the Bloom Report
Worldwide Toy Industry's #1 News Summary
Below is Feb. 19-26, 2021. Click Here for Last Week
Articles posted daily with most recent at top of each section. The previous week drops off each Friday when we email you highlights.
Not only does the Bloom Report give you all the news you need to know... we give you all the news you didn't know you needed to know!" -Phil Bloom
Welcome to your briefing of the week's news...
Check out this week’s POP panel (end of this page): Role of Drop Shipping in a COVID World with moderator: David Norman (President of Goliath North American and Global Gaming) and panelists: Bob Moog (President of University Games and AreYouGame.com) and Matt Stahlin (President, Flat River Group)
POP INTO SPRING WEEK starts March 1st! It’s a virtual professional networking event for the toy and game industry using our new POP Platform! This is a big opportunity for our industry, so CLICK HERE to BE THERE!
Thank you for reading the Bloom Report!
Dear Tim... Don’t Just Show Me the Numbers. Tell Me a Story: tBR Columnist Tim Kilpin Comments
A few weeks ago, an analysis popped up in my Inbox — a detailed year-end shipping, sell-through, and inventory summary. It was stunning. Thirteen slides stuffed with data, eye-popping charts, colors, numbers, and facts — mounds of facts. I like facts. It was a masterpiece, a true work of sales analysis art. And it was useless to me.
First of all, I’m a charter member of Toy People with ADD (it’s a remarkably large group, you know). My attention span used to last 30 seconds, and now I can barely make it through a Tik-Tok post.
The data was without reproach; it was (as best as I could tell) accurate and complete. But it told me nothing. So I replied with the Zoom equivalent of an exasperated shoulder shrug. What I needed to say was ‘tell me a story.’ In a few words, sum it up. Tell me why I should care, why this matters. If you told your story reasonably well, you can bet I’ll be ready to dive into the details. Read More...
PIATNIK - Making good games since 1824. tBR Company of the Week
Piatnik is both a game publisher as well as a manufacturer of board games, playing cards and jigsaw puzzles. Founded in 1824, we have been playing for a while, always together and always with passion. That is the strength that has enabled us to make a name for ourselves as a purveyor of award-winning party games with global appeal.
Today, Piatnik is an international group of companies exporting goods to over 70 countries. With our headquarter and factory located in Vienna (Austria) and our own distribution companies in Germany, Hungary and the Czech Republic, central Europe is effectively our domestic market. We produce our playing cards and board games in Vienna right in the heart of Europe and source most of our high-grade raw materials from local suppliers. At Piatnik we place a deep emphasis on sustainability in production, an environmentally sound raw materials supply chain and a high value on employee welfare. We are an FSC – certified, ECOvadis audited and ICTI socially compliant manufacturer. Read More...
Thato and Kioko Mwosa Launch SAWA African Trivia Card Game. tBR People of the Week
Thato and Kioko Mwosa are on a mission as artistic innovators to celebrate and educate others about African Culture. Their combined talents have touched the lives of thousands through filmmaking, screenwriting, education, illustrating, playwrights and most recently game inventing with their new game, SAWA African Trivia Card Game.
“We believe when there is a lack of something, there is opportunity,” says Thato Mwosa. “That opportunity gives us a chance to further our mission to educate and celebrate African Culture instead of complaining about what is missing.”
For example, when the couple’s daughter Tuli was one year old, they found very little black/brown ballerina décor for her ballet themed bedroom.
“That sparked an idea to create my own illustrations that represented girls of color,” says Thato. “The result was Tuli Art where you will find an array of brown/black ballerinas in different poses wearing bold and vibrant costumes.” Read More...
Financial & Legal News . . .
Government (India) says no extension on toy quality control order despite pleas from industry. in a setback to the demands and requests of toymakers seeking an extension on the new quality control norms, union commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal said the toy quality control order is here to stay and that there will not be an extension. The minister was speaking at The India Toy Fair that was held virtually over the weekend.
2020 toy sales in Spain saved by the Three Kings. In an exclusive Viewpoint column, Sol Ostrovsky and Lorenzo de Benito discuss the toy market in Spain over the last year. Both experts in the Iberian toy market, Sol Ostrovsky has worked as a buyer for Universe of Imagination Spain/Portugal, Toys R Us Iberia, before moving on to be a category manager at Toys R Us in the US, while Lorenzo de Benito is a former...
(the above posted after February 26th)
Toy firms and retailers unite in calls for Government rethink over UK e-scooter laws. Outdoor toy and leisure companies and retailers are among those to have issued fresh calls for a Government rethink over the current laws on the public use of e-scooters amid the surge in popularity of the sector as an alternative mode of greener transport. Leaders in the outdoor recreation sector, including the likes of MV
UK PM's roadmap dates retail reopening from April 12th Retail industry reacts to Boris Johnson's announcement that non-essential retail reopening is expected to be allowed from April 12th. Retailers have welcomed the long-awaited news, although many will be disappointed not to be able to open fully for the usually busy Easter period.
John Lewis considers further store closures. John Lewis may close up to eight of its remaining outlets in response to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The partnership is understood to be considering a new round of store closures, as the company re-examines the scale of its national network of branches.
Charting global economy: U.S. retail sales surge to begin year. The American consumer got back in the spending groove last month and factory output rose more than forecast, setting the stage for what could be the best year of economic growth in nearly four decades. Employment in the euro area improved in final quarter of 2020, though the workforce in Europe and the rest of the world faces structural...
UK court refuses to force Apple to reinstate 'Fortnite' to App Store; Epic Games settles loot box. A United Kingdom court dropped Epic Games' suit against Apple and its request to make the tech giant reinstate its popular video game "Fortnite" into the App Store. In the meantime, sorry, Apple users, you are still shut out from playing "Fortnite" with your friends who are blasting away on PlayStations and Xboxes...
Unity report shows mobile games ad revenue grew 8% in 2020. Day one in-app purchases grew 52% in 2020, while mobile game ad revenues increased 8%, Unity's latest gaming report showed, particularly looking at the impact of COVID-19 on players' usage. The report indicated that the volume of HD gaming -- defined by Unity as "video games on PC, macOS, and other desktop platforms with graphics typically...
