Eurazeo Fiscal Year 2016 report

Eurazeo is an investment group that holds several companies, including Asmodee which is the one we probably mostly know about but they also have a large range of brands like Desingual or Europcar or even Léon de Bruxelles as part of their portfolio.

There is a public publication of the annual results done every year (done on 17 March 2017). Here’s what you can find (extract) about Asmodee for the 2016 results:

In 2016, Asmodee posted revenue of €377.2 million, up +39.5% on a reported basis compared to the previous year, and solid organic growth of +18.5% at constant scope and exchange rates.
This growth was spurred by all product lines and regions: international activities now represent 75% of Group revenue, particularly in the US and the UK. The year was marked by a particularly robust performance in the cards segment, driven by Pokémon which benefited from favorable trends in all the Group’s European countries.
The Group’s EBITDA totaled €65.2 million, resulting in a 17.3% margin. EBITDA increased by +57.5% on a reported basis and +23.7% at constant scope and exchange rates.
Asmodee is also pursuing its strategic initiatives: enhancement of its editorial contents in all regions and on all media, ramp-up in new regions, primarily the US, and creation of its digital platform offering.
Pro forma of the external growth transactions carried out at the end of 2016 (F2Z, Heidelberger, Millenium and Edge), revenue in 2016 totaled €402 million and EBITDA amounted to €78.1 million, i.e. a +19.4% margin.
Net financial debt totaled €223.6 million following the June 2016 refinancing and the acquisitions at the end of 2016, i.e. a leverage now lower than 3.0x EBITDA.

 

ICE COOL Tournament

So it did happen ! Last week – on April 19 – took place the first ICE COOL tournament of the Boardgame Monkeys, sponsored by Atalia a French distributor who’s providing quality games for our hobby pleasure ! We received several boxes and a customized trophy for this occasion.

Ice Cool is produced by Brain Games Publishing who put together a fun “flicking” game for 2-4 players, playable in about 30 minutes and that won several awards ! It’s fun, it’s fast, it’s not just cool, it’s ICE COOL!

We started at 19H00 setting up the game boxes for the tournament, for most people this was a new game, never played before and a few rules explanation + tips & tricks were welcome. Having agreed on the point elaboration, of we go to set up the pools (note for later: do a random pick with names in a hat next time + print a copy of the tournament specific rules upfront). Some players started “flicking” while we waited for 19:30 kick-off and the late arrivals.

 

Under supervision of the referee for the tournament (that would be myself), some folks fueled their pinguins with Belgian beer in the hope to flick better through doors & above walls (yes, you can do this trick-shot with a bit of practice). All participants were actually grateful to Atalia (see their Facebook) for providing us such a beatiful Trophy and a game box for the winner. It’s with a strong determination that pinguins were flying around capturing fishes and supervisors catching the student pinguins.

 

Our participants are rushing through their pool, scoring points that they take with them to the next round. As the game goes on, the techniques are improved and we start seeing favorites at each tables. With 4 pools and 16 players flicking to grab the 1st position, there is intense concentration around each board. Precision is key !

 

Pinguins are rolling, stumbling and jumping on every table, but soon we do have our final table of competitors with the highest score over the different pools. Yvan (31 points), Gianfranco (29 points), Bernard (34 points) and Filip V.O. (35 points) are running ahead and earned their spot to play at the winners table.

And our proud winner is ….. drumroll … Bernard who receives the beautiful trophy provided by Atalia and a gamebox to play at home with his family. Congratulations to him and all players who had a very tight score (all between 20 and 30 points) by the end of the evening.

It was a fantastic night and with the remaining boxes we will certainly set a tournament up again ! Thanks all for your participation and enthusiasm. It’s was really fun, see the sneak peak below if you missed the event. Check Out ICE COOL (BGG link) at your favorite boardgameshop.

 

ICE COOL Tournament Details

Join us tomorrow night for the ICE COOL Tournament organized in collaboration with the French boardgames distributor ATALIA who’s kindly sponsoring the event of tomorrow night April 19 at Outpost Gamecenter in Brussels ! I received them all and they are waiting for you to pick !

Sign up for this free tournament to get a chance to win a gamebox (for the 1st position) and a custom made trophy. Have a close-up look below !

 

To make this tournament interesting, please find hereby the rules specifications for tomorrow.

