Category Archives: Uncategorized

Pander to the urge to dominate – 20/55 Features of Best-Selling Board Games

Pander to the urge to dominate – 20/55 Features of Best-Selling Board Games

If you looked at the media reports about board games, they would tend to suggest that because board games are a positive activity which encourage social interaction, and have a range of other benefits that players play games for entirely worthy reasons.

But just because board games have positive benefits does not mean that the darker side of the human psyche remains in the bottle during playing board games. There are plenty of gams which encourage (sometimes vicious) competition. Monopoly, for instance, is a game which is all about dominating your opposition financially and putting other players out of the game. Risk is the ultimate game of megalomania, the game is about conquest and crushing your opponents.

People tend to be full of contradictory characteristics, but also families tend to be made up of people who view game playing differently from each other. There are plenty of people around who love to play games because it gives them an opportunity to compete and win against those closest to them.

The fact that the two games listed above have sold hundreds of millions of units should be good enough proof to show that games which appeal to our basest competitive instincts can be vastly commercially successful.

 

We run a Consultancy business helping board games companies to grow. We have experience of most major board games markets around the world and our team has developed more than 200 board games including versions of classic games like Monopoly, Clue/do, Risk, Game of Life etc. For more information on our services (including our Export sales Consultancy) please just click here: https://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/services/

Sign up now for our free BoardGameBiz newsletter offering insights, news and analysis of the business of Board Games. We’ll also send you a free copy of our book ’55 Features of Best-Selling Board Games’ – just click here to sign up

 

Chuck Some Technology In The Box – 17/55 Features Of Best-Selling Board Games

Chuck some Technology in the box – 17 of 55 Features Of Best-Selling Board Games

Featuring the new technology of the moment can be a great way of driving Sales.

There’s no reason why you can’t add in a gameplay feature needing people to refer to / use their smartphones, social media or whatever else is the current hot technology.

The key point though is that whatever technology is added in needs to enhance the gameplay experience. Very simple mechanical technology can provide a thoroughly compelling gameplay, whereas sometimes having super high tech with the massive development costs that go along with that can look whizzy but be confusing or not deliver a great experience.

The way to have success with technology added to board games is to focus first and foremost on why people play board games, and how any tech can improve that play experience. People play board games for social interaction, so how can an added element make that social interaction better? For example, there have been several board games featuring a lie detector, and while the technology behind lie detectors and the efficacy of lie detectors is perhaps questionable in terms of accuracy, that almost doesn’t matter with social experience. The point is to deliver fun first and social interaction second.

 

We run a Consultancy business helping board games companies to grow. We have experience of most major board games markets around the world and our team has developed more than 200 board games including versions of classic games like Monopoly, Clue/do, Risk, Game of Life etc. For more information on our services (including our Export sales Consultancy) please just click here: https://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/services/

Sign up now for our free BoardGameBiz newsletter offering insights, news and analysis of the business of Board Games. We’ll also send you a free copy of our book ’55 Features of Best-Selling Board Games’ – just click here to sign up

 

Make a Game Around a Celebrity – 16/55 Features Of Best-Selling Board Games

Make a Game Around a Celebrity – 16/55 Features Of Best-Selling Board Games

Celebrities are a huge part of societal culture nowadays. They are well known and tend to have massive social media communities and followings which be accessed to sell merchandise.

Board games based on celebrities are not new – our research found an Elvis Presley game published in 1957, an MC Hammer game we think was launched in 1991 and a Britney Spears version of Twister in 2012.

It’s kind of obvious how this works, find someone really famous, pay them bucket loads of money, slap their face on the box and off we go! But beware, the secret is to fit the Celeb together with Gameplay that makes sense.

This type of game tends to be quite hit and miss, just because the person is famous doesn’t automatically mean that fans will want to buy a board game based on that celebrity, but a celebrity that fits well with a particular game format or as a brand extension can lead to commercial success.

