November 2006 | Vol. V - No. 11
Rainbow Games Reaches for Its Pot of Gold ... Again
Persistence Is Paying Off on Second Try
As of August 2008, Rainbow Games, Inc. no longer manufactures toys.
In the game industry, some companies are overnight successes that sweep the market off its feet. Others are true labors of love that evolve slowly over time and transform setbacks into learning experiences. Rainbow Games is one of those labors, with James Muntz leading the way.
In 1981, he invented and sold products to Milton Bradley, but didn’t see the results that he’d wanted. After a brief stab at creative writing that was frustrated by his “atrocious spelling,” Muntz told his wife that he was just going to invent games instead.
Success Came Quickly ...
“I woke up at about three in the morning with my first idea, which was Spiromania,” he shared with TDmonthly Magazine. “It was my first game, and it just kept on. It seemed like that was my forte.”
Muntz originally launched Rainbow Games in 1985, and was quite successful, selling 400,000 games to K-Mart alone between 1985 and 1989. Besides Spiromania, his titles included Halley’s Revenge, Take a Letter, Cardformers, and Guest Host.
But Left Quickly, Too
However, when K-Mart’s buyer retired in 1989, the bottom fell out for Muntz.
“The new buyer would only purchase from Milton Bradley and Parker, so my distribution went from extremely high for one major account to nothing,” he said. “I was affiliated with a couple of wealthy individuals, and unfortunately they wanted to just dissolve the company and be done with their efforts, because they had other interests. It was like a hobby to them.”
Although Muntz put his business on the back burner at that time, he continued to invent games, and finally decided to give it another shot in 2005. He included all of his original games and added Puzzle by the Numbers. But he changed his strategy.
A New Game Plan Leads to Specialty Stores
“Back then, I was just trying mass market,” he told TDmonthly. “When you’re building a good product line, it’s important to have balance, and I didn’t have that initially. I shot for the moon, and I didn’t take the whole scope of the industry into play.”
Today, Rainbow Games has an online presence, and is also found in specialty stores. Muntz has reps throughout most of the country. His background is in computer science, and he currently still works as a consultant for the automotive sector. However, he hopes to devote his full-time efforts to Rainbow Games by the first of the year.
Filling Voids Finds Diverse Audience
Muntz believes that Rainbow Games offers a good blend, including children’s games, family games, adult games, party games and card games.
“I look at the line and try to find out where the voids are,” he explained. “Then I gear my mind toward filling those voids.”
He plans to debut four new products at the American International Toy Fair in 2007: Silly’ables, Blindside, Space Checkers and Computerama. His goal is to add two to four products a year while increasing his penetration in the market. His ultimate goal is to be significant in the game industry in three to five years.
“I’m sure we’ll make it,” he said. “If your item has any legs at all, eventually with persistence it will pan out. I’m not one to give up.”
Here are some of Rainbow Games’ popular and new offerings:
Silly’ables is a hilarious word game for 2 to 8 teams. Each team rolls a die, and by that roll, knows whether to solve a one-, two-, or three-syllable word. Each team chooses a partner to be either the giver or receiver of clues, and they will alternate roles each time. The giver of the clues can draw, make gestures or give one-word clues as the partner guesses. Fast paced and fun, this game goes from one to three syllables in 60 seconds or less! Approximate playing time, depending on the number of teams, is between 30 and 60 minutes.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9482 (added 9/25/2006)
Blindside is a pure strategy game for 2 players. The object of the game is to capture your opponent’s movement arrows. Each player has seven hex game pieces, with two to five movement arrows in each hex game piece (23 total movement arrows). Players must beware of the special blue pivot spaces on the gameboard, which allow their opponents to move in any direction they choose for one or two spaces. The object of the game is to be the first player to capture 17 of your opponent’s movement arrows. Approximate playing time is 1 hour.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9481 (added 9/25/2006)
Space Checkers is a strategy game for two to four players. It requires a balance of luck and skill that will challenge the serious strategy game player, while giving the novice player a real chance of winning.
You don’t have to be from another planet to enjoy this game. It’s easy to play: Just follow the directions of the dice. Each player tosses two dice; one indicates the number of spaces to move (1 to 6), and the other indicates which direction to move (east, west, north, south, or Wild). Best of all, you’re not confined by space. For even more excitement, you can warp your playing pieces from one side of the board to the other (horizontally and vertically). To win, just capture 10 of your opponent’s playing pieces to become the “out of this world” strategy champion.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9480 (added 9/25/2006)
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The Wacky Computer Board Game.
Launch date: Toy Fair 2007
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 9479 (added 9/25/2006)
Guest Host, the Celebrity Talk Show Game, allows players to be host of their very own talk show. However, they don't always know the names of their celebrity guests. Players compete to guess the identity of the 500 guests that could be interviewed. Be careful, because the guest could be fictional, nonfictional, past or present (for example, anyone from Adam and Eve to Zorro). The player that reaches the desk by correctly identifying guests becomes Guest Host of his or her own talk show. Featured on the "Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” this attractively packaged game plays extremely well.
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 6590 (added 1/17/2006)
Take two old favorites — Go Fish and rummy — add the special deck of Cardformers cards, and you've got a fun and educational game for children ages 4 to 12. The Cardformers deck is made up of 52 cards that form 13 different 4-card pictures. First, cards are matched by colors and shapes of "picture frames." Then, they're pieced together to create images of recognizable things. While kids learn and enjoy two great games, they practice some important skills: Color-matching, shape recognition, and word picture association are an integral part of the fun. Cardformers ... it's a picture-perfect way to learn at play. It's for 2 to 6 players, ages 4 to 12. READ MOM REVIEW
ToyDirectory Product ID#: 5911 (added 12/9/2005)
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Writer's Bio: Brenda Ruggiero is a freelance writer from western Maryland. Read more articles by this author
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