Asmodee has acquired the English rights to Mayfair's Catan, arguably the most successful board game of the past decade.
Catan needs little in the way of introduction. It's arguably the most accessible and beloved board game in decades, selling millions of copies worldwide. Everyone from tabletop hobbyists to professional football players agree it's a riveting experience, without even getting into its expansions and spin-offs. So it's no small thing to announce that the Asmodee Group just acquired all of Catan's worldwide English-language licensing rights from prior publisher, Mayfair Games.
"I am very proud and honored that through this acquisition, we are becoming a major partner to Catan GmbH and the Teuber family, with whom we share common values and vision for Catan and for board games," Asmodee Group CEO Stephane Carville said in a statement. "With Catan we are expanding our IP portfolio with an absolutely iconic board game and brand, one that will join and strengthen the gaming experience we provide."
Outside of the usual changing-hands corporate speak, this acquisition also heralds the creation of "Catan Studio". In short, Catan Studio is an independent unit within Asmodee Group that's responsible for developing Catan content and expanding its community. Mayfair Games will continue to distribute Catan during a transition phase, at which point Asmodee North America and its partners will take over.
It's pretty hard to understate Catan's effect on the board game market. This one product almost single-handedly revitalized interest in tabletop games, attracting millions of players from all age groups. And while it's not as quite as ubiquitous as Monopoly or Risk, Catan is still far easier to break out during a casual family board game night.
I'm a little tempted to say this is the tabletop equivalent of Disney buying Star Wars, were it not for the fact that Asmodee literally acquired Star Wars license holder Fantasy Flight Games back in 2014. This French publisher was already one of the biggest names in board games, and now it has a Catan-sized feather in its cap. Now the question is whether Asmodee has any plans for new expansions, spin-offs, or movies with the Catan brand.