Epic Games settlement awards in-game cash to Fortnite, Rocket League players. Part of a proposed settlement for a years-long class action lawsuit against Epic Games sees the game giant handing out in-game currency to players that purchased random draw loot boxes before the feature was essentially removed from Epic's games a few years back. The settlement, set to be approved this week...
CD Projekt issues DMCA takedowns to halt spread of illegally obtained source code. CD Projekt Red has begun issuing DMCA takedowns to halt the spread of stolen game data on social media. The Polish studio was the victim of a 'targeted cyber attack' earlier this month, during which the perpetrator claimed to have obtained "full copies of the source code" for Cyberpunk 2077, The Witcher 3, Gwent, and "the...
Apple lawyers are fighting for Steam sales data on hundreds of games. Apple subpoenaed Valve in November as part of its ongoing litigation with Fortnite developer Epic Games, and it’s demanding that Valve provide extensive sales data for more than 400 games, according to a new filing (via PC Gamer). The move comes amid Apple’s ongoing fight over Epic’s efforts to avoid paying iOS App Store fees. e.
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Trends, Market Research Reports . . .
(the above posted after February 26th)
STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: BLUE PLATE MEDIA SERVICES's David Becker . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: CAMP's Kat Druback . . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: PLAYWISE PARTNERS's Rachel Griffin . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: EBAY's Nicole Colombo . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: SPIELWARENMESSE's Ernst Kick . . . . . State of the industry Q&A 2021: LEGO's Skip Kodak . . . . . State of the industry Q&A 2021: IMC Toys's Karen Branson . . . . . State of the industry Q&A 2021: ASTRA's Sue Warfield . . . . . State of the industry Q&A 2021: Wowwee's Andrew Yanofsky . . . . . State of the industry Q&A 2021: Bonkers Toys's Deborah Stallings Stumm . . . . . State of the industry Q&A 2021: The Toy Association's Steve Pasierb . . . . . State of the industry Q&A 2021: Amazon's Anne Carrihill . . . . . State of the industry Q&A 2021: Mastermind Toys's Sarah Jordan . . . . . State of the industry Q&A 2021: Moose Toys' Glenn Abell . . . . . State of the industry Q&A 2021: Target's Nik Nayer . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: WARNER BROS. CONSUMER PRODUCTS's Catherine Bachmaier . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: HASBRO's Eric Nyman . . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: PLAYMONSTER's Scott Flynn . . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: JUST PLAY's Charlie Emby . . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: WONDER WORKS's Christine Osborne . . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: FAO SCHWARZ's David Niggli . . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: BASIC FUN!'s Jay Foreman . . . . . State of the Industry Q&A 2021: Learning Express's Sharon DiMinico . . . . . State of the Industry Q&A 2021: Spin Master's ANTON RABIE . . . . . STATE OF THE INDUSTRY Q&A 2021: MATTEL'S STEVE TOTZKE . . . . . The COVID-19 curveballs and what’s next for 2021 . . . . . January digital games spending reaches $11.6bn. . . . . . THE U.S. TOY INDUSTRY HITS RECORD SALES DESPITE PANDEMIC
Financial & Brokerage News . . .
(the above posted after February 26th)
Mattel President on why 2020 was an 'extraordinary year' for Barbie . . . . .Crusader Kings III helps Paradox to best financial year in history . . . . . Paradox reports best year ever in 2020. . . . . . The Pokémon Company celebrates ‘significant increase in sales’ of TCG and Jazwares toy line.
Future Financial Reporting . . .
$676.64 million in sales expected for Mattel, Inc.this quarter. Equities research analysts forecast that Mattel, Inc. will report sales of $676.64 million for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Five analysts have made estimates for Mattel's earnings, with the highest sales estimate coming in at $718.10 million and the lowest estimate coming in at $640.00 million. Mattel reported sales of $594.10 million during the same quarter last year, which would suggest a positive year over year growth rate of 13.9%.
$1.20 billion in sales expected for Hasbro, Inc. this quarter. Equities research analysts expect that Hasbro, Inc. (NASDAQ:HAS) will post sales of $1.20 billion for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Five analysts have provided estimates for Hasbro's earnings. The highest sales estimate is $1.26 billion and the lowest is $1.14 billion. Hasbro posted sales of $1.11 billion during the same quarter last year, which suggests a positive year over year growth rate of 8.1%. The company is scheduled to report its next quarterly earnings results on Wednesday, May 5th.
Nintendo raises fiscal forecast as Switch closes in on 80 million lifetime sales. Nintendo has reported an upswing in net sales and profits off the back of bumper Switch hardware and software sales. As highlighted in the company's fiscal report for the nine months ended December 31, 2020, net sales increased by 37.3 percent year-on-year to 1.4 trillion yen ($13.3 billion), while profits rose by 91.8 percent to 376.6 billion yen...
Spin Master Corp. to Report Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2020 Financial Results on March 1, 2021. Ronnen Harary, Co-Chief Executive Officer, and Mark Segal, Chief Financial Officer, will host a conference call for the investment community on Tuesday, March 2, 2021 at 9:30 a.m. (ET).
Stories & Comments . . .
UK Indie retailers are ready when you are! Rachael Simpson-Jones spoke to independent retailers to find out how they have been coping over the latest lockdown and how they have been getting ready for reopening. When Rachael caught up with Dan Lovett, of Beccles Toy Box; Lee Borastero, of Kids Stuff Wells and Louise Anderson of John Anderson Toymaster, the ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown and retail reopening dates...
Toys are ditching gender, but it's really just a way to sell more toys. This decision accelerates a recent trend toward wider representation and inclusivity in consumer products for children. Producers of toys, books, movies and television programs for children have striven to portray people with different races, ethnicities, sexual orientations and body types. Some of these products, including mainstream blockbusters such...
(the above posted after February 26th)
Backstory: welcome to the new class — a trio of classic toys enters The National Toy Hall Of Fame. On the banks of Lake Ontario in Rochester, New York, a colorful testament to the power and importance of having fun stands. Within the walls of The Strong National Museum of Play, kids and families explore and learn while engaging with the world’s largest and most extensive collection of toys and historical elements...
