Tag Archives: board games market analysis

Take It On The Road – 49/55 Features Of Best-Selling Board Games

Take It On The Road – 49/55 Features Of Best-Selling Board Games

Board game business news

Some Games are tailor made to be taken on the road, and therefore, when people are planning a road trip, the occasion often stimulates a purchase propensity. Anyone who has tried to entertain overactive children on a long car journey, flight or train trip can testify that things get fractious pretty quickly unless you pre-plan and take entertainment with you. Needless to say, this often today results in ‘zombiefied’ screen time to keep those little darlings quiet, but with a little planning, long boring journeys can be turned into quality family time.

From basic card games using a standard 52 card deck, through to more complex games, the lay opportunity is strong when you get a group of people with nothing much to do for a while.

One of our team travelled the world for a year with a deck of cards, a travel chess set and the classic French card game ‘Mille Bornes’, which loosely translates as a thousand milestones. Coach trip after coach trip, long haul flight after long haul flight, our team member entertained themselves, their travelling companions and plenty of other random strangers with just these 3 games!

So perhaps a portable version of your best-selling game may prove to be a lucrative spin-off, or perhaps you can create a bespoke gameplay and theme around the central topic of people travelling.

You don’t want a lot of loose playing pieces and complicated balance/dexterity involved though if you are selling to people travelling on jerky trains and bumpy car rides.


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Why 2021 Should Be A Good Year For The Board Games Industry

Why 2021 Should Be A Good Year For The Board Games Industry

As a new chapter begins with the start of 2021, the outlook for the global board games business is good (again!). As the COVID-19 19 vaccine rolls out around the world we should see a gradual return to some degree of normality across the first half of 2021. This is both good news and bad news for he board games business – it’s obviously good in so many ways for humanity in general, but it may prove difficult to beat year on year sales numbers for the first half of 2021, since the first wave of lockdowns across the developed board games markets delivered a major boost to board game sales out of season.

The good news though is that board game playing tends to be habitual – i.e. once you have the habit, it tends to be repeated, so there is a good chance that a new wave of committed gamers will result from the board games boom of 2020. New gamers who stick with gameplaying over time will offer an ongoing sales driver to the dynamic of the industry, so once we get past those tough year on year comparisons, we should see an elevated industry going forward for the next few years.

Moreover, one of the massive cultural, social and business trends and impacts from the pandemic looks likely to be a long-term shift towards revised working patterns i.e. less commuting and more working from home. Bearing in mind commutes in big cities tend to be c. 1 hour each way, that’s potentially 2 hours saved each day, some of which will be put into leisure activities, and spending quality time with the family!

So, let’s look forward to a good year supported by a rapid vaccine rollout, but above all let’s enjoy the vibrancy of the board games business!


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The No. 1 Marketing Factor In Selling More Board Games

The Number One Marketing Factor In Selling More Board Games

There are plenty of complicated marketing plans out there for you to try to persuade people to buy your games. There are certainly plenty of companies willing to take your money for advertising across many media.

There is however one fundamental marketing activity which nearly always works for games which are compelling to play. That primary activity is getting people to play your games! This won’t work of course if your product is all glitz and promise but lacking in compelling gameplay – you need to have a good game for this to work.

The reason why more board game companies don’t spend as much time, energy and money as they should do in getting people playing their games is because it takes a lot of hard grind and a willingness to think laterally and not just to follow the crowd. Parts of the board games business are driven by massive toy companies who have the typical model of launching by selling as many boxes into retail as they possibly can and then spending 15-20% of their forecast revenue on mass market media campaigns.

Hasbro as the long time biggest board games company in the world tends to follow this classic toy business approach, but then they have some massive advantages that you won’t have – they have so many of the all time classic games brands that tend to sell themselves and keep performing year after year.

Hasbro’s Wizards of The Coast (WOTC) business is a better model on how a games specialist business should run marketing though. Massively under rated and under reported, WOTC was bought by Hasbro primarily for Pokemon trading cards back in the day, but came with the unexpected long term hit trading card game franchise Magic: The Gathering. There is no doubt that Magic is a great game, but when that underlying awesome gameplay is combined with structured grass roots marketing (which is all about getting people playing the game and looking to buy more cards to upgrade their deck) you get a powerful formula as follows: great gameplay x game play stimulation x building a fan community.

One of the reasons why Asmodee has built such a brilliant business over the last decade or so, when they moved from being primarily a distributor with some own brands/products in the French market and a few other toeholds around Europe to being the biggest games company which isn’t also a toy company! One of the fundamental drivers of Asmodee’s success has been the practise of gameplay demonstrations – at festivals, in stores and in other locations. We attended an outdoor music festival in the north of the UK last year, and needless to say Asmodee had a tent there getting people playing games. When Asmodee brought Dobble over from France (where it had become a top selling game), there were some who laughed at the idea that such a quirky unusual looking and unusually named game could establish a presence in the cynical, label/license and mass retail driven UK market. A few years later and Dobble is a MASSIVE success in the UK board games market. The path from start to success was not driven by media spend, online metrics or any of those other factors – although they may have played a part – the success was driven by getting people playing a game which is simple enough that nearly anyone can play, but so compelling that nearly everyone becomes heavily immersed in the game.

That is the type of game which people will go out and encourage their friends to buy and play, and this is exactly the formula for organic growth in the board games business.

The challenge is that it takes time and effort to find ways to get people actually playing games instead of just buying them and leaving them in the shrink-wrap in a cupboard. But for long term success, building brands and organically growing games with great gameplay away from the pressure of needing instant HIT level sales via mass market retailers becomes the only logical step.

How many games has your company launched with the strategy of nurturing and taking years to grow sales based on the most fundamental factor of letting great gameplay speak for itself?


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