  • We’ll play with full tables of 4 players.  The game plays in 4 rounds where each player will be playing the surpervisor for 1 round.
  • You win one fish card per door that you pass. If you’re stuck in the middle of a door; it does NOT count as you’ve passed that door. The points on the card have no value – it’s the total of fish cards that you accumulate that will count.
  • As soon as a player collected his 3 fishes or the supervisor captures all identity card from the 3 other players; the game stops.
  • A player should only touch his penguin on his turn. Any contact with his pengiun is therefore also considered as a flicking = your game turn. The ONLY exception is when you are placing your penguin back on the red line in order to play with it.
  • Before playing your turn, it is advised to name your penguin color – ensuring you’re playing with your correct penguin.
  • If a player (student) is touching the supervisor during his flicking = it does count as the supervisor capturing the student and receiving his identity card.
  • If a penguin leaves the board, all what was done before (getting a fish, touching a student or be caught) will be validated. After a jump outside the gaming box, you replace your penguin on the red starting dot and your turn is over.

 

Hope to see you all tomorrow in top shape for some crazy flicking of penguins ! Would you need a short explanation on the game, please have a look at the Watch It Played video. Rules of the base game can be found here.  They are short and easy to read, check them out ! Big thanks to Atalia Jeux. Check out their Facebook for great new games.

 

 

Building Blocks with La Boca

We all loved playing with building blocks as kids, but La Boca, by Z-Man Games (Filosofia in Europe for the French version) or KOSMOS, reintroduces the fun of building blocks in a creative and challenging game that is great for casual gamers of any age. In the game, players create colorful structures resembling the brightly painted houses in La Boca, a neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

La Boca features semi – cooperative gameplay in which players work together with different partners throughout the game, yet score points individual ly to determine a winner. In each round, partners sit across from each other, working as quickly as possible to arrange eleven wooden blocks of various shapes and sizes into a specific three-dimensional structure.

 

The structure is depicted two-dimensionally on cards that represent a different view for each player. Players may not look at the opposite side of the card, but instead must communicate with each other to build a structure that matches both players’ views. What makes the game especially challenging is that all of the blocks must be used, and many of the structures require one or more pieces to be hidden from view, all while fitting within a four-by- four playing grid. Points are scored for the speed with which a structure is correctly constructed.

Each player is partnered with all other players a certain number of times, then the player with the most points wins the game. La Boca is a fascinating, fun, and surprisingly challenging game that stretches spacial reasoning and dexterity skills  like perhaps no other game. By partnering up all players for an equal number of rounds, i t balances out different ski l l levels, making i t a great opt ion for a wide range of players.

 

Upcoming Ice Cool Tournament with support from Atalia

 

With the kind support of the distributor Atalia we will be hosting an Ice Cool tournament on 19 April 2017 at Outpost Gamecenter in Brussels. The winner of the tournament will receive a game box for free ! Head over to our Meetup Group page to register for the tournament (free participation).

 

What is Ice Cool all about ?

The game is published by Brain Games and the author is Brian Gomez and illustrator is Reinis Pētersons. The game has a 7.0 rating on BGG, but after playing this game a couple of times I can tell you this grade goes up easily to an 8 or 9 points.

Ice Cool is a flicking dexterity game for two to four players, although the more people that play the better it is. The game plays out in about 30 minutes, but it’s the kind of game you can dip in and out of and play for as long as you like. It’s fun with adults and kids and revamp the concept of pitching or flicking !

Game Components !

Let’s start with the gamebox who is neatly designed to unfold into the playfield you will use during the game.

These penguins are real rascals: if your flick is good enough, they can slide not only straight, they can make curves and even jump over the walls.

The artwork throughout the game is absolutely gorgeous. The classrooms are beautifully realized and really add to the experience, while the penguins themselves are delightfully dumpy and cute.

The cards are of good quality but I would still advise to sleeve them if you play with kids. The ID cards are especially well designed.

The rulebook is beautifully done and covers all eventualities and in several languages.

How do you play ?

Ice Cool is a flicking game in which each round one of the players takes the role of the Hall Monitor (also called “the Catcher”) – his aim will be to catch each other penguin and get points for that. The others (also known as “Runners”) will try to run through several doors, thus gaining fish (that give them points) on their way.

When either the Hall Monitor has caught each other penguin once or any of the others has gone through all 3 doors that have fish on them, the round is over. Each player will take the role of the Hall Monitor once and at the end of the game the winner will be the one with the most points on their fish cards.

The action is fun and frenetic, and the sliding penguin theme makes sense as well as being cute: the floors of the rooms are even made to look like ice rinks.

A short 2 minutes video is better than words:

If you want another look at this, have a look at the Watch it Played great Youtube video on how this all works.

It doesn’t take long for those good at dexterity games to start to get a hang of the various flicking techniques, but you’ll find even the best players having terrible turns. With a special attention to details from the artwork to component design. I highly recommend the game to any groups that love a clever little dexterity game! I hope to see you on April 19th for our tournament. RSVP now for free on our Meetup group.

 

Discovery of Urbion

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Having very much enjoyed Onirim (second edition) and Sylvion previously I was pleased to try out Urbion the other evening. Unfortunately this trip into the dream world wasn’t as rewarding as my others….

