University Games: Making the Rules and Breaking the Rules! tBR Company of the Week
(Happy Anniversary, Bob Moog and University Games! )
University Games is well-known for being a board game company with an enduring presence and unique character. The company fittingly launched on a sunny, prank-filled day on April 1, 1985, when the company’s co-founders, Bob Moog and Cris Lehman, reminisced about how fun and learning were a part of their everyday lives as kids. As adults, they recognized a developing niche in social interaction and learning games. The company philosophy has always been to offer games that encourage social interaction and imagination through gameplay, with learning sprinkled in to season the game. That same year, we introduced the Murder Mystery Party as our first game. Not the typical game, the Murder Mystery Party revolutionized what it meant to entertain: included in the box are story settings, well-thought-out character profiles, clues, evidence, a complete party planner, invitations to send to friends, and even menu suggestions. 36 years later, these parties-in-a-box continue to be enjoyed over dinner with friends, with family and over Zoom calls.
Our early success with the Murder Mystery Party games was a sign that we could expand our brands and our reach across the world. Starting with Smart Ass, we focused on party games where all players are engaged and active. Alongside that, we found a home for puzzles and brainteasers, most notably our 3D puzzles such as Crystal Puzzles and Hanayama. BePuzzled is the only brain teaser brand that offers proprietary collections with innovative designs and varying levels of difficulty to challenge the consumer and grow with each puzzler’s improved skill level. Our 3D puzzles offer challenging collections which encourage puzzlers to build, collect and display their puzzles as works of art. In 2014, University Games added Briarpatch, with the goal of providing inspiring, educational, and above all else FUN content to preschoolers and kids everywhere. Briarpatch is recognized worldwide for its well-designed preschool games and puzzles. The variety of beloved literary and TV settings such as I SPY, Pete the Cat, The World of Eric Carle and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood helps children to learn social skills, counting skills, memory skills, and literacy skills.
We build our product lines while continuing to be leaders in mystery, literary learning, party games, and puzzles. In 2021, we are introducing the most new products in our 36 year history. Within our children’s games brand, Briarpatch, we are adding a new line of learning games and puzzles based on Richard Scarry’s books. We are also recommitting ourselves to where it all started for us as a company: MYSTERY. We are introducing more Murder Mystery Party Case Files, a dynamic and innovative new addition to the mystery category that puts players into detective’s shoes. Even more exciting are our new Case File Puzzles which give puzzlers a chance to love a real murder – that we made up. At the same time, we are also rapidly expanding our line of jigsaw puzzles with the addition of Panopuzzles and Impossibles. Panopuzzles feature 39-inch panoramic views of world-famous bridges and cityscapes, while Impossibles are 1000-piece jigsaws with added twists, like no edges and 5 extra pieces for the puzzler who is ready for a new challenge.
While we continue to add new products to our lines, we’ve also launched the first all-game, all-the-time YouTube channel, UG Studios. Our content includes industry interviews, behind-the-scenes looks, product videos, game shows and much, much more! It’s the first direct-to-consumer marketing program created to connect game makers to mainstream consumers.
As we think about 2021, we are looking forward to continuously finding new ways to integrate play and learning into games and puzzles for people all over the world.