Mr. Potato Head Goes Gender Neutral With Retooling by Hasbro. Hasbro Inc. is dropping “mister” from the Mr. Potato Head brand to make the popular toy line gender neutral and appeal to a broader base of consumers. The series, featuring a plastic potato with removable parts like eyeglasses, a mustache, nose and mouth, will also be more sustainably made, the company said Thursday in a presentation to investors.
ICONIC TOYS THROUGH TIME: A LOOK AT HOW SOME CLASSIC TOY BRANDS GOT THEIR STARTS. Every year, new and innovative toys make their debut, tapping into current trends in hopes of topping holiday gift guides and wish lists by the fall. Yet, there are some toys that are far from new, but still remain playtime favorites decades after they first appeared on toy store shelves or made their first appearance at a major toy fair.
IS THIS THE END OF THE MASTER TOY LICENSEE? The story is a legendary one: an oft-recounted tale that sparked a turning point in toy and licensing history. In 1976, 20th Century Fox approached New York-based Mego Corp. with a licensing opportunity tied to a low-budget sci-fi film from a scrappy little production company run by the guy who directed American Graffiti. Mego, then dominating the action aisle with its...
The Most Valuable McDonald's Pokemon Cards. McDonald's has released special Pokemon TCG cards in Happy Meals celebrating Pokemon's 25th Anniversary, but are any of them worth reselling? In celebration of Pokemon’s 25th Anniversary, McDonald’s is including a special edition pack of Pokemon TCG cards with every Happy Meal. What started out as a fun Happy Meal toy has turned into a hunt to find and even sell...
A World of Black Intimacy at the Card Table. For the poet Hanif Abdurraqib, playing spades with his friends is about so much more than the game. Somewhere on the road between Oxford, Miss., and Tuscaloosa, Ala., my homie Jerriod looks at the cards fanned out in his hands. For anyone who has played enough games of spades and lost enough games of spades, it is known that you watch the moment directly after...
Our obsession with happiness is making our kids miserable. It was front and center in a slide show of other people’s beautiful kitchen renovations: one of those artsy wooden “House Rules” signs. Rule Number 7, showcased in the biggest script of all and sandwiched between “Show compassion” and “Love each other” was this: “BE HAPPY.” Admittedly, seeing that made me anything but. As a psychologist, I can’t help...
Opinion | Toon-age day stream: How Disney+ is about to change toy licensing for good It almost seemed by design that Disney’s subscription based streaming platform, Disney+ launched just as the Coronavirus pandemic began to tighten its grip on the UK and force the world’s population inside and away from the entertainment venues of yesteryear. And in just a short space of time, its impact on the wider...
Need a reminder of just how imperiled moviegoing, at least in the U.S., remains due to the pandemic? Look no further than domestic box office charts. “The Croods: A New Age,” which debuted theatrically in November, was the No. 1 movie in North America. The Universal Pictures animated sequel nabbed $1.7 million from 1,913 venues between Friday and Sunday, enough to bypass recent releases like Denzel....
What does ‘family-friendly’ actually mean? Shows for the whole family are spiking in popularity among both viewers and buyers. Some of the biggest producers of this catch-all content share what it looks like, and how to make it well. When Fear Factor was released in 2001, it was never supposed to be a show the whole family sat down to watch together. It was made specifically for men. But then something else happened.
Jimmy Kimmel’s Debuts Spoof Line Of ‘Karen’ Dolls For Kids. “Karen mask not sold separately because science is fake”. Leave it to late night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel to debut a fake line of dolls called Karen: The Doll Collection. Last night during an episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the late night host aired a spoof commercial for a fake line of Karen dolls for kids themed after Virginia Senator Amanda Chase, who....
This massive ‘Lord of the Rings’ LEGO diorama set a Guinness World Record. The Lord of the Rings is not only one of the longest blockbuster film trilogies, but the franchise has also inspired the Guinness World Record holder for the “Largest Interlocking Plastic Brick Diorama” at the children’s museum Smaerd Land in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China.
Toon-age day stream: How Disney+ is about to change toy licensing for good. It almost seemed by design that Disney’s subscription based streaming platform, Disney+ launched just as the Coronavirus pandemic began to tighten its grip on the UK and force the world’s population inside and away from the entertainment venues of yesteryear.
eBay unveils ultimate Pokémon shop in celebration of the franchise's 25th anniversary. In celebration of the Pokémon franchise’s 25th anniversary, eBay has unveiled the ultimate online Pokémon shop. eBay is bringing a Pokémon focused destination for Pokémon memorabilia enthusiasts to find ultra-rare everyday finds in just about any category imaginable. eBay has put together the ultimate collection of rare...
Remembering the Toy Industry's Past . . .
Odd Pod. The Odd Pod YouTube channel features the toys, games, comics, cartoons, and fads that made the 1980s and ’90s so much fun. Host Dan and his crew of colourful puppets look at the pop-culture franchises that informed kids growing up in the ’80s and ’90s. Revisit cartoons such as Freakazoid, Ghostbusters toys, television theme songs, and others that will instantly bring back memories — or, for those who...
Lolli Plop from Milton Bradley (1962). “Lolli Plop! Lolli Plop! Lolli Plop Quick! Flip the Marbles down the Stick!” In 1962, Milton Bradley released Lolli Plop, a brainteaser in lollipop form. The game came with two colourful plastic replicas of all-day suckers, each 8-inches high. Each see-thru Lolli Plop contained five marbles visible inside, four black and one white.
How Silly Putty got its start in the military. It’s the crazy compound that bounces, molds, stretches, snaps — the non-Newtonian fluid that seemingly takes on new properties with each shape. It’s a beloved toy that has been around since the 1940s, but didn’t make its way into the hearts and hands of families until years later. Why? The substance’s original use wasn’t to become a toy at all, in fact, it was...
Skedoodle from Hasbro (1979). Released by Hasbro in 1979, Skedoodle is one part Spirograph and three parts Etch A Sketch. The design features a curved, circular screen, and control stick – all housed in a red case. Moving the control stick allowed users to draw free-form lines and shapes. Drawing more complex patterns and geometric shapes was facilitated by one of 12 design discs included in the package.
Worldwide Licensing News . . .