We run a Consultancy business helping board games companies to grow. We have experience of most major board games markets around the world and our team has developed more than 200 board games including versions of classic games like Monopoly, Clue/do, Risk, Game of Life etc. For more information on our services (including our Export sales Consultancy) please just click here: https://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/services/

Sign up now for our free BoardGameBiz newsletter offering insights, news and analysis of the business of Board Games. We’ll also send you a free copy of our book ’55 Features of Best-Selling Board Games’ – just click here to sign up


Find A Way That Kids And Adults Can Play Together – 15/55 Features Of Best-Selling Board Games

Find a way that Kids and Adults can play together – 15/55 Features Of Best-Selling Board Games

It can be a major frustration factor in playing family board games when the Adult has to keep losing to ensure the kids remain happy, so Games which balance out the Adult advantage can sometimes sell well. For instance, family targeted versions of Trivial Pursuit often feature different questions for children, and harder questions for Adults, or sometimes the nature of the Game/License makes it easier for the kids to win i.e. in a Disney edition of Trivial Pursuit, kids generally know more of what’s happened in their favourite Disney films, while the adults tend to have a hazy memory of the films they watched as kids themselves.

There are plenty of examples of a family game being aged downwards by simpler rules and themes e.g. Monopoly Junior and Clue/do Junior editions. But creating a game play that can genuinely prove compelling for both children and parents can open up big opportunities for board games. So many ‘Family’ games are really pitched at children and patients playing along to aid the development of their children. BUT if you can deliver a fun and compelling social experience for both within the same game you might just be onto a winner!

 

We run a Consultancy business helping board games companies to grow. We have experience of most major board games markets around the world and our team has developed more than 200 board games including versions of classic games like Monopoly, Clue/do, Risk, Game of Life etc. For more information on our services (including our Export sales Consultancy) please just click here: https://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/services/

Sign up now for our free BoardGameBiz newsletter offering insights, news and analysis of the business of Board Games. We’ll also send you a free copy of our book ’55 Features of Best-Selling Board Games’ – just click here to sign up

 

Get Your Players To Recruit Other Players – 14 of 55 Features Of Best-Selling Board Games

Get Your Players To Recruit Other Players – 14 of 55 Features Of Best-Selling Board Games

One of the best strengths of board games as a business is that you can usually rely on people playing your game recruiting other people into buying and playing your games (as long as your games deliver a compelling and recommendable play experience!).

It takes a lot of money to sell consumer products via marketing and advertising. Why would you spend big bucks on traditional marketing when you can instead invest in incentivising your existing core players to recruit other people to buy and play your game?

Word of mouth/played at a friend’s house is a proven major factor in driving Games sales. Our team has conducted dozens of consumer research projects looking into why people buy and play with Games, and in every study we completed over more than two decades, recommendation, social proof – call it what you like – is the primary factor.

So, in order to ramp up sales of your board games, could you build a marketing program based on encouraging and even facilitating this word-of-mouth effect?

 

We run a Consultancy business helping board games companies to grow. We have experience of most major board games markets around the world and our team has developed more than 200 board games including versions of classic games like Monopoly, Clue/do, Risk, Game of Life etc. For more information on our services (including our Export sales Consultancy) please just click here: https://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/services/

Sign up now for our free BoardGameBiz newsletter offering insights, news and analysis of the business of Board Games. We’ll also send you a free copy of our book ’55 Features of Best-Selling Board Games’ – just click here to sign up

 

 

Become The Opposite – 13/55 Features of Best-Selling Board Games

Become The Opposite – 13/55 Features of Best-Selling Board Games

When you have a best-selling board game in your portfolio, you often find out that there are some flaws in the game. Despite the obvious commercial appeal of the game, sometimes the gameplay experience or the positioning of the game in the market open up some obvious possibilities to compete with the successful game by taking an opposite position in the market.

By way of an example, if you read online consumer reviews, many people state that the main versions of Trivial Pursuit take too long, and for some (but not all), can be too serious. This is despite the fact that Trivial Pursuit is one of the top selling board games of all time and is usually one of the first games mass market gamers get out to play when they have a social occasion.

Going back in time a while, Trivial Pursuit faced a strong competitive threat from upstart game ‘Wits & Wagers’, which made trivia game play more accessible by adding a gambling element which means that the smartest person doesn’t always necessarily win.

For every fantastically successful game out there, there is a gap in the opposite positioning to that game…therein lies a huge amount of opportunity!

