From the Greenhouse: Time Wise

A love of history and games compelled two lads to launch their own board game - About Time. Now, more that six months after it first hit UK shelves in Borders, Circa Circa plans to expand its presence with a hefty marketing campaign. Helen Jacobs finds out more...
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Catching the Plague, fighting a Duel or being robbed by Highwaymen; unpleasant risks to say the least.

But it has been quite the contrary for Circa Circa, the firm which incorporated these nasty, history-laden challenges into its board game, About Time.

And more than six months on from the game’s UK launch in Borders, the new comer to the industry plans to continue infecting retailers and consumers with its product, by revamping its online version and putting in place an integrated marketing campaign, in the run up to the all important Christmas trading period.

“Producing a game for the first time is a challenge but we have a great team and where we don’t have the expertise we have gone out and found it,” Joe Gill from Circa Circa tells ToyNews. “Within [the team] we have editorial, financial, design, creative and sales skills which have helped us deal with a lot of the challenges in this market.”

Enlisting the services of Windsor-based marketing company, Hotcake, Circa Circa will target its markets with a combination of viral, events, press and online advertising.

At the same time, the firm plans to add new features to its online website – - in order to reach more people.

“We’ve had excellent consumer feedback since the launch of the game at Essen Games Fair. That was an extraordinary moment – when the first four actual consumers sat down to play our pilot game at Essen. Three of them bought it – two Germans and one Dutchman. Only then did we know that the game really worked and people liked it, even when it was not in their first language. Obviously we had done a lot of testing before then but you can’t beat cash as proof of product.”

The game is currently available in both independent stores and multiple retailers across the country, plus in the US. According to Gill a travel version and game aimed at a younger audience should be online by 2009.

Meanwhile, the company has been in talks with third parties about the possibilities of licensing and joint publishing deals for new versions of the game, including foreign language editions.

“It has been a combination of raw optimism, belief in our product and just picking up the phone and getting hold of the people that matter – the buyers, and infecting them with our enthusiasm,” Gill says.

“It’s a difficult market but we remain optimistic based on our strong retail relationships, last year’s Christmas sales and our very positive consumer feedback. We would like to be an ‘evergreen game’ with a long shelf life and a household name brand,” he continues.

The Greenhouse area was set up at Toy Fair to nurture small companies or those new to the toy industry. It has steadily increased in size and is a popular area with both exhibitors and visitors alike.

For more information on the Greenhouse area, visit or call the Toy Fair Team on 020 7701 7127.



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