Awaken Realms CEO promises ‘no AI art’ in final deluxe Puerto Rico release after questions raised about promo images

A newly-announced deluxe edition of classic economic strategy game Puerto Rico has come under fire after promotional images for the campaign appeared to show tell-tale signs of using AI to create the artwork.

Publisher Awaken Realms revealed on Wednesday that it was launching a crowdfunding campaign for Puerto Rico Special Edition in Q3 of this year on Gamefound, the Kickstarter competitor created by Awaken Realms CEO Marcin Świerkot.

The launch comes two years after a similar campaign for a deluxe component edition of fellow Ravensburger game Castles of Burgundy, which raised almost €3m from more than 22,800 backers. Ravensburger is a significant investor in Gamefound, having signed a $4.5m deal in early 2022.

But the Puerto Rico campaign was immediately pegged by some board gamers as having used AI artwork, citing characteristic tells such as humans being depicted with too many fingers, strange geometries and details within the image bleeding into each other.

Dice Tower previewer Ella Ampongan took to Twitter to highlight issues in the promo artwork, while several commenters on the Gamefound campaign page have also questioned the use of AI art in creating the imagery.

The use of AI art in board games was thrust into the spotlight last September when it emerged FryxGames and Stronghold Games had used the technology in the development of the latest Terraforming Mars Kickstarter campaign, which raised more than $2.2m from over 19,000 backers.

A host of board game publishers, artists and players took to social media and BoardGameGeek forums to condemn that decision, although the online backlash made little dent on the campaign’s runaway success.

Much of the ire stemmed from the way generative AI creates its images, with the most successful software relying on being fed huge quantities of publicly-available artwork – usually without the consent of the artists, or with any attempt to compensate them for using their work.

A month later Essen Spiel, the world’s biggest board game fair, came under fire after admitted using controversial AI-generated art on its tickets, posters and app for its 2023 event.

Awaken Realms CEO Marcin Świerkot told BoardGameWire “there will be no AI art” in the final edition of the new Puerto Rico, but did not respond to questions about the apparent use of AI in creating the crowdfunding campaign launch images.

BoardGameWire also contacted Ravensburger about the company’s AI art policies and for comment on the art in Puerto Rico special edition, but was told it would take until at least the end of the West Coast US working day to formulate a response. That response is included in this follow-up article.


  1. […] Em entrevista ao BoardGameWire, o CEO da Awaken Realms, Marcin Świerkot, disse que não existirá arte proveniente de IA na versão final de Puerto Rico, porém não respondeu a respeito da arte mostrada nos teasers e prévias da campanha (veja aqui). […]

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