Spielwarenmesse: How Hasbro creates new board game ideas with crowdfunding

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Movers & shakers

How Hasbro creates new board game ideas with crowdfunding

from Harald Hemmerlein

Hasbro has found an original way to get fresh board game ideas and to let them evaluate by the players themselves. The finalists of the Hasbro Gaming Challenge will launch crowdfunding campaigns on Indiegogo for their game ideas, working with both Hasbro and Indiegogo to develop the campaigns making them as impactful as possible. Jonathan Berkowitz, senior vice president of Hasbro Gaming, explains in the interview how promising this strategy is.

The crowdfunding campaigns will help the game designers get broader exposure for their ideas and raise the funds they need to keep moving forward with their idea, even if they aren’t the winner selected by Hasbro. Hasbro will look at the campaigns, including how many contributors when selecting the winner. Putting the games up for crowdfunding is also a great way for us to “temperature check” the ideas to see how people react and respond to them.

Spielwarenmesse®: Generally, there are two common ways for games publishing companies to develop new games. Either internal product developers create new games based on marketing guidelines, or external game authors contribute their ideas. To get the most promising external input, product developer and game editors frequently visit meetings of game authors and toy fairs – or they do it like Hasbro and activate their online communities to vote for new game ideas.

Jonathan Berkowitz: We believe that great game ideas can come from anywhere. In addition to an internal design team, Hasbro has a team that works with a robust global community of inventors, designers and ‘makers’ around the world to discover new ideas for games. The Hasbro Gaming Challenges have helped us connect with talented inventors from the gaming community, who are shaping the gaming industry today.

What is there to expect from the “Gaming Challenge“ from which the family game “Cloud Control“ by Eugene Bryant emerged as the winning game most recently?

J.B.: We’re very excited to work with Eugene Bryant to make his “Cloud Control” game a reality. We had a lot of fun playing the game during the judging process, and it’s clear the game will bring a lot of fun and imagination to our younger fans.

How many games have found their way into the Hasbro games portfolio this way?

J.B.: The 2015 Hasbro Gaming Challenge grand prize winner, “The Mr. Toast Game” created by Dan Goodsell of Los Angeles, C.A., is now available at Target in the U.S. and finalist “Hex Casters” game is now available on Amazon. We are looking forward working together with Eugene Bryant and making his “Cloud Control” game a reality.

How do you create awareness for public tenders among game authors?

J.B.: We’ve worked with several influential groups and events within the gaming community to help spread the word about our Gaming Challenges. We also keep a blog on the Gaming Challenge website which features interviews with Hasbro game designers, program updates and other gaming news. We also tapped into our Hasbro social channels to help spread awareness of the challenges.

Do the authors have an influence on the further development of their ideas by Hasbro?

J.B.: The Hasbro Gaming Challenge has helped us connect with talented innovators from the gaming community that we may not have met otherwise, and nothing is really off the table at this point.

Which fairs and toy events are visited worldwide by employees of Hasbro to find inspiration and generate new game ideas?

J.B.: Hasbro takes part in various international toy fairs each year, including the New York City Toy Fair the Spielwarenmesse in Nuremberg, and Hong Kong Toys & Games Fair. We also attend gaming industry events such as “Internationale Spieltage SPIEL” and Gen Con.

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Author of this article:

Harald Hemmerlein

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