Who hasn’t played a board game or two as they grew up? Board games like Monopoly and Scrabble have been an important part of our lives, helping us learn, strategise, destress, and bond with family and friends.
It therefore felt natural for Krunal Veera, an investment banker by profession, to believe that board games could work as great tools for employee engagement and training. And he, along with his wife Jill Veera, who has been working for Viacom, started The Board Game Co.
What this startup essentially does is take strategically designed board games to offices. These games are designed to help in stress management, enhance lateral and cognitive thinking, reinforce team building, and aid in overall mental well being in the most innovative and fun manner.
Making the right play
“By board games we do not mean Life, Monopoly, Sequence, the games that people in India play. We curate board games from all over the world. These sessions aim to better relationships at work, get employees to bond, boost creativity, build empathy between teams/departments, help in brainstorming sessions to take off a key project, and more,” Krunal says.
The duo launched their company from their home in June last month. Beginning work with interns, the team built a collection of over 75 games, each of which has been designed with a theme or story to tell.
Each game has been built a way to ensure team work and let players make calculated choices. Apart from giving everyone a break from their daily lives and routines at work, The Board Game Co aims to help develop certain skill sets that are necessary today.
What do the games do?
All games are researched and curated by the husband-and-wife duo. “Each game is built to ensure that the right skill sets and much-needed emotional quotient,” Krunal says.
Their games include Pandemic, Flashpoint, Captain Sonar, and Splendour. The idea behind every game is to keep the player on his or her toes, and also build cognition, increase attention span, and improve decision-making skills.
Citing an example, Krunal says Captain Sonar is a game that gives an individual complete control over a submarine, which aids in management skills, and works on one’s ownership and leadership skills. Another game, Zany Penguins, involves taking charge; this helps in improving analytical thinking and achieving a holistic balance in life.
“Apart from that, employees tend to form a new bond with one other and hierarchies dissolve or fade away, all of which contributes towards the betterment of your company. Each game that you play imparts to you its own skill and you will find yourself incorporating the same into your own system, fast,” Krunal says.
Revenue and numbers
The team claims to have organised games for companies like EMC Worldwide solutions, Wat Consult,BCCI, Capgemini, Mahindra & Mahindra, Bajaj Alliance, SI Group and Glenmark to name a few. The companies sign up with The Board Game Co for a few gaming sessions basis their needs and requirements.
“We started operations in June last year. June and July were all about research, designing programmes, and providing demo sessions to understand how people perceive this,” Krunal says. The team adds that their revenue from June to September was at Rs 1,50,000. In October and November, they had revenue of Rs 1,20,000 and in December the team claims to have touched Rs 2,00,000.
“In December, we enjoyed 70 percent margin on our revenue as profits,” Krunal says. This year for the first quarter of January to February the team had a net profit margin of 80 percent and revenue of Rs 4,00,000. From April to June the revenue was at Rs 9,00,000 and net profit margin of 65 percent.
Currently bootstrapped, one of the biggest challenges for The Board Game Co, according to Krunal, is creating awareness of the value proposition.
A whole new ball game
“As this is a completely new concept creating awareness among potential clients has been the biggest challenge. Scalability is also challenge. Like in every ‘service” business’,” he says.
According to a Statista report, the global board games market was valued at approximately $3.2 billion in 2016. It is expected to touch over $9 billion by 2021. Companies opting for office-based board games in India may be limited, but global player Corporate Games on its website lists the likes of American Express as its clients.
A Business Insider report says both investors and the general population are looking beyond video games, and view board games as a great value proposition.
In the near future, The Board Game Co aims to set up official skill enhancement programmes using board games for corporates and children. “This will help develop cognitive thinking and creativity, and enhance their concentration and attention spans, and not to mention teaching them to play as a team,” Krunal ends.