Brand Profile: Gibsons Games (and puzzles)

Gibsons logoNormally Tuesdays are my repost day but I feel a bit guilty for neglecting my blog while I was on holiday last week, so here’s a new wee post about a company that we particularly like here at Fun Junction, and one that is a firm favourite with a number of our regular customers.

Blitz underground shelterGibsons games was founded in 1919 on the back of the sale of Henry Gibson’s ‘The International Card Co.’ (which had already become established as a nationwide supplier of postcards and and playing cards) to the ‘De La Rue company’ (the people that print a significant amount of the UK’s , and other countries’, banknotes). From 1919 Gibsons has endured: they made it  through the blitz despite losing all of their manufacturing equipment when their premises were destroyed, but almost more surprisingly they have managed to endure through the turbulent changes in both the way toys are made and in the way children play.

made in BritainTheir puzzles and a number of their games have remained British-made throughout, despite the allure of cheaper manufacturing overseas (Gibsons is also a distributor for the Austrian games manufacturer ‘Piatnik’ so some of their games, being Piatnik games, are made there). What’s more despite the countless options for multimedia play their puzzles and games are still staple components of both child and adult play. A personal favourite of mine is their game ‘pass the bomb‘; a language game with a difference, in which you pass a ticking bomb from player to player as each of you tries to think of a word which contains specific letters that you get from the cards provided. It sounds simple but the added element of your time running out (and the dread of hearing the ‘explosion’ going off to mark you as ‘out’) really ups the stress and you inevitably find yourself lost for words. This is a great game for teaching kids to spell and building their vocabulary but also a fun one for adults to play when you’ve got a few folk round. (They also make a junior version of this in which you reel off as many items associated with a picture card, e.g. the picture card is a garden, you could say ‘rake’, ‘flowers’, ‘lawn’ etc.)

Nursery PuzzleGibsons’ ‘my world‘ range of games and puzzles for pre-schoolers is well thought out, helping kids to get to know and understand their world with themes like ‘my school day’ and ‘my jobs’. The ‘my world’ range also has a feature that really impresses me in its simplicity and cleverness: each game and puzzle has a ‘letterbox’ lid to encourage kids to ‘post’ their game/puzzle away when they’re done. What a fun way to get kids accustomed to tidying up when they’re finished playing.

Gibsons are also responsible for the ‘Jig Map‘ range of puzzles, these puzzles are a great aid for anyone who wants to help their child get a grip on where they are in the world and to help them to recognise other countries not simply by their location but also by their cultural features; by showing pictures of standard iconic symbols of each culture in the images of the relevant countries. A great one for parents and teachers alike.

Their 500 and 1000 piece puzzles for adults (or more ambitious children) feature designs from carefully selected artists with a diverse range of styles: from the tranquil and intriguing plays of light seen in Thomas Kinkade’s work, to the chaotic and fun ‘I love…’ puzzles by Mike Jupp which have a feel reminiscent of ‘Carry on’ films and which feature loads of little comical scenes within them. Whether you crave leisurely escape or entertaining diversion from your puzzles Gibsons has you covered.

Overall Gibsons is a steady staple at Fun Junction, lots of our customers are regular collectors of their larger puzzles and many of their games have been a steady feature of our games section for as long as I can remember. I’d love to hear about your experiences of Gibsons so feel free to post a comment either here or Fun Junction’s facebook page, if you feel inclined you could even post a picture of your favourite Gibsons game or puzzle over there too (it’s great to have pictures on there of people enjoying the toys they buy in our shops). Once again thanks for reading, Cheers, John