Miami board game entrepreneur finds business is booming

Generating revenue in a recession is a difficult game, but a Miami entrepreneur has made the right moves in a growing industry: board games.

Eric Poses rolled the dice in 1997, when he founded All Things Equal and took off on a cross-country sales trip in his car. Since then, revenue has grown and he now finds himself in a countercyclical sales boom.

Board games traditionally do well during tough economic times. After all, Monopoly was launched in 1935, during the Great Depression. Last year, as total U.S. toy sales declined, board game sales rose 6 percent to $794 million, according to market research by NPD Group.

Poses said All Things Equal brought in $1.45 million in revenue last year. This year he projects that to grow to more than $2 million. But he will have to wait to find out if that projection is accurate, since about 75 percent of his company sales occur during the fourth-quarter holiday rush.

Board game makers attribute the recent boost in sales to consumers looking for a way to socialize without going out.

"When the economy is bad and people are feeling financially pinched, board games are very attractive," said Cliff Annicelli, editor-in-chief of Playthings Magazine, a toy industry publication. "You can play them over and over again."

Everyone — from kids and parents to young adults — has been getting into the game, according to industry leaders.

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