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Interview with Julien Mayot, the President and Co-Founder of Blue Orange Games

Blue Orange Games is a company that has been producing a wide array of award-winning family-friendly toys. The company was founded in San Francisco, California, in 2000 by Julien Mayot and Thierry Denoual and it is an eco-friendly company that focuses on high-quality designs that use durable materials. They also pride themselves on planting two trees for every one used in the construction of their wooden games. Their items are developed in-house and their catalog now includes dozens of games that are sold in fifteen countries and numerous chain stores with a special focus on small businesses. Recently, Julien Mayot spoke about the company and his hopes for its future:

Meagan Meehan (MM) of Entertainment Vine: When was Blue Orange Games started and why was that specific name chosen?

PinPoint_GameOpen_Pkg_FlatbJulien Mayot (JM): I started the company back in 2000 with my business partner. The name Blue Orange was inspired by a French surrealist poem by Paul Éluard, titled “The Earth is Blue Like an Orange.” This poem helped us view things from a different perspective. The same way Éluard looked at the Earth and saw an orange, we can look at a game and see beyond the simple material object in order to appreciate the greater value behind it.

MM: Right now, how many games does Blue Orange Games offer? What are your age ranges?

JM: Our catalog counts eighty games, including thirteen new ones released this month. For the youngest players, three and up, we offer a collection of wooden games. Then our games range from family games, party games, and strategy games for all ages. We have a Europe Collection that also includes more strategic games from renowned game inventors.

MM: How do you think up ideas for your products? For example, do you ever work with inventors?

JM: Most of our game concepts come from inventors. About a quarter are created by my business partner. We test hundreds of game prototypes each year and only pick the best ones.

MM: What are some of your most unusual games?

JM: Our curved domino game, Bendomino, is a very original twist on the traditional domino game. We launched this game exactly 10 years ago and it is still selling well.

MM: To date, what has been the most rewarding part of working with Blue Orange Games?

Blue Orange GamesJM: I cherish the human relationships I created in the toy industry for seventeen years. Many of our customers met me when I was in my early twenties, when I was traveling store to store and selling the first Blue Orange game, Gobblet. Today I meet them at least once a year at New York Toy Fair, our biggest tradeshow, and we always have a fun story to tell each other that brings us back to the early years of Blue Orange.

MM: Where do you hope the company will be in ten years?

JM: In ten years, I would like the company to sell even more games of course. But what I want to make sure is that we continue to be very selective in the games we develop and sell. I hope our company will be established as the publisher of the most clever and fun board games in the US. This is not easy; we go through hundreds of game prototypes each year, and the key is to pinpoint the best ones, visualize them as a developed product and before any extended tests are done, decide if we take them on or not. We need to be able to make the right decisions very early in the process.

MM: Are there any upcoming events that you would like to mention?

JM: We will be at GenCon August 17-20 in Indianapolis, IN.

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To learn more about Blue Orange Games, visit their official website.

Meagan Meehan

Meagan J. Meehan is a published author, poet, cartoonist and produced playwright. She pens columns for the Great South Bay Magazine, Examiner and AXS. She is also a stop motion animator and an award-winning abstract artist. Meagan holds a Bachelors in English Literature and a Masters of Communication. She is an animal advocate and a fledging toy and game designer.
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