Achieving success as a board game inventor

The Inventors Workshop – uniting the architects of the next generation of play

When it comes to achieving success as a board game inventor, I’m told that coming up with the idea is the ‘easy’ bit. The hard bit is turning that idea into a physical product and then getting that product to market.

That’s why the team behind ToyNews launched the Inventors Workshop in 2014 – so that board game and toy inventors could be fast tracked to meet the industry experts who can help them take their ideas from sketch to store.

The event returns this year on 22nd September at Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire and features a two-track half-day conference for fledgling and experienced inventors, followed by potentially life-changing One2One pitching opportunities with major manufacturers.

This year’s conference programme covers everything from funding and safety, to IP law, an insight into what retailers are looking for, how to use tech in toys and tips on how to pitch.

A panel session – How We Made It – features established toy and board game designers including Jenga’s Leslie Scott, Hasbro’s Dougal Grimes, Lego’s Samuel Thomas Johnson, the creator of Crazy Cart Ali Kermani and Gillian Logan, the inventor of Skinny Sketcher. They will share their stories, experiences and provide budding designers with valuable insight and inspiration into what it takes to become a successful inventor.

Panellist Gillian Logan was a delegate at last year’s event and was snapped up by a manufacturer on the day. Her Skinny Sketchers were showcased at Toy Fair in January and are soon to be available at retail.

The One2One sessions are pre-organised face-to-face meetings between the inventors and the toy companies. They allow designers to pitch their ideas to industry execs with the hope of getting their product started on the road to retail.

This year, Hasbro, Vivid, Flair, Cartamunid, Character, Sambro, Worlds Apart and Ooba are already confirmed for the One2Ones. More will be announced soon.

Delegate prices for the Inventors Workshop have been kept intentionally low to make it affordable for designers to attend. And, until 7 August, the early bird rate is just £99 per person for the day including lunch. To book your ticket, please visit

Accentuate to enter the BBC Dragons’ Den


Playtime PR’s client, Accentuate, enters the BBC Dragons’ Den next weekend…

A brother and sister team from the Wirral step into the Dragons’ Den next weekend (19 July, 8pm, BBC2) with their guess-the-accent party game, Accentuate. Graeme and Fiona Fraser-Bell feature in the second episode of the new series, which returns with three new Dragons – Nick Jenkins, Sarah Willingham and Touker Suleyman – joining Peter Jones and Deborah Meaden.

Hoping to secure investment for the party game they launched just over a year ago, will the Dragons be impressed by Accentuate’s success on the High Street so far, or will they slay Graeme and Fiona’s plans to bring accent-based giggles to audiences worldwide?

“We unleashed Accentuate on the UK just over a year ago and we’re selling well through John Lewis and, as well as in a number of independent shops all around the UK,” comments Graeme Fraser-Bell, who lives in Thurstaston with his wife, Daphne, “However, we want to take it to the next level with overseas editions, various expansion packs and a mobile app, so we hope to entice a Dragon who can see the potential of a game which, in essence, trades on embarrassing players into submission!”

His sister and co-inventor, Fiona, who now lives in Shropshire adds, “Accentuate prides itself on being the party game that curls toes, induces blushes and twists tongues: Who hasn’t attempted to mimic an accent at some time in their lives? We take that to the next level – players take turns reading out quotations in randomly chosen accents and as they squirm, their teammates have just 30 seconds to guess the accent. We find it’s a even more fun when a player’s really bad at putting on accents, and part of what we were looking forward to in the Den was seeing which Dragons were actually any good at it!”

She continues, “Taking our game into the Den was nerve-wracking and exciting all at once. We spent weeks working on our pitch, yet nothing could have prepared us for the tense reality of the Den environment. It’s quite possibly been the most exhilarating, stressful and surreal experience of our lives.”

So will the siblings’ pitch be successful, or will they be made to cringe even more than a roomful of Accentuate players? All will be revealed on Sunday 19 July 2015 at 8pm on BBC2.

Accentuate is available from John Lewis,, Amazon and