Board games maker CMON raises US$9m warchest for expansion, acquisition

Company’s shares to debut on GEM board Friday

PUBLISHED : Friday, 02 December, 2016, 8:04am
UPDATED : Friday, 02 December, 2016, 8:04am

A board games maker that has raised US$26 million over the past five years to fund production of its games through crowd funding campaigns on Kickstarter has placed shares on the Hong Kong Growth Enterprise Market to fund its expansion into China and to acquire other game companies.

Tabletop game company CMON, which was founded in 2009 and has since produced 42 games, raised US$9 million via the GEM board listing in a bid to take a larger chunk of the growing board games market.

“There’s a lot of market consolidation at the moment, so you have boys that are slightly bigger than us acquiring other titles,” Chern Ann Ng, chief executive officer of CMON said. “I think there are opportunities in the market, that’s why we are pursuing a listing now.”

CMON’s placement was sponsored by China Galaxy International and its shares will begin trading today.

The hobby games market in the United States and Canada hit US$1.2 billion in 2015, up from US$920 million in 2014,according to pop culture researchers ICv2. ICv2 defines the category as role play, board games, dice games and card games sold for a gamer market.

Ng said the company’s current largest markets are the United States and Europe, but the firm sees potential in the growing China market and plans to open a sales office in the country to build its presence.

CMON has translated five of its games into Chinese and will translate more of the games for this audience, Ng, who is the former chief technology officer for PC gaming hardware gaming company Razer, said.

CMON’s zombie game series Zombicide, which sees players cooperate to beat ever stronger members of the undead, raised US$780,000 on through Kickstarter in 2011.

Its latest Zombicide game set in medieval times raised US$4 million from 21,000 backers through the crowd funding site last year, putting it in third position for backing raised on Kickstarter for board games.

CMON has an in-house development team for its games, but Ng said its artists work best when they do not have to relocate, so the company operates a virtual office and keeps in contact through messaging tool Slack.

The company’s games retail from US$90 and up, but the company is now producing games that are faster to learn and play with a lower price at US$30 to reach a broader market including families and women.

“There’s some awareness that people are preferring this in a social setting,” Ng said. “We get emails from dads saying they really like the games because they can sit down with their kids and play something they will enjoy and their kids will enjoy... and at least they’re not on their screens all the time.”

Ng said the company plans to launch 18 games next year and is looking to license its popular titles, such as Zombicide for comics or movies.

CMON will explore developing more mobile apps of its games to allow players to enjoy the game while out and about.