Gamely Games’ CEO, Hazel Reynolds, spoke to Brighton Journal about how their three games helping to connect families has led to their appearance on Dragons’ Den tonight.
In an increasingly digitalised world, sometimes it’s important to revert back to those all important moments in reality. Brighton-based company, Gamely Games, are on a mission to help one million people spend quality time together through their family-friendly games.
CEO and founder of Gamely Games, Hazel Reynolds, discussed how she formed the company when she was finding it difficult to connect with her twelve-year-old sister. After discovering an old family game in the cupboard, the generation gap was eradicated, and Hazel began her quest to connect families through spending quality time together.
“Great games help you disconnect from your screens.”
Hazel said: “I love technology but I don’t want it to control me, and I think a lot of people increasingly feel the same way – they are actively seeking ways to reconnect with their friends and family in real life. In this modern age, I think the sign of a good game is when you are enjoying it so much you realise you haven’t checked your smartphone for the last hour.”
After being a finalist for ‘New Entrepreneur of the Year’ in the Lloyds Business Awards 2017, the Gamely Games team was invited to take part in Dragons’ Den. Hazel explained she was excited to test their products in front of the Dragons.
“I’m so passionate about the work we do and, if nothing else, I thought it might be a good opportunity to inspire more people to put down their smartphones this Christmas and spend some quality time with their loved ones!”
Christmas is often the time families are brought together through board games (Hazel said around 75% of their sales are around the festive season). Gamely Games are hoping to recreate this experience all year round.
“I never imagined I’d become an entrepreneur.”
The company currently has three games being distributed – Randomise, The Pretender, and Soundilicious. Gamely Games have rapidly grown online by selling through Amazon, which has turned them into a £4m enterprise.
“All of them require you to communicate creatively – whether that’s, for example, communicating the sound of a rollercoaster using only your mouth (Soundiculous), trying to do a mini-charade that communicates ‘Snowman’ without revealing too much (The Pretender), or trying to draw a Confused Octopus Eating Spaghetti (Randomise). To succeed you often have to think ‘out of the box’!”
The business has released German versions of Randomise and The Pretender (German name: Der Schwindelmeister!). They have also licensed French and Spanish versions of Randomise.
All three games are specially designed to be accessible to all ages. Hazel highlighted how Randomise, selling over 50,000 copies, is inclusive as it lets players choose on each turn whether they would like to act, draw or describe, so everyone does something they feel comfortable with.
It was important to Hazel and the team for the games to have portability to encourage more people to play while using the minimum amount of natural resources: “Nothing frustrates us more than when we buy a giant box that only contains a few components inside – worse still if they are held in a big plastic insert!”
Despite the company’s success, Hazel was surprised how her problem-solving abilities came to life: “I never imagined I’d become an entrepreneur – I think I assumed that you had to be a ruthless workaholic to succeed in running your own business.” It wasn’t until she set up her own company she discovered an amazing community of entrepreneurs who showed her you can do things very differently to the business stereotype and still triumph.
“I love technology but I don’t want it to control me.”
Aside from Dragons’ Den, what’s next for Gamely Games? “We want to continue to grow our tribe of games lovers across the world – particularly in the UK, USA and Germany. We’ll be releasing three brand new games every year and working hard to do more good things – for our customers, our team and our society.”
Hazel said: “Great games help you disconnect from your screens and spend time communicating with real people face to face, and I believe there will always be a place for this.”
Gamely Games will appear on BBC Two at 8pm tonight on Sunday 23rd December 2018. To find out more about their three games, visit their website.