What Board Game will feature one distributer or publisher each month to take a look at some of their best games and discuss with the team what it's like to work in the wonderful world of board game distribution and publishing.
Founded in 2004, Coiledspring games in one of the UK's leading distributers of puzzles and games.
Below, WBG reviews three of Coiledspring best currenlty available games, but first, let's chat with Roger Martin, the person who started all this.
What Board Game Collective
Distributer of the Month
Thanks for talking with us Roger. I hear you started the business with one game and one puzzle in 2004. I would love to hear more about that time, and how it felt to you to start out a business in this sector. What were your goals and ambitions at the time?
I loved playing the game ‘Triolet’ which I’d purchased in France and I as frustrated I couldn’t find the game here in the UK. I got in touch with the inventor and jumped on a plane to Lyon to meet him. Rather than just buy copies for my friends, he suggested I distribute it in the UK for him, along with his puzzle Katamio. I bought 600 units of each, set up a website and Coiledspring Games was born.
After that initial success, I went to Spielwarenmesse and picked up a couple of other lines. I ran the distribution business alongside the freelance production work I was doing at the time. I spent my weekends at county shows and fairs demonstrating to the public and approaching retailers local to those fairs to stock the games.
My goal was then to build a sustainable business which bought the joy of games (family time, delight, relaxation, entertainment, fun) to as many people as possible. And it hasn’t really changed!
Amazing! And now 16 years later, how does it feel to be working in this industry?
It really is a wonderful industry to work in. It’s full of interesting, good people and innovation. How people interact while gaming and the types of games played has grown and evolved incredibly. It’s called the ‘boardgame industry’ but very few of our games have a board!
True, it’s funny that. I would love to know your plans for the future.
Coiledspring Games has grown steadily over the past years but since joining the Asmodee Family, that growth has been turbocharged. We’ve always focussed on nurturing and growing our publishing partners ranges in the UK and that won’t change. We’ll also continue to be innovative and take risk on new products with strong potential.
And personally, what are your favourite games? What do you like to play?
My two boys (13 and 16) have grown up testing out new games so we tend to churn through them rather quickly. Personally, my current favourites from our range would be The Mind, Qwirkle and Quacks of Quedlinberg. Outside of that, my default games would be Pandemic, Ticket to Ride and Dominion. All time favourite is probably Guillotine but I still have a soft spot for Triolet, Coiledspring’s first ever game.
Great games! Regarding the current climate, how has this been for you? Are people buying more games or have you seen people cutting back?
Over the past 4 months, we’ve seen more people playing games than usually at this time of year. People only traditionally spend this amount of time with their family at Christmas and people play games at Christmas which is one of the reasons we’ve seen growth. Established games like King Of Tokyo and Sushi Go! have done well but it’s been a challenge to get exposure for new releases.
What would your message be to the board game community during this time?
Carry on enjoying the hobby you love safely. Support your local game store and help your non-gamer friends discover the best our hobby has to offer!
Here, here! I understand you make the choices for which games you sell. I would love to know more about that and how this comes about?
I have the final say, but it’s very much a team effort. We get sent samples from our publishing partners, the team test them out. We look at their potential in the market and importantly, what will make them stand out.
Finally, are there any white whales out there you have not been able to get distribution rights for that you would love to have?
We have many of the best games on the planet and I’m really proud of our portfolio. If pushed, I say we lost distribution of Triolet back in 2016 and I would dearly love to have that back. Dobble is another obvious one but there’s no chance of Asmodee letting us have that anytime soon!
Thanks Roger, it was great talking with you. Now, onto the games!
WBG's Top Three COILEDSPRING Games:
Bunny Kingdom is a brilliant looking game, that can look a little busy at the later stages, but develops beautifully across the four rounds. The game is essentially area majority, and looks like a light family game, but is far from simple. This is a mid-weight game that employs some wonderful strategies and requires significant forward planning.
The game starts with a card-drafting phase. Choices are mainly between locations on the board you can try to control with your bunny’s. But other cards offer resources, cities and end-of-game points. Points are scored with a simple mechanic of the number of resources in each area, or fief, each player controls; multiplied by the number of towers in that same fief.
In the first round, you will wonder how you will ever score a significantamount of points as only a few spaces are controlled. But by the end of the game, you will be reaching the hundreds and the final scoring, although somewhat complicated and laborious, is an exciting culmination to the game. Just try to avoid being the one who has to do it!
It’s a brilliant game that plays best in a four but works well in a three and ok in a two. In doesn’t outstay its welcome, if anything you will want one more round But by the end, the board will be very cluttered, and battle for territory will be fierce. Great fun!
Decrypto is the number one party game on Board game Geek for a reason. It’s brilliant! You will need a crowd of at least four, but ideally six to get the most out of it, but it can technically play three to eight.
Players split into two teams, with one person on each side acting as the code giver. Both teams with have four words in front of them where all players on each team can see their own four words, but not the other teams. The code giver will have a three-digit code as well. They will then give three one-word clues in order, based on the three-digit code they have, to try and make their team guess what the three-digit code is. The three words they give will relate to three of the four words in front of their team but in a specific order. If the code is 4.2.1 for example, and the forth word is “camera,” the first clue you may give to make your team think the first number in the clue is four, needs to relate to the word “camera,” so perhaps “picture.”
Their team will then try to guess the code. If they succeed great, they have stopped the other team incepting their code, but if they get the code wrong they are given a black token. If they get two of these in the game, this is how you lose.
To intercept codes, as you cannot see your opponent’s words yourself; your only way of guessing the clue is finding common ground between the clues given. If the first word clue on round one was “hot” and the first word clue in round two was “sun”, you could safely link these together. If you can guess an opponent’s code, you get an interception token. Two of these is how you win.
This creates an agonising choice for giving clues as you want them to be good enough for your team to get but not too similar to previous rounds clues to help the other team link them together.
It’s a brilliant party game that works so well in most groups and has been a brilliant pub game for me! It creates a lot of laughter and fun and comes highly recommended from WBG.
Cheating Month is a game like no other. It actively encourages you to cheat! Throw cards away! Hide cards under your seat! Rip them up and Eat them Well, no. Actually, don't do that! But this game is crazy, and my kids absolutely love it!
The rules are simple. The cards are dealt out and are numbered one to five. You turn over one card from the draw deck and then in turn order you lay a card that is either one higher or one lower than the top card on the pile. Five rolls round to one. Some cards have certain powers such as forcing other players to draw an extra card, or one card that lets you lay another of the same number immediately afterwards. And this is how you get rid of cards. But you can, and are actively encouraged by the game, to also get rid of cards by cheating!
One player plays as the Guard Bug. They cannot cheat. But if they spot someone else cheating, then they can force that player to take back the card they tried to hide, plus one more. That player then becomes the Guard Bug. Cheating only has two rules. You can only get rid of one card at a time and you must always have your cards visible and above the table. Other than that, do what you want. Cough extravagantly and throw a card behind you as you do. Stand up to stretch and slip a card in your pocket. Whatever you can get away with. It’s hilarious! We played once and several hour later I went to change clothes and three cards fell out of my trousers that I completely forgot I had hidden there earlier!
The game plays quickly and brings a real sense of joy that you can only get from successfully and legally cheating!