Germany, brought a lot of exciting news to all tabletop game enthusiasts. Unfortunately, among those, we have to report some tragic news – Chris Gabrielson, the co-designer of the esteemed board game “Company of Heroes”, has died while attending the SPIEL event. Understandably, no further details on his death were shared.

The announcement was made by his brother, Brian Gabrielson via the “Company of Heroes” Kickstarter page in a heartfelt message dedicated to his memory. Brian and Chris were co-owners of Bad Crow Games, the board game studio that Chris originally started. Together with Bryan Green, they turned it into a success, producing iconic board games like “Company of Heroes” and the mecha-inspired “Mech Command RTS – A Real Time Strategy Board Game”.

Chris Gabrielson was also serving as Bad Crow Games’ lead designer – a fact his brother Brian made sure to mention, calling him “the driving force and mastermind” behind the studio’s projects. Further, Brian emphasized his brother’s enormous presence and creative contribution within the studio, stating that it was “his passion, creativity, and quest for perfection that made the company what it is”.

Chris Gabrielson’s design genius was evident in his board game design. For instance, “Mech Command RTS – A Real Time Strategy Board Game” has the unique mechanic of attaching actual lasers to your mech in the form of LED pointers, which indicate the line-of-sight. To further this, the “Company of Heroes” board game truly matched the tactical complexity and choices of its PC originator.

“Company of Heroes” Board Game’s New Release Will Be Dedicated to Chris

Brian’s Kickstarter message assured “Company of Heroes” fans that he and Bryan Green will take control of Bad Crow Games, with the aim to respect the fans’ advice regarding major matters going forward. The release of the second edition of the game will be dedicated to Chris’ memory. Brian further promised to keep every step of the game’s release transparent as it moves closer to its dedicated release next summer. The second edition will include some major updates and extensive improvements to gameplay, tactical choices and complexity and unit balance. Some visual updates on the four playable factions will also be included, making them more distinct and unique.

Perhaps the most exciting change of the second edition is the addition of more units into the game. This will be achieved via a slight change in resource generation along with an adjustment to the unit and building costs. These changes will allow the purchase and use of more units, adding even more tactical complexity to the game.

Given the tragic news and the gravity of the situation, we shouldn’t expect any news in regards to “Company of Heroes” while Chris Gabrielson’s family mourns their loss. In his heartfelt message, Brian respectfully asked for “patience over these next few weeks”.

Krasen Gechev

A self-proclaimed warrior-poet, Krasen is a man of many hobbies – ranging from combat sports training, LARPing, to writing poetry. One of those many hobbies happens to be board games. Be it with a fist, pen, sword or keyboard – he aims to be just, merciless and effective.


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