As part of our 'Showcase Series', we are highlighting games companies large and small with a few quick questions to discover more about their conception, evolution, inspirations and aspirations. From the largest multi-national companies to indie games makers and even individual new-comers, we're happy to shine a light on a variety of views of the gaming industry and experiences for those at all points on the gaming ladder!
Today - ... a supplier of some of our favourite games from the start - Burley Games. With Zambezi in this years Imagination Gaming Games of the Years awards, as well as some absolute classics to recognise!
Tell us briefly the background of your company.
Burley Games was established as a limited company in 2003, but prior that we had been licensing our game ideas to big companies such as J.W Spear, F.X.Schmid and Ravensburger since the mid 1980s. We now invent, design, manufacture, market and distribute our award-winning games worldwide in over sixty different countries and in almost as many languages.
Among the leading companies we currently supply or license our games to are Ravensburger (Germany), IELLO (France), White Goblin (Netherlands), Cranio Creations (Italy), Rebel (Poland), Huch&Friends (Germany), Zvezda (Russia), Pythagoras (Portugal), Cabrima AB (Sweden), Zvata Studios (India), Swan Panasia (China and the Far East), Eagle Gryphon (USA), Alfit Toys (Israel) and Hakubia Games (Israel).
Our two best sellers, ‘Take it Easy’ and ‘Kamisado’, have both received nominations for Spiel des Jahres (Game of the Year) in Germany. The Spiel des Jahres is an award for board and card games, created in 1978 with the purpose of rewarding family-friendly game design and promoting excellent games in the German market. To date, Take it Easy has sold in excess of 1,000,000 copies worldwide, while Kamisado is approaching the 150,000 mark.
Please see: http:/www.burleygames.com
(But please note that this will replaced by a brand-new website within the next two weeks – look out on the IGGY Awards site for further posts regarding this new and much improved Burley Games website). We have started importing and distributing new titles from other European countries and these new games will appear for the first time on the new website. Look for games from ‘Franjos’ (Germany) and ‘Pythagoras’ (Portugal).
Tell us what inspires you to make games and do you have any rules when making games.
Board games have always been ‘in the blood’ for Managing Director Peter Burley and this addiction has been passed on to sons Jonathan and Freddie. Our love of games originates from the moment when the young Peter, then at primary school, found and restored an old prototype game created by his father Alan many years before (a single chunky block of wood with holes drilled in it and some painted upholstery nails). Many years later, we took the principles of this game and added a lot more features and a new theme, to create our first published Burley Games game, ‘Treasure Island’.
We apply no rules to our game-creation processes. The games just tend to ‘happen’! They come (as if by magic) from events, ideas and objects we encounter in everyday life. Then they slowly evolve, as a result of thorough and rigorous playtesting, the creation of beautiful artwork and the sourcing of the most attractive, tactile and appropriate components we can find, into end products that feel ‘complete’ and ready for publication. Our aim is to produce games for which the rules are very simple and easy to learn, but for which the possibilities and strategies are extremely complex and varied. This gives them a very high replayability factor. Take it Easy and Kamisado are prime examples of games where this goal has been successfully achieved.
What do you have coming up and out in the future?
The year 2021 has been a very busy and successful one for us so far. We have been working on three new versions of Kamisado. The first, a Hebrew version for Hakubia Games in Israel, has already been manufactured and delivered. A large multi-language version (featuring seven European languages) is on the verge of going into print for Huch&Friends (Hutter Trade) in Germany. Additionally, we are about to sign an agreement concerning an exciting new version for South Korea. This version uses special symbols that are very meaningful to Korean people, instead of the original Kanji symbols that are used in all other versions. We are particularly excited about this new version. It has taught us a lot about Korean culture, mainly through the new symbols, suggested to us by “Monday to Sunday Games” in Seoul.
Later in the year, we will be launching a Kickstarter project for our new and exciting dice-drafting game “Rolling Bears”!
Submitted by Peter Burley, Burley Games