We caught up with newly appointed Catan Studio CEO Pete Fenlon, who moved to the company from Mayfair Games as part of the acquisition of the English language rights to Catan by Asmodee North America (see “Asmodee NA Gets ‘Catan’”), and had the opportunity to ask some key questions about the deal and the future for Catan.
What was Mayfair’s territory, and will that change (world English)?
Mayfair Games was always the exclusive, worldwide publisher of analog English-language Catan games. Its license territory was worldwide. Catan Studio inherits that global mandate. Of course, we work with Kosmos and the sub-licensees who publish Catan in about 35 different languages around the world. In addition to publishing their own localized edition, these partners typically distribute the English-language edition in their specific local markets.
During Mayfair’s custody of the Catan brand, it’s grown tremendously here. Where does Asmodee see opportunities to improve that performance?
Mayfair Games did a fantastic job of building the Catan brand throughout the English-speaking market. Nonetheless, all of the Mayfair leadership team realized that we would have to significantly evolve the company in order to take the next steps in growing Catan into the broader cultural fabric. So, we decided to separate the Mayfair, Lookout, and Catan brand programs and create better focus.
Given the synergy of vision for the brand, Asmodee became a natural and attractive home for Catan and the Catan Studio team. After all, they understood our vision, goals, and strategy and offered Catan continuity. The Asmodee Group also provides Catan with a host of additional resources. They provide enhanced capital support. Asmodee also provides a deeper marketing, sales, and distribution structure. We can more easily grow the Catan content portfolio and build more ambitious event- and story-based marketing initiatives. And Asmodee offers Catan access to a strong, diverse, and global operations program. We’ll be working with a very talented international team.
While Catan Studio will operate as an independent content develop house and publisher, we can tap into a lot of new perspectives, thoughtful experiences, and diverse perspectives. Catan Studio will be part of a bigger group, but one that understands that we need to think globally and act locally.
What are the prospects for additional licensed versions of Catan (a la Star Trek Catan)?
Catan Studio, Catan GmbH, and the other Catan partners seek to develop great content. Catan Studio will focus on developing a great game, merchandise, and story portfolio. We may cross-license, but only in cases where there is a natural synergy of story and brand values. Remember that Catan is a values-based brand. It’s not rooted in specific characters or a specific setting. We emphasize positive values like curiosity, cooperation through trade, indirect competition, creative building, and fun. Any cross-brand association should reflect this. At the same time, we will not dilute the nature of the brand. Our goal is to grow the portfolio and the brand via the creation of excellent content. It’s not all about opportunistic marketing.
What’s Mayfair been doing as far as organized play for Catan, and how will that change?
Mayfair helped develop and nurture a splendid Catan World Championship program. Working with Catan GmbH and Kosmos, they also launched a very cool Catan Big Game program. These organized play initiatives won’t change. If anything, Catan Studio seeks to grow and strengthen organized play for Catan. We’re very excited about that.