I’m proud to announce that Naylor Games has made its second acquisition, buying all assets of Inside the Box Board Games.
All of Inside The Box’s board games will become part of our product range and - for now - the brand will be retained as an imprint of Naylor Games while we decide its future.
During its existence ITB brought many fantastic products to market: not least Sub Terra - a modern classic of the co-operative genre. Unfortunately, due to some poor strategic choices and a combination of unprecedented market conditions, the business became non-viable as a trading concern.
As a result, the business will be liquidated: it will be completely shut down. What funds are left are being divided between whatever creditors UK law recognises and in accordance with a repayment order set out by the UK government. Generally, staff owed wages are among the first to be paid. We hope that our purchase has allowed at least this to happen. But given that UK tax authorities are next in line, we expect there will be nothing left (we are not party to any of the internal operations of this process). To be absolutely clear, while Naylor Games acquired the assets, we did not buy the business itself. This business, along with all of its debts and liabilities, will - very shortly - cease to exist.
During the fallout, multiple Kickstarter projects have been left unfulfilled, leaving backers rightfully frustrated and angry. This is not fair on backers, which is why, from today, our first order of business will be to try to make this as right as possible.
But I need to set some realistic expectations on what that will look like.
First, I want to make it clear we are a small company and simply do not have the resources of a large toy maker or a giant publishing group. Furthermore, in the ultra-competitive environment of tabletop games today, we have a responsibility to maintain disciplined cost control for the sustainability of the business over the long term. This is something we take very seriously at Naylor Games and it is my personal opinion that - speaking frankly - a substantial chunk of the industry has been operating an unsustainable model. We have seen rapid growth, too-good-to-be-true pricing (on products and shipping) and impressive sounding headline revenue figures frequently put above sound principles. As a result, businesses have crashed and suppliers, customers, employees and fans have been the ones getting burned and - effectively - footing the bill that was always going to come.
However, we are determined to do what we can - within our means - to do right by the backers and get these excellent games into their hands. We will be releasing more details about our plan in the coming weeks but for now I can tell you that we are safeguarding all the backer-allocated stock that was manufactured: The backers can have these games without paying for the games themselves again.
Not every add-on item or accessory was manufactured: many of these simply do not exist. But for the three outstanding board game projects (Subterra II, CryptX, Aquanauts), English versions of the core games and most expansion content have already been made, along with copies of the original Subterra and many of its expansions. These can be shipped.
If backers want to get their games, they still can. To allow this to happen, backers will be given a choice about they want to do with the stock currently allocated to them:
- Have the products we have access to delivered as originally planned. They will - regrettably - need to pay for shipping (and where applicable, VAT) again as all of the shipping money was consumed by the now defunct Inside the Box business. This will be priced to break-even at the real economic cost of getting games to their front door. Backers do not need to rebuy anything.
- Donate their games. Games will be sold-off by us with some money going to charity and the rest to contribute to the substantial costs of buying all of the backer stock, storage and managing this complex process. We will announce which charities will benefit later.
I know for many this will be far from an ideal situation. Morally, backers should simply have got what they ordered from ITB when it was still a going concern: it’s that simple. But as the new owners of all of ITB’s stock I do hope we can make the best of a bad situation for backers.
For the Alba book project, the situation is unfortunately different. There is - to our knowledge - no Alba stock at all. This was a much loved concept that deserves to see the light of day in physical form one day, but the journey there will be much longer and less certain. We have already reached out to the original creative team and are excited to explore what we can do there.
If you’re a backer of any of these projects and you have more questions, please keep an eye on the Kickstarter pages themselves for updates. If you have private questions to ask, please email email@example.com rather than using any other channel. If you have questions relevant to all backers, please use the Kickstarter comments. You’ll hear from me there very soon.
That’s it for now - there is so much work ahead and my immediate focus will be on fixing this. We are still getting up-to-speed with exactly what is and is not available and how we’ll get it to backers.
But I also want to say just how privileged we all feel at Naylor Games to have this opportunity: both to be the custodian of so many fine game titles and to meet ITB’s considerable and committed fanbase.
In our mission to create true forever games (which I urge you to read about if you want to learn more about us), we have many exciting game projects ahead. I look forward immensely to sharing them with you.
CEO & Game Designer