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Board Games’ Path to LBE image

Board Games’ Path to LBE

It has been a long journey, but board games are finding a route to location-based entertainment (LBE).

In their efforts to expand, many board game brands first launched a film before progressing to a touring or stage show. These brands are now expanding into LBE, which has experienced massive growth in recent years.

And while entertainment IPs have long been fodder for plays, touring shows, and LBE thanks to their strong stories and characters, board games haven’t always been the most obvious fit for an LBE offering. That is changing, however, as consumers shift from static play to immersive experiences.

Hasbro’s Clue, for example, inspired a film in 1985 before hitting the stage as a play in 2017 and 2022. On February 27, Bond Theatrical’s touring production of Clue kicks off in Minneapolis, MN. All three stage versions are based on the 1985 film.

In LBE, Path Entertainment’s Clue: Lifesized, which is in development, takes its cues from the Monopoly: Lifesized experience that opened in London in 2021. It was announced that Lionsgate was developing a movie inspired by Monopoly last year, and the development of a game show inspired by Mattel’s Uno card game was reported in 2020.

“The step into LBE is the next evolution of board games as licensed properties,” a licensing executive said. “Many of them have a long history and legions of fans who want to experience something beyond the board game.”

But expanding beyond a board game can take time. Dungeons & Dragons, for example, was first released as a board game in 1974 and inspired a film in 2000. The game was central to Netflix’s series Stranger Things, which first premiered in 2016, and was initially proposed for a new film in 2015 after Warner Bros. settled a legal battle with Hasbro and Universal Pictures over the rights to the IP. But the finished film—Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves—didn’t reach the big screen until Paramount Pictures released it in March 2023. LBE offerings inspired by the game, which requires players to take on characters and participate in storytelling, would likely be incredibly interactive.

“It has been a long road for board games to reach LBE, but there are often more considerations that need to be taken into account than with entertainment properties,” an LBE executive said. “To begin with, you have to make sure there is a large enough fan base to support LBE and that can take time—unless it is a high-profile title that has a track record of expanding beyond the board game.”

They may not seem as obvious a fit for LBE as entertainment brands, but bringing board games to life will likely prove to be highly lucrative. The overall global LBE market reached $3.2 billion in 2022, up from $682.6 million a year before. And the market is forecast to grow 28% annually through 2030, to the tune of $24.7 billion, according to Grand View Research.

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  • Translation provided by Google Translate, please pardon any shortcomings