Superclub thoughts on the eve of new football season
By Audun Egenberg, Creative director @ SUPERCLUB
One of my favourite things about being a football fan is the cyclic nature of it. Every new season brings a chance for redemption if things didn’t go exactly as planned last time around. A near complete do-over where you get to start from scratch – or, if you had better luck the previous year, the almost equally challenging prospect of maintaining your success. «That was nice, now do it again!».
Alternatively, something in between, which is where I think Superclub is as an organization heading into this new football season. We have lots of positives to build on, as well as some challenges to work around. While there is still a long way to go, we’re making progress towards our ultimate goal: create a bridge between the beautiful game and truly great social, analogue, top-of-the-table football gaming.
Let’s start the new Superclub season with a quick glance in the rearview mirror. The 2022/23 season was challenging and a lot of fun. Like most other companies, we’ve had our ups and downs. I won’t go into too much details here, just think of the following as some general musings about the current status of our game (Superclub that is, not football in general – I’ll leave that to people who are way more qualified), as well as my personal thoughts on where we’re headed next.
Let’s start on a positive note. We’re growing a lot as a company. The numbers are trending upwards, most importantly the number of active players. Revenue, number of sales channels, partners, employees, product portfolio etc. are also up, which is obviously nice to see, and our customer ratings continue to blow our minds.
But it isn’t all roses. Our expected growth was higher than what we managed to achieve last season, and we too feel the cost of living crisis taking a toll on our operation. While most companies choose to raise their prices in order to better their margins, we’ve taken the exact opposite approach. We’ve lowered the price on our main game with the hopes of lifting the volume rather than our margins. Better for the customers, and better for us long term – if it works. The early signs are good, but we need help from our community in spreading the word.
Speaking of spreading the word, our customer insights reveal that you guys – Superclub owners and fans – are our most important channel of communication. So thanks for talking about us, we really appreciate it!
All in all, 2022/23 was a good season, but perhaps not a great one like we want next season to be.
So, what’s going to change going forward, and what will stay the same? First on our agenda right now are the licensed expansions. The transfer window will soon be closing and the products will be out shortly thereafter. We love this part of our job. As a football company more than a board game one, we adore working with these clubs and leagues – the very same that we watch on in our spare time.
One bit of (perhaps surprising) news is that there will not be any new clubs or leagues this season, other than the ones we already have. It’s a decision that we didn’t see coming 12 months ago, but it’s a necessary one. The reason is very simple: While customers absolutely love our licensed expansions, the licenses are not bringing in new Superclub players at the rate that we thought they would (not at all the fault of our licensing partners whom we have a great relationship with). Instead, an overwhelming majority of Superclub customers fall in love with the game first – then they start coveting our great licensed content.
This is wonderful in the long run, of course. The fact that the game itself is our biggest pull factor will stand us in very good stead going forward, but it also means that we need a broader audience before it becomes financially viable for us to expand our licensed offerings.
We will continue to serve and support our existing customers with new and updated versions of the club and league licenses that we do have, but further than that, building a broader audience is what this season is all about for us.
Yes, there is a slight irony in being a social, non-digital game with a primary focus on online retail. That is not lost on us, and we’re taking steps to remedy it. As it stands now, we’re all about bringing people together – except for when you purchase the game. That you have to do through a screen.
Not anymore. We’re lining up retailers across Europe as we speak, and we’ll tackle other markets soon. If anyone reading this happens to know the perfect retailer for us, we always appreciate a heads-up. Our goal is that popping down to your local shop to pick up a Superclub product from an actual human being should be a possibility. We won’t cover the entire world in a matter of weeks or months, of course. But we’re going to take huge steps in the right direction this season.
Speaking of face-to-face interactions, we’ll also be present in Essen for the SPIEL trade show in October, so feel free to drop by our stand. Also, we might bring a very exciting surprise package to the show. An entirely new product is in development, and while I won’t give away too much here … smaller, faster and made-for-mass-distribution are key words. Just think of it as an easier entry point into the world of Superclub, something new, exciting and tailor made to grow the size of the Superclub community. There’s lots of stuff there that I think both existing and new Superclub fans will absolutely love.
A great season
Before I close this document and go back to the Superclub game development drawing board, I just want to take the opportunity to say thank you once again. It means the world to us that so many of you enjoy the football board game framework that is Superclub, and our small and dedicated team continue to work hard in order to make every aspect of the game even better.
Though I think some changes to the main game also is inevitable going forward, we will not abandon our principals. There will be an app at some point with ways to play Superclub digitally, but it will not replace the physical version. There will in all likelyhood be a smaller, faster version at some point, but it will still be a tactically challenging and rewarding football management experience. There might be tweaks to the gameplay, but winning will still require a good mix of skills and good fortune.
The most under-appreciated aspect of a low-scoring game like football is, in my view, luck. Though some Superclub managers would like to see the dice gone, I don’t see that happening – especially given the new super cool dice system we have in development.
Anyway, I wish you and your favourite team good luck and a wonderful season!