Newsletter and Subscription Sign Up

Tabletop Tycoon is Winning Business

Published Thursday Jun 6, 2024

Author Matthew J. Mowry

Daniel Yarrington, founder and CEO of Tabletop Tycoon, stands with a display of games, including its best selling Everdell series. (Photos by Matthew J. Mowry)

What started as a way for a 15-year-old to make some money selling Magic: The Gathering cards online has grown into a global board game company with products available in 24 languages. In the past year, Tabletop Tycoon moved into a 47,000-square-foot former manufacturing space in Londonderry and recently soft opening of an arcade in Manchester with 100 pinball machines and more than 100 arcade games.

Now that’s a power-up.

Daniel Yarrington, founder and CEO of Tabletop Tycoon, has turned his love of board games, card games and Dungeons & Dragons into business with 20 employees and growing.

The 25-year-old company hit it big with its best-selling line of games, Everdell, which launched Tabletop Tycoon onto bestseller lists for the past six years. In 2023, Everdell landed on feature displays in Target stores nationwide, with Walmart soon to follow. Everdell is an award-winning line of board games that allows players to build worlds as whimsical creatures. Everdell has even been adopted as a digital game by Dire Wolf for mobile, PC and Nintendo Switch.

Within the past two years, game studios Phase Shift Games and Rock Manor Games partnered with Tabletop Tycoon to manufacture and distribute their games. (Tabletop’s corporate operations and distribution are located in Londonderry, but it manufactures its products in China.) They are among the half dozen game brands under the Tabletop Tycoon umbrella, including Starling Games, Victory Point Games and PolyHero Dice. The company has 400 distributors of its games worldwide.

“We sell hundreds of thousands of games annually,” Yarrington says.

While Yarrington would not share specific figures, he says the company sales are in the tens of millions and growing. And the board game industry is seeing a resurgence, with sales expected to reach $3.42 billion by 2027, a 7.55% increase since 2022, according to Technavio.

Since 2011, Tabletop Tycoon’s games have won or been nominated for a variety of board game awards by, Board Game Geek, Vulture, Popular Mechanics, Geek and Sundry, National Parents Center and Dr. Toy.

“We always ask, ‘what are you going to do to make things better?’” Yarrington says of the company’s commitment to improve its games, customers’ experiences and the company culture. “I always try to do more than I can.”

In May 2023, Tabletop Tycoon moved from office space on the second floor of  the Brady Sullivan Millworks building at 195 McGregor Street, across from Catholic Medical Center and into the former manufacturing space of Wire Belt Company of America, which moved to a new space
in Bedford.

Yarrington recently transformed its former office space into a12,500-square-foot old-school arcade, dubbed Tycoon Arcade, which is now open on weekends. His old office is now a party room that can be rented for birthdays and other celebrations.

Yarrington curated the games in the arcade, selecting what he considers to be the “best of the best.”

“I wanted people to experience these things,” he says. He has even grouped the pinball machines in rooms by themes, such as TV shows, superheroes, rock bands  and movie monsters.

The arcade also includes a fantasy game store, Glimmerhold. “This is not a neighborhood arcade,” Yarrington says, instead calling it a “destination” arcade.

Yarrington also recently launched a new division, Pinball Tycoon, to buy and sell pinball machines.

It is not surprising that fun is part of the culture at a business that designs and sells games. The company has an area dubbed the “Fun Zone,” with shelves filled with more than 1,000 tabletop games that employees play for market research and personal enjoyment. There is an entire room dedicated to Legos and Dungeons and Dragons. The company even has its own 18-seat theater.

Tabletop Tycoon also rolled out new benefits to employees this year, including providing supplemental pay on top of salaries that employees can choose to take home or apply to health or dental insurance, life insurance, long-term disability insurance, a Flexible Savings Account or a Health Savings Account.

Employees are offered paid time off for voting, donating blood, volunteering or to get a flu-shot. And finding the right cultural fit is important to Yarrington, which is why Tabletop Tycoon offers job candidates paid tryouts to essentially take the work environment and their new responsibilities for a test drive.

Giving Back
Yarrington recalls a humble childhood with the family receiving gifts from the U.S. Marine Corps, Toys for Tots program at Christmas, including a Monopoly game that he loved to play. “We didn’t have an arcade where I was,” he says of growing up in a rural community in western New York. “We would play Monopoly.”

With his success, Yarrington now gives back to Toys for Tots as well as other organizations. Since 2018, Tabletop Tycoon has donated more than 244,000 games to Toys for Tots and other children’s organizations—more than $2 million in products. It even has specialty products it sells at conventions to benefit Toys for Tots.

During the pandemic, Tabletop Tycoon participated in a project to support independent game stores donating $500,000 of games and accessories to stores across the country with each store deciding how to use the donations.

The Early Days
Yarrington kept his part-time business through college, running community events for local hobbyists, as well as selling Pokémon and Magic the Gathering cards online and locally.

He even took on an independent study for his business degree that involved developing a formal business plan for
the company.

When he and his wife, Sara, graduated from college and got married, they moved to NH in 2003, setting up a brick-and-mortar retail store selling games in Salem and online. “We were an eBay power seller,” Yarrington says. “We got our first loan of $30,000 from Citizens Bank for a line of credit. We were focused on selling board games,” Yarrington says.

Over the years, Yarrington grew his business to multiple retail spaces, as well as logistics and distribution business servicing for game developers. He also established an online game news and review site, and was also organizing game conventions.

However, the retail side of the business began to wane, and he closed the stores, sold his services division and focused on game development. While the pandemic provided challenges, interest in games took off as families were trapped inside their houses looking for new ways to entertain themselves. Tabletop Tycoon emerged stronger than ever.

Yarrington says the pandemic isolated people and created more loneliness in the world. He says games are a way to bring people back together. “We’re making the world a better place one game at a time,” he says.

All Stories