On a quiet dark Tuesday February night in 1999, taxi driver Derek Carroll sat twelfth on the rank reading one of his many books on Edinburgh history.
With plenty of time to dream, Derek started thinking how it might be possible to create a trivia board game, where all the questions could be based on one City.
[T]he answer was obvious; create the game around the working life of a taxi driver. ‘The better your local knowledge, the better the tips, the more you earn’. Picking up an A4 sheet of paper, the journey began . . .
Development and research
Over the next 18 months, questions were researched and written, thousands of dice were thrown, sacrifices were made, proto-types were produced, contact was made with buyers, manufacturers of the game, and playing pieces were sourced.
The early years
Eventually, on the 5th of December 2000 the Edinburgh Taxi Board Game was launched. With a very limited marketing budget, Taxi! went on sale in just 7 stores, and with only 19 shopping days until Christmas, the pressure was on. Derek managed to secure a complete window display in the prestigious Jenners Department Store on Princes Street, Edinburgh, he also received great support from both John Lewis and Debenhams. In all these stores Taxi! out-sold Monopoly and Trivial Pursuit that Christmas.
Two years later and with the Glasgow edition now launched, Taxi was on sale in over 40 stores throughout Central Scotland, achieving significant retail sales. This could never have been achieved without the help and support given to Derek by the retail staff in all stores that stocked the Taxi Game.
The next stage
Piloting Taxi! in local areas enabled Derek to monitor the reaction from both store managers and customers alike. Based on these findings a new London edition was planned. During this time a number of companies showed a keen interest to be involved in developing future editions. A US based global games company were keen to buy the rights for the game and a deal was almost done when the global financial crisis started to bite in 2007 and all these plans were put on hold.
Having gotten so close to securing the ‘big deal’ Derek became disillusioned with the whole process and the idea lay dormant for a number of years.
However a chance meeting in late 2014, resulted in the idea being revisited. A new team of investors with Finance, Sales and Marketing experience, was put in place and with the board game market now buoyant, the decision has been taken to launch the new London edition.
Launching the London Taxi! board game
A prototype of the London game was shown at the London Toy Fair, and based on the interest and enthusiasm received from retail buyers the decision was made to progress to manufacturing the first batch of the London Taxi! board game. At the same time a promotional video was commissioned to create interest in advance of the game hitting the shops.
After months of hard work, the game was finally available to retailers in early August 2015. Initial orders have been good. The London Taxi trade have also greeted the product with great enthusiasm with articles, competitions and readers offers in all the main trade papers/magazines. There is also a forthcoming podcast for London Taxi Radio in the pipeline.
Taxi! is once again attracting the attention of global games distributors and we are close to signing a UK distribution deal with further discussions ongoing about similar arrangements in the US and China.
In 2016 with professional backers and the right team in-place, Taxi! is looking forward to becoming one of the world’s top selling board games. As well as the new London edition being available for sale in stores from August 2015, plans are being finalised to create versions of Taxi! for other major worldwide cities.
The Taxi! Journey Continues, It’s Been Some Fare!
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