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Links: Fluxx Featured, Knight Moves Marketed, and Plastic Pushed Out of Packaging

W. Eric Martin
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• In August 2019, Elliott Williams at Washingtonian profiled Andy and Kristin Looney of Looney Labs. An excerpt:

As aerospace engineers at NASA, Kristin and Andy Looney spent years working on VLSI computer chips, telemetry processing systems, and other high-tech tasks. But if you’re more into hobby shops than you are the Hubble telescope, you might know the couple for a different contribution: the card game Fluxx, which has sold more than 3 million copies since they debuted it in 1997.
• In August 2019, the Boston branch of NBC News profiled Knight Move Games, a café located in the Boston suburb of Brookline, Massachusetts. An excerpt:

When it opened in 2013, Knight Moves was the first board game cafe in New England and one of just a few in the entire country. Today, there are at least five other board game cafes in Boston alone.

The cafe welcomes a steady stream of regulars, board game enthusiasts and curious visitors every day.

"In 2013, board games really hadn't hit yet, but they've gained so much momentum," says Knight Moves owner Devon Trevelyan. "The industry is just booming right now."
If you run a café yourself — or you publish, design, or develop games — approach your local news networks and publications to see whether they'd be interested in profiling you. Don't ask directly, mind you; approach them by sending newsworthy press releases to their local news division, with "newsworthy" sometimes being something as straightforward as "Game publisher exists in town X". Many media outlets devote time to quirky local interest stories, and one of those stories could feature you if they know that you exist.

• In September 2019, The New York Times posted an article that seems to have been found behind a couch a year or two after it was originally written, with designers Jason Lautenschleger and Barry McLaughlin being the lead-in to discuss that success of tabletop games on Kickstarter, board game cafés across the U.S., and the continued growth of the game sector of the toy industry. An excerpt:

When they started a business together, Barry & Jason Games and Entertainment, their first product was Game Night in a Can, a play-at-home version of their club act. Like other entrepreneurs, Mr. McLaughlin and Mr. Lautenschleger turned to crowdfunding to raise money...

Game Night in a Can had a successful Kickstarter campaign, raising $21,000. It is now sold in more than 100 mom-and-pop stores and by major companies like Urban Outfitters.

And another:

Sales of games and puzzles jumped 39 percent in the United States from 2013 to 2018, outpacing the 16 percent average for the traditional toy industry, according to data from Euromonitor, a market research company.

Hasbro had a 30 percent share of the games and puzzles market in the United States in 2018, thanks to its Magic: The Gathering collectible card game, followed by Mattel at almost 9 percent, according to Euromonitor.

And another, which should be of interest to game designers and developers, who are looking for opportunities outside the actual publication of games:

Mr. McLaughlin has a background in advertising, and Mr. Lautenschleger works in TV development. The combination of their skills makes it easier for them to pitch ideas to other companies and to perform live events, like a recent game-themed brainstorm session for Marriott executives, which can bring in revenue and inspire game ideas.
• Speaking of Hasbro, on August 20, 2019, the U.S. company announced that starting in 2020, "it plans to begin phasing out plastic from new product packaging, including plastic elements like polybags, elastic bands, shrink wrap, window sheets and blister packs. The company's ambition is to eliminate virtually all plastic in packaging for new products by the end of 2022."

We've already been seeing this trend in mainstream game releases, with many new titles at Target, for example, using stickers to keep the box lid sealed instead of shrinkwrap that covers the entire box. Sometimes those stickers comes off easily and leave only tiny sticky patches that you can remove by patting them with the sticker itself, and sometimes those stickers leave a gooey mess. I guess they're still working out the details to ensure a consistently clean removal. Here's the remainder of that press release:

"Removing plastic from our packaging is the latest advancement in our more than decade-long journey to create a more sustainable future for our business and our world," said Brian Goldner, Chairman and CEO, Hasbro. "We have an experienced, cross-functional team in place to manage the complexity of this undertaking and will look to actively engage employees, customers, and partners as we continue to innovate and drive progress as a leader in sustainability."

Hasbro has a long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability, from eliminating wire ties in 2010 and adding How2Recycle® labeling in 2016, to the use of plant-based bioPET in 2018, and most recently, launching an industry-leading toy recycling program with TerraCycle®. Hasbro's Sustainability Center of Excellence is charged with driving the integration of sustainability across the business, including driving sustainable packaging design principles.

"Reimagining and redesigning packaging across our brand portfolio is a complex undertaking, but we believe it's important and our teams are up for the challenge," said John Frascotti, President and Chief Operating Officer, Hasbro. "We know consumers share our commitment to protecting the environment, and we want families to feel good knowing that our packaging will be virtually plastic-free, and our products can be easily recycled through our Toy Recycling Program with TerraCycle*."

Hasbro's Toy Recycling Program enables consumers to send well-loved Hasbro toys and games to TerraCycle, a global leader in product recycling, who will recycle them into materials to be used in the construction of play spaces, flowerpots, park benches, and other innovative uses. Hasbro recently announced the expansion of the program to France, Germany and Brazil, and plans to expand the program to additional markets with the goal of ensuring all Hasbro toys and games are recyclable in the major markets where it does business.
But what happens to Hasbro toys and games that aren't so well loved?
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