Asmodee promises more games coming from Canadian Plan B team after folding German operation into Lookout

Board game giant Asmodee has confirmed it has a string of projects in development at the Canada arm of its Plan B Games studio, following the firm merging the Germany-based part of Plan B into its Lookout Spiele subsidiary.

Asmodee bought Plan B three years ago, towards the end of an enormous acquisition spree within board games that saw it pick up companies and brands including Fantasy Flight Games, Catan and Days of Wonder, as well as several distribution businesses.

The Plan B buyout gave Asmodee control of its eponymous game studio as well as Canada-based Next Move and Pretzel Games and Germany-based Eggertspiele – and a game catalogue featuring Azul and Century: Spice Road as well as Camel Up, Great Western Trail and Village.

BoardGameWire reported last month that Asmodee had moved Camel Up, Village and the entire Great Western Trail series to subsidiary Lookout Spiele, continuing a slow exodus of titles from Plan B Games.

But Asmodee has now confirmed to BoardGameWire that the Canada arm is readying new games for publication this year.

A spokesperson for Asmodee said, “Plan B in Canada, like Lookout, is a healthy and quality-driven studio.

“Under the leadership of Jean François Gagné, who assumed the helm in August 2023 after his tenure at Panda Games, the original team continues to steer the studio.

“The studio is carefully managing Azul and Century, both published under the Next Move logo. 

“Across both studios, numerous new projects are currently in development, slated to hit shelves in the forthcoming months.”

Gagné took over as head of Plan B from industry veteran Sophie Gravel, who launched the publisher in 2017 after selling F2Z Entertainment – comprising Z-Man Games, Filosofia Éditions, Pretzel Games and Plaid Hat Games – to Asmodee.

Plan B quickly scored big successes with the releases of Azul and Century: Spice Road, and Gravel sold her new company to Asmodee in 2021, before shifting within Asmodee to become head of Z-Man again later that year.

It is unclear if Gravel has left Plan B entirely, or has simply moved into another role. BoardGameWire has asked Asmodee for clarification on Gravel’s position, but is yet to receive a response.

New studio head Gagné spent more than six years at Panda Game Manufacturing as director of learning and development before switching to Plan B last summer.

He recently revealed on his LinkedIn page that Plan B and Next Move had reached the “dawn of a new chapter” amid the closure of their long-time office, with the team moving in to the same office space as Asmodee Canada.

Asmodee has been consolidating in some areas after beginning “restructuring” late last year as part of a massive cost-cutting programme at its parent business Embracer Group, which hit financial problems after years of expansion and acquisitions ran up a $1.4bn debt pile.

Asmodee has continued to shine amid Embracer’s woes, however, having become Embracer’s biggest earner after overtaking its PC and Console Games segment for net sales last year.

The tabletop arm has avoided large-scale job losses so far, with its internal headcount falling by 82 to 2,500 people since Embracer began restructuring last summer.

That is in stark contrast to the wider Embracer Group, which has shuttered a string of video games studios and projects and cut more than 1,300 jobs since last summer.

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