Schleich launches its first video game Horse Club Adventures with Wild River Games The Munich games developer, Wild River Games has partnered with the international toy company Schleich to launch the first video game title for its popular Horse Club franchise. The new title, Horse Club Adventures, will be an open-world game for children aged six to 12, allowing them to explore and roam freely across the terrain,
General Mills: Lucky Charms Candy Land by Hasbro. Now parents are looking for more original, creative ways to make virtual holidays fun for the whole family. In addition to releasing limited-edition Green Milk Turn cereal, Lucky Charms partnered with Hasbro, Cold Stone Creamery, Crocs Jibbitz and even JibJab to help inspire more St. Patrick’s Day fun.
(the above posted after February 26th)
Nerf Becomes Official Partner of NFL Flag. Global play and entertainment company Hasbro, Inc announced a partnership with NFL Flag to become the official supplier of footballs and flag belts for NFL Flag league play in the U.S. The partnership represents a definitive return to sports for the Nerf brand, which will put footballs and gear directly into the hands of thousands of NFL Flag athletes across the country.
Peppa Pig theme park to open at Legoland Florida Opening in 2022, the Peppa Pig theme park will have rides, interactive attractions, themed playscapes and water play areas. Hasbro has announced that it has partnered with Merlin Entertainments to create a Peppa Pig theme park at the Legoland Florida Resort. The move comes as Hasbro evolves its burgeoning pre-school portfiolio which now includes poular eOne charcters....
Funko Games debuts licensed lineup. This year, Funko Games will unveil a lineup of board games. Funko Games will bring dozens of new games to market this year, including "ESPN Trivia Night," in April, "Fast & Furious: Highway Heist," in May, plus preschool-focused titles such as "Disney Princess See the Story," which is available in June. The Funkoverse and Marvel Battleworld franchises will also release new expansions this...
ALIEN and Disney Gargoyles lead Ravensburger’s latest gaming portfolio following ‘incredible 2020’. ALIEN, Disney Gargoyles, and a fully-licensed Taco Bell party game are among a line-up of new launches to be hitting the scene courtesy of Ravensburger for 2021, following what the US outfit of the global enterprise has billed as an ‘incredible last year.’ With a games division that continues to grow its breadth of titles ...
Hasbro signs five-year Fortnite product license expansion with Epic Games. During Hasbro’s (NASDAQ: HAS) Investor Event today, the global play and entertainment company and Epic Games have announced a five-year extended contract, which expands their Fortnite product licensing deal beyond outdoor play products and tabletop games into item expressions such as collectible action figures, vehicles, and role-play gear..
Mattel and Milestone announce Hot Wheels Unleashed. Mattel, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAT) and Milestone, a leading global racing game developer, announced today the upcoming release of Hot Wheels Unleashed, an all-new, action-packed arcade-style racing game. The game, which is available for pre-order today, is scheduled to launch on Sept. 30, 2021 on PlayStation5, PlayStation4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One consoles,...
Bandai UK unveils new CoComelon range additions. Bandai UK has announced its new line-up of CoComelon toys following January’s NPD data ranking of CoComelon as the No.1 New Infant/Toddler Licence for the month and number four licence overall in the same category year to date. The CoComelon licensed toy range, manufactured by Jazwares and distributed in the UK and Europe by Bandai UK, launched in...
Hornby takes fresh steps into franchise building with new licensing consultant Michele Pearce. Hornby Hobbies has taken the first steps forward in launching its Scalextric brand onto the global licensing scene with the appointment of its new licensing consultant, Michele Pearce. In her new role, Pearce will work to represent Hornby in the start of a new in-house licensing initiative, utilising her specialist knowledge and...
Mattel, Nickelodeon team up to reboot ‘Monster High’ for a new generation. Next year, Frankie Stein, Draculaura, and Clawdeen Wolf are heading back to class as the doors to Monster High swing open for a new generation. Mattel Inc. and Nickelodeon have entered into a ghoulish partnership to reboot the franchise based on the kids of famous monsters and mythical creatures.
Paddington 3 movie confirmed as Copyrights announces Rai Com as new Italian agent. The Copyrights Group is expanding the presence of Paddington in Italy by partnering with Rai Com as licensing agent for the brand. The appointment of Rai correlates with the successful launch of The Adventures of Paddington, on Rai YoYo in January 2021. Rai Com is now working to build on the show’s success by ensuring the ....
LEGO to debut ‘new brand collaborations’ at Summit of the Americas trade show. The LEGO Group will reportedly debut ‘new brand collaborations’ at this year’s virtual Summit of the Americas trade expo. According to The Moodie Davitt Report, the company will use the meeting between retailers and manufacturers to highlight new products from the DUPLO, CITY, Friends and NINJAGO themes – as well as debuting ...
Paw Patrol 3D puzzles. Fresh Trends Ltd. is excited to announce their latest 3D Puzzle branding line with the number one license, PAW Patrol. Partnering with both Spin Master, in association with Nickelodeon movies, Fresh Trends Ltd. Will bring all the PAW Patrol characters to life with several 3D Puzzle toy lines for all ages and PAW Patrol fans to enjoy! The Fresh Trends Ltd. creative team of designers has been working...
Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir toys are heading to the U.S. The stylish Parisian superheroes of Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir are coming to the U.S. in the form of fashion dolls from Playmates Toys and ZAG Labs. Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir is a French CGI-animated series from ZAG, ON Kids, and the Mediawan Group about two school crushes who become secret superheroes in Paris...
Sabec signs license for Bullseye gameshow brand, will develop digital games. Bulldog Licensing, the leading European agency which manages the rights for the iconic gameshow Bullseye, has signed a deal with Sabec. The developer will be creating a range of digital games for download on the Nintendo Switch and Playstation consoles, based on the much-loved British gameshow. A leader in its field, Sabec develops games...
MGA enters into global music partnership for L.O.L. Surprise! The partnership will see MGA team up with Magic Star of Sony Music UK to support the L.O.L. Surprise! brand, with the first single set to launch in March. Magic Star is Sony Music UK’s children’s entertainment label and has built up a roster of both established and development artists, and brand partnerships, since its launch in October 2019. .
