Tag Archives: board games expert

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

 

 

The Importance Of Board Game Inventors To The Board Games Business

The Importance Of Board Game Inventors To The Board Games Business

The unsung heroes of the board games business are board game inventors! In so many cases, classic games which are now cultural icons came from the minds of independent or start up inventors before being taken onto a bigger commercial stage by more established board games publishers.

The challenge for board games publishers with highly experienced staff is that there is often a feeling of seen it all before and of doing things a certain way. Creatively speaking, outside inspiration often stretches what a board games company will do and makes the company look at things in a different way.

In some ways board games publishers have the easiest R&D model of nearly any business out there – there is a vast array of tested and honed board game play concepts out there. The average small to medium sized games company will review many hundreds of new concepts each year, bigger companies may review more than a thousand. And from this mighty array of options they can whittle the options down to as few as they can viably launch. That is not to say that there is no work required from that point on – far from it, things need to be tweaked, artwork needs to be developed and any plastic components designed, engineered and manufactured, but nevertheless the pool of creativity available to board game companies is close to unparalleled.

Many games companies hit a rough patch and have a bad year or two, but there can be no excuse that they didn’t have enough ideas to develop! The trick for board game companies is to develop strong filtration systems and processes which can sort the wheat from the chaff. This can take some effort, and every established games company has somewhere along the line turned down a game that became a top seller elsewhere, this is because games publishers can bring in way more concepts than they have time to properly review and it is difficult to predict which games will take off and which will fail spectacularly.

This of course is the main challenge for even professional board game inventors – the high level of competing games concepts and the high quality of many of those concepts makes it hard to place even strong games from originators who really know what they are doing. Therefore, the business model for games inventors is massively stacked with upfront opportunity cost and emotional investment based on faith and love of the game. All this effort and energy needs to be expended well ahead of actually selling anything and making a living. Nobody knows exactly how many board games get published globally each year, but it is in the thousands at least, maybe even ten thousand or more. So, despite heavy competition there is ongoing demand for the output of board game inventors.

For those still unconvinced of the need for or importance of board game inventors in the games business, consider this – all of the following popular and iconic games were created by independent inventors: Monopoly, Clue/do, Trivial Pursuit, Settlers of Catan, Operation, Cranium, Scrabble, Dobble…and many more. So, here’s to those plucky game creators and their glorious output!

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.boardgamebiz.com/index.php/board-game-business-consultancy-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.

 

Understanding The Longevity Of The Board Games Business

Understanding The Longevity Of The Board Games Business

Technology was supposed to kill the board games business! The video games business came out of the periphery of the toy industry originally, and toy and game companies like Hasbro & Mattel made very committed (& costly) forays into this space looking back in time. The video game business is now worth many $billions in its own right. But video games did not kill off board games.

Then came smart phones and tablets which were supposed to kill off all home based non-digital leisure pursuits, and yet again the board game business continued far less spectacularly in the background.

For those of us who have been around a while in the board games industry there are two often heard comments from people not in the business:

  1. Is anyone still buying or playing board games today with all this technology, video on demand and digital gaming? Answer = a thoroughly emphatic yes!
  2. I read that board games are making a comeback this year, is that true? Answer = they never went away!

These two comments are nearly as recurring as Christmas time itself!

The more important question for those of us in the business is why is it that the board games business has not just survived but has thrived as technological revolutions abound? There are several strong factors driving and ensuring the longevity of the board games industry:

  1. Technology has enabled more effective marketing – the classic big company way to launch board games was with shipments to all retailers across the trade and with heavy marketing investment via TV advertising primarily. This launch model has been especially prevalent among toy companies who also sold board games, because that is the toy marketing business model. The most effective marketing tool over time to launch board games which last in the market though, especially for games with compelling gameplay, is to get people playing the game and recommending the game to friends and family. Technology, especially social media has been a huge positive driver for the board games business because this facilitates word of mouth, which has always been one of the top drivers of board games purchases.

 

  1. Human beings are social to their core, and there is no better social facilitator than a compelling board game – if anyone was in any doubt about the need for human beings to connect socially in a face to face, non-digital way, then the strong impact of covid-19 induced lockdowns around the world on mental health and happiness should be clear evidence that humans need to hang out with other humans! Sometimes though, even when we are with our nearest and dearest family and friends conversation can be a bit stilted or perhaps the ice just needs to be melted sometimes when drawing different people together! Aside perhaps from alcohol, there is no better way to bring down social inhibition and get people enjoying each other’s company than playing a good board game. So far, despite all the massive technological advancements, some illustrated cardboard and a few other physical components thrown together in a box have still not been bettered by technology. In time, technology may enhance the experience, but we have seen many attempts to utilise technology to enhance board game experiences and not many have stuck. So often companies chase whizzy technology over just delivering a compelling fun experience!

 

 

  1. Human beings need an antidote to technology addiction – aside from the need for social interaction, humankind is increasingly aware of screen time and tech addiction that is more impulsive and harder to resist than some narcotics! Therefore, one of the key modern drivers of board games purchases and board games playing is backlash to too much screen time.

In conclusion, this is an exciting time in the development of humankind. Technological advancements are accelerating, and in the not too distant future technology will deliver impact on our lives that most adults could not have imagined would occur during their lifetimes. And yet the humble board game continues to represent a growing global market with a richness and diversity of content offerings that is way beyond that of even a decade ago.

So, our prediction is twofold: a) Massive ongoing technological revolution and b) Continuing growth and health for the board games category.

 

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.boardgamebiz.com/index.php/board-game-business-consultancy-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.

 

 

The Important Role Of Pay Off And Climax In Board Games

The Important Role Of Pay Off And Climax In Board Games

There are many different reasons why people play board games and various different parts of board games play which are enjoyed. People aren’t all the same, so they choose to play and choose what to play based on often quite different motives. Historically at least, the archetypal driver of board games play for families was the mother of the household who would want to use board games as a way to bring the family together. While much has changed in society in recent decades, this role of the matriarch of the household is still a strong driver of board games play. But even then, this is an over simplistic characterisation of what drives interest in playing board games. Everybody is different, and therefore they are motivated by a number of other factors, and their choices tend to be different based on the complexity of the human spirit and personality.

Having said all that, one fundamental perennial factor is that those games which deliver a pay off moment along with a rising climax seem to appeal to something universal in all of us. A classic example of a game driven by pay off and climax would be Jenga. Jenga is a game which tests dexterity and visual analysis of a structure, which doesn’t sound that exciting, but the climactic build up to the crescendo of the tower collapsing is a thoroughly compelling factor.

More broadly though, aside from just the sheer climax of a game like Jenga, many long-term classic games deliver a pure moment of someone winning and someone losing. There are many examples of board games that don’t have this of course, but those games which don’t have a big pay off tend to need a really strong and engaging theme or a really compelling and engaging social interaction built into the gameplay.

When you launch your next new board game , perhaps you could view it from the lens of whether it is delivering a compelling build up to a major event or win for one or even better all of the players! If we go back to the example of Jenga, the moment the tower collapses is a fairly shocking event for the person who touched the tower last, but for everyone else it is a moment of relief and ‘schadenfreude’ (meaning taking pleasure in the humiliation or suffering of other people!). There are many ways in which board game mechanisms can deliver this type of climactic event, and that is a long-term proven driver of commercially successful board games.

 

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.boardgamebiz.com/index.php/board-game-business-consultancy-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.