My Interview with the WS Game Company

Jonathan Silva is one of the four owners of WS Game Company. Jonathan has been involved in the family business from a young age. He officially joined the team over ten years ago in the sales department and is currently Vice President of Sales and Finance. Jonathan is a driving force in the procurement of key accounts, assuring the company sees consistent growth.

Kerry Addis is co-owner and VP of Product Development at WS Game Company. Kerry tackles the creative process from start to finish for WS Game Company’s growing product portfolio. She combines nearly two decades of experience in graphic and industrial design with a lifelong passion for games to bring products to life. Of all the games she’s encountered, Scattergories takes the win as her favorite.

Richard: WS Games has a fascinating history. Can you tell us the WS Games story and where you fit into the narrative?

Jonathan and Kerry: WS Game Company was founded in April of 2000 by Dana Silva, and Michael Doyle. Dana & Mike each had over 20 years of experience at Parker Brothers & Milton Bradley before starting WS Game Company. The road to where we are today has many different turns. Dana & Mike started out as consultants for Hasbro, handling special projects for exclusive accounts. Following this part of their history, they gained the license from Hasbro to manufacture and sell branded furniture; they put the FUN in furniture by designing end tables, coffee tables, pub tables and many more that had built in board games featuring Scrabble and/or Monopoly. In 2010, WS Game Company became a tabletop board game licensee of Hasbro and for the past 12 years we have been providing consumers with premium versions of Hasbro’s classic board games. Kerry Addis & Jonathan Silva are the daughter and son of Dana. They joined WS Game Company in 2009 and 2010, and in 2019 became part of the ownership team. Kerry, who has a background in graphic and industrial design, manages product development and Jonathan is the vice president of Sales & Finance.

Richard: WS Games makes deluxe versions of popular board games. Many of your games retail for three figures, and some are over $1,000. The great part is that they sell and sell well. What makes your products so unique that people will pay a substantial amount of money to own one?

Jonathan and Kerry: In addition to being beautiful, our products really offer enhanced gameplay for the consumer. We incorporate unique storage solutions, and beautiful designs that allow the products to be displayed in your home. The majority of our Scrabble games include a rotating board, and a raised grid to keep your letters in place during gameplay.

Richard: You use several materials in manufacturing your games. Can you tell us what some of the materials are that you use?

Jonathan and Kerry: Many of our board games feature a wood cabinet in various finishes. We also have games that utilize tin, glass, fabric, vegan leather, and acrylic.

Richard: What and who Is the market for quality board games up to four figures?

Jonathan and Kerry: Our tin collection and fabric books are a fantastic gift for any occasion, these retail under $40.00. Our higher end items are great options for board game enthusiasts, and customers looking for that special decorative accessory for their home. We have found that in addition to customers using our products in their homes, many hotels and bars feature our games to be used by guests upon visiting.

Richard: You recently announced some new releases. Tell us about them?

Jonathan and Kerry: In February, we announced the launch of seven new board game editions with a fresh perspective on  the world’s most iconic games. The high-end, stylish renditions include:

  • MONOPOLY & SCRABBLE Indigo Bookshelf Collection 2-Pack, MSRP $79 – The Indigo Collection brings a colorful and contemporary twist to the components  of MONOPOLY and SCRABBLE, with each game stored in a foil-stamped, fabric-wrapped book.
    • Chess & Checkers Deluxe Wood Edition, MSRP $99 – This set features a solid wood cabinet with a mahogany finish and an inlaid game board. Lift the top off of the wood cabinet to reveal the integrated storage compartment beneath for all of the premium game components.
    • SCRABBLE Heirloom Edition, MSRP $399 – The Heirloom Edition is handcrafted with a combination of hardwood and veneers to deliver a luxurious twist on SCRABBLE. The rotating board, raised grid and storage drawer compose just a few of the exclusive features distinguishing this set.
    • SCRABBLE Message Center, MSRP $79 – This wall-mounted SCRABBLE board is framed by a sleek natural wood trim and flanked on each side by a striking black weekly planner with a scorekeeping and messaging area. The corkboard on the bottom saves space for personal notes and photos.
    • Chess & Checkers Luxe Maple Edition, MSRP $149 – This set features a solid maple wood cabinet with an integrated storage drawer and a die-cast metal handle. The inlaid wood game board is built into the cabinet and includes uniquely designed chess and solid wood checkers pieces.

Richard:  What are your biggest sellers?

Jonathan and Kerry:  Scrabble Deluxe Edition, which has been in our line since 2010, continues to be our number one selling Scrabble board game. Also our fabric bookshelf line now features 12 different titles, and each year consumers are looking for the newest brand to add to their collection.

Richard: What retailers sell your games?

Jonathan and Kerry:  We work with a number of fantastic partners on games that are exclusive to them. Unique collaborations include items at Pottery Barn, Crate & Barrel, CB2, LL Bean, Anthropologie, KITH, Snap-On, and Frontgate. Our everyday line can be found at boutique retail stores nationwide as well as on our website.

Richard: Can you describe your average consumer?

Jonathan and Kerry: WS Game Company serves a variety of consumers, from young children discovering classic games for the first time to their parents falling in love with their childhood favorites via our stylish renditions. Our consumers also include the collector who appreciates the craftsmanship and beauty behind our products. What all of our consumers have in common is a passion for sharing the games we all know and love.

 Richard:  We have been through two years of chaos in the toy industry. How has WS Games fared?

Jonathan and Kerry:  It has been a tough two years for our country and the world. However, it has been a busy time for board games and we hope that our games have provided some much needed laughter in our consumers’ lives. We were very fortunate in March of 2020; we were inventory heavy, so we were able to ship a lot of games in the early stages of the pandemic. Also in 2020, as more retailers were looking for board games, we partnered up with one of the world’s largest retailers Costco to offer our premium games to their customers. While battling supply chain constraints, shipping disruptions, and rising costs we have continued to grow and partner with some amazing retail stores to get our premium board games in front of even more consumers.

Richard: What is in the future for you and your company?

Jonathan and Kerry:       As we look ahead, we continue to see opportunities for growth. From our expanding general trade product line to a huge appetite for newness from our partners, we expect games to always offer a popular way to connect with friends and family. Our team is constantly thinking about new ways to wow our customers, and we anticipate a focus on material updates, outstanding storage solutions, and superior gameplay in the coming years. In addition, we hope to grow our list of exclusive partners, as these collaborations can produce some of the most unique games on the market.

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