Indie game printer Ad Magic of Cards Against Humanity fame announced the launch of a publishing arm, Breaking Games, during its stint at the just-ended Toy Fair 2015 in New York.
Breaking Games has already partnered with some 15 indie game creators to print, manufacture and publish, in many cases using augmented reality Layar technology.
“Ad Magic has always had a vested interest in our gaming partners, and with Breaking Games, we will take that partnership a few steps further,” says Ad Magic and Breaking Games CEO Shari Spiro. “By launching Breaking Games with more than 15 other independent game designers, it shows that our partners believe in what we’re doing and want to be a part of it, especially with the augmented reality Layar technology we’ll be employing at retail–that will literally be a ‘game changer’!”
Via Layar, game store consumers can scan the face of any Breaking Games-published game box with their mobile devices, enabling them to see and hear video showing the unboxing of the game’s contents along with one round of game play and a message from the game designer.
“There is nothing like this in the tabletop market, especially at retail,” says Spiro, who brought along a score or so of her companies’ games and developers including Appalachian Trail, Fun Employed, Hogger Logger, Dolly’s Bookworm, Circular Reasoning, Funny Mix, Game of 49, Billionaire Banshee, Poop the Game, Letter Tycoon, Word Shuffle, Twirk and What the Food.
Known for printing over 10 million customized tabletop card and board games, Ad Magic broke through bigtime in 2011 when it printed the ubiquitous Cards Against Humanity. It then gained a reputation in the Kickstarter world, such that it is now an adviser and printer for Exploding Kittens, the most successful fundraising campaign in Kickstarter history.
“We print a lot of Kickstarter games and have clients looking for life after Kickstarter for their games,” says Spiro. “So I told them, ‘We’re going to trade shows anyway. Let’s all go together and demo games there and try to sell them! It’s win-win: I print, you sell.’”
Breaking Games, then, takes its name from Spiro’s hope to break its games, via publishing and promotion, into the marketplace.
“It’s the first time I brought anyone to Toy Fair,” she notes, “and we’ve had an incredible response. Games are like songs, and developers are like songwriters-performers. Each had their own podium decorated with images of their game, that they stood behind and pitched to the buyers. There were 11 in a row—and a game for everyone’s taste.”
That Spiro observed a dearth of game designers at Toy Fair only underscores her mission.
“We’re trying to find ways to get their games into the world and keep as much money in their pockets as possible,” she says of Breaking Games. “We need to bring their games to consumers through trade shows, press, Internet and cooperative promotion—and any clever marketing strategies we can think of. So I’m more of a partner than a publisher–I like to partner with the game designers so we can have a true collaborative relationship.”
But Spiro stresses that’s it’s all her designers’ ideas.
“I follow their lead on everything!” she says.
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