According to Hasbro, gaming as a general trend has seen a 75 percent increase in 3 years, up from 1.2 billion gamers in 2013 to 2.1 billion in 2016.
In its presentation to investors at New York Toy Fair today, Hasbro revealed that 20 percent of its products in 2016 went to consumers 20 years of age and older. The hottest of those products, of course, was Magic: The Gathering, for which the company produced last year 117 million booster packs. In another interesting statistic, 5 million viewers watched 350 million minutes of Magic video online. To keep the trend going, subsidiary Wizards of the Coast will be launching a series of new events in local game stores called “Magic Open House”. At these events will be giveaways and how-to-play sessions for beginner players.
Magic Digital Next was also mentioned but the better information on it comes from a WOTC website article posted today. In it, Jeffrey Steefel described Magic Digital Next as an “internal umbrella term for the entire landscape for Magic: The Gathering experiences around digital games.” This includes:
For the first time that I know of, a WOTC CEO participated in the Toy Fair presentation and gave some recognition to Dungeons & Dragons. Chris Cocks said that in 2016, D&D had its best sales in 40 years. He even mentioned that Duel Masters experienced its fastest growth ever last year.
On the board game side, 30 million Hasbro games were manufactured in Longmeadow, Massachusetts last year. The company claims 13 of the top 15 face-to-face games in United States—number 1 was Pie Face and number 2 was Speak Out.
Illuminati New World Order, Steve Jackson’s card game that satirizes conspiracy theories, is long out-of-print but continues to provide grist for the mill to those same conspiracy theorists. In the past, it was said that the game predicted the terrorist attacks of 9/11. New theories seem to focus on two cards, “Enough is Enough” and “Charismatic Leader”, with images purported to resemble Donald Trump. And based on the content of those cards, these theories predict an assassination. A simple search of YouTube brings up thousands of such results from just this month.
Druid City Games is giving away a $500 shopping spree to Funagain Games.
Retweet Weird Hobbies for a chance to win WOTC’s Dungeons & Dragons adventure campaign, Out of the Abyss.
Use coupon code “rain17” to get 10% off a single order direct from Pazio.
The Advanced Adventures deal at Bundle of Holding features six OSRIC modules in the Starter Collection for $5.95 and nine more modules with the Bonus Collection starting at $15.80. The Bundle for Two deal collects games for two players (one GM, one player/character) in honor of Valentine’s Day.
Actualol (AKA Jon Purkis) is giving away five board games he says are much better than Monopoly. I’ve played three of them and I’d have to agree.
As part of the launch of its Kickstarter project, RAINN Studios will be giving away Lovecraftian-themed Elder Dice.
EncounterRoleplay is giving away three copies of the Dungeons & Dragons Player’s Handbook.
Use coupon code “RoosterSale” to save on purchases direct from Greater Than Games. How much savings the company’s email forgot to say.
Use coupon code “LOVE2017” to save 10% and get free shipping from HasbroToyShop.com.
EverythingBoardGames is giving away Dice Throne from Mind Bottling Games, Element from Rather Dashing Games, and two copies of Affliction from DPH Games (or $30 gift certificates if the game doesn’t fund on Kickstarter).
In celebration of Valentine’s Day, Victory Point Games is discounting all bagged games by 25%. Zulus on the Ramparts is discounted 20%. And everything else is discounted 10%.
Mile High Game Guys is giving away Imperial Settlers from Portal Games.
@SmashUpDigital on Twitter is giving away a new copy of the Smash Up What Were We Thinking expansion from AEG each week this month.
Use coupon code “LOVE14” for 14% off purchases from White Wizard Games. Discount ends today.
Also ending today, Treasure Tokens are on-sale 50-70% off (depending on quantity) from GameTrayz.
Save 20% site-wide at Dog Might Games.
In-store only at Toys “R” Us, buy one get one 40% off on all arts & crafts, board games, puzzles, and collector cards.
Online from Toys “R” Us, save 20% on all Monopoly games.
Already on store shelves, Raging Tempest is a 100-card booster set. This set introduces Zoodiac monsters, a bestial incarnation of the Chinese zodiac. It also includes Sea Monster of Theseus, the first-ever monster that’s both a Fusion Monster and a Tuner Monster. Shinobirds mix Ritual Summoning and Spirit Monsters, the Crystrons return to swerve your Synchro Summons, and the SPYRAL and Subterror themes get shocking new abilities.
The Raging Tempest booster set contains 100 cards: 48 Commons, 20 Rares, 14 Super Rares, 10 Ultra Rares, and 8 Secret Rares. MSRP: $3.99 per pack.
Fusion Enforcers releases February 24 with 60 cards. Just like it sounds, this set is all about Fusion Monsters. The new theme is this set, Invoked, revolves around cards like Aleister the Invoker. Predaplants also make a strong presence in this set after, prevously being introduced in Invasion: Vengence. Uh…Fluffals, too.
Fusion Enforcers contains 60 cards: 40 Super Rares and 20 Secret Rares. MSRP: 3.99 per pack.
