Asmodee’s continuing push to own big swathes of the tabletop games industry is continuing: News emerged that the industry giant is acquiring Plan B Games, publisher of Azul.
The news broke Thursday from insider publication ToyNews, who first reported the move.
Plan B Games is the publisher for multiple subsidiary brands: Eggertspiele, Next Move and Pretzel Games. Between the four brands, Plan B has been responsible for multiple breakout hits in recent years, including Azul, the Century series, and Great Western Trail, all of which have had sustained success since release.
Asmodee is easily the largest publisher of designer board games, with classic titles like Catan, Carcassonne and Ticket to Ride in their repertoire. The company has also acquired or merged with Days of Wonder, Z-Man Games, and Fantasy Flight Games, among several others. They most recently acquired online game site Board Game Arena for an undisclosed amount.
Asmodee is owned by PAI Partners, a private equity firm who acquired the company from Eurazeo for an announced 1.2 billion euros.
The purchase of Plan B Games adds multiple successful series to Asmodee’s catalog. The most notable is undoubtedly Azul, the recipient of the 2018 Spiel des Jahres prize. Azul has spawned two sequels, Stained Glass of Sintra and Summer Pavilion.
While sales data is difficult to come by, Azul has consistently featured in the top 25 games sold from GTS Distribution, once the exclusive distributor for Plan B Games.
Plan B Games is also the publisher of Century: Spice Road, Century: Eastern Wonders and Century: A New World, each of which was also published in a “Golem” variant. Eggertspiele, acquired by Plan B in 2017, is most notably the publisher of Great Western Trail, which was first published in the U.S. in 2016 alongside Stronghold Games.
The initial story from ToyNews, as well as subsequent stories from multiple outlets, quotes Asmodee Group CEO Stéphane Carville: “The Plan B group has demonstrated, year after year, its creativity and sense of aesthetics in creating highly successful games such as Azul, which will naturally find its place among our pillar brands alongside the likes of Catan and Ticket to Ride.”
The quote makes clear the motivation behind the purchase. Asmodee has consistently acquired or merged with companies that have produced best-in-market games, and Azul has been a breakout success.
Interestingly, Sophie Gravel, founder of Plan B Games, acquired Z-Man Games with Filosofia, creating F2Z Entertainment. F2Z was acquired by Asmodee in July 2016, a major purchase for the company.