Today we've asked some questions to Patrice Boulet, our CEO and co-founder of IELLO. He's located in France, East of France to be exact, a beautiful region called Lorraine, cradle of IELLO and... these delicious little yellow plums called mirabelles!
IELLO: Hi Patrice! You are the co-founder of IELLO and LOKI. IELLO just turned 15 years-old. How did this beautiful success story begin?
Patrice: The story of IELLO starts… with a game of Magic! Cédric and I were absolutely obsessed with Richard Garfield’s Magic, The Gathering. So much so, in 2001, we decided to launch Cartagogo, an online site where we sold collector cards. In 2004, feeling lucky thanks to our website, we decided to launch IELLO, a company that would distribute card games to collect. And slowly but surely, we wanted the company to be more diverse. In 2009, IELLO went from distributing card games to distributing board games, such as Neuroshima Hex! 2 years later, we started publishing our own games, starting with King of Tokyo… from Richard Garfield. Just like that, we’d come full circle!
IELLO: LOKI, the mascot of your children’s game company, is actually the name of your actual dog that happens to look exactly like the mascot. How did that happen?
Patrice: So, we’d come out with games only for kids at IELLO, but we quickly realized that we needed a branch just for children’s games to introduce some coherence and its own universe to the brand. We are certain that most people want games that they can enjoy playing with their children, which is what LOKI’s main purpose is. What really led us to start LOKI was our own Aurelie Raphael and the publication of a Kinderspiel des Jahres 2017 nominated game, The Mysterious Forest. That nomination showed us we were on the right path. LOKI’s first three games (SOS Dino, Farmini and Troll & Dragon) came out the following year. They were very well received and were closely followed by more games, on our basis of three games per year.
As for the mascot, LOKI is a small corgi who loves exploring the world, going on adventures and playing with children. There is absolutely a nod to my very own corgi… but doesn’t have the cape (yet)!
IELLO: Tell us about some of the new things you’ve come up with and will come up with this year.
Patrice: We came out with 2 new LOKI games for the first half of 2020:
- Kraken Attack, a cooperative game based on Tower Defense that is as popular with kids as it is with their parents. It has clever mechanics, different levels of difficulty and the pieces are absolutely fabulous!
- Superfly is the first of a game collection that is as intense as it is cathartic. The actual fly swatters in the game box were met with great success!
The next LOKI game to come out is the highly anticipated Detective Charlie. It’s an investigative game requiring some deduction. The game has 6 different cases in which Charlie will have to interrogate Mysteryville’s residents to eliminate suspects one after the other until there’s only one left, the actual culprit. The game has entertaining stories, charming characters and really clever mechanics that enable children to clear suspects by reviewing the interrogations. It will be available during the second half of 2020 and we are looking forward to how it will be received!
IELLO: And we know from a trustworthy source 😎 that a lot of great stuff is in store for the beginning of 2021… What is something that touches you about your job?
Patrice: I receive a lot of touching messages from parents thanking me for having found a way to create games that they enjoy playing at least as much as their kids. And how proud it makes children to be able to explain the rules of a game to their parents! This ability to share all these emotions that are part of playing a board game together at the same table, that is what motivates us every day to make games a little more accomplished every time and universe that are more incredible to explore!
IELLO: Thank you Patrice for taking the time to let our US fans know you better!