Independent retailer given confidence to expand into educational market with alternative board game titles following Retailer of the Year 2014 win at the Reading Retail Awards

Eclectic Games helps take zombie maths to UK schools

Award winning board game retailer, Eclectic Games has revealed plans to work with inventors and designers to deliver a new wave of educational games to UK schools.

The store was honoured with the title Retailer of the Year 2014 at the annual Reading Retail Awards for its customer service and knowledge of its more than 1,500 board game titles.

The family-owned game specialist now wants to expand its offering into the educational market ?by encouraging kids to ‘learn through stealth’ with a selection of in-house developed titles, including City of Zombies.

“Winning the award has just been amazing to us because it means that we can now go on with our plans to expand and people will take us seriously,” explained Eclectic Games’ co-owner, Becky Ottery. “And most of what we are looking to do is to expand into the educational market in a way that ties in with our core ethos.

“We want to break down the barriers of educational games and make learning really fun for kids.”

With a handful of games already in development under the store’s educational banner, Eclectic Games is making strong headway. And leading the charge is a zombie dice game that challenges young players to tackle progressively harder maths sums.

“City of Zombies has done amazingly well for us,” continued Ottery. “Matt Tidbury from Think Noodle Games came to us with a prototype and asked for help, and despite initially thinking ‘Oh my God, another Zombie game’ and the kiss of death word ‘educational’, it turned out to be fantastic.”

The game is now one of the store’s bestselling lines and is starting to get recognition in local schools.

“We are working with one or two local teachers who are already among our customer base of gamers and supporting Matt in getting the game into as many schools as we can,” said Ottery.

“We are now looking to build a portfolio of games that teachers will be able to use to help teach core skills in the classroom.

“There are so many games that would work really well if you apply a tiny bit of creativity of ?how to use them in the classroom, and by getting more involved in co- publishing or co-designing these games, that’s placing our skills in something beneficial to all parties.”

While Ottery explains that the long-term plan is to eventually launch the initiative on a much larger scale, for now she is happy to take it slow and steady.

“We are also looking at other ways to deliver a unique and personal experience to our customers, and are currently discussing getting ourselves a laser cutter,” she continued.

“With that we would have the ability to make our own accessories for gaming and add another unique selling point. But at the moment it is all about taking it steady. Our business motto is, after all, if we can’t do it great right away, then we will wait until we can,” Ottery concluded.

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