The separation of HeidelBÄR Games and the Asmodee Group surprised many board game fans. Not least because of the immediate effect of the reorientation of the publishing house, which previously stood on its own two feet as Heidelberger Spieleverlag. For the future, HeidelBÄR Games is now planning to go back to the beginning and to find a place in the industry again as a "creative factory".

"Parted from Asmodee on good terms"

Not only experienced industry experts were surprised that the separation would take effect immediately (we reported). However, the publisher's representatives remained silent about the exact reasons in the official announcement. There was talk of plans to “build a bridge to geek games” again with family games in the future – and a collaboration with Asmodee will not be given up entirely, it was said.

When asked, Sabine Machaczek, project manager at HeidelBÄR Games GmbH, has now explained why the publisher and the Asmodee Group separated. "The entire HeidelBÄR Games team consists of former employees of the Heidelberg games publisher," explains Machczek. There, everyone was connected by short paths, a maximum of one or two doors away. "The interaction with each other was therefore very direct," explains the project manager. That is completely different in a development office that operates far away from the other locations of a group. Communication and coordination are difficult.

"This delays the flow of information enormously and mutual exchange beyond urgent matters only takes place to a limited extent. As a creative forge, that is exactly what is very important to us.”

Sabine Machaczek, HeidelBÄR Games

The employees of HeidelBÄR Games see themselves as a team of ambitious individualists who want to move things. That would work best if things were taken into their own hands.

We want to move things.

This cooperation will continue to be important in the future, especially in the North American sector. Games that HeidelBÄR Games localized for the US market itself will continue to be distributed by Asmodee North America. On the other hand, it is currently uncertain whether other language versions will also be distributed by the Asmodee Group, says Machaczek.

There were unspoken rumors in the room about possible rifts.

"We parted with Asmodee on good terms and we will continue to work together in some areas."

Sabine Machaczek, HeidelBÄR Games

In any case, the aim for HeidelBÄR Games is to rely on long-term partners who not only bring individual game titles onto the market, but are also interested in the publisher's entire portfolio. In any case, HeidelBÄR Games has largely organized itself in recent years, so drastic changes are not to be expected at first.

The robot miniature game "VOLT" will be the next new release from HeidelBÄR Games. Logo: HeidelBÄR Games
The robot miniature game "VOLT" will be the next release from HeidelBÄR Games. Logo: HeidelBÄR Games

According to Sabine Machaczek, it has not yet been finally decided where German-language games will appear. The next board game novelty "VOLT" will be over JoeKa's World offered.

"Then we work together with an old acquaintance again, the former warehouse manager of the Heidelberg games publisher."

Sabine Machaczek, HeidelBÄR Games

Personnel changes are to be expected at the publishing house in the future.

“Now that we're on our own again, we're going to have to expand soon. At the moment we are in charge of (online) marketing, press and events. That is no longer enough, especially since we need someone who will represent us not only in German-speaking countries, but worldwide.”

Sabine Machaczek, HeidelBÄR Games

What is clear, however, is that board games based on well-known brands will no longer be part of the HeidelBÄR Games portfolio. Before the merger with Asmodee last year, the Heidelberger Spieleverlag was responsible for the German-language versions of the Fantasy Flight Games titles. The US publisher, which has annual sales of around ten million dollars, has been an independent publisher of the Asmodee Group since 2014.

"Creating strong licenses yourself is of course an ideal that each of us strives for."

Sabine Machaczek, HeidelBÄR Games

Anyone who hoped, for example, that board games from the Star Wars universe would appear again via HeidelBÄR Games, will be disappointed. As already suspected, the separation did not result in such agreements. In any case, it is more important for HeidelBÄR Games to create strong licenses themselves. The publisher does not currently work with third-party licensed products.

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