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Legend Story Studio: The fastest growing company in NZ

Tabletop game studio Legend Story Studio has ranked at the very top of Deloitte’s Fast 50 index with a record revenue growth of 6416 percent over the past three years. We sit down with the Founder and CEO of the gaming company, James White, to talk about who they are, how they were able to take the number one spot and where to go from here.

Having been in the tabletop card game scene since the late 90s, whether it be through competitive playing or working in the distribution market, White has been picking things up about the world of card games to help him “connect the dots” and make his very own.

As a competitive player of a pre-existing tabletop card games, White worked with other publishers to help organise their own events across New Zealand and Oceania, well before the age of social media.

During his time working in the industry, White was able to observe the direction that the industry was going in, and that was onto online platforms where it was a lot more profitable.

“For me, I think it is really important to have these local communities that exist in the local game stores around the world, so I wanted to do something to preserve the culture of supporting the local game stores, who held weekly events and people come in and form local friendships,” says White.

White says the essence of tabletop games is to bring people together, and that was the core element he wanted to bring to his very own game, Flesh and Blood.

“I have always had a great love for epic fantasy type storytelling. I have always had a big imagination of epic battles that would span weeks and weeks,” he says.

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“The dots were starting to connect about what kind of trading card game I would like to create.”

The development for Flesh and Blood started in 2012 before launching in 2019 and for seven years White and his team took their time to “explore and create something beautiful”.

White adds that a large part of the games’ success is the storytelling and development of the characters that keep players immersed.

“A big part of the process was the actual game design, creating the world and the characters and the story and making sure those things had a lot of integration,” he says.

Legend Story Studios saw immediate success after the launch of Flesh and Blood in 2019 and White witnessed the game bringing people together – the main reason he developed it in the first place.

“It is immensely successful, loved and played right across the globe right now,” says White.

However, when the pandemic began in 2020, White says the essence of Flesh and Blood was interrupted and he initially thought the business would be “killed” as the community weren’t able to gather.

“That’s what our business is supposed to be, big groups of people congregating,” he adds.

To overcome these challenges, the Flesh and Blood team had to re-evaluate their approach and created at home packs allowing the game to be played with family members.

Now, coming out of the pandemic, White says Flesh and Blood is back to focusing on its initial core value – providing opportunities for people to gather.

The first major event for the tabletop card game post-pandemic is a Flesh and Blood world championship that will bring together hundreds of people in San Jose, California.

Prior to the world championships, Legend Story Studios was able to nab the top spot of the Deloitte Fast 50 Index, beating the likes of education platform Kami and wealth growth platform, Sharesies.

“It really means a lot to me, I have been following the Deloitte Fast 50 for two decades now and I feel greatly honoured to have won, and to not just win, but to set a new record for the index,” he says.

James White.

White adds that taking the top spot in the list felt like “validation for our industry” and a great influence for the next generation to consider the gaming industry as a career place.

“For me, it was a really important this award because I hope that it brings more awareness and more respect and appreciation for what tabletop gaming actually is and is offering society and is offering prosperity for New Zealand,” says White.

This is only the beginning for Flesh and Blood, he says, as the game is never ending which makes it “compelling” for gamers and fans who are excited to see what’s next.

“For us we’re just focused on the game and the intellectual property (IP) of Flesh and Blood – what Flesh and Blood is. It’s more than just a game, we created an IP suite. It’s a world with characters and a story arc. The card game is the first and most important medium we applied that IP to,” says White.

He adds there are many things the team can do with the IP to expand the games storytelling through animation, publication, streaming series and other kinds of collectibles and tangibles.

At the end of the day however, the focus point for White is the card game, to bring the flesh and blood of their fans together.

Bernadette is a content writer across SCG Business titles. To get in touch with her, email [email protected]

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