As a rule of thumb, game stores spend a lot of time catering to teen and adult gamers. And why not? Many of the industry’s hottest properties often have mature themes, complex rules sets and longer play times. Most importantly though, manufacturers realize that teens and adults have a greater share of the disposable income.
But what about those individuals that come into your store all the time, but have little or no disposable income of their own? Of course, I’m talking about kids. For the purposes of this article, let’s assume that the kids I am referring to are ages 6 through 12 and often, their only experience with board games consists of titles that have been around for nearly a century.
Now, that’s not to criticize their gameplay or popularity, but it’s important to mention because the modern board game enthusiast tends to favor more contemporary game mechanics and storytelling devices.
So, in order to cater to those adults and their children, consider hosting a game day for kids. Now, you might say, “But I already have an open game day and everyone is welcome”, but if your not making your target audience feel special, then you run the risk of promoting without a purpose.
Hosting a Boardgame Day For Kids
In order to increase your chances of having a successful event, there are few things that you should do. It probably goes without saying, but you’re going to want to schedule it on a weekend or during a time when school is out. In fact making it a weekly event during the summer is probably a great idea. You’ll want to have a few of those classic games that we talked about as backups. They require little or no instruction due to their familiarity and if you get busy, the kids will have something to do. You’ll also want to stock some of the most popular age-appropriate games of the modern age.
Here are a few suggestions to get the ball rolling:
Bears! (Ages: 7+) – It’s a fast-playing, competitive game in which you score points by pairing dice during a rampaging bear attack.
Item Code: FSD3001N MSRP: $19.99
Coconuts Duo (Ages 6+) – In this game, you use your monkey launcher and your skill to fling coconuts into cups on your way to becoming Monkey King!
Item Code: MDG4223 MSRP: $25.95
Dastardly Dirigibles (Ages 8+) – Build your airship from different parts of nine beautiful suits, while also using special cards to your advantage or to thwart your opponents.
Item Code: FSD2003 MSRP: $19.99
Dixit (Ages 8+) – In this award-winning board game, players will use the beautiful imagery on their cards to bluff their opponents and guess which image matches the story.
Item Code: ASMDIX01 MSRP: $34.95
Jungle Speed: Safari (Ages 5+) – Be the first animal to grab the totems when you spot the right combination of shapes and colors to start winning.
Item Code: ASMJSSA01 MSRP: $24.99
Lanterns: The Harvest Festival (Ages 8+) – By placing down tiles, you decorate the palace lake with floating lanterns and compete to become the most honored artisan in the village.
Item Code: RGS0502 MSRP: $35.00
No Thank You, Evil! Storytelling Series (Ages 5+) – This fun, make-believe game is actually a great introduction to the world of roleplaying. Players use their special characters to go on adventures, solve mysteries, fight bad guys and say no to evil. The core game (Item Code: MCG074 MSRP: $39.99) has everything that you need to get started and the supplement, Story Please (Item Code: MCG137 MSRP: $19.99) has 100 story cards to help players embark on hundreds of new adventures.
Tales and Games Series (Ages 8+) – The games in this series each come in a book-style box and do an excellent job of emulating a portion of the fairy tale via various styles of game play. The series includes the following: Aladdin & the Magic Lamp IEL51333, Baba Yaga IEL51113, Grasshopper and the Ant IEL51218, Hare and the Tortoise IEL51159, Little Red Riding Hood IEL51267, Pied Piper IEL51287
MSRP $24.99 each
Next, reach out to a local daycare center or pediatrician to see if they are willing to sponsor drinks and snacks in exchange for being mentioned in store and on the event flyer. This could save you a tidy sum and encourage cross promotion of the event with the sponsor.
When promoting your game day, make sure that parents know that they are welcome to play, as well. In fact, it’s important that they interact with their children as much as possible during the event, so they can gauge their child’s reactions to the games they are playing. With that in mind, consider offering 10% off coupons for new copies of any of the games played that day to encourage parents to buy (or preorder) them “then and there” instead purchasing them later, or worse… somewhere else.
Lastly, make sure that you staff the event with your most kid-friendly associates. Working with children can sometimes be a challenge and someone that makes them feel comfortable and engaged can inspire parents to turn to those same associates as trusted advisors for future purchases.
An Event Within an Event
Especially if your Boardgame Days for Kids is going to be a reoccurring experience, consider scheduling a time during your event to discuss or demo a featured game. It should be a newer one or one that you are passionate about and use this opportunity to convey your enthusiasm for it.
Finally, don’t forget to reach out to your PHD Account Manager to see if you can secure a demo copy of a particular game at a reduced price as many publishers have this option available to encourage in-store promotion and demonstration.
Have a great event and feel free to share your successes in the comments section of our Facebook page.
Any questions? Feel free to contact the me, Rod Edwards – Director of Organized Play and I’ll be happy to assist you.