As has ended up happening with video games, which now enjoy much broader popularity and are no longer a taboo or niche experience, table games They also experienced a similar revolution in the early 90s. What was then a geek hobby suddenly jumped onto the shelves of major toy stores.
Although it is true that giants like Monopoly o Trivial They continue to be something much more universal, that today in any store we can find games that are further removed from the four traditional classics, we have to thank a genius who, passionate about table gamesone day he decided that his permanent job in a bank was not as fulfilling as society wanted him to believe.
From working in a bank to experiencing the Games Workshop explosion
Since childhood, his idea of playing with toy soldiers was radically different from what other children pursued. Stephen Baker He did not use them as a target to shoot from afar, but instead dedicated himself to painting them meticulously and, in order not to damage his creations, he devised a system of simulated attacks using dice in the purest Dungeons and Dragons style.
With his father supporting the hobby with strategy books and role-playing rules, his passion for these types of games never waned, so when the opportunity came to work at a local game store that was close to the bank where he worked , did not hesitate for a second to abandon an apparently stable and promising career for something that would fulfill him much more. That store would end up becoming the seed of the giant that would later become Games Workshop.
By then Baker He didn’t know what the future held for him, but the perfect breeding ground for what would be a much more successful life was being created around him. While attention toward witchcraft and sword fantasy was beginning to grow among children along with the “Choose Your Own Adventure” book fever, toy companies were on the hunt for the next big hit.
Looking for supplies for a new prototype, someone from the defunct company MB called that small store where he worked Baker, and he was the one who got on the phone. After a long conversation about games and miniatures, that worker invited our protagonist to participate in a session as a tester of several games.
From that fruitful collaboration would arise the possibility of entering the big leagues, where Baker He had access to big bosses MB to whom from time to time he would present proposals for new ideas, among them timid variations of the adapted role-playing campaigns that he mounted with his figures.
HeroQuest, the board game that changed everything
Interested in the possibility of bringing this style of play to the masses, MB and Baker contacted Games Workshop to close a collaboration and they got to work under the attentive direction of our protagonist. Have the miniatures team Citadel It was a gift that Baker was not going to waste.
To ensure that his product and miniatures were appealing to the little ones, he carried out several tests in schools while modifying the rules and the board to make it as agile and accessible an experience as possible. And this should not be another niche game that satisfied Baker’s tastes, it should be a game for the massesand between different tests and starting from scratch to touch up here and there, he finally considered his work completed.
The game HeroQuest It hit stores in 1989 and, to everyone’s surprise, became a bomb. Coming from the hand of MB guaranteed it a place on the shelves of large toy stores and shopping centers, and as the company’s advertising gave it an additional push, the idea ended up selling by the bucketload.
In the United Kingdom alone, it managed to sell more than 125,000 copies in its first year in stores and, with its jump to the United States and even more massive success, HeroQuest It grew through expansions and even video games while the brand was abandoned between mergers and purchases.
Was Hasbrojust three years ago, the one that, supported by the potential of the brand, decided to give it a second chance that was far from the success of yesteryear, but that serves to remind us to what extent that job change also changed the board game industry.
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