Tag Archives: best selling board games

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

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

 

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 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

 

 

Obvious Concept & Gameplay – 4/55 Features Of Best Selling Board Games

Obvious Concept & Gameplay – 4/55 Features Of Best Selling Board Games

Having an overtly obvious concept & gameplay can be one of the key success factors for new board games. Classic games with heritage in the market, whereby people already know what the game is and how it plays, they can have quite complicated gameplays and obscure concepts. This can often confuse those new to the board games market into thinking that they can mirror these classic games. The reality though is that the modern mass market gamer tends not to have the attention span to make the effort to work out something complicated. Therefore having a blindingly obvious gameplay and game concept is important for new games.

Eventually it is the substance of the gameplay which will define success – if the experience of playing the game is not compelling then post launch reviews and bad word of mouth may kill the game, but before game play quality and experience can result in further sales due to the social proof of others liking and recommending them, enough games need to be sold initially. Think of this in terms of a virus pandemic like the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus spreads, and people who contract the virus then pass it onto more people, who pass it onto more people and so on. The same principle applies to marketing board games, and just like with a virus the higher the levels of exposure achieved in the first instance the bigger the impact.

One further point on this feature of best selling board games – the primary form of marketing for board games is the packaging. If the person hasn’t seen or heard of the game before, and if the marketing for the game has not reached them then the purchase decision will be driven primarily by the on pack communication. The implication of this is that we can forget trying to create clever abstract artworks with our board games packaging – we need to really clearly communicate what the game is, who it is for and why the person should buy it. This applies both in physical retail and online. The dynamic may be a little different but if the person looks at the pack or the image of the pack and can’t quickly see what it is and why they should want to buy it then they will look elsewhere.

 

We help board games companies grow profitably. To date we have delivered $tens of millions of new sales revenues for board games companies across the world. We have also saved our clients around $10m in manufacturing cost savings. Our work has helped more than 100 companies. 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

Simplicity Works – 3/55 Features of best selling board games

Simplicity works.

This is the 3rd out of 55 features we identified of best selling board games

Some really great games are just simple. There are some really classic long term successful games which have really simple gameplay i.e. Checkers/Draughts or Uno. As long as a game is great fun it doesn’t need to be complex. In fact one of the primary attractions of this type of game is the ease of understanding.

General apathy from the occasional mass market gamer towards investing the time and effort required to learn how to play a game is the biggest barrier for games companies to overcome. Unless you are a company offering super complex games for a hardcore gamer with an instruction manual that is as thick as a house brick, simplicity and quick start instructions are critical to achieving mass adoption of your game.

As long as your game mechanic and the social dynamic it creates is compelling, simplicity can be a really good thing.

 

We help board games companies grow profitably. To date we have delivered $tens of millions of new sales revenues for board games companies across the world. We have also saved our clients around $10m in manufacturing cost savings. Our work has helped more than 100 companies. 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

Variety Is The Spice Of Life – 2/55 Best Selling Board Games Features

Variety Is The Spice Of Life – 2/55 Best Selling Board Games Features

 This is the 2nd of the 55 features we have identified that can underpin best-selling board games.

Creating Games which have a varied play pattern should ensure that players don’t get bored. Games with dull & predictable play patterns don’t tend to sell well over the long term. Games which keep the players ‘on their toes’ often do!

This variety can come in many forms – from different question categories in a Trivia game, to a scenario changing card or event, or a ‘random’ card or mechanism in a game. By twisting up the gameplay, the experience can be made more compelling but also less predictable. There are plenty of games where the result is evident long in advance of the end of the game, which can become boring and can limit repeat play value in a game. And repeat play value tends to be one of the primary long term success factors for board games.

The variety that is required needn’t be difficult, deep or complicated though. As an example, take Asmodee’s outrageously successful card game Dobble. Dobble has the power to transform a room full of people, and that is a really special thing. The game itself doesn’t become boring because every time a new card is turned over the game changes, and the visual observations have to start again. Introducing compelling variety into game play can be this simple.

If you found this article interesting, please share with your friends and colleagues in the board games business.

 

We help board games companies grow profitably. To date we have delivered c. $90m in new sales revenues for board games across the world. We have also saved our clients around $10m in manufacturing cost savings. Our work has helped more than 100 companies. 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

55 Features Of Best Selling Board Games – No. 1 Reinvention

55 Features Of Best Selling Board Games – No. 1 Reinvention

This is the first in a series of articles looking at various key themes and features of best-selling board games. This is a serialisation of our book ’55 Features Of Best-Selling Board Games’.

 

Reinvention can sell more units than mere Invention! Some Types of Games just work really well, and so why completely reinvent, if there is part of a proven formula you can ethically use, and can genuinely add value to and improve, then use it (but take legal advice to avoid infringing other people’s rights – the tangible and karmic implications of legal disputes are not to be entered into lightly).

There are a number of classic examples of this, for instance, when Monopoly board game added a calculator to replace the physical money they found they had a massive hit product on their hands despite the fact that the original version of Monopoly had already been in the market for generations. This is reinvention, and there is no bigger example of successful reinvention than ‘Monopoly Here And Now’. If you want the inside track on how this game came to be, you can listen to our podcast interview with Richard Heayes the ex-Hasbro Games designer credited with the original idea:

https://playingatbusiness.libsyn.com/creating-best-selling-board-games-with-richard-heayes

Reinvention though doesn’t just need to apply to best selling games like Monopoly. Maybe there is an old fairground or arcade game you can rediscover and bring to market in a board games format, or maybe a game you played once as a child but haven’t seen for decades since. If it worked once, maybe it will work again!

We’ll be back next time with Feature No. 2 of best selling board games.

 

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.