Bandai America is planning a major push in the Games category over the next eight months. The company has added groups of game designers and play testers to its roster and is determined to avoid the mistakes that led to the failure of its Digimon and Gundam CCGs a few years ago, when they sank like stones in the wake of the Pokemon dreadnought. In addition to its already released Jagun Fighters Game and the Navia Drapt collectible miniatures game, which will be released in June (see 'Bandai CMG'), Bandai America plans to release four new CCGs over the next eight months starting with the SD Gundam CCG in December. The SD Gundam CCG, which is targeted at the popular anime series' young fan base (ages 7 and up), will be followed by the release of a Knights of the Zodiac CCG in January and new versions of the Digimon CCG in May and the Gundam CCG in July.
This time around Bandai is determined to make its CCGs less generic by incorporating more of the essential elements of each property in the gameplay itself. The Knights of the Zodiac CCG, for example, will be targeted at a slightly older demographic (ages 9 and up) than the SD Gundam game, though both games will be able to be played at several different levels and contain features that will make them attractive to more experienced and older gamers as well as to novice players. Bandai America will also reach out to the core game audience with appearances at all the major game and pop culture trade shows (GenCon, Origins, Comic Con, Wizard World, etc.) Perhaps most importantly, this time Bandai will promote in-store gaming through the release to retailers of tournament kits, which should be available next spring.