Showcase 2021: Thames & Kosmos details new board games, STEM kits, and more

Julia Loeser, Phone: 01580 713000, email: julia@thamesandkosmos.co.uk

Board games, science kits, and the surge for STEM

Thames & Kosmos is very excited to share their upcoming releases across its 2021 board game and science kit ranges. These include new titles from its EXIT – The Game series, a best-selling EXIT Advent Calendar and new additions to its award-winning range of STEM toys for children aged three and upwards.

Kicking off its 2021 offering, EXIT – The Game enthusiasts will be able to enter a whole new Escape Room experience with the arrival of two innovative EXIT puzzles (RRP £22) titled The Sacred Temple and The Deserted Lighthouse. Both are sure to excite novices and experience escape artists alike.

Thames & Kosmos will also release an English-language version of its parent company’s best-selling EXIT Advent Calendar (RRP £30), due to be available this summer, bringing a whole new dimension to its popular EXIT range. The German version sold out in record time and were found to be selling at a premium on eBay last year.

Next up, Thames & Kosmos’ award-winning range of STEM toys for children aged three and upwards will be bolstered with an expansion of the innovative CREATTO range – a line that sold out within months of its arrival on UK shores in 2020. The CREATTO range (RRP £10 to £30) lets children ‘Make, Play, and Display’ imaginative light-up models by using only two components, letting their creativity truly run wild and proving that the possibilities are endless.

Gadget toys saw a huge surge in popularity in 2020 and the trend is only predicted to continue into 2021. Thames & Kosmos is therefore very excited to add a new innovative series called REBOTZ to its Robotics range. Get ready to meet SCOOTZ, POGO, HALFPIPE and KNOX in Q3 – four build-it-yourself robots (RRP £12 each) guaranteed to provide the fun factor while promoting educational play. A key selling point of the new series is that each different model can be mixed and matched, ensuring their place as a collector’s dream.

In its award-winning Signature series, Thames & Kosmos is launching The Massive Erupting Volcano (RRP £25) – recognised as the biggest volcano in its German parent company’s 200 year history. This scientific marvel is due to land here in the UK this year, enabling children aged eight and over the chance to build a giant volcano model from cardboard and plaster, using safe chemical reactions to trigger volcanic eruptions while learning about real-life volcanoes and what causes them.

Additionally, the company will launch a thrilling Roller Coaster Engineering kit (RRP £50) which is suitable for children aged eight and over and will reach UK shores in August 2021. Aspiring engineers can build their own working roller coaster models, conduct fun physics experiments, while following the step-by-step assembly instructions. 

The Thames & Kosmos virtual showroom is still open until March 31st 2021 and will enable customers to browse the company’s 2021 offerings at their leisure. To book a one-hour slot, please contact Jo Drage at jo@thamesandkosmos.co.uk.

Additionally, Thames & Kosmos is offering zoom meetings throughout February. Please contact Jo at the above email address to book yours and finally, click here for the company’s current board game catalogue and here for the latest science kit catalogue.

Web address: www.thamesandkosmos.co.uk

Telephone number: 01580 713000

The Showcase Q&A: Thames & Kosmos talks 2021

ToyNews catches up with Thames & Kosmos’ science kit sales, marketing and PR manager, Julia Loeser

Hi Julia, can you talk us through the strength of the Thames & Kosmos portfolio as we head into 2021? What will be the key launches/titles for you guys for the new year?

Our strength overall has always been the high quality and innovation of our board games and STEM kits, while providing the fun factor and being educational.

One of our major bestsellers in 2020, the EXIT – The Game range, which saw over 250,000 English language copies sold in the UK alone, will be bolstered with the exciting new arrival of two EXIT – The Game puzzles (RRP £22 each).

EXIT – The Game enthusiasts will be able to enter a whole new Escape Room experience with the arrival of The Sacred Temple and The Deserted Lighthouse, both sure to excite novices and experienced escape artists from the age of 12 to adult alike. We are also releasing an English-language version of our parent company’s best-selling EXIT Advent calendar (RRP £30), which is due to be available in the summer of 2021 and pre-orders for these are already coming in fast.

