Panda Tracking – 2017 Q1 Newsletter

2017 is now well underway and we have had a lot of our team members on the move all over the globe. To catch up on where we have been, just follow the….

PANDA TRACKS

Nuremberg Toy Fair
Our first show of the year was the Nuremberg Toy Fair in the German city of the same name. Since it is so early in the year, it comes at a great time for our team to learn about what publishers have in store for the rest of 2017 and help align their vision with our production capabilities. Nuremberg is by far the most international of all the shows we attend, with representatives from over 63 countries among the over 2800 exhibitors. These exhibitors are not only board game publishers and creators, but also developers of toys, costumes, and many other novelties. In fact, board games make up only 3 of the 12 exhibit halls at the show. The fair is strictly an industry function and is close to the public, and yet still had over 73000 visitors attend. Panda met with around 30 board game publishers during the show to discuss ongoing and future projects and partnerships.

GAMA Trade Show (Las Vegas, NV)
The next show that we attended this year was another industry-only show. GAMA seemed busier than usual this year and we are anecdotally attributing that to the fact that this is the last year that the show would be held at Bally’s in Las Vegas.Over 1680 people attended the show – up 20% from the prior year. Due to cost and other concerns the show will be moving to Reno in 2018, we suspect that there were a lot of folks attending so they could get the Vegas Trip in one last time. Not us though, we were there strictly for business. The exhibit hall is only open for about 6 hours on only 2 days of the 5 day show, so most of the interaction and meetings at GAMA happen in the casino and surrounding bars in restaurants. As this is a retail-focused show, all of the publishers showed off their new releases and upcoming games while educating the attending retailers about their plans for the future. There were a ton of great panels and press events from Upper Deck, Cryptozoic, AEG, Fantasy Flight and many many more. Perhaps the biggest headline of the show came when CMON announced that they had hired Eric Lang as their head of Game Design and Development. On Panda’s side, we got to catch up with old friends and meet some potential new ones in Sin City, but unfortunately we have no pictures of the meetings or proceedings because as the saying goes…what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas (until it makes its way to your tabletop later this year).

Panda Factory (Shenzhen, China)
While some of our team members may or may not have been rollin’ the dice in Vegas, another group was visiting our printing facility in China. As you may know from our other newsletters, we just moved into a new factory about 7 months ago. Now that we are settled into the new digs, we have made a point to send our North American team members over to the factory to meet the Panda Asia team face to face. This is always an awesome experience because we work so closely with our production facility on a daily basis. When we get to visit it feels like we are catching up with old friends, even when we are meeting in person for the first time. While our team was at the production facility they focused on continual improvements to our work flow and production processes so that we can continue to produce top quality board games and stay on the leading edge of customer service and quality. There was also some time to play basketball and get in a few card games as you can see in the pictures below. All of our Pandas in the USA and China love to work hard and play harder!

Unpub 7 (Baltimore, Maryland)
Panda was the premiere sponsor for the seventh annual Unpublished Games Festival (Unpub 7) in Baltimore, where we met with designers and played their prototypes. We were thrilled to be immersed in so much creativity over the weekend. By playing games at such an early stage, we’re able to share details of the production process and offer interesting manufacturing choices that can help facilitate designers’ mechanics or improve the player experience of their designs. We saw a lot of promising designs at Unpub and can’t wait to work with the designers to bring their games to life. Unpub continues to be a great reminder of why the hobby that we work, play, and live in is so wonderful in the first place.

We hosted 2 panels at Unpub 7, and we will be bringing those panels to GenCon 2017 as well. If you are attending GenCon and wish to learn about print production and/or design guidelines of Panda Game Manufacturing be sure to sign up!