Dice Tower Newsletter

Company acquisition

Asmodee starts off the new year with the acquisition of three new companies, this time it’s the European distribution companies Heidelberger, EDGE Entertainment, and Millennium.  These three companies handle board game distribution in Germany, Spain, and France so their acquisition will mean a bigger market share in each country for Asmodee.  Asmodee always had a close relationship with Heidelberger, and Fantasy Flight Games was partnered with EDGE so their acquisitions come as no surprise.  You can read the full press release below for more information, and then continue guessing as to what companies Asmodee will grab up next.

Asmodee acquires Heidelberger Spieleverlag, EDGE Entertainment and Millennium and strengthens its operations in France, Germany and Spain

Guyancourt (France); Essen (Germany); Walldürn (Germany); Toulouse (France); Sevilla (Spain) January 2nd — The Asmodee Group announced today its’ acquisition of Heidelberger Spieleverlag, EDGE Entertainment and Millennium, German, French and Spanish board game distributors and publishers.

Founded in 1991, Heidelberger Spieleverlag publishes and distributes board games with a unique link to the German hobby shops and has been a long-standing partner and distributor of the Asmodee Group studios Fantasy Flight Games and Plaid Hat Games.

The Asmodee Group is present in Germany since 2008 with a local distribution business unit. The synergy between Asmodee’s expertise in the broad market and Heidelberger’s historic link with the hobby shops will make of this new entity one of the leading actors of the German board game across all channels. This acquisition is the natural next step of a partnership initiated in 2015 when Asmodee and Heidelberger started distributing each other’s catalogue in their respective sales channels.

Founded in 1999, EDGE Entertainment is a board game publisher with presence in Sevilla (SP) and Toulouse (FR). Amongst other games, EDGE holds the rights to the Citadels game in French and Spanish and has been a long-standing partner of the Asmodee Group studio Fantasy Flight Games. EDGE will continue developing new games. Gilles Garnier, co- founder of EDGE Entertainment, is appointed head of EDGE.

Millennium is a Spanish board game distributor specialized in hobby games and retail channels. The Asmodee Group is present in Spain since 2008 with a local distribution business unit. The synergy between Asmodee’s expertise in the broad market and Millennium’s historic link with the hobby shops will make of this new entity one of the leading actors of the Spanish board game distribution across all channels. Jose Manuel Rey CEO of Millennium and co-founder of EDGE Entertainment is appointed head of Asmodee Iberica.

“We are delighted to integrate three great board game companies with the acquisition of Heidelberger, EDGE and Millennium. Throughout the past years they have demonstrated high skills in terms of game publishing and distribution that will now strengthen our position in France, Germany and Spain, that are key local markets.” said Stéphane Carville CEO of Asmodee Group.

“Joining forces with Asmodee, we are building a strong catalogue, an efficient offer of service and support for the broadest audience. We are very happy and are looking forward to the exchange of expertise and knowledge from both sides.”, said Petra Hofstetter, manager of Heidelberg Spieleverlag.

“In Spain Asmodee and Millennium are complementary both in terms of catalogue and access to retail channels. I am very proud to have the opportunity to lead this combined entity.”, said José Manuel Rey, CEO of Millennium.

“EDGE is a studio that has a natural place in the Asmodee Group. We have been long-time business partners of Asmodee studios like Fantasy Flight Games and will continue developing new games within the Group.”, said Gilles Garnier, co-founder of EDGE Entertainment.

ultra-pro-playroom

Looks like Ultra Pro is making their move within the industry as they just put out a press release announcing their impending acquisition of Playroom Entertainment.  This will bring the entire catalog of Playroom’s under the Ultra Pro name including titles like Killer Bunnies, Geek Out!, and the Bright Ideas children’s line of games.  You can read the full press release below, and then speculate as to what company they might go for next.

 

ULTRA PRO TO ACQUIRE PLAYROOM ENTERTAINMENT

Commerce, Calif. – September 12, 2016 – Ultra PRO International LLC (“Ultra PRO”), a leading manufacturer of tabletop games and accessories, has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Playroom Entertainment (“Playroom”), a publisher of board and card games of strategy, party and early learning genres.

Playroom is a well-recognized publisher of the Killer Bunnies game line, the Geek Out! party game series, the Bright Idea Games children’s educational line and several other popular toys and games.

“We have some tremendous plans for the games currently in our catalog and have a wide range of new titles that we can’t wait to bring to market. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be focused on 2017 planning for these great brands and the future additions to the line. With Ultra PRO’s global reach, incredible resources, and valuable relationships with manufacturing, licensing and marketing partners, this is the start of an exciting next level for Playroom. This is truly a great culmination of our efforts from the past 17 years and I’m very excited to embark on this journey with a well-known brand like Ultra PRO.” said Dan Rowen, Founder of Playroom Entertainment.

With the recent purchases of Jolly Roger Games, TableTopics, and exclusive rights to Stone Blade Entertainment’s portfolio, including the highly acclaimed Ascension deck building games, the acquisition of Playroom continues Ultra PRO’s strategic plans to deliver, along with popular accessories, premium content to the global toys & games, and geek & pop culture markets.

“Playroom Entertainment has a long history of developing successful brands and licenses that have had an indelible mark across various markets. This will truly complement the existing titles and our overall Ultra PRO Entertainment portfolio. Together, we feel extremely confident about bringing consumers, retailers and our vast distribution network the best games yet from Playroom Entertainment.” said Sean Lashgari, Senior Director of Ultra PRO’s Entertainment Division. “With this acquisition, we now have a solid, diversified foundation in our Entertainment Division, and we plan to leverage our global distribution network and expand our market reach to accelerate growth.”