 

We run a Consultancy business helping board games companies to grow. We have experience of most major board games markets around the world and our team has developed more than 200 board games including versions of classic games like Monopoly, Clue/do, Risk, Game of Life etc. For more information on our services (including our Export sales Consultancy) please just click here: https://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/services/

Sign up now for our free BoardGameBiz newsletter offering insights, news and analysis of the business of Board Games. We’ll also send you a free copy of our book ’55 Features of Best-Selling Board Games’ – just click here to sign up

 

 

Slap A License On It – 12/55 Features Of Best-Selling Board Games

Slap a license on it – 12 of 55 Features of Best-Selling Board Games

People buy brands they know and trust, they also buy merchandise based on loved programs, movies, comics and more. Sometimes licensed board games can become best sellers based on this. Often given as a gift to someone who has a particular affinity to a particular brand, licensed games are not always renowned for their high-quality gameplay.

There are though many co-branded Licensed games whereby a well known and often much-loved board games brand will have a version featuring a License. Some good examples of this would be the Disney Monopoly or Disney Trivial Pursuit editions produced by board games giant Hasbro in conjunction with Disney. The trick is normally in ensuring that there is a good fit between the licensed and the existing board games brand – for example, Monopoly with it’s family friendly image may not be well matched with merchandise for a gory horror movie! One of the best examples we have seen was the Risk board game edition with a Lord of the Rings license featuring the territories of Middle Earth, and unsurprisingly because of the fantastic synergy between the existing board game brand and license in that instance the product was a commercial success according to reports in the trade press at the time.

There are of course risks with Licenses, the most obvious risks are financial. Royalties and minimum guarantees can make even a successful game unprofitable. Moreover, utilising a License is not a guarantee of success. Just walk-through discount stores used as clearance channels for overstocks by Games companies and you will see plenty of Licensed Games in there at 25% of their original price!

 

We run a Consultancy business helping board games companies to grow. We have experience of most major board games markets around the world and our team has developed more than 200 board games including versions of classic games like Monopoly, Clue/do, Risk, Game of Life etc. For more information on our services (including our Export sales Consultancy) please just click here: https://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/services/

Sign up now for our free BoardGameBiz newsletter offering insights, news and analysis of the business of Board Games. We’ll also send you a free copy of our book ’55 Features of Best-Selling Board Games’ – just click here to sign up

 

Market The Hell Out Of It – 11 of 55 Features of Best Selling Board Games

Market The Hell Out Of It – 11 Of 55 Best Selling Board Games

 Frankly, some games succeed because of the level of Marketing that goes behind them, if the Marketing stopped, the sales may stop, but if you have the money to do it in the first place, big Marketing spend often = big sales (although not always big profit!).

One of the quirks of the board games business is the overlap with the rest of the toy business (the toy business looks at games and puzzles as a sub-category of toys). This means that many toy companies also have some games and puzzles in their portfolio. The interesting thing to note here is that the marketing model for toys is all about dumping as much stock as possible on retail shelves and in e-commerce warehouses, and then promoting simple but compelling key product features to children via mass market media (both social media platforms and TV advertising (yep, TVCs are still a big part of toy company marketing plans).

The difference though between board games and the rest of toys is that toys are normally designed for children to play with on their own, with other people normally not required. Games are above all a social experience and are typically a parentally driven purchase, which is a very different communication target for advertising – parents want to hear about educational and developmental benefits and about creating golden family moments.

Those toy companies who also sell board games tend to follow the classic toy marketing method i.e. heavy stock dump into the market and a lot of marketing investment.

The reality is that long term success in board games is normally driven by organic year on year growth, but there is no doubt that you can shift a lot of boxes with heavy marketing investment!

 

We run a Consultancy business helping board games companies to grow. We have experience of most major board games markets around the world and our team has developed more than 200 board games including versions of classic games like Monopoly, Clue/do, Risk, Game of Life etc. For more information on our services (including our Export sales Consultancy) please just click here: https://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/services/

Sign up now for our free BoardGameBiz newsletter offering insights, news and analysis of the business of Board Games. We’ll also send you a free copy of our book ’55 Features of Best-Selling Board Games’ – just click here to sign up

 

 

Blend Multiple Gameplays – 10 of 55 Best Selling Board Games

Blend multiple gameplays – 10 of 55 Features of Best Selling Board Games

One of the challenges with some popular games is that they favour players with a particular aptitude, this means that the level of competition can be unequal, which doesn’t always encourage repeat play, which after all is the cornerstone of successful board games generally speaking.