Greenlight Collectibles inks licensing deal with MGM for Hollywood die-cast vehicles. GreenLight Collectibles is rolling out a new assortment of die-cast vehicles created in partnership with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios (MGM). Under a new multiyear licensing agreement, GreenLight will design and market die-cast versions of vehicles featured in numerous MGM film and TV projects. Beginning later this year, GreenLight will offer MGM-licensed vehicles in 1:12, 1:18, 1:24, 1:43, and 1:64 scales across a variety of its brands.
People . . .
TALKING GAMES WITH SPIN MASTER’S NICK METZLER ON THE ‘POWER KID PODCAST’. Nick Metzler, incubation and new business specialist at Spin Master. Metzler has designed and marketed dozens of award-winning games, including Squashed, Marvel’s Wakanda Forever and Hail Hydra, Harry Potter Hedbanz, Battle of the Sexes, and many more. Metzler was the winner of the TAGIE Award for Young Innovator of the Year in 2013 and Rising Star Innovator in 2018. He was also the back-to-back winner of the Young Inventor Challenge (YIC) in 2010 and 2011 and has supported YIC ever since.
ICV2 INTERVIEW: TOKYOPOP CEO STU LEVY Why Manga Should Be Bigger, Manga vs. Webtoon, The Past, the Future. We reached out to talk to Stu Levy of Tokyopop for Manga Week, and on the occasion of ICv2’s 20th anniversary. Tokyopop was one of a handful of companies that supported us in our first year (see "20 Years Ago Today"), and Levy has a long history in the U.S. manga business.
Vivid Goliath welcomes Ben Hogg as UK marketing manager. Vivid Goliath Group is pleased to announce that Ben Hogg has joined the UK team as the company’s marketing manager across the toys and games portfolio. Ben brings with him a wealth of marketing experience from his previous role at Asmodee UK, where he had worked for over ten years.
An Interview with Spin Master's Brock McLaughlin – Adventures in Collecting. On this episode, Dave and Erik sit down with Spin Master Toys' Manager, Influencer and Talent Marketing, Brock McLaughlin to talk all things Batman, DC Heroes, one of the absolute creepiest toys we've ever seen, and SO MUCH more!
Sambro International appoints Paul Blackaby as new CEO. Sambro has announced the appointment of Paul Blackaby following the departure from the company of Tony Hicks. Toy manufacturer and distributor Sambro International Limited has announced the appointment of Paul Blackaby as its new chief executive officer. Former CEO Tony Hicks has left the company after less than two years in the role.
(the above posted after February 26th)
ElevatorUp’s Harrison Brooks Appears on the ‘Power Kid Podcast’. In this week’s episode of the “Power Kid Podcast,” host Phil Albritton of Power Kid Design welcomes Harrison Brooks, the 17-year-old creator and CEO (Chief Elevator Officer) of ElevatorUp and database and content manager at People of Play. (Note from Editor: Harrison is extraordinary and has been pivotal to the success of our POP database/platform! -Mary)
John Baulch, ToyWorld UK - Terms and conditions apply…it’s the Friday Blog! Businesses thrive on clarity, visibility and certainty. So, it’s good that we finally have some idea of the road out of lockdown. At this stage it is important to have a time frame to allow planning and preparation, and every retailer we spoke to this week is hugely relieved that we now have firm (ish) dates to work towards. However, it is worth bearing in...
Spin Master is strengthening its entertainment team with a couple of key promotions. Laura Clunie has been upped from VP of development and creative director to SVP of development and feature film. Toni Stevens has also been promoted from director of production and supervising producer to SVP of production and operations. Dan Mokriy has been named VP of production and is responsible for delivering best-in-class programming that delivers on the company’s creative vision. And Jonah Stroh was promoted to VP of creative production, with...
Cartoon Network Studios adds execs. Lauren Martinez comes aboard and Kelly Crews is promoted as the studio focuses on new animated content for kids and co-viewing audiences. Cartoon Network Studios is focused on building more family-skewing content with two new additions to its executive leadership team. Lauren Martinez pictured left) joins as VP of series, and Kelly Crews has been promoted to VP of production.
Spin Master has promoted Jennifer Dodge to become president of its entertainment division, Spin Master Entertainment. “In the last 12 years, Spin Master Entertainment has developed into a fully imagined entertainment company, capable of everything from development through distribution, franchise management and our latest achievement – feature film production,” Dodge said in a statement. “I’m excited to step into...
Companies . . .
Disney to close at least 60 North American stores. The 60 Disney stores represent 20% of the company's worldwide retail estate, as it switches to a focus on eCommerce. The company also is evaluating a significant reduction of stores in Europe, according to a spokesperson, although locations in Japan and China will not be affected.
Far Out Toys’ Glo-Up Girls Bring the TikTok Sensation to the Doll Aisle. Inspired by the massively viral world of makeover content that dominates social platforms, including YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok — where #GlowUp already boasts more than 20 million views — the Glo-Up Girls are a new line of fashion dolls that are currently in production and headed for retail.
Mattel’s Spirit Untamed Line Gallops Into Retail. As first revealed at Toy Fair New York last year, Mattel picked up the license for DreamWorks Animation’s Spirit franchise ahead of this summer’s Spirit Untamed. The new collection launched this week and includes dolls, horses, and playsets, along with Spirit Untamed-inspired versions of Mattel Games, including UNO, Stackin’ Apples, and more.
Hasbro Restructures Business Into Three Segments. As the toy, game, and family entertainment businesses continue to evolve and morph into one another, Hasbro is joining its competitors — including Mattel and Spin Master — in re-segmenting its business that more accurately represents what the company does. Hasbro is now divided into three new financial reporting segments: Consumer Products, Wizards of the....
COBI CEO ISSUES APOLOGY FOR CONSTRUCTION TOYS DEPICTING NAZI GERMANY; PULLS SETS FROM SALE. At the center of this week’s controversy were new additions to Polish toymaker COBI’s long-running Historical Collection that presented leaders and vehicles from Nazi Germany in building sets designed for kids ages 6 and up and collectors.
