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).
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.
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.
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.
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.