The best example we can think of a classic game which blends different gameplays is Cranium. On one level you could argue that the core Cranium game was not that creative – featuring several already known gameplay patterns. But the magic of Cranium was in equalising out the gameplay so that someone with a particular aptitude i.e. for trivia or for drawing could not rule the roost because the game tested more than just one thing.

There was certainly something magic enough in Cranium for Hasbro to buy the company and brand for a reported $77m back in 2008!

 

We run a Consultancy business helping board games companies to grow. We have experience of most major board games markets around the world and our team has developed more than 200 board games including versions of classic games like Monopoly, Clue/do, Risk, Game of Life etc. For more information on our services (including our Export sales Consultancy) please just click here: https://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/services/

Sign up now for our free BoardGameBiz newsletter offering insights, news and analysis of the business of Board Games. We’ll also send you a free copy of our book ’55 Features of Best-Selling Board Games’ – just click here to sign up

How To Sell Board Games

How To Sell Board Games

Selling board games is quite different to selling toys or other consumer products. While some of the same basic communication points apply i.e. what’s the pricing, category, consumer target and so on. But, above all selling board games is about succinctly & effectively communicating the essence of the gameplay and the resulting social experience. Demonstrating gameplay is in itself a bit of an art, because too much information and too many rules can turn people off, but too little and they are left wondering what the point is. It is also really hard in business circumstances e.g. during a hurried trade show meeting of a few minutes to effectively recreate the actual setting for playing games. Not many games companies manage to get their buyers to a home with dinner, wine, music and some friends. Instead, the entire sales process relies on a conceptual leap on behalf of the buyer.

There are though 4 key tips we have identified after speaking to people across the board games business which can help to give you the best chance of selling your games:

  1. Let the buyer win!

Nobody likes to lose at games, so it is only logical that you find a way to help your buyer to win the game you are demonstrating to them. Maybe you need to stack the cards, perhaps you need one of your team to sacrifice themselves to facilitate the buyer’s success – but however you do it, make sure your buyer wins. Ok, this is a little disingenuous, but your competitors are doing this (or if not, more fool them because plenty of companies do this).

 

  1. Distil the explanation of the gameplay & general concept

We spoke to one industry veteran who told us about asking a demonstrator at Essen Spiel to give a quick introduction to how a game played. 15 minutes later, and the full rules having been regurgitated in a purely one-way fashion, and even the hardiest of gamers would have glazed over! To sell a game you have to quickly communicate what it is, why it is a good idea for them to buy it & then quickly demonstrate how it plays.

  1. Be clear on specific competition & why your game is different/better

There are tens of thousands of board games on the market! So, why is your game different enough or better in some way to merit selection? Don’t forget your buyer (whether a retailer or distributor) is seeing many other products, so you ned to have a clear answer to the following question: why should I buy this product versus all the others I can choose from?

  1. Succinct & compelling video presentations are essential

Sometimes you can’t be there to present in person, sometimes you need to share a gameplay demonstration & sales pitch remotely, so you had better have a great video for each game you are trying to sell. Moreover though, in a world where Amazon & other e-tailers play an ever-greater role and have ever increasing market share, you need a bespoke video demo & advert for use online.

There are of course many other factors in selling board games – not least of which is having really good salespeople who can create the opportunity to pitch in the first place, but the bottom line is that you need to plan and practise the art of presenting gameplay and game concepts to be successful.

 

We run a Consultancy business helping board games companies to grow. We have experience of most major board games markets around the world and our team has developed more than 200 board games including versions of classic games like Monopoly, Clue/do, Risk, Game of Life etc. For more information on our services (including our Export sales Consultancy) please just click here: https://www.kidsbrandinsight.com/services/

Sign up now for our free BoardGameBiz newsletter offering insights, news and analysis of the business of Board Games. We’ll also send you a free copy of our book ’55 Features of Best-Selling Board Games’ – just click here to sign up