“We have some incredibly innovative new arrivals this year”

Our STEM-range will be expanded with an innovative new addition called REBOTZ. Gadget toys have seen a huge surge in popularity in 2020, a trend we predict to continue in 2021. Get ready to meet SCOOTZ, POGO, HALFPIPE and KNOX in Q3, four build-it-yourself robots (RRP £12 each) which are guaranteed to provide the fun factor whilst also being educational. One key selling point will be the ability to mix-and-match the different models ensuring they’re a collector’s dream. 

2020 saw board games and science/STEM toys become the saviours of many families. What sort of impact do you think the past year has had on audiences/new audiences for these sectors? 

With life slowing down significantly for the majority of people in 2020 and us all spending more time together, sales of board games and puzzles alike saw a huge surge. Through our social media channels, we experienced an increase in families and individuals alike looking for good quality games, with our two-player games such as Targi (RRP £18.50) and the award-winning cooperative game The Crew (RRP £13.50) becoming bestsellers overnight. 

When lockdown v.1 arrived, parents and carers were thrust into the role of teachers overnight, and sales of our STEM kits increased. Our award-winning Kids First range which is aimed at children aged three and upwards (starting from £13.50 RRP) and introduces pre-school children to the fascinating world of STEM in a fun way, was a particular favourite.

I think parents and carers very much enjoyed spending time with their children after the first initial panic of the prospect of home schooling (speaking from experience) and appreciated having good quality STEM kits, such as ours, on hand.

Do you think the new wave fans are likely to stick with the hobby, is there a responsibility for companies like Thames & Kosmos to maintain that interest?

I really think that 2020 has taught us to slow down and reconnect with our friends and families in different ways and get our offspring to not just sit on their electronic devices but rediscover the art of communicating. As with everything though, board games and STEM kits have to be of outstanding quality, innovative and exciting. We have invested in some incredibly innovative new arrivals throughout 2021 which we are sure will keep newcomers to the hobby playing and experimenting.

What key trends in board gaming will we likely see through 2021? What are you guys doing to tap into those?

We feel that cooperative games are going to continue to grow, and we are excited for the release of The Crew – Mission Deep Sea (RRP £13.50), the follow-up adventure of the award-winning, The Crew.

Escape Room games will continue to be popular; families will continue to spend time together and these nifty Escape Rooms for the home are a fantastic way to spend time and work cooperatively, particularly during lockdown. We are introducing three new titles (RRP £13.50 each) over the course of 2021 across various difficulty levels.

Why should retailers be excited to work with Thames & Kosmos for the coming year?

We’ve got many fabulous arrivals planned over the course of 2021 which we cannot wait to reveal to customers, both old and new. The new arrivals complement our existing Board Game and Science kit ranges and combine the same outstanding quality, innovation, and fun factor that our regular customers have come to expect from Thames & Kosmos.

There’s something for everyone, whether you are a serious board gamer, aspiring scientist or a parent/carer who is looking for an exciting and fun kit to encourage your little one into the world of STEM. Additionally, we will not be increasing any of our 2021 trade prices – in fact we will be reducing prices where possible, in our quest to work together to become stronger together.

How important is the independent retail scene to Thames & Kosmos? What do you think the coming year holds for indies on the high street?

Independent retailers are hugely important to Thames & Kosmos. We know how hard hit our bricks and mortar customers have been during the last year and we’ve been trying to support our independents as much as possible by offering special discounts such as the 10 per cent discount on a first order back which was running until the end of January, but with the latest lockdown, we have extended the offer until Easter. 

We have seen how innovative the independents have been over the past year, by changing the way they reach their customers, whether it is by building an online presence, offering click and collect or social media engagement. It will be a tough year ahead, but if we work together, we can do this. 

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of ToyNews and its sister title, Licensing.biz. He has worked his way from Staff Writer to Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing robert.hutchins@bizmedia.co.uk or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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