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The year for Pokémon, Dobble, and Family Games
Though in-person trade shows may be off the table this winter, Asmodee will still be offering a sneak peek at their most exciting products for 2021 at the third instalment of AsmoFair, its pioneering virtual trade show. Running from January 17th to 23rd, this edition of the event includes a full, 360-degree virtual walkthrough tour of a fully built show stand for retailers who book meetings with Asmodee’s sales team via asmofair.co.uk.
What’s next for Asmodee’s flagship Dobble brand will be at the top of the agenda, with many exciting developments coming to the smash-hit game of speedy observation. Four major new licensed editions of Dobble are coming in 2021 – teaming up with Marvel, Minions, Pixar and PAW Patrol for titles that are sure to draw consumers’ attention. It follows on the massive success of licensed versions based on Harry Potter, L.O.L., Frozen II, The Gruffalo and more.
The classic edition of Dobble, the UK’s number one-selling game of 2018 and 2019, continues to be backed heavily by digital and TV marketing campaigns, with twists on the beloved format also available. Dobble 360 introduces a brain-teasing memory element with its electronically rotating cards, making it even more thrillingly tricky to spot the single matching image between two cards. There’s also the game’s biggest sibling, Dobble XXL, with giant-sized cards between which players will jump when they find the match – perfect for outside play.
2021 is set to be a massive year for the Pokémon Trading Card Game (TCG) as the most popular media franchise of all time celebrates its 25th anniversary. Several exciting releases are planned as the game takes advantage of what is certain to be a great deal of extra interest, with a new mini series coming in February and the latest expansion set in the Sword & Shield series – based on the millions-selling Nintendo Switch titles – following in March.
One new product that retailers must see at AsmoFair is the Sock Game, which joins the Asmodee portfolio with a fresh new edition and updated design. This simple, charming game, which challenges teammates to rummage around inside a sock full of objects to find specific targets, has made a big impression already and is poised to reach new heights under Asmodee’s stewardship. It will join the company’s refreshed Family Games range alongside the likes of Ticket to Ride London, a bite-sized edition of a modern classic, and Star Wars: Unlock!, which lets players embark on escape-room-style adventures in a galaxy far, far away with the help of a companion app.
The Showcase Q&A: Asmodee UK talks the lay of its land for 2021
ToyNews catches up with Asmodee UK’s independent channel director, Roger Martin
Hi Roger, to get us started can you talk us through the strength of the Asmodee portfolio as we head into 2021? What will be the key launches/titles for you guys for the new year?
2021 is going to include some huge releases for some of our most iconic and enduring brands. We’ll be releasing four major new licensed editions of Dobble – Pixar, Marvel, Minions and PAW Patrol – and there are some very exciting lines on the way for the Pokémon Trading Card Game in celebration of the franchise’s 25th anniversary. But we’ll also be welcoming plenty of new brands into our catalogue, from the riotous family fun of the Sock Game to a new line of addictive fidget toys, Loopy Loopers.
2020 saw board games become somewhat a saviour for many families. What sort of impact do you think the past year has had on audiences/new audiences for the board game space?
We’ve been so pleased to see so many people finding joy from games during the pandemic. For many, it’s been the perfect time to try out some of the market’s flagship titles like Catan or Ticket to Ride; the sorts of experiences that can spark a lifelong love of board gaming.
We’ve tried to do our part in opening up the fun for everyone with initiatives like our Print & Play website (print-and-play.asmodee.fun), which made available dozens of our favourite titles for free for those stuck inside.
Do you think the new wave fans are likely to stick with the hobby, is there a responsibility for companies like Asmodee to maintain that interest?
One of the great things about the board-game market at the moment is the sheer depth of games and experiences on offer, which means that, for everyone who discovers or rediscovers the joy of play through a Dobble or Catan, it’s easy to find a great next step in their journey through the hobby.
Most of the time, once people have played and enjoyed one modern board game, we find that they’ve had so much fun with it that they don’t need convincing to try others – it’s finding the right game to play next with which we can help the most. And, of course, we will continue to use our reach and marketing support to do our utmost to promote the joys of board gaming wherever we can.
What key trends in tabletop gaming will we likely see through 2021, and what are you guys doing to tap into those?
I suspect that we’ll see fewer games released overall as publishers become more cautious but the ones that do make it to market should be of a higher quality. We’ll continue to see growth for tentpole titles like Catan and Ticket to Ride as the new audiences who’ve discovered them in 2020 will continue to spread the word.
Additionally, I hope and expect that we’ll see expectations challenged and boundaries being pushed as tabletop gaming continues to attract new audiences; we’ve already seen that beginning to happen with games like Wingspan and Wavelength – who would have bet on games about birds or mind-reading proving so popular?
Why should retailers be excited to work with Asmodee for the coming year?
Not only do we offer an unrivaled depth of catalogue but we’re making it even easier to find exactly the right titles from it to fit each retailer with the addition of two new key ranges and some refreshes of our existing ones such as the Family Games or Modern Classics collections.
For the first time we’ll be highlighting a selection of Brain Games for creative and enquisitive minds, as well as introducing a range of Two-Player Games – perfect for when three’s a crowd.
How important is the independent retail scene to Asmodee? What do you think the coming year holds for indie on the high street?
Independent stores have been absolutely vital to our business ever since it began and that will always be the case. We’ve sought to support independents as much as possible over a very difficult year and we look forward to widespread vaccination enabling them to thrive in 2021; we’ll continue to do all that we can to ensure that they do.
Thanks Roger, is there anything you’d like to add?
The best way to find out the most about what we can offer retailers in 2021 is to attend the Toy Fair edition of AsmoFair, our pioneering virtual trade show, on January, 17th to 23rd. We’ve made the show even more ambitious than its 2020 outings with the introduction of a 360-degree virtual walkthrough of a fully built show stand, and we’re very excited to connect with retailers with an event that’s as close to an in-person show experience as we can make it. Interested parties can head to asmofair.co.uk to book a meeting.