TOY FAIR 2020: Ravensburger Ain’t Playin’, but They’re All About Games

By Jonathan Alexandratos

Ravensburger is a German game and puzzle company that dates back to 1883.  Their first board game was titled “Journey Around the World,” and was released just one year after their founding.  Now, they are a company making their mark through working with media giants to produce new, licensed content, as well as keeping their in-house work fresh.  At Toy Fair, I got to see how, exactly, they keep their brand new after over 100 years in business.


This upcoming Back to the Future board game is a great example of a hot pop culture license coming together with a great toy maker to produce a lively game.  You, as Marty, work with the Doc to correct changes to the timeline made by Biff (thanks, Biff).

The game will be a Target exclusive, hitting shelves later this year.


If Back to the Future isn’t your thing (or even if it is), how about a chance to counter some spells in the Hocus Pocus universe?  Here, you and the other players use matching cards to fight the spells of the Sanderson sisters.

I was struck by the detail in the below Wonder Woman board game.  The paintable figurines are extremely detailed, and the game play sounded incredibly fun, chasing Wonder Woman villains around the board, trying to stop them from wreaking their havoc.  Wonder Woman: Challenge of the Amazons is for 2-5 players.




While this figurine-based board game is sure to take off, Ravensburger is in the process of building the next chapter of their insanely popular hit, Disney Villainous.

The incoming edition features Ravensburger’s first character from Disney’s black-and-white animation era.  The figures are representative, creating abstract avatars for the characters we know and love.  Ravensburger representative Lisa Krueger told me that Disney Villainous has sold 800,000 copies, and, after seeing the game live, I can understand why!


But perhaps the biggest reveal was something I wasn’t allowed to photograph: Ravensburger’s Marvel Villainous.  That’s right, the Disney version is getting a Marvel adaptation, featuring the big-bads Thanos, Hela, Ultron, and two more that will be announced this summer.


A tie-in to the forthcoming film starring The Rock, Ravensburger’s Jungle Cruise board game, based on the movie and the Disney ride, has players riding down a river, Oregon Trail-style, looking out for danger and trying to solve the mystery of which family will take over the Jungle Cruise company.

Ravensburger is also especially good at creating fun for younger ages.  This Minecraft puzzle game (above) works much like Sudoku.  It is also magnetic, so the pieces don’t fall off during long car ride games.



While Ravensburger makes board games for almost any pop culture fanatic, it’d be a mistake not to mention their puzzles.  Ravensburger is ranked number 2, internationally, in the puzzle market.  They work with companies like Disney to create fresh images for their puzzles, as opposed to just taking a pre-made still and carving it up into 500 pieces.  That means the pictures you make by putting together Ravensburger puzzles are unique to that company.  They even have a service where you can send in a picture of your own, and they’ll make it into a puzzle!

Staying in business for nearly a century and a half is hard.  It’s harder in the toy industry.  Ravensburger demonstrates how a board game company can stay ahead of the curve by having their finger on the pulse of pop culture.

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