In Urbion you are trying to achieve balance in each of the cities. These four (of twelve total) cards in the middle must have equilibrium (the sum of the cards on either side of it must combine to make zero) in order for it to be claimed and scored. There may not be more than 3 cards on either side of a city. You must score all twelve to win, if you exhaust the deck then it’s a defeat.

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Half of the cards are dark and have negative values (-1 to -3) and half are light with positive values (+1 to +4). Like the other Oniverse games there are also a number of “oh shit” cards which are +/-5 and when drawn must be placed onto the side of a city that has the biggest imbalance. You could also not play these cards but you will have to either lose all cards of a currently balanced city or the top 4 cards of the deck, and if you draw anymore nightmare cards you will still have to resolve them the same! All cards also have icons on that must be matched to the relevant city card be placed.
The gameplay is probably the least fiddly of the 3 that was played so far, there wasn’t a need to keep referring to the rules for what certain cards did, or what the options were for nightmare cards. You simply draw a card and then place a card, or discard one to claim balanced cities (may also shed some cards on cities that sum to zero, a fresh city card is then placed out), or discard one to swap any two cards on the light or dark sides.

Even with it being straightforward I didn’t get on with it at all. The icons seemed to get lost in the artwork, which I found to be much less appealing than the bright colours of Sylvion and the simple and clear style of Onirim.
The game works well and is challenging (I lost 3 straight times) but it just wasn’t really as much fun for me as Onirim (which is a fantastic 10-15 minute solo game) or as intersting as Sylvion (an intruiging tower defence solo game with clever gameplay options).

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Overall it strikes me as a game that could really do with a Second Edition, a few more cards to make some variation to the standard gameplay (there is a mini expansion included, which I didn’t play) and the artwork, whilst not needing changing wholesale, could do with being made brighter (I have used a filter on the photo to enhance the colours) and the icons more distinct so that it “pops”

Gamer fatigue and the growth of the hobby

Formal Ferret Games

In a recent episode of Breaking Into Board Games, we discussed our predictions about 2017. One of my predictions was that we would start seeing a cap on attendance at larger conventions. I wanted to continue on that subject with a wider lens, looking at a possible scenario we may be facing in the coming years.

The board game industry is growing at an explosive rate (revenue from hobby board games grew 56% from 2014 to 2015; I’d expect similar numbers when the numbers come in for 2016), and I’ve heard a few pundits indicate that there’s no end in sight. As an independent board game designer/publisher, I certainly hope that’s the case.

But I always try to plan for contingencies, and part of that is planning for the possibility that this explosive growth slows, stops, or even reverses.

To be honest, I would expect the hobby to continue…

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Short News: Dice Forge (Libellud)

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Eric Martin took the 1st pictures at the New York Toy Fair of the upcoming game of Libellud called Dice Forge. First talks about this game are a year old; already in January 2016 the publisher was talking about it. Illustrated by Biboun, from the author of Seasons, Himalaya and Xidit (Regisse Bonnessée) the game will be a 2-4 players with a 40 min playtime due mid of May in stores for an MRSP price of ~40€.

The purpose of the game is to accumulate victory points and becoming half-gods (you start as a human hero) through the course of the game. You can throw your dice to do 2 actions:

  • Give Gold -> When you’re at a sanctuary, making an offer to the God will allow you to improve your sides and collect more and more resources (of that sanctuary type) or glory points.
  • Get Solar or Lunar Fragments -> this is used for achievements who will give you glory points when you accomplish challenges. By standing at the Solar or Lunar Gate you will be able to exchange them for immediate or permanent bonuses. You can also once per turn spend 2x Fragments to perform an extra action.

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Each side of the die will be replaceable, think about the concept of deck-building; everybody starts with the same set of dice which can evolve over the course of the game. You make offerings to the Gods to receive in return new sides to place/replace on your dice.

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Through the boardgame you’ll be able to meet, fight and collect artifacts and pets ! All that in a 10 rounds timing; so things can move along very fast.

 

Reminder on Painting Miniatures

Try to hold the miniature with the most touchpoints possible (like here 3 fingers = 3 touchpoints). Alternative is to glue them (I use Pritt poster buddies) on an empty medicine bottle or cork !

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Try to rest your forearm and holding hand on the table in order to limit your movement. Rest your arm holding the brush also on the table, if needed, even your painting hand holding the brush on the table so that only your fingers are doing the brush movements.

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It’s hard to paint details when your paint is “thick” so always water down your paint so that it’s easier to apply on your details. You can make a wet palette (see tutorial from Guslado’s Games) or buy one like I did; the Privateer Press P3 Wet Palette Model Kit (it has refill kits) that works great. Here’s how to work with it efficiently.