Change The Format – 24 of 55 Features Of Best-Selling Board Games

Change The Format – 24 of 55 Features Of Best-Selling Board Games

Let’s face it, this is not the most imaginative of options, but it is arguably the most proven and the most effective path to creating top selling products.

There are many examples we could use, but one which seems to fit really well with this factor is Yahtzee. Poker is a generic game, and although Poker sets seem to have a moment in the headlines every decade or so, it is hard to have anything ownable or unique with Poker sets. You could run licensed Poker sets perhaps, but then you could do a licensed version of anything arguably!

What Yahztee does though is to take a known, generic game play and twists the format to create something more unique and ownable, which can then have a brand built around it. Since launch in 1956, Yahtzee has sold tens of millions of copies, so there is no doubting it is a best-selling game.

The question then becomes what other established Gameplay patterns could be out there just waiting for you to apply a format twist to? Now for everyone who has worked in the games business for a while there is at least one, if not ten, stories of someone who thinks they have reinvented Chess, but these ‘reinventions’ are often a bit lame, make the game less accessible and slower to play and don’t really add value. If you could reinvent Chess in a way which makes it quicker, easier to access, unique and can apply a brand over it you could find a best-seller. But there are of course many other game play formats out there just waiting for adaptation.

In addition, sometimes a company has an existing successful game that has been under extended. Brand extensions are a massive part of the board games business – any board games expert will tell you that – so if you have a successful perennial game there might just be a format change which will allow you to drive incremental sales. But remember Reece’s Law of Brand Extensions – a realistic target for a brand extension game should be 1/3rd of the original games sales. Like all rules there are exceptions to this rule, but you can’t just expect to keep churning out new formats of existing games with no limits, eventually sales start to reduce or cannibalise, but if you set realistic expectations you could just win big.


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