The age-old game of marbles just found itself a 21st Century sparring partner, thanks to the efforts of one toy inventor and his new collectables, Bomtanka.
With ten original characters to collect, Bomtanka is a range of mix and matchable spheres that can be pulled apart and put together to make up to 100 new personalities.
Evil Orange Eye, Dazzling Darcy and Shark Tooth feature in the line-up of Bomtanka Revoltans, a collection of baddies hell-bent on taking over Earth.
Fighting for Bomtanka Dynasty (those charged with protecting the planet) is Eyeball Greeny, French Pirate and Max Relax, among others.
Each character comes with a stats card, can be mixed to create any new character and then played with in a ‘marbles meets Top Trumps’ style game.
Bomtanka even comes with its own app game, now available on the App store and follows the classic Good vs. Evil Slingshot play.
But despite appearing to have everything in place to be a new playground craze, these collectable characters won’t be rolling across schoolyards just yet.
Bomtanka creator John Cattermole told ToyNews that having designed, tested and had 20,000 blind bags of the characters created, marketing the pocket money range is a “step in to the unknown.”
“I have done all the stuff I know about in product design,” he explained. “From my experience, it’s quite hard to break through the top level of retailers, unless you have a TV show.”
Cattermole first embarked on his journey in to the toy industry three years ago, when his son challenged him to design a new toy.
Together, father and son designed Bomtankas, and two weeks ago his first shipment of 20,000 arrived from China.
And despite having been told by various companies that in order to sell, toys need a tie-in TV show, Cattermole remains determined to prove this suggestion wrong.
“Some of the biggest collectables to have made it big, such as Crazy Bones, followed a similar path of not having a TV show,” he said.
“When I was at prototype stage, I went to see some big manufacturers. They said there were many toys that fell by the wayside because they didn’t have a TV show to tick all the touch points.
“But there are plenty of examples of successful toys that didn’t have a TV show.”
Having passed all the EN-71 test, Cattermole is now searching for retailers to take up the stock himself, and believes that the blend of education and collectability, opens up a vast range of retailers.
“In my mind, I would like to see Bomtankas in places like the Natural History Museum or National Trust shops. The game gives them that educational element.”
What started out as a hobby, has now grown into something much larger for Cattermole, who is now determined to see Bomtankas hit the toy shelves.
“The next step is a big one for me,” he continued. “I am taking a three month break from the day job and I am going to step in to the unknown of marketing and see where that goes.
“It’s still early days, but hopefully this will go the whole way,” he concluded.