Posts Tagged ‘board games


Wal-Mart “Family Night Centers” mean opportunity for hobby stores

Mass market board game sales increased 10% during the first half of 2009 (vs. the same period in 2008) according to research firm NPD Group. Citing that increase, Wal-Mart rolls out a focused “Family Night Center” in all stores this month, featuring board games, movies, and related products.

Hobby stores can jump on the bandwagon as well with media outreach, in-store “parent training sessions” on how to hold a family game night, and demonstration events for popular board games. Get going, folks!!

Responding to moms’ rising interest in more affordable entertainment activities at home, Walmart is featuring a new “Family Night Center” in all stores this month. The area aims to help customers find new ideas for memorable family time activities and savings on popular items from Hasbro and Disney among others in a convenient “one-stop” area. Walmart Adds “Family Night Center” in All Stores


2009 Origins Game Fair coverage

It’s that time of year again! Next Friday, I’m headed to Columbus, Ohio, for this year’s Origins Game Fair. I’ll be there all day Friday and Saturday, plus most of Sunday.

Watch this space for updates from the show floor, including new products (particularly board games, card games, party games, family games, and such), interviews with industry luminaries, photos, and whatever else catches my eye.

If you’re curious for my insights about a particular game, then post a comment and let me know. I’ll do my best to find info about it for you at the show!

(Disclosure: From 2000 to 2009, I served as a staff member, senior volunteer, and board member with GAMA, the organization that runs Origins. I’m no longer associated with either GAMA or Origins.)


But will the kids get the Clue?

This story really makes me sad. I’ll tell you why in just a moment…

Hasbro recently announced that, as part of its on-going campaign of rebranding and redesigning classic games in hopes of making them more relevant to today’s kids and families, the company is releasing a new, culture-current version of Clue.

They added a spa, theater, and guest house to Mr. Boddy’s mansion, ditched the lead pipe, revolver, and wrench as weapons, and updated the characters with more relevant lives (like football player Jack Mustard and billionaire video game designer Victor Plum).

In addition to being generally out of style, the game also apparently took too long to play (or required too much critical thinking), so the characters in the new Clue all have special powers to help players find clues easier faster.

So, why does Hasbro’s update leave me glum? No, it’s not because I’m some kind of “Clue purist” (okay, mabye just a little bit), but what really gets me down is how these changes reflect the state of American families and kids.

The basic Clue game takes 45 minutes to play. Even if you add five minutes of setup, that’s still less time than it takes to watch a single prime time TV episode. But Hasbro thinks that 45 minutes is too long for families or kids to focus on an activity?

Are families so busy that they can’t carve out one hour each week to focus on each other across a board game or in some other activity? Have parents forgotten how to make family time happen?

As you can tell, this story touched on passion of mine — creating and enjoying family time between parents and kids (or even just among friends). I’m a book on that topic right now,, and I’m getting ready to launch a blog to accompany it. I’ll post an update here when the blog and book site launch.

But for now, please promise me something: For one night in the next seven days, pick an an hour to spend with your family. Turn off the TV, unplug the video games, put down the magazines, and do something with the ones you love. For our family, that often means playing a board game or taking a walk. For you, it might mean something completely different.

Precisely what you do isn’t the point — taking the time to do something is what matters.

Go forth and conquer. Aroo! Aroooo!