On the 17th there’ll be some new storage options for fans. Yu-Gi-Oh! Dark Side of the Dimensions Card Sleeves for $3.99, Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions Card Case for $4.99, and Yu-Gi-Oh! The Dark Side of Dimensions 9-Pocket Duelist Portfolio for $9.99.
Wizards of the Coast is resurrecting Magic: The Gathering Nationals Tournaments as entry points to the World Magic Cup. In its announcement of the move, WOTC explained that the main reason Nationals were dropped in the first place was a shortage of able local organizers. But now with those organizers having 5 years of experience running World Magic Qualifiers, the company feels that the time is right to bring back what were much appreciated events.
Going forward, national teams at the World Magic Cup will consist of three players, not four. The team captain will be the player who’s earned the most pro points that season, while the others will be the top-two finishers at Nationals.
Another change being made, the World Magic Cup and Nationals will all be Standard events.
Beirut, Lebanon has two escape room locations, Exit Beirut and Escape the Room Lebanon, each with two individual rooms to escape. Also recently opened in Beirut is the game, pop-culture, and comic shop, Multiverse.
On Kickstarter, Keiran Franklin is raising money for a game cafe in Brighton City Centre, UK. At 8BitBoards, customers will be able to play both board games and retro console games.
Game Kingdom Games & Hobbies in Bullhead City, Arizona does sell some board games but is primarily a public play space for tabletop and video games.
Milwaukee-area retailer, Board Game Barrister, is opening its fourth location March 1st in the Mayfair mall. It’ll be a relatively small location for the chain but will still have play space.
Opening soon in Rochester, Minnesota with 1,900 square feet of retail and play space is D6 Games.
BlackWater Roasters and Gaming Cafe opened on the east side of Cleveland last week. It serves pastries, sandwiches, fresh roasted coffee, and of course, board games.
After running pop-up shops, convention booths, and special events, B&E Games recently opened a retail location in San Jose, California.
Surprising the market, who’s lower expectations for the company were based at least partially on weaker performance by Mattel, Hasbro on Monday reported a 13 percent net revenue growth in 2016. That put the company’s total year revenue over $5 billion for the first time. Following the news, Hasbro’s stock hit a new high and closed up 14 percent.
The company’s performance in the games category was strong. Led by sales of Pie Face and Magic: The Gathering, revenue grew 9 percent year-on-year.
Hasbro’s strongest growth was in its partner brands category, which was up 28 percent on the success of Disney Princess, Disney Frozen, Dreamworks’ Trolls, and Yo-Kai Watch.
On the subject of the company’s largest individual game brand, CEO Brian Goldner reported that 2016 was the 8th straight year of growth for Magic: The Gathering. He also suggested that consumers would start seeing some results from the Magic Digital Next initiative before the end of the year.
Magic Digital Next, which has been an investment for a number of years, and will continue to be a bit of an investment this year because of course late this year you’ll start to see some of the evidence of what the team has been working on as they begin to put that platform out to the market.
Hasbro also revealed an interesting change in its approach to financial reporting:
Beginning with the first quarter, we will no longer report revenue along the boys, games, girls, and preschool categories. Instead, we will provide a revenue breakdown of franchise brands, partner brands, Hasbro Gaming, and emerging brands. We believe this is a more relevant and appropriate view of our business.
Later Monday afternoon, Hasbro announced the appointment of John Frascotti as President of the company—he was previously President of Hasbro Brands. Brian Goldner remains with the company and will serve as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.
Penny Arcade, partnering with ReedPOP, is launching its first tabletop-focused game convention, PAX Unplugged. The event, which is scheduled for November 17-19 this year at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, will join five other PAX shows with special attention to board games, card games, RPGs, and miniatures.
PAX Unplugged will take all the elements that have drawn millions of gamers to PAX – the chance to play and see the reveal of highly-anticipated upcoming games, attend game-inspired music concerts, participate in tournaments and watch panels with industry leaders – but with a renewed focus on fostering the best event for the burgeoning tabletop gaming community.
That makes the weekend before Thanksgiving a hot one for game events. PAX Unplugged is scheduled opposite BGG.CON and ChiTAG, though each serves different target markets.
Tickets to PAX Unplugged will go on sale in the spring.
The Nerd Cave was opened this fall in Lakeport, California as an alternative outlet for the non-electronic inventory of The Game Shop. The latter is located just up the road and was recently purchased by new owners, who decided to separate digital and analog product lines.
In Frisco, Texas, @Nerdvana serves coffee and board games.
Carolina Tabletop Games opened a few months ago on Main Street in Pineville, North Carolina, selling games and hosting gamers.
Utica has a new cafe in Wanna Play?, where the potato chips are fresh-made and the board games are $5.00 per person per day, or $2.50 with a meal.
Opening day of the D20 Board Game Cafe in Warford, UK was exactly 1 year from the day they came up with the idea.
The upstairs, public, cafe area of a Publix supermarket in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida has become a gathering place for people playing Mahjong, Bridge, and Canasta.