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Franklin Mint Reproduction
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 12:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

alwaysPeacock wrote:
This doesn't seem to warrant it's own thread, but since there's been a surge in talk here about the FM edition & its imitators, I figured I'd add this here.

WS Game Company (which seems to be a luxury branch of Winning Solutions) has a special product line specifically named after the Franklin Mint. At present, their catalogue only lists official Franklin Mint editions of Monopoly and Scrabble here, but elsewhere, under their Deluxe Wood Games collection, they still offer their cheaper ($249, compared to $499 for the FM games) Clue game.

I've never bothered to really research the Franklin Mint. Are they no longer in business, and WS Games has bought their luxury games designs? Or has WS only been given permission to reproduce the high quality Monopoly & Scrabble? If the latter, why not Clue, too? They can't really be turning enough of a profit on such niche products to be content just selling the cheaper version, can they? If, for example, only a few thousand people are in the market for a luxury Clue game, why not make nearly twice as much off each of those customers?

On closer examination, the product descriptions for the FM Monopoly & Scrabble both mention being licensed from Hasbro and the Franklin Mint. The description for their Clue game doesn't mention the FM at all, despite being very heavily (overwhelmingly) nothing more than a FM imitator with some changes.

I'm pretty sure that the WS Clue game is licensed from The Franklin Mint, just as the Monopoly and Scrabble are, unless in the original deal with Hasbro, The Franklin Mint licensed everything from Hasbro, and holds no rights to anything. Seems odd, but certainly possible.

Winning Solution appears to have been founded as the custom gaming branch of Winning Moves, and has since evolved into a luxury division with a retail front. Formerly it was a corporate marketing portal, showcasing items that could be branded for companies like Frontgate and Restoration Hardware.

The Franklin Mint is still around. However, from memory, I seem to recall that the present company is not the same as the company that produced the original Clue and Monopoly games in the early 90s. So it's entirely possible that WS bought the rights to these games from the previous entity. Moreover, I wouldn't be surprised if the Franklin Mint contracts these editions out to WS just like Restoration Hardware does. But the terms of the deal allow WS to sell them as well. Considering that they are using the FM branding, there might be a joint partnership to market them this way, resulting in a payment to both parties regardless of which web portal it's purchased through.

As for the purchase price, WS offers the games at various price points, and this is the ultra deluxe. However, after dismantling my own FM Clue game, I have to say I can't imagine there's $200 worth of luxury there over the less expensive versions. To add insult to injury, most of the wooden Monopoly games are all full-sized 22" square, while the Clue game is only 18". It could be that Clue is coming, but if you look at the Franklin Mint history, the Clue game was discontinued the quickest, and never revived, unlike Clue and Scrabble which have been mainstays at the FM. Note too, the absence of the Clue chairs and table which are rare if ever sold at all. As much as it pains me, Clue simply doesn't have as wide an appeal as the other games, and experience may have informed them that $250 is the most customers are wiling to pay for Clue. Restoration Hardware informed me that the Clue game they're currently selling had been discontinued and that they were no longer working with Winning Solutions. Could this be the end of Clue at RH? Or will there be another version made by another vendor?

Frankly, I can't say I like the new Franklin Mint editions. They're kind of black lacquer designs reminiscent of an Asian/Art Deco style fusion, with the designs essentially the same as the previous versions. That suggests they'd just recycle the Clue designs as well, which would be awful to throw those designs together. Though maybe that's what's taking so long, as they're updating the artwork. Maybe they're doing a whole new house with Art Deco furnishings to match the overall designs. That could be cool, but they'd have to redesign the characters too, in a 30s look. If they did that I'd love to see a dark themed Clue in a black box, though I'm still not sure I'd pay $500 for it. But in order to do that, Hasbro would have to be solidly on board to authorize a new interpretation of the classic, especially with the limited recycling we've seen with some of these re-issues, and Frankenstein hybrids. Perhaps that accounts for the high price as well -- Hasbro would want a lions share for a new original game design, which they would certainly have approval over.
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