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Sébastien Dujardin on the Future of Pearl Games

W. Eric Martin
United States
North Carolina
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Board Game Designer
Board Game Publisher: Pearl Games
Sébastien Dujardin, founder of Pearl Games, has announced that the Belgian publisher is closing — or perhaps only changing hands.

The future is uncertain at this moment, as he explains in this press release:
Pearl Games, located in Frasnes-Lez-Buissenal, in Belgium, has been publishing board games since 2010. The beginning of the adventure was just a simple hobby that gave birth to my first published game: Troyes, created with my friends Alain Orban and Xavier Georges. The success of this first game, especially during the Essen show, allowed me to continue the adventure with 11 games (Tournay, Bruxelles 1893, Deus, Bloody Inn, to name a few). That's 11 games in 13 years, a few by today's standards, but I am happy about it, my credo being to develop each title as best as possible.

Board Game: Troyes
Board Game: Tournay
Board Game: Ginkgopolis
Board Game: Bruxelles 1893

In 2014, the French group Asmodee bought Pearl Games and made it an Internal Studio of the company. The confidence associated with the new organization allowed me to work more calmly. My strength is as a creative editor more than a business manager, so this collaboration offered me many new tools: openings to new markets around the world, competence in quality and manufacturing, logistics, after-sales services, etc.

All good things must come to an end, and Asmodee has decided to end this collaboration. Asmodee will close the Pearl Games studio as of the end of March. Why? It seems to me that the most important reason is the evolution of Asmodee, which has become bigger and bigger, to the point that Pearl Games has struggled to keep its place by remaining faithful to its editorial line. Also, the game market has exploded in recent years, in quality and quantity. You have to take this into account and adapt to it, and that's what I will do!

Board Game: Deus
Board Game: The Bloody Inn
Board Game: Otys

At the end of this adventure, the most difficult part to manage is the human aspect and the dismissal of Anaëlle, Martin and me. The most important are the moments spent with the players, my direct colleagues (Renaud, Martin and Anaëlle) and those further away from Asmodee, but also with the designers, illustrators, graphic designers, translators, demonstrators, manufacturers, etc.

A question obviously arises: what about the future of Pearl Games? We are making arrangements with Asmodee so that I can retain the brand and catalog of Pearl Games, moving forward as an independent publisher. The challenge will be great, and it will take time to gather the funds, organize the new ideas, find new partners, finalize these game projects. For this project to be successful, a transition period without new releases and reprints will be necessary.

Board Game: Solenia
Board Game: Black Angel
Board Game: Troyes Dice

Managing to create, develop, and publish games as soon as possible is an extremely exhilarating challenge! Several games are already under development, at very different levels, and I will do what is necessary to ensure that these ideas come to fruition, regardless of the organization to be put in place. Let's continue to have fun creating and playing!
I'll note that Pearl Games' Time of Empires from David Simiand and Pierre Voye was released in November 2022 and Dujardin's two-player game Lofoten debuted in France in October 2022 and will be released in English, Spanish, Chinese, and German in February 2023.

Good luck to Sébastien Dujardin — ideally your longship takes you where you want to go...

Board Game: Lofoten
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