Who is Buying Bears V Babies? & Why You Should Thank Elan Lee


You might notice that Elan Lee, creator of humor site The Oatmeal, is launching another card game called Bears Vs Babies. The question is who is buying this game? I ask in a simply matter of fact way; not pejorative at all.

The extraordinary figures are astounding. $2 million and climbing for this second game after is first attempt, Exploding Kittens, hit $8 million.

Kickstarter seems to be the land of the hobby gamer who is always scouting out new and exciting games. Its usually off-beat games or those full of mini’s…and that cost a fair amount of dough. Certainly, more costly and more varied in topic than a pedestrian mom will buy from Target for the most part.

The rub is that Bears Vs Babies is not a mini’s game but IS very much within the fray of what would be sold at Target. To me, the Target buyer is not the same person diving the depths of Kickstarter looking to back games. The pool is much smaller. Yet this game is having mainstream appeal and pre-sales. So how are they getting the word out and who is their audience?

To begin with, here is the kickstarter for Bears Vs Babies:


More interesting is the break down of their audience:

I asked Jamey Stegmaier  (@jameystegmaier) who is buying this game. He said fans of the Oatmeal. It might very well be as obvious and as simple as that. Id like to know, though,who IS the buyer? What do they identify with that would make this the kind of game one they’d want to purchase? Interestingly, I found the follow info that breaks down The Oatmeal and discusses its audiences shared interests:


Essentially, they have a high over lap with those who enjoy Arrested Development.  but that show was cancelled, right? The error was Foxs. So heres what Fox did wrong:  They marketed the wrong way to the wrong age group. The coveted age range is those 18 to 35yrs old; finally working but before serious family/life expenses kick in.


What market research shows us:

Digital marketing drives sales to this age group; not TV as traditional viewership crashes. We know this…

The Oatmeal Itself:

A humor website that that has 20 million page hits a month. $500,000 annual sales; 75% of that is merchandise. In other words, what began as a humor site has become the vehicle for heavy merchandising. The brand has been built and is growing.

If this is the case, this game is simply another product sold to an existing audience; not gamers explicitly. Did this kickstarter have to be a game? Could It have been Oatmeal placemats and sold just well? Probably not.

The Oatmeal is an entertainment site and its broadening its entertainment offerings. Its a non-expendable, non-seasonal entertainment product expansion. So many reasons to justify having it…and guess what.. I love it!  Like Nintendo introducing the Wii, theyve expanded the market without cutting into sales for other makers. Better yet, this new audience will explore deeper and thats great for everyone.


Regarding the game itself…

If they have expanded the market to those not necessarily gamers, then there are little expectations for the game and what it provides more than satisfies its customer base. This probably skews the bbg scores but whatever.

Elan is nearly single handedly adding friends to our pool and helping sales across the board so welcome aboard!

However, for my boardgame brethren, do you think this game would make a dent if it were made without Elan Lee’s name behind it?

Tweet me: @gamesandbourbon

Tweet Elan: @elanlee

Tweet jamey: @jameystegmaier

Drinking: Don Julio Anejo. Cheers my friends!