Founder hails success of Taxi! board game

Gordon Drysdale (top) and Derek Carroll pictured with the Hibs and Hearts Taxi! board games. Picture: Jon Savage
Gordon Drysdale (top) and Derek Carroll pictured with the Hibs and Hearts Taxi! board games. Picture: Jon Savage
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The founder of an Edinburgh company that makes trivia-based board games is looking to more than double its number of stockists this year, add staff and expand overseas.

Taxi! board games came about after Derek Carroll was working as a black cab driver, sitting at a rank one quiet night reading up on Edinburgh history.

He came up with the idea of a board game with questions about the city, explaining: “I thought you could base it on the working life of a cab driver, where the better your knowledge, the better the tips, the more you earn, so everything in the game relates to driving a cab round the city.”

The business got off the ground in 2000, but stumbled when potential deals to develop future editions fell through on the back of the financial crisis.

However, since relaunching in 2015 with marketing expert Gordon Drysdale on board it has been flourishing and is stocked in about 40 stores in Central Scotland.

It generates about 85 per cent of its total sales from November to Christmas Eve.

“This Christmas has been fantastic,” Carroll said, adding that it had an excellent year and sold about 4,500 games in the month to 20 December.

In 2019 “we hope to just keep growing”, he added, with aims to grow stockists to 100 and boost its presence in major retailers.

In addition to its Edinburgh game, it has Glasgow and London editions and has football club - themed games, covering Hibs, Hearts and Celtic, and discussions are under way to launch a Rangers version.

The firm is also in advanced talks with the Scottish Football Association to create a Scottish football edition and it is also receiving interest from English premiership teams.

A Great British edition is sold in major retailers south of the Border, and there is also a New York version, as the business looks to make a significant splash in the US market. “We do hope to go international,” said Carroll.

He said the company has been working with the University of Glasgow on the firm’s global expansion plans, and is also teaming up with Scottish Enterprise and Business Gateway in Edinburgh.

“We’d like to do Europe as well,” he added.

About a fifth of the games’ sales are online, from Amazon and its own site, and expanding the team from three currently is on the cards.

Carroll said the game can be adapted for any subject, such as sport and music, although the city ones “are definitely the most popular”.