Ownership of the popular board game Settlers of Catan — now known simply as Catan — has changed hands from its original company, Illinois-based Mayfair Games, to the North American division of the French company, Asmodée.
Asmodée, a global game publishing and distribution company, acquired the English language publishing, commercial, and brand rights to the German multi-player board game at the turn of the new year and announced it in a press release posted to the official Catan website.
This new business deal has led to the creation of Catan Studio Inc. (Catan Studio), a new wholly owned subsidiary of Asmodée run by former Mayfair CEO Pete Fenlon, whose goal will be to develop and further grow the Catan brand. The statement further stressed partnership and cooperation.
“Catan Studio will build on Mayfair’s successful promotion of English-language Catan games. The English-language rights transfer will not affect Kosmos and its international publishing partners, who will continue to market Catan games in all other languages.”
The Asmodée Group has notably also acquired American tabletop companies Fantasy Flight Games and Days of Wonder in 2014. This may be their most significant acquisition yet, since English language sales of Catan make up over 50 percent of the worldwide sales.
“We are delighted to work closely with a strong international team of Catan publishing partners, all of whom are motivated to nurture and grow the Catan brand with great care and dedication.”
Toy News cited Steve Buckmaster, managing director for Esdevium Games, expressing similar sentiments.
“Catan is one of the giants of modern board gaming and naturally we are delighted to add it to our portfolio. We are looking forward to working closely on Catan and developing the brand even further moving forward.”
First developed by German game designer Klaus Teuber in 1995, Settlers of Catan has steadily grown in popularity since its release, and was described by Inquisitr as taking the internet “by storm.” The award-winning game has sold 23 million copies worldwide and is currently distributed in 35 languages. The tabletop RPG is well-known for being the first German game to gain international traction.
Settlers of Catan has inspired enough modern fans to be parodied on the popular NBC comedy Parks and Recreation, where the character Ben Wyatt invents a combination of Settlers of Catan and Dungeons and Dragons known as The Cones of Dunshire when he goes through a spell of unemployment.
Sam Machkovech over at Ars Technica colorfully phrased the profit potential of Asmodée’s recent business moves to acquire other major board game companies and brands.
“This follows Asmodee’s acquisition of major North American game publishers Days of Wonder and Fantasy Flight in 2014, along with the Spot-It! casual games series in 2015, meaning one company now controls the rights to critical darlings Ticket to Ride, Dixit, Citadels, Talisman, Small World, 7 Wonders, and the monster that is Catan’s ever-expanding presence in English-speaking countries. In Catan terms, that means the company is pretty much steeped in a figurative surplus of wood, sheep, ore, brick, and grain.”
The Catan series, in addition to being given credit for rejuvenating the long-suffering board game industry, is known for having many spin-offs and expansion packs which frequently decorate the shelves in big-box stores that sell board games. It’s reasonable to expect more of these will come in the future as the Catan name continues to grow.
Much to the relief of hardcore Catan fans everywhere, the change of ownership will reportedly not affect the 2016 schedule for Catan tournaments.
[Image via Pixabay]