Ludufactur has launched a fresh round of crowd funding for Luudoo, a sales platform for customised board games. Working with Companisto, it hopes to raise around €50,000 for the business, which allows you to insert photos and text into established game formats.
The company already holds a handful of game licenses and is gearing up for Christmas to prove the concept to publishers. But whether or not the concept will take off is still unclear in a market still dominated by video games, although Luudoo’s developers hope it will prove to be a fresh way to sell old favourites.
Co-founders Wolfram Kosch, who deals with the publishing partners and printers, and technical and marketing expert Saveen Krishnamurthy launched the Luudoo site in June. They currently have licences for Ludo and Carcassonne among others, with Werewolves, Backgammon, and Poker available soon for customisation.
The idea came to Wolfram when he made games for friends. “It was a lot of work, it cost a lot of money, and sometimes the quality was dubious. Publishers haven’t looked into it because they don’t know how to produce single units for a decent price.”
‘Board Gaming is Still Popular’
But that in itself represents a major problem for Luudoo – whether single units can bring in enough revenue. And that’s without taking into account the fact that the inexorable rise of video gaming has, for some, put the future of board games into doubt. Yet Wolfram is optimistic about this trend. ”This is the reason why we started in Germany – board gaming is still popular and it’s a myth, here at least, that the video gaming market is cannibalising the board gaming market.”
He also thinks consoles have less to offer. “You’re alone with a screen, while board games require interaction. With poker for example, the computer versions never work that well. You need to coax people into their moves, manipulate them, and have a poker face. And also there is the joy of touching and feeling the game, which is better than holding a joystick or using a keypad.”
There is a large number of board game publishers but each may only have a few titles which can be easily customised. That has prompted Luudoo to work with multiple partners which currently include Hans im Glück, Schmidt, Kosmos, and Pegasus Spiele. They gain exclusive rights to individual games, and then give the publishers a slice of profit every time a game is sold.
Counting Down to Christmas
This latest round of crowd funding is their second. They currently sell several games a week, but the real test begins from now in the run up to Christmas – they hope to sell 1,500 games between October and early January.
It’s partly about revenue, partly about testing the concept. “We need to bring in other publishers we are talking to, who are interested in Luudoo, but are reluctant to take the chance.”
There is risk involved in such a business model, but if the Christmas sales do go to plan, Wolfram thinks there is plenty of potential for growth through increasing choice and marketing Luudoo to companies who want their logos and products incorporated into designs.
Future plans will see the company expand into France next, while the US is also an interesting market. Wolfram added: “We are also thinking about becoming a platform for those people who have great ideas for games, but don’t have a publisher, or perhaps having a marketplace for designs for existing games. Someone could take a game’s layout and do their own and then sell it off our site.”
Luudoo must ensure, however, that it passes Go first.