Fans of The Mandalorian take note, Mattel has created a life-sized floating Baby Yoda. And it is now up for auction on eBay. Yes, just when you thought you could not get enough of The Child aka Grogu, here comes this masterpiece from Mattel. The life-sized replica of The Child was created by Mattel Designer Michael Kadile. The final auction price will be channelled towards charity art organisation ProjectArt.
Exclusive: Rise up! The latest from Playmobil Rachael Simpson-Jones spoke to Jamie Dickinson, head of marketing at Playmobil, about the launch plans for Dino Rise, and what else the company has in store this year. Playmobil has entered 2021 full of positivity, having fared well during a challenging 12 months that left the company just as pleased with its own performance as that of the wider toy industry.
Moose Toys Wins Five Australian Toy Association Awards. Moose Toys took home five Australian Toy Association awards this week, including the 2021 Judges Choice Award for the Bluey Pool Time Playset and the 2021 Plush Product of the Year for the Bluey & Friends Basic Plush. The awards keep coming for Bluey, the loveable, six-year-old Blue Heeler, who turns everyday family life into endless, playful adventures.
Exploding Kittens Launches First Two-Player, Strategic Board Game, Tacocat Spelled Backwards. Hit tabletop game creator, Exploding Kittens, today announced its first two-player board game, Tacocat Spelled Backwards, a palindrome-themed duel of wits and tactics that incorporates a fun balance of strategy, luck, and instinct. In a unique, friendly competition, opponents aim to outsmart one another in battles...
Hasbro is making Transformers and My Little Pony adaptations for Netflix. Hasbro is known for making action figures for Marvel and Disney films, but after acquiring Peppa Pig producer Entertainment One (eOne), it plans to make movies and TV shows out of its own toys and games. The company has announced a slew of new projects based on The Transformers, My Little Pony and other toys for...
(the above posted after February 16th)
Hasbro introduces Crooked Cash & Builder versions of Monopoly. Hasbro revealed two new versions of Monopoly today as players can soon play the Builder and Crooked Cash editions. Each version has it's own unique spin on the game that hasn't really been explored this way. First off, the Crooked Cash edition uses fake cash, fake Chance cards, accusation coins, and hidden reveals as you play a deceptive game that's...
Plum Play eyes international growth following outdoor play demand and £4.2m in funding. Plum Play is eyeing international growth for its portfolio of outdoor toys and play products, including trampolines and climbing frames, following a surge in demand that has been driven by the pandemic and a recent £4.2 million in bank funding. .
Bandai unveils a new booster set for 'Dragon Ball Super: Card Game'. Bandai unveiled Battle Evolution Booster [EB-01], a new booster set for Dragon Ball Super: Card Game, which will release on March 26. This new set will feature 233 types of cards total (normal/holo), 68 of which new card and 57 of which are reprints. The rarity breakdown goes as follows: 60 commons, 30 uncommons, 18 rares, 16 super rares...
New heroes and villains join the fight in 'Marvel Crisis Protocol'. Atomic Mass Games announced four new character packs for Marvel Crisis Protocol Miniatures Game to be released in Q2 2021. Marvel Crisis Protocol Miniatures Game is a miniature based game that features the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe. Players assemble teams of miniatures and a selection of cards to play through different Crisis scenarios. .
Fantasy Flight Games adds another member of The Guardians Of The Galaxy To 'Marvel Champions: The Card Game'. Fantasy Flight Games unveiled Gamora Hero Pack, for Marvel Champions: The Card Game, which will release in May. This pack introduces Gamora as a playable hero that comes with fifteen signature cards. Her deck focuses on the Aggression aspect, but Gamora can also use up to six cards ...
Mattel to launch two new animated Barbie features across global broadcasters and streaming platforms. Mattel has detailed the launch of two new animated Barbie specials across global broadcasters and streaming services this spring, with Barbie and Chelsea The Lost Birthday, and Barbie Princess Adventure. Barbie and Chelsea will be the first dedicated television movie to feature Barbie’s younger sister Chelsea...
Wizards of the Coast's 'Universes Beyond' announcement reveals their licensing plans for 'Magic: The Gathering'. Wizards of the Coast announced Universes Beyond, a sub-brand series for Magic: The Gathering, that will include Magic expansions featuring Lord of the Rings and Warhammer 40,000. Products for this sub-brand series are slated to begin releasing in 2022.
Asmodee USA will release 'Spot It! Camping (Eco-Blister)' into U.S. trade. Asmodee USA will release Spot It! Camping (Eco-Blister) into the U.S. hobby channel on March 5. This version of Spot It! offers up a camping theme with the same gameplay that fans of this game love. The game comes with five different mini-games, which can be played out of order.
Hasbro looks to Entertainment One to turn the toymaker into a media contender. Roughly three months after Hasbro closed its $3.8 billion acquisition of Entertainment One, the pandemic struck, upending the entertaintment industry. Covid shut down production and restricted in-person contact between the Rhode Island-based toy company and the Toronto-based studio known for “Peppa Pig” and “PJ Masks.”
'Egyptian God Decks' descend in 'Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game'. Konami Digital Entertainment has announced the Yu-Gi-Oh! Egyptian God Decks, featuring Slifer the Sky Dragon and Obelisk the Tormentor, for release on June 11. Egyptian God Deck: Slifer the Sky Dragon is built around Slifer the Sky Dragon, whose power grows depending on the number of cards in the controller’s hand.
'Ride The Rails' in Australia and Canada. Capstone Games have announced Ride the Rails: Australia & Canada, an expansion to Ride the Rails, for release June 1. Ride the Rails: Australia & Canada contains a double-sided board featuring Australia and Canada on either side. When playing in Australia, players have access to new Long Distance hexes that can connect cities at great distances and provide massive bonuses. .
CMON releases details on 'Bloodborne: Hunter's Dream'. CMON will release Bloodborne: Hunter’s Dream, an expansion to Bloodborne: The Board Game, to retail on March 5. In Bloodborne: Hunter’s Dream, the streets of Yharnam are over flowing with monsters. Hunters must be more diligent than ever as nightmarish brutes stalk the city’s dark alleyways. .
Mattel expands Barbie, American Girl content. Mattel is working on a new American Girl online series to spotlight female changemakers and has locked in several deals for two fresh Barbie specials. Conversations for Change will launch on the American Girl website and seeks to amplify diverse voices. Available now, the first episode is called “4 Generations of Black Voices” and features Marley Dias, Paris Williams, and...
