Spotlight on: Clash of Arms Games

Besides granting wishes to children suffering from life-threatening illness, KWN also has multiple programs to help reach other kids in need. Whether they are suffering from homelessness, abuse, neglect or illness, the comfort of a new gift can ease a difficult situation.

That’s why we are so grateful to our Guardian Angel donors who help stock our Warehouse and Wish Store with fun and exciting gifts. One recent donation and #GA donor made the local paper, and we’re excited to share the great article. Here’s our Product Coordinator, Chris, to introduce the company!

Chris for Blog

“As the Product Coordinator for Kids Wish Network, I have the pleasure of working with wonderful Guardian Angels. Honestly, I don’t even consider it work; it’s more like a friendship. Bringing joy and happiness to thousands of children is a passion, and over the past few years I have developed a great friendship with Ed of Clash of Arms. Anytime that I have reach out to Ed, he always goes above and beyond without hesitation. I don’t know if Ed even realizes the number of lives he has touched with his generosity, and it’s great to see his company featured in the local news.”

Photo and story credit to “The Reading Eagle” 10/30/14

Ed- Clash of Arms Games

Clash of Arms Games fills niche market

Thursday October 30, 2014 By David A. Kostival — Reading Eagle correspondent

In today’s high-tech era of video gaming products, it’s edifying to know there is still a market for board games.
A short distance from the Berks County border, Ed Wimble is running a company in the village of Sassamansville in New Hanover Township, Montgomery County, that has been designing and producing board games since the early 1980s.

The company is Theatre of the Mind Enterprises Inc., doing business as Clash of Arms Games. The games themselves have a niche customer base, as they are all complex strategic conflict games, with many focusing on the Napoleonic era and the American Revolution. But Wimble has games to cover military history from the past 2,000 years.

Wimble, 61, of Schuylkill Township, Chester County, never set out to produce games. He graduated from college with a dual major in philosophy and writing.

In 1980, he was about to begin a stint as a student teacher of English,when he was offered a job as a manager of a game store, Strategy and Fantasy World, in King of Prussia, Montgomery County. In 1982, Wimble contacted some friends to come onboard with him to start his own gaming company.

“I always had a love of history, and in 1986 the we started making only historical conflict board games,” Wimble said. “And I never looked back.”

Over the years, the friends backed out of the company. Today it is owned and operated solely by Wimble. In 1995, Wimble said, his business started falling off with the advent of video gaming, personal computers and the Internet. But Wimble refused to follow the trend and to this day has never gotten involved with any sort of video game.

“I really think the social aspect of playing a board game is important,” Wimble explained. “Just because someone invented cheap furniture doesn’t mean there aren’t craftsmen and who still make good, quality wood artwork.”

To date, Wimble has produced 134 games, many of which are now out of print but remain highly collectible. Because of the niche market for the games, Wimble does almost all of his sales on the Internet. About 40 percent of sales are overseas. But two stores do carry his games on their shelves: The Games Keep, West Chester, and The Compleat Strategist, King of Prussia.

While the market remains a specialized niche, one customer base you might not expect is military officials from the Department of Defense.

“The think tanks in Washington, D.C., use the games to develop military strategy,” Wimble said. “All of the information in the games is in the public domain, but it has value to the intelligence department to help simulate situations.”

One such game is Persian Incursion, which simulates a conflict between Israel and a nuclear-capable Iran. A March article in The Economist confirms Wimble’s claim that defense and intelligent officials do in fact use war board games to develop military strategy.

Even though Wimble said he sells between 10,000 and 20,000 games each year, he explained that is only 10 percent of what sales were in the 1980s. The games retail between $45 and $150. Wimble said that from start to finish, it will cost him between $30,000 and $50,000 to develop and produce a new board game. Because so much of the clientele for these games is already established, Wimble said, he doesn’t need to market or advertise new games.

“To me it’s like preaching to the choir,” he said. “I just let the choir know when there’s something new.”

But one chance for gaining some new board game fans is through donations. Wimble recently donated over $12,000 worth of product to the children’s charity Kids Wish Network to be distributed through the charity’s Holiday of Hope gift-giving programs. According to Kids Wish Network, Clash of Arms Games has been a “guardian angel” donor since 2013, totaling almost $33,000 in product donation.

Contact David A. Kostival:

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Kids Wish Network is a charitable organization dedicated to infusing hope, creating happy memories, and improving the quality of life for children having experienced life-altering situations. Kids Wish Network assists children and their families through several key programs.