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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/

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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

 

 

 

 

Allow People To Show Off – 9th of 55 Features Of Best Selling Board Games

Allow People To Show Off – 9th of 55 Features Of Best Selling Board Games

Not everybody is a show off, but many of us are!

Allowing people to show can be a powerful driver of Games sales. Whether it is showing off general or specific knowledge (i.e. Trivial Pursuit), a particular skill (i.e. drawing in Pictionary) or just general performing (i.e. Charades).

Showing off leads to conversation, banter even, which in turn brings people together generally speaking.

Not everyone is a show off. In fact, some people hate being made to perform. But they can often still enjoy watching someone else make a fool of themselves! Most importantly though, we tend to have different areas where we are in a position to show off – this is where classic games like Cranium come in, because some players will be good at one of the elements, whereas other players will be able to show off different strengths elsewhere. This may be one reason why Hasbro paid $77m for Cranium 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

Facilitate Social Interaction – 8th of 55 Features of Best Selling Board Games

Facilitate Social Interaction

Board games deliver an experience. It isn’t just about what you get in the box, it’s about the social experience your game facilitates.

In an increasingly screen obsessed world, board games can be such a beneficial mechanism to bring people together. Those classic moments we remember so fondly – arguing over a game of Monopoly, someone upending the board because they lost or someone getting caught cheating – these are all imperfect conduct, but also become part of family lore over time!

Increasingly human beings are in the same room physically, but in different digital worlds mentally. Good board games give us a reason to interact in a real genuine way. There are a million ways to execute this within a game – but for instance, if you draw a card which lets you steal a card from another player, that instantly brings things to life in terms of interpersonal interaction, because then you need to decide which player you will take a card from, and perhaps you will even feel the need to gloat about doing that. These small and simple mechanisms is where much of the social benefits of board games come from.

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 hundreds of 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/

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IMMERSE PLAYERS INTO ANOTHER WORLD – 7/55 FEATURES OF BEST-SELLING BOARD GAMES

IMMERSE PLAYERS INTO ANOTHER WORLD – 7/55 FEATURES OF BEST-SELLING BOARD GAMES

Immerse players into another world. Some people just love to lose themselves in a Fantasy world with their Friends. Games such as Dungeons and Dragons, Magic: The Gathering and Warhammer are examples of this genre, but these are mostly considered for the more ‘hardcore’ gamers. Over time, we have seen great success for games which tried to make this type of immersive fantasy gaming more mainstream and more accessible. Heroquest and Heroscape were two games which tried to make deeper gameplay based on fantasy universes and scenarios accessible to a broader audience, and they achieved genuinely massive commercial success.

Some people love escapism – maybe they watch Netflix sci-fi content to escape the humdrum of everyday life, but that is a passive form of escapism. What this type of board game can do is to offer the same escapism in a more active, social fashion.

As with most other types of board games, there have never been so many ways to reach the type of person or groups of people interested in or at least open to more deeply immersive gaming. Community is everything today, and there are so many marketing tools available to board games companies to reach and activate audiences who were hitherto hard to get to.

 

We help board games companies grow profitably. We help companies understand and access board games markets around the world. Our consultancy services have helped more than 100 companies to date. To find out more about what we do & the services we offer to help board games companies profitably grow, just click here: www.kidsbrandinsight.com/services

 

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Include Replica Money – 6 of 55 Features Of Best Selling Board Games

Include Replica Money – 6 of 55 Features Of Best Selling Board Games

 Families love games with money in e.g. Monopoly, Payday, Game of Life, Go for Broke and others have been top sellers for decades for a reason. These family classic games from Hasbro Gaming are perennial because the need for them is also timeless. Families use these games to teach their children about how money works, basic arithmetic and about the importance of protecting your money and not throwing it away needlessly!

Money of course is not just physical, especially not these days. When Hasbro removed the physical money in a version of Monopoly and added in a device which effectively ran the bank, the product was a massive smash hit, beyond even the usually meteoric sales levels of Monopoly versions.

Clearly it is hard to replicate the success of these classic family games, and so for people developing new games the point is to think forward about how money is changing and how it can have a role to play in games. For instance, one of our favourite games to play is ‘Cash And Guns’ from Repos Production, in this game bank robbers try to pull off a successful ‘heist’, and of course cash is one of the big features.

 

We help board games companies save money on manufacturing. We work with an industry leading board games factory in China. But we can also offer considerable cost savings via our board games factory partners in India. For more information or to ask us to quote for manufacturing for your games, please get in touch via the ‘Contact’ page on this website.

Find A Big Enough Niche – 5/55 Features Of Best-Selling Board Games

Find A Big Enough Niche – 5/55 Features Of Best-Selling Board Games

 

Not every game has to appeal to everyone. By picking out (large) niches, you can deliver successful Games. If you look at Monopoly, the Brand is often extended into new niches with good results. If that can work for a Brand Extension, it can work for an entirely new game.

 

It has never been easier to target a specific group of people who are fans of a particular brand, TV show, celebrity, trend etc. Social media allows us to target pretty much any group of people out there. Whereas once our consumer targeting was dumb, and therefore we had to use very mainstream themes for our board games in order to get distribution, things have changed significantly. We no longer need to develop catchall games which appeal to everyone. We can use PPC, social media and of course the power of Amazon to deliver niche products to market with success.

 

This trend towards products targeted at niche audiences is only going to grow as technology gets smarter and further embedded into our lives. There is of course significant opportunity in selling mass market games to retailers like Walmart, Carrefour and Tesco, but in the end, that is a tough, tough game – because you are one of many companies trying to muscle your products in to limited shelf space with thousands of competing products also vying for the same space. Why be one of many when you can be one of one? There are so many opportunities out there today – and with content proliferation ongoing, opportunities to develop board games based around fandom and niche identity/groupings abound.

 

What exciting times these are!

 

 

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