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Competitive family fun is still popular at Christmas

15:15 02 January 2014

Business Feature - Drumond Park board game makers, Ransomes Europark, Ipswich.

Business Feature - Drumond Park board game makers, Ransomes Europark, Ipswich.

Ipswich company is big in board games


It is one of the most enduring of Christmas traditions.

Families gather for a Christmas meal, watch the Queen’s message on television, then switch off the box and get together around the Christmas tree to play a board game.

A few arguments, competition and lots of fun!

There is a great deal more than Cluedo, Who Wants To Be A Millionaire and Monopoly on offer these days.

And one small Ipswich company, Drumond Park, is helping to keep families together with a range of their own board games including Logo, Don’t Laugh, Best of British, Best of TV and Movies, Pig Goes Pop and Articulate.

From their office at Masterlord Office Village the team are developing raw ideas into new products, ready for launching to the toy trade in the Spring, and already earmarked for the shops and our living rooms next Christmas.

Thousands of board games are sold in this country in the run up to Christmas, many through major retailers like Argos, Toys R Us and WH Smith.

In the UK, Drumond Park now are up there competing with the international giants like Hasbro and Mattel.

Hundreds of thousands of games a year are sold every year and the Ipswich company is in the best sellers charts with 15 out of the top 50 board games being sold in the UK this time.

Business development director John Mariani said: “We are number one in adult games, and even better than Hasbro. We have three of the top five selling adult board games. A lot of people will be playing our games with their families over Christmas, for the first time.

“That is what we are working towards all year.

“We aim to make board games fun. It is about bringing families together.”

Logo, invented and developed by the team at Drumond Park, has now been selling well for four years.

It is based on favourite brands, products and general knowledge.

This tiime too there is a new game climbing the sales charts, Logo Billionaire. “It doesn’t have questions,” said John.

“It is closer to Monopoly, involving buying and selling famous brands.”

Logo 2 is already on the way as well as other games which are still under wraps.

Games are launched to the trade at the Iternational Toy Fair at Olympia at the end of January.

Drumond Park is based in Ipswich and in Edinburgh where founders Sandy Duncan and Claire McColl live.

It is a very seasonal business.

John Mariani said: “We sell 80% of our games in October, November and December.

“And we spend a seven figure sum on television advertising. You have to be on televsion these days.

“We are very successful in this country but we are doing very well abroad too.

“Logo is number one in the USA. It is a game that young and old can play together, so it is great for families.

“It is in 18 countries so far. We are now working on the Scandinavian editions and planning for Brazil,Argenti a and Mexico.

“We get a lot of lovely letters and emails from people who say they have enjoyed playing our games.

“We have had seven years of growth during the hard times out there.

“Perhaps people have been staying home and playing more games together?”

The games are made in Europe and the Far East, and the logistics of getting them here and then to the shops is the responsibility of Adrian Hatcher, head of logistics and finance.

Locally educated John Mariani has a background in board games that goes back to Trivial Pursuit and the Really Nasty Horseracing Game.

His first job in board games was writing questions for the Italian edition of Trivual Pursuit.

He explained: “I had played Trivial Pursuit in the USA, while I was working there, for Rolex.

“When I heard someone was needed to write Italian questions, I thought, I can do that. I went on to become European Editor, responsible for finding people to write questions in every country.

“I must have written a million questions over the years.

“It has been the core of my business life.”

His family has to test play new games over Christmas,”

“It is something that brings families together, “ he said.




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