Ultra PRO’s immediate post-closing plans include investing in new inventory to ensure deep stock levels of its top product lines along with pursuing the numerous projects that are in development. Mr. Rowen will join Ultra PRO as the Director of Playroom Entertainment and continue to manage Playroom’s product portfolio on a day-to-day basis.

This acquisition coincides with the launch of several new Playroom Entertainment titles, including Pass the Pandas, a social game geared towards all ages, the Family edition of its popular Geek Out! trivia game, and the releases of Sitting Ducks Deluxe and Cthulhu-themed Unspeakable Words Deluxe.

About Playroom Entertainment
Playroom Entertainment is a publisher of a broad range of tabletop games. Its flagship Killer Bunnies title offers a fun and casual strategy game experience with a unique sense of humor, full of puns and pop culture references. The Geek Out!line of party games challenge players to bet on their knowledge and answer geeky trivia from a wide variety of popular topics. The Bright Idea Games portfolio presents specialty and mass market retailers with a full array of educational games that introduces and reinforces math, deduction and pattern recognition skills in children ages five and up. Playroom Entertainment also offers a wide variety of other titles and specialty products including licensed hobby games such as The Hobbit: The Defeat of Smaug and Lord of the Rings: the Battle For Middle-Earth card game from the popularLord of the Rings series, and other family and party games, seasonal holiday gifts, and arts and craft kits.

About Ultra PRO International 
Ultra PRO International LLC is the leading manufacturer and supplier of memorabilia, collectibles and tabletop gaming accessories, photo and scrapbooking albums and pages, Ultra Sleeves™ disposable, protective sleeves for computer tablets and school and office folders.  Ultra PRO’s Entertainment Division is a publisher of strategy board games for mass retail and hobby markets.  Ultra PRO’s TableTopics Division offers a wide variety of conversation starter cards designed to create stimulating conversations and social experiences.  Ultra PRO is a privately-held, family-owned company with head offices near Los Angeles, California and a secondary warehouse in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.  For more information please visit www.ultrapro.com

rather kalmbach

After a string of high profile business mergers and acquisitions in 2015, the board gaming world is starting off the new year with another company changing hands. Rather Dashing Games, the Kentucky based publishers of recent titles such as Dwarven Miner and Pirates, Ninjas, Robots and Zombies, has officially been acquired by the Kalmbach Publishing Co. Interestingly, Kalmbach has not had any previous involvement in the board game industry but instead is known for publishing a number of hobby/special interest magazines and books as well as organizing niche events.

Under the terms of the acquisition, game designers and Rather Dashing co-founders Mike Richie and Grant Wilson will remain with the company to design and produce the games while Kalmbach provides business support and resources for growth.

Read through the full press release below:

For immediate release: Jan. 5, 2016

Kalmbach expands reach with acquisition of Rather Dashing Games

Waukesha, WI – Kalmbach Publishing Co. today announced it has acquired Rather Dashing Games, creators of engaging and entertaining board games for all ages. The purchase marks entry into the world of board-game publishing for Kalmbach.

“Rather Dashing Games provides Kalmbach with an exciting opportunity to serve the passionate audience that surrounds the rapidly growing board-game market,” Kalmbach President Chuck Croft said. “We have more than 80 years of history of delivering quality products to enthusiast audiences, and we see a lot of similarities between what we do and the tabletop-game business. We look forward to entering into a new, growth area in publishing.”

Kalmbach publishes magazine titles such as Discover, Model Railroader and Trains and books, offers subscription video services and hosts niche events.

Rather Dashing Games, based outside of Lexington, KY, is the brainchild of longtime friends Mike Richie and Grant Wilson, who came together to start the company in 2011. Richie serves as president and game designer; Wilson is vice president and art director.

Since launching Rather Dashing, Wilson and Richie brought their creative energy to games ranging from fun family games such as Red Hot Silly Peppers to tile games such as Graveyards, Ghosts & Haunted Houses and creative strategy games such as Dwarven Miner.

Under the terms of the acquisition, Richie and Wilson will remain with the business, continuing to create the high-quality, entertaining games Rather Dashing is known for. Kalmbach will provide business support and resources for growth.

“Rather Dashing Games has always maintained its vision of bringing quality, fun and original games to the market that are accessible to both hard-core gamers and family gamers alike. Teaming up with a time-honored, creative and value-based company such as Kalmbach allows for an amazing future,” Richie said.

“We couldn’t be happier to partner with such a talented, dedicated, and enthusiastic team. Kalmbach not only shares our values, goals, and love of tabletop gaming, they perfectly match it and magnify it,” Wilson said.

KALMBACH PUBLISHING CO., based in suburban Milwaukee, publishes 11 special-interest magazines including Discover, Model Railroader, Astronomy, Trains and Bead&Button and related books, and produces websites and events based on those content areas.

RATHER DASHING GAMES, based outside of Lexington, KY, boasts a catalog of entertaining games such as X Marks the Spot; Red Hot Silly Peppers; Dwarven Miner; Four Taverns; Pirates, Ninjas, Robots & Zombies; and Graveyards, Ghosts & Haunted Houses.

Mike Richie, Grant Wilson and Tim Kidwell of Kalmbach Publishing are available for interviews to further discuss the acquisition. Please contact Jeanne Wieland at Kalmbach, 262-798-6647, to arrange interviews.