Move over Mattel… we have made our first acquisition!
In the world of mergers and acquisitions, this certainly won’t make the newspapers. BUT… it is our first acquisition… and I am excited!
As a company that develops its own board games and card games, we have always shied away from working with outside game inventors. While we do license a handful of games (most notably MindTrap® and Perudo®) most of our games are created in-house. If you are an independent game inventor and have contacted us, you probably received our standard “sorry, not interested, but good luck” reply.
So what changed?
As you can imagine, over the years I have played a relatively large number of board games. There are certainly many great games out there. But there are two drawbacks I consistently see in most games - there is an advantage of being older - and there is an advantage of having played the game before.
One of my favorite games is a word game called PickTwo®. It is an amazing game. Kids can play together and adults can play together. But, when playing with mixed ages, there is an undeniable advantage that comes with age.
Currently, one of the top-selling board games is Settlers of Catan®. Although we have been distributing Settlers of Catan® for many years, I only recently played the game. It was with some people who had played the game many times before. With this game, there is an undeniable advantage that comes with experience - it would be highly unlikely that a novice player could beat an experienced player.
A game that everyone can play!
Several years ago we distributed a board game called Telepaths. The game has relatively basic game play - teammates have to think the same to win the game - and the game is loads of fun! What makes this game so fantastic is that there aren’t any advantages of being older. And there aren’t any advantages from having played the game before. It is TRULY a perfect family game.
Telepaths was invented by a Vancouver violinist named Brian Larson, and was first published back in 1992. That was 5 years before we published our first game All Canadian Trivia. It was actually one of the board games in my own personal game collection.
The game was somewhat successful in the early 1990s. Being an independent game publisher is a very tough business - so in 2004 we licensed Telepaths from the inventor. We introduced two different designs (a kid-oriented package in 2004, and a second more adult-oriented package in 2007). While the game was well received by retailers (it is a great game after all), the game once again had only reasonable success. After the second packaging change, we let the game go out of print.
Fast forward to 2014!
Late last year I stumbled upon a posting on boardgamegeek.com where a newlywed couple in Singapore described how they first met over a game of Telepaths at a board game café. This posting got me thinking about the game. I reached out to the inventor, and Telepaths had indeed been out of print since we had last produced the game. One thing led to another, and six months later we have made our first acquisition ever!
Telepaths goes into production later this month, and stock should be arriving in three months time. I look forward to re-introducing the game!