Wizkids will release four 'Magic: the Gathering' miniatures packs. WizKids will release four Magic: The Gathering Unpainted Miniatures Wave 15 packs in July. These new miniatures, temporarily solicited as Magic: The Gathering Unpainted Miniatures Wave 15 #1-4, are two-packs of unpainted miniatures that come primed and ready-to-paint. These packs may feature soon to be revealed characters or monsters from...
YuMe, ViacomCBS Ink Deal for Baby Shark Infant Toys. YuMe is jumping into the water with Pinkfong Baby Shark. The growing toymaker inked a deal with ViacomCBS Consumer Products and SmartStudy to create and market a new collection of infant products based on the viral sensation-turned preschool brand. YuMe’s Pinkfong Baby Shark line will include bath toys, playmats, stroller accessories, rattles, and gift sets.
Funko Introduces Hamilton Pop! Vinyl Figures. There may be a million things Alexander Hamilton hasn’t done … but becoming a Funko Pop! figure is no longer one of them. Finally, the main characters from the popular Broadway musical Hamilton have gotten the Funko Pop! treatment, and you don’t want to miss your shot to add these to your collection.
Mattel has teamed up with Microsoft to bring play experiences from the "Minecraft" Universe into real life with game-accurate playsets, mini and larger-scale collectible figures, role-play toys and more. The "Minecraft" Minecart Mayhem action set will be released this spring. The set includes a minecart vehicle, an exclusive 3.25-inch Steve figure and eight papercraft blocks that players can use to create environments.
YouTube Originals Reveals Global Slate of Kids Content from $100 Million Commitment to Programming. Nearly two years after YouTube came to a $170 million settlement agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) over allegations that it violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA) in how it dealt with kids’ content and consumption on its platforms, the streaming video giant revealed a first...
Mattel to open first Mission Play! centre. The Mission Play! centre will open in Berlin in 2022, part of the re-launch of Potsdamer Platz as a leading entertainment destination in the city. The centre will be the first of its kind in Europe, bringing to fruition the first steps in global plans first drawn up several years ago, that had been put on hold due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chibies from Wow! Stuff has been highlighted as a key toy trend line for 2021 in US Toy Association’s annual Toy Trends forecast. The new line from Wow! Stuff, that listens to music and flashes perfectly to every beat, was created by Josie North and Victoria Brown from the Wow! Stuff team, who have been friends since childhood. New Chibies from Wow! Stuff has been selected as part of the 2021 ‘Mixing in Music’ Toy Trend...
Toikido named master toy partner for Netflix's new animated film Back to the Outback. The Back to the Outback movie will make its global debut in the autumn of 2021, supported by Toikido with action figures and plush. Darran Garnham’s new toy operation Toikido has secured the rights to manufacture a range of based on the new Netflix movie Back to the Outback, which will be released this coming autumn.
Top Announcements from Mattel’s 2021 Virtual Analyst Meeting. Following the big news that Mattel and Nickelodeon are relaunching Monster High next year, Mattel held its Virtual Analyst Meeting yesterday as a digital replacement for its annual in-person event that usually takes place at Toy Fair New York. The company gave updates and first looks at new products, including Masters of the Universe, Barbie, Hot Wheels...
Video Games, Gaming Hardware and Game Development News . . .
Some CD Projekt devs unable to work after ransomware attack. Earlier this month, Cyberpunk 2077 publisher CD Projekt SA reported that it was the victim of a ransomware cyber attack that exposed employees' personal information and leaked source codes for its games. Now a report in Bloomberg indicates that disruption from the attack has spread much further, preventing CD Projekt Red employees from...
Valheim tops 500,000 simultaneous players, beating four more records. Valheim is on a trajectory like nothing we’ve ever seen. The Viking-themed indie survival game has been shooting up the Steam charts, selling 3 million copies in an unheard-of 17 days. And people aren’t just buying it on a whim; they’re actively playing it, too. On Sunday, the game reached 500,000 simultaneous players...
Sony announces next-gen VR headset for the PS5. Sony is working on a next-generation VR headset for the PS5. The headset won’t launch this year, but Sony is announcing early plans to make it available on the PS5 at some point in the future. Sony’s new VR headset will include an improved field of view, resolution, and even a single cord to make it easier to use.
PlayStation boss says PS5 supply will start to pick up in the second half of 2021. Sony’s PlayStation 5 (alongside the Xbox Series X and S) has been nearly impossible to buy since its launch back in November. Those shortages will likely continue for a bit longer, according to Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment. But stock should pick up in the second half of the year, he says.
Gran Turismo 7 delayed to 2022. The release of Gran Turismo 7 has been pushed back to 2022. As reported by GQ, the delay is due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has impacted the development schedule of Sony studio Polyphony Digital. "GT7 has been impacted by COVID-related production challenges and therefore will shift from 2021 to 2022," a statement from Sony read. Gran Turismo 7 was due to...
Valheim has sold over 3 million copies in 17 days. Valheim has now sold over 3 million copies in under three weeks, according to developer Iron Gate Studio. The viking-inspired survival title launched on Steam Early Access on February 2 and surpassed 2 million sales within its first two weeks on digital shelves. It has continued its upward trajectory in the days since, crossing the 3 million sales in just 17 days.
Toy Safety and Counterfeit Related Articles . . .
MTS offers free toy safety webinar – Compliance after Brexit. The Compliance after Brexit webinar will cover changes since the UK left the EU and ensure toy companies are up to date with the latest regulations. On 2nd March, MTS will be running a toy safety seminar with a focus on the new regulatory landscape after Brexit. The new UK/EU relationship has been in effect for two months now, so it is a good time
Press Releases . . .
Hasbro Named as One of the 2021 World’s Most Ethical Companies for 10th Consecutive Year. Recognition honors those companies who understand the importance of leading, making hard but values-based decisions, and their overall commitment to integrity. Hasbro has been recognized for ten consecutive years and is one of only four honorees in the Consumer Products industry. In 2021, 135 honorees were recognized spanning 22 countries and 47 industries.
University Games Announces Grand Opening of Best-in-Class Virtual Showroom. San Francisco, CA, February 22, 2020 -- University Games is inviting all retailers (large and small) to visit its 2021 Toy Fair Virtual Showroom, which opened on Monday, February 15. The Showroom features more than 70 new games and toys as well as every current item that University Games markets.
News from Associations, Trade Shows, Awards and Festivals
(ASTRA, Hong Kong, LIMA, Spielwarenmesse, TA and More) . . .
For the second year in a row, there will not be a Comic-Con International: San Diego (SDCC). The SDCC team announced via an online statement that, due to a continuing concern for public health and safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the fan convention will not take place in person this July. “While we are buoyed by the rollout of the vaccine and the growing number of individuals being inoculated, it appears...
(the above posted after February 26th)
Spielwarenmesse 2022: Most important industry network launches digital platform for live event. In 2022, the world’s leading trade fair for toys is launching an innovative business platform known as Spielwarenmesse Digital. In doing so, the organiser is responding to the needs of both visitors and exhibitors by combining the indispensable live event with a range of digital opportunities.
The Toy Association schedules a mix of digital and physical events for this year. As the toy community embarks on a new year that is once again filled with challenges and opportunities, The Toy Association is committed to offering a mix of digital and physical events that will help toy companies grow their businesses and brands. “Our key focus right now is to enable toymakers to bring their products to market, and...
The Independent Toy & Gift Show has been rescheduled Following the recent government announcement, the Independent Toy & Gift Show has been rescheduled from 13th &14th April to 14th & 15th September 2021. Play-room, the organiser of the show, says Cranmore Park is set up in accordance with Covid secure measures and that recommended safeguards will be implemented to ensure all attendees feel confident....
Australian Toy Fair | Virtual platform ‘opens international shop window’ for global visitors. The 56th Australian Toy Fair, taking place this March, may not look anything like the 55 before it ever did – or ever imagined it would – with pandemic precautions forcing it onto an all-virtual platform this year, but that doesn’t mean the show will be any smaller for it.
NPD has revealed the winners for its Global and European Toy Industry Performance Awards, both Nintendo and LEGO took home wins. Nintendo received a major honor, winning Europe’s Top Gaining Toy Property of the Year for the Mario/Mario Kart brands. Nintendo and LEGO won another award in Europe’s Top Gaining Toy Property by Category for Super LEGO Mario, with the release taking home the top spot in the...
RIP - Rest in Play - Remembering Those that have Passed . . . If you know of a colleague's passing, please send us information so we may share with our colleagues. Archives can be found HERE.
Art Janis - It is with profound sadness the WowWee family announces passing of their Executive Vice President of Sales and dear friend Art Janis. An amazing friend to the Toy Industry, his warmth and good nature was felt by anyone and everyone he touched. The WowWee Family would like to share the following.
It has been an honor to have you in our lives. You were there from the very beginning, always positive, always smiling, always honest, always giving it your all….one of the “goodest” souls we have ever encountered. Your loyalty to anyone you called friend was unwavering, you have always been our shining example of what it means to be decent, caring and most of all real. We have so many loving memories of how you helped build and touch all our lives, including the succession of WowWee itself with the large fingerprint you have left both generationally on our family and everyone within our organization. We suspect the reason why your heart gave out is because you have given it to so many of us - it is the reason why you will never ever be out of our thoughts and out of our lives. We know how phobic you were to being nothing less than the vibrant, never better attitude you always brought with you everywhere you went, and we take some comfort knowing that you would never want to exist without being able to operate at full capacity…. which is motoring through an airport while picking up dessert and a Coke, phone in hand watching the Yankees. Please know that you will be severely missed and never forgotten.
Rest in peace our dear friend, uncle to the kids, loved by everyone at Wow Wee especially your HK brothers and sisters (Mark Ng, Fion, Gloria, Anita, Steven to name a few) and most of all your beautiful wife, Marina.
With much love always,
Your WowWee family
David Gold - Dave was with Ideal, Mattel, Spellbound Dolls and Just Play Toys.
Darrell Burge. Toy World is sad to report the passing of Hornby's Darrell Burge, well known for working extensively on the Airfix brand, who died suddenly on February 10th. CEO of Hornby, Lyndon Davies, described the news as ‘very sad and very sudden’. He commented: “Darrell had Airfix running through his veins, working at Humbrol in Hull before he joined Hornby in Margate in 2006. Working with both the Airfix and the Humbrol brands, he was highly respected throughout the industry. He was full of fun and energy, many would have met with him at shows and events across the country. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, Jane, his children Emily, Martin and Gavin and his granddaughter, Oriana.”
Darrell enjoyed a long and successful career at Hornby. As product manager at Airfix, he oversaw the revitalisation of Airfix products and the brand over the last decade and was a popular member of the Hornby team. His former colleagues have been quick to share their fond memories of working alongside Darrell over the years.
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Toy Trade Monthly Issues...
The Toy Insider's Toys & Trends 2021 Sneak Peek
Weekly Top Stories from Toy Trade Magazines Worldwide...
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1. Rolling for Initiative -- Shining Fates and Yet Another Reason Why Hasbro Won't Sell 'D&D'
2. Wizards of the Coast Releases Initial Product Details on 'Magic: The Gathering' 'Strixhaven: School of Mages'
3. 'D&D Nolzur's Marvelous Miniatures' Offer New Monsters to Hunt
4. CMON Releases Details on 'Bloodborne: Hunter's Dream'
5. 'Egyptian God Decks' Descend In 'Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game'
6. WizKids Will Produce a 'D&D'-Branded Paint Line Under an Expansion of Their Wizards of the Coast Licenses
7. Fantasy Flight Games Announces the End of Its LCG Run of 'Legend of the Five Rings: The Card Game'
8. 'Dungeons & Dragons' Returns to 'Ravenloft'
9. Bandai Unveils a New Booster Set for 'Dragon Ball Super: Card Game'
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News Flash: Stardew Valley Board Game, Andor The Family Fantasy Game. A board game adaptation of Stardew Valley has been released, Thames & Kosmos has announced Andor: The Family Fantasy Game, and a new game in the Boss Monster series has been released.
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Matt Stahlin (President, Flat River Group)
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