An Interview with Haba

Nelly Steiner Blog, Event, Publisher Spotlight

We are half way through July and we have chosen Haba as our Publisher Spotlight this month, read all about it here.  Haba produces toys and games for children that are not only incredibly fun but also made of the highest quality. We wanted to dig a little deeper and T. Caires kindly agreed to an interview. A little more about T, they are the Games Manager at Haba USA, have the strongest passion for games and the gaming community and have the most adorable corgi named Ichi.

Nick Rauzi (NR) – What makes HABA unique in the Tabletop Gaming Industry?

T. Caires (TC) – HABA is 81 years old this year! Founded to create high-quality wooden toys, HABA has continued to be a family business that supports ethical choices for communities and the environment. All the wood in our games is certified PEFC sustainable and is sourced from within 150 kilometers from our manufacturing facility in Germany. We also make sure all of our games and toys are thoroughly tested for government certifications verifying they’re safe for the ages we put on the box. We believe that the power of play is important at every age, and we want to make sure our games support that belief in their quality, as well as their impact on the world.

NR – What tabletop game has had the largest impact on you in life?

TC – Probably Dominion, haha. I was dating a guy that took me to a Dungeons and Dragons night with his friends. The DM (Dungeon Master) wasn’t ready so they pulled out Dominion and it was the first time I’d heard of it. It was the first non-Can euro game I played and it was like home. I immediately loved it. I have made so many friends over that game and still love to pull it out.

NR – Games from HABA are continuously recognized for their great quality components, can you tell us more about the how those great wooden components came to be?

TC – HABA and wooden components go hand in hand! As I mentioned, HABA was founded as a wooden toy company in 1938. They’ve always maintained the highest standard of quality in their wooden components, for toys and games. In 2010, they even went as far to apply and receive a PEFC certification, verifying that their wood is sourced from sustainable forests within 150 kilometers of the manufacturing facility. Every game HABA produces has to have something wooden in it, and that wood is always PEFC certified. By keeping as much production as possible in Germany, and by paying its employees livable wages with great benefits, HABA makes sure the people making its wooden toys are as happy as those who play with them. Did you know, they still have master carpenters at HABA? And students are apprenticed by those carpenters to learn the skills needed to have a career at HABA making the wooden toys. HABA takes its wood very seriously!

NR – What theme(s) would you love to see in a HABA Game?

TC – Probably something with airships? That’s such a tough one to answer! HABA has had so many amazing games over the years, in such wild themes! So little of HABA’s games have made it to the US and I feel like every week I’m finding something in the German archives that blows my mind.

NR – If you could live in the world of any HABA game which one would you choose?

TC – This is another super tough one! So many options… I think I’d have to pick the world of the Valley of the Vikings, our 2019 Kinderspiel Winner that’s releasing in late fall. You get to be Vikings and horde gold coins and knock each other off docks in a bowling game. I’m seriously wondering if I can organize a real-life version of the game, it sounds so fun!

NR – With technology being intertwined more regularly with tabletop gaming, do you see HABA having more integration with technology in the future?

TC – This is probably unlikely for a little while yet. HABA prides itself on having games and experiences that are personal and tactile in its core line of products, especially for kids. Mixing screens into the equation goes against that a bit. But!  HABA’s parent company does own an application studio called Fox & Sheep that develops games and learning apps for the various tablets and devices. The Rhino Hero game, which is more of a digital dexterity stacking game, is a personal favorite of mine. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a few years we start development on a game that integrates with this studio, though.

NR – Lastly, what is your favorite food to eat while playing games?

TC – Popcorn! I make stovetop popcorn at home probably twice a week. Just salt for seasoning, so it’s easy to keep fingers (and components) clean.

Thank you T for joining us today, we hope to see you at Mox soon. Why not stop by Mox this month and check out some of the amazing Haba games we are in store? Don’t miss our Haba demo day at Mox Seattle on July 27th!

– See you at Mox