How To Diversify A Board Games Portfolio
Trends in board games ebb and flow over time. Particular gameplay genres or sub-categories are strong sometimes and wane at some other times. Often when a particular game from one genre has been successful, many more of a similar ilk follow. That type of game then goes from driving huge sales and sku productivity to supporting a lot of ‘me too’ games which often erode the positive trend in that category over a few selling cycles.
This situation can be hard to manage for a board games company. They either jump on the bandwagon so they at least get a slice of the hot action, or they sit out and risk losing sales and market share.
Generally speaking, the best way to manage this situation for a board games company is mixture of balance and spreading multiple well performing ‘eggs’ across multiple ‘baskets’. A board games company which only has one type of game in their portfolio is at risk of suffering ups and downs as support for each type of board gaming sub-genre vacillates up and down. By playing across multiple categories the risk is spread and overall the business is more protected against exciting but unsustainable ‘Ups’ and the inevitable and painful ‘downs’ which follow.
One obvious example of how to manage this is to include both adult and child/family targeted board games in the product portfolio. Even if your preference or the preference of your development teams is towards one type of game – let’s say towards involved games for adults, then you can open up new distribution opportunities for those games quite often by also offering games which are more directly relevant to other retailers who may be more geared towards selling toys and games for children. Parents of children are also adults who may want to play your adult games with their friends.
You can also add balance to your board games portfolio by mixing up the types of components, price points, play occasions, level of game play complexity and immersion and by varying themes and gameplay dynamics.
For long term sustained success, the goal for all board games companies should be to build a balanced and ever green collection of known and popular games which get an easy retail listing every year because they are proven performers, and which sell through retail consistently over time. Alongside this stable of perennial games though should be a balanced product portfolio to ensure the latest fads in games can’t disrupt the apple